Section 3: Friendliness, Honesty, Humour, Knowledge, Learning Centered
To learn more about this series, click here.
And now… on to section three:
Friendliness: Is the tutor friendly to the students and their family or
guardians? Is the friendliness appropriate to the tutor-student relationship?
Does it provide encouragement, or does excessive small talk (by the tutor
herself, or allowing the student to spend much of the lesson in chatter) cause
a loss of focus on the purpose of the lesson?
Honesty: Is the tutor willing to kindly but firmly tell a student (and/or
parents) if the student’s – or parents’ – timetables or goals for success are
unrealistic. Does the tutor help them to develop realistic goals and
timetables for success? If the tutor believes that a student’s lack of
success may be related to factors other than the tutoring (lack of interest or
effort by the student; lack of homework effort; personality conflicts; health
or other issues; etc.), does the tutor honestly and kindly share those
insights, and offer to recommend solutions or other helpers? If the tutor is
not able to help the student enough, does he/she honestly admit it?
Humour: Does this tutor have a sense of humour, providing light moments
along with the work? Is the tutor able to share an appropriate joke, or use
fun games and activities related to the tutoring topic? Can the tutor
recognize, accept, and even laugh at his/her own mistakes, and then cheerfully
correct them? Is the tutor’s humour genuine, or does it smack of sarcasm
(which is destructive)?
Knowledge: Does the tutor know the subject well? Does he/she have a strong
educational background in the subject area, and/or strong life experience with
the topic? Do not be afraid to ask about this. Be specific about the exact
subject area and level your student needs help with. Feel free to discuss any
special needs you know the student has, or any “gaps” you feel the student
needs help with. In your conversation with the potential tutor, do you feel
comfortable with their replies to your questions? Does the tutor have a
suitable collection of materials and resources? Ask to see them.
Learning centered: Does this tutor keep students at the center of the
instruction, and treat them as partners in the learning journey? Does the
tutor see learning as a life-long process, and encourage learning for its own
sake, as well as learning for a short-term goal (such as an improved mark on
the next report card)? Does the tutor share general learning skills as well
as specific skills? Does the tutor explain clearly to the student and their
family how the chosen learning activities related to both short-term learning
goals and also to life-long learning skills? Does the tutor obviously love
learning, and have personal enthusiasm for the subject being taught? Does the
tutor help the students to become learners themselves, or does the tutor do
too much of the work him/herself?
What other tutor characteristics would you like us to address? Let us know in the comments section. Thank you!
And … if you live in the Penticton BC area, and are looking for a tutor, check out my own tutoring information. If I cannot help you, I will happily refer you to other tutors in Penticton who may be able to fulfill your tutoring needs.