MyTutor Tips & Features

Tips for your first tutoring lesson

This is a guest blog written by Rebecca Kammitsi, a Biology & Chemistry tutor on MyTutor.

Taking a trip down memory lane I remember when my first lesson was booked. Feelings? Excitement, a sense of accomplishment, the realisation of it, and then some stress was in line. My first thoughts were: ‘’Ok so you have booked your first lesson – congrats! But what now?’’.

As students ourselves we have the experience of being taught by someone else but when it comes to getting into the position of our teachers/professors, it’s quite challenging. At the same time though, it’s quite exciting to meet a new person and assist them in their academic journey.

The art of planning 🗒️

The primary and most important aspect of a successful first lesson is planning! MyTutor offers us the advantage of navigating our students’ profiles and in cases where we’re teaching on the schools programme, we even have teacher notes available. These are great features not only to get an idea of your student’s current state at school but also to form the basis on which your lesson plan can be based.

You’re to spend 55 minutes with the student in the lesson space, so it is important to make every minute count for both of you. How do you do that?

Preparation, preparation and… preparation📝

Being prepared and having a well-planned teaching scheme in mind, will not only relieve you of some of the stress, but also it promises the best outcome for your first lesson. Prepare notes, find material relevant to your student’s profile, and certainly use the teacher’s notes to focus on the subjects your student needs to work on.

Here are some tips on how I handle my notes preparation:

Know the exam board 🏫

I can’t stress enough the importance of using material developed specifically for the student’s exam board. Every exam board has different topics and challenges, so if the curriculum is not properly followed, your lessons may end up confusing the student instead of assisting them.

Follow the right syllabus ✅

If applicable – check which syllabus type the student follows. For example, in AQA there are two different pathways, ‘’Foundation’’ and ‘’Higher’’, based on which the difficulty and type of activities studied differ for each student group. Not using the correct material could result in either boring your student (by exposing them to less challenging exercises compared to their actual pathway) or discourage your student (by working over very difficult exercises).

Include a variety of exercises which increase in difficulty 📈

I always like to start working with students on less demanding exercises such as multiple choice questions or 1-2 marks questions. This achieves greater student engagement in the lesson by giving a more fast-paced and easy flow lesson, while at the same time it allows me to better understand the student’s academic needs and where they stand in terms of the curriculum.

Once finalised, review your notes and ask yourself the following:

Does the material fit in the 55-minute time slot? Is there a nice flow to your lesson? Fun fact: personally I did a mock session on my best friend to check whether it kept her interested and if the pace was good. So don’t be shy to ask for a friend’s help! 😉

Practise on the trial lesson space 💻

Being confident in the lesson space and having knowledge of all the tools offered is a must. Not only does it make the lesson more engaging for your student, but it also gives you less to worry about during the actual lesson. Incorporate a video for your first lesson to make it fun, and use colours, highlighters, and diagrams to give a more visual aspect to your lesson that the student can follow.

Don’t rush 🐌

Remember that you’re not a teacher on a strict curriculum plan but a tutor. Your role is to assist students to better understand the curriculum, cover challenging content, and offer academic support alongside their daily academic journey. If you don’t finish everything you’ve planned for the first lesson, don’t sweat over it!

Lastly, remember to enjoy it 🥳

Most likely your student feels as stressed as you are for the first lesson. Therefore, put on a smile, be prepared and spend the first 5 minutes getting to know them. Ask for their input about the topic, and what they find most difficult e.g. curriculum or exercises and try to give some words of reassurance.

Personally, I always like to share with them my experience as a student so that they know you once were in their position! Then ease into your lesson by explaining to them what you plan on covering and finish off by getting their feedback on how the lesson went and what they wish to cover next!

For more blogs to help you with your tutoring, check out the following:

As always, if you have any questions or feedback, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach us on tutors@mytutor.co.uk or 0203 773 6024.

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