Getting the most out of tutoring

As a student who has desperately needed help, and a tutor who has had 6+ years of experience teaching just about every level of math and science imaginable, I feel like I’ve seen just about every student-tutor relationship out there.

Lets face it, even the best tutors in the world can only do so much. If you are lucky enough to have someone helping you with your homework (whether the tutor is free in your library or $100 an hour), there are some simple things you can do to make the experience even better.

SO what can you do to get the most out of your time with a tutor??

  • Schedule help at a time that you are engaged. You might not have this luxury with your schedule and the time that your tutor is available, but if you DO this is important. If you don’t like doing homework past 7pm, don’t schedule your tutor at that time!! Pick a time where you aren’t distracted, you have energy, and you won’t be rushing.
  • Summarize what you learned (or are trying to learn) in the past week. This is important especially in math, where there may be multiple ways of solving a problem. Without context, your tutor may teach you a method of solving the problem that is completely unfamiliar.
  • Attempt all problems before meeting. Attempt something! Anything! If your work is wrong, you can start over. If you have a proper first step, you’re got momentum! It helps your tutor to see what your intuition is in certain situations. As a tutor, there is nothing
  • Know what type of learner you are. There are three types of learners: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Taking a quiz, or letting your tutor know what has worked in the past when learning similar things. The more they know about how you digest ideas the better!
  • Be honest. Trust your tutor and don’t be afraid of their judgement. They are there to HELP YOU and if what they’re doing is not working you need to let them know. If your tutor is being rude or judgemental, LEAVE EM!
  • Bring your homework and notes. Any information you may have on what your teacher has told you will help your tutor. If you finish your homework, you can ask your tutor to explain parts of your notes or help you add more so that they’re useful for your next test. And for gods sake BRING YOUR TEXTBOOK.
  • EXTRA: Have a goal in mind. Obviously you’ll have a short term goal like finishing your homework or passing a test, but take a second to think about the long term. Clearly state your goal. “I want to feel comfortable during tests” or “I want to be able to explain homework problems to my friends” are great places to start!
  • EXTRA: Bring a syllabus. You might have a calculus specific tutor, but every calculus class is different! By bringing in a syllabus your tutor will have a jumping off point to understand what you might have learned already and where your teacher may be going.
  • EXTRA: Bring a friend/ classmate. Having another person that has experienced the class can fill in some gaps that you may have when you’re explaining things to your tutor. You can also turn homework into more of a round table discussion. Ask your tutor if its cool beforehand.

Your time (and your tutors time) is precious! Come with your head in the zone and papers in your hand! Happy learning 🙂

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