Becoming a tutor | Essential skills and experience

By Germaine Conroy

This is a guest blog all about the essential skills and experience you need to become an online tutor. It’s written by Germaine Conroy, an English, Philosophy and Biology tutor on MyTutor.

Becoming an online tutor can be a great way to earn some extra cash on your own terms, and there hasn’t been a better time to get involved. If you’re not sure whether tutoring is a good option for you, you should know about the skills and experiences that come in handy. Luckily for you, you’re in the right place to find them out 😊

Essential Skills

You might not feel like you possess all of these skills, but this isn’t something that should put you off…in fact, I encourage you to welcome the challenge with open arms. Skills that go hand in hand with being a fantastic tutor are also great for future employment, or in the short-term, things like group projects at University! In my experience, I’ve developed the following skills more with each and every lesson. So, don’t be put off by seeing a skill that you’re not sure you have yet.

Calmness and patience

Your tutees may not always understand a concept from the get-go, or even after you’ve explained it a few times. Everyone’s unique, and the way they come to understand something might differ from the way you originally came to understand it. It’s important that you’re able to remain calm when this happens, and be patient in trying different avenues of explanation in order to help them. The fact they’re having tuition in the first place could mean that they’re not very confident with the subject-matter. Getting frustrated isn’t going to help them, or you…let’s be honest, as a uni student you probably have enough going on as it is! Being calm and patient will help them to feel safe. In addition, you can help them effortlessly grasp what they’re struggling with.

Being organised and motivated

Always early to the party? This one’s for you 🎉 Tutees and parents will be relying on you to show up on time and prepared for the lesson ahead – it goes without saying that being organised and motivated are essential to this. No one wants to start their lesson only to be greeted with an empty lesson space, or a lesson where not even the tutor knows what’s going on! Especially when everyone has so much going on outside their time-slotted session. By showing up on time, you’ll help build and maintain a great rapport with your student; which you’ll learn is super important to helping someone to succeed.

Strong communication and positivity

You need to be able to articulate ideas and knowledge. As I mentioned earlier, these might not come easily to the tutee, so the ability to clearly communicate and remain positive in the face of any challenges or misunderstandings will be crucial to their learning journey. You’ll also be expected to communicate with parents eventually, which is a form of customer service. By its very nature, it includes being able to communicate well. This will pay off – better customer service, happier customers and good reviews ⭐

Time management

Last but not least, we have time management. Not only will you need to be able to manage time in terms of planning lessons (which fall under being organised), but you’ll also need to manage time during lessons. It doesn’t take long for an hour to fly by, and your tutee will be relying on you to make the most of their time. Keeping activities to an appropriate time (which may be different for each student!) is key.

Previous experience

Being knowledgeable in whatever you’re teaching is very important. It’s likely that your tutee will be relying on you to clearly explain content they find challenging. To be able to do this, you’ll need to know what you’re talking about! So, to tutor a subject, you’ll need to have the qualification above that of which you’re tutoring. You can find out about MyTutor’s grade requirements here.

Whilst no past experience in tutoring is necessary, you may have picked up skills from other areas that’ll make for a great start. Bar jobs, babysitting, office work and being organised in your studies (😉) will all contribute to all the skills I’ve mentioned in this guide – perfect for when you start tutoring.

Hopefully you’ve found these insights useful – if you’re convinced you could be a great fit, see more info about applying here. Good luck!

Written by - Germaine Conroy

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