You want your clients to succeed. When they are excited, you become excited. When they are frustrated, you feel frustrated. During sessions, it can become tempting to offer students more than the tools to succeed and instead give them the answer. While this might make everyone feel good, it doesn’t help the student succeed in the long term and can reduce the effectiveness of your tutoring sessions.

So how do you avoid the temptation to give them the answer and instead make them work for it? Give these four tips a try and remember: The benefits of making students find the solutions themselves, with guidance from you, will be longer-lasting than if you provide them with the answer.

What is tutoring?

Tutoring can best be explained as the act of assisting a struggling student, outside of the classroom. Without tutors, teachers would be overwhelmed with confused students, having no other options to offer them. Tutors bridge the gap for students and help them to eventually no longer need a tutor. Tutors don’t just give students the answers, but instead, they teach them how to find the answers themselves. We’ve put together a guide for tutors that stresses the importance of being a resource to students, not just an answer key. 

Build habits

Tutoring is 100% procedure-oriented. Once you get your students in a routine with you, then they will end up turning it into a habit they can do on their own. Building good study habits in your students will help them become used to the idea of learning and studying on their own without a tutor, which is the ultimate goal. Show your students what they should do while studying, give them tips on how to study that caters to their learning abilities, and teach them how to eventually be independent in their studies.

Learn to listen

Students like to be heard. No one likes to be disregarded or scolded for something that they struggle with. Unfortunately for tutors, students don’t always come right out and say what they’re actually feeling. As a tutor, it’s important to not only listen to words but also listen to body language. It’s not always easy to pick up hints, but it’s imperative to helping your tutee succeed. On the other hand, once a student notices that you listen to them, they will, in turn, listen to you and the advice that you have for them.

Share experiences

Students like to feel a personal connection to their teachers and tutors, and it helps to establish trust and understanding between the two. Feel free to open up about personal experiences that you once had during your school days, because the student will hopefully be able to relate to you. Opening up to a student will provide deeper engagement, interest, and understanding. Let them know that it’s okay to fail and make mistakes, but learning from those mistakes is the ultimate goal. Once a student feels comfortable with you, they will then open up about their educational struggles and therefore make it an easier process for both tutor and tutee.

Remember the learning process is a marathon, not a sprint. Your client’s success depends on them being able to get to the answer themselves, so provide them with the problem-solving skills they need to work through homework and tests. This will make them a better student and you a better tutor.