Preparing for your first lesson with your tutee! Back

Preparing for your first lesson with your tutee!

So you’ve decided to start giving home tuition and you might be feeling a little unsure and nervous. Everyone starts off somewhere, and here is checklist compiled to help you get off to a great start.

Before the first lesson

1. Revise the subject(s). Do familiarize and be current with the subject matter and concepts before your first lesson with the tutee. This will help you prepare and also to be able to answer any questions posed to you by your tutee.

2. Plan your trip. Find out the exact location and how to get to your tutee's place one day in advance. This is to ensure that you would arrive on time if not 5 minutes earlier. We take punctuality very seriously at Nanyang Academics and first impression counts for a lot in this industry (PS: check out to find out the directions to the address given).

3. Plan your lesson. Will you be using your own materials to guide your tutee? Will you be recommending the parent to purchase assessment books? Or will you be doing an assessment of the student to gauge his/her proficiency on the subject matter? Always be prepared and have a plan.

4. Confirm the date and time once more. Do drop the client a text or a call to self-introduce as well as confirm on the schedule. You don't want to make a fruitless trip down in the event of a last-minute change.

On your first lesson

1. Break-the-ice. Be friendly and approachable, using the first lesson as an opportunity to get to know your tutee better. Find out about his/her interest and set a good example for them as a role model by motivating them to study hard.

2. Set Goals. Balance and clarify tutee's and parents' expectations and outline your strategies on how to work with the student's strengths and weaknesses. Make a folder (either digital or paper) for each student where you will keep their contact information, as well as any notes about what you’ve already done with them, what you observe during your session, and what you plan to do in future sessions. That way, when your next session with that student approaches, you’ll have shorthand for knowing where you left off and what comes next.

3. Stay Focused and On Task Every Minute. Time is money with tutoring. As you get rolling with the student, set the tone for productive meetings where every minute counts. Keep the conversation focused on the work at hand and hold the students accountable for the quality of his/her work.

Consider Implementing a Form of Parent-Tutor Communication. – The parents want to know what you’re doing with the student each session and how it relates to the goals you set. Consider communicating with the parents on a weekly basis, perhaps through email. Alternatively, you can type up a little half-sheet form where you can write some informative notes and have the student bring it home to his/her parents after each session. The more you communicate, the more your clients will see you as on-the-ball and worth their financial investment.
4. Set Up the Ground Rules. Just like in the regular classroom, students want to know where they stand with you and what’s expected of them. Similar to the first day of school, discuss your rules and expectations, while letting the student know a little bit about you. Tell them how to handle their needs during the sessions, such as if they need a drink of water or to use the restroom. This is particularly important if you are tutoring in your own home, rather than the student’s, because the student is your guest and will likely be uncomfortable at first. Encourage the student to ask as many questions as he or she needs to. This is one of the main benefits of one-on-one tutoring, of course.

What to bring along?

Never show up empty handed. Here are some of the things to bring along for your first lesson.

1. Original or photocopied academic or professional certificates. This is for parents to verify your qualifications against those listed in your tutor portfolio.

2. Notepad and writing material. This is to create notes for your tutees or to jot down important information such as their grades, specific areas of weaknesses, homework given and any instructions given by the parent.

3. Calculators or Dictionary. You may be required to use them during the lesson depending on the subject at hand. You always want to be well-prepared.

4. Any materials, notes or assessment papers you may have. Bring along past year papers, notes or materials that you may have created for yourself as a student or for your other tutees. These materials would reflect well on you as a tutor as it shows preparedness and at the same time, they are beneficial to your tutee's learning experience.