Due to the increasing importance of education, many parents and schools choose to hire tutors. Parents hire freelancer tutors and work with private tutoring services. Parents hire instructors for tasks such as math tutoring, and SAT prep. However, many parents do not exactly understand what makes a good tutor.
Tutors often think that they are well qualified because they possess adequate understanding of the subject matter. Many people say that one possesses adequate knowledge of a subject when he can lecture in the subject. However, there are many other aspects to being a good tutor and having adequate knowledge in the subject will not necessarily make the tutor a good tutor.
Of course, understanding the subject matter is critical to being a good tutor. No tutor is able to adequately explain material to a struggling student if he does not understand it well enough himself. That does not mean that the tutor has to have every single minor aspect of the subject memorize. But the tutor should be able to understand the subject matter after a short review before the session.
Simple knowledge of a subject is generally insufficient to be a good tutor. A tutor has to have true understanding of a subject. For example, an inexperienced math tutor may know the Quadratic formula but a great tutor can also derive it. A decent Literature tutor understands the plot and themes of To Kill a Mockingbird. But a great tutor also understands the history behind the novel.
A good tutor should be an experienced tutor. The more experienced the tutor is, the more likely he will address the student's issues. Inexperienced tutors should first consider volunteering and tutoring family and friends before charging for their services.
Another important aspect of tutoring is having good communication skills. A tutor has to not only know the subject matter but also be able to adequately explain it. Someone may be able to solve any math problem but he will not necessarily make his solution understandable to the student.
A good tutor is a good evaluator of the student's performance. Often, students do not understand exactly what their problems in a course are. They often just know that they are struggling or that they are getting bad grades. A good tutor can understand what gaps and misunderstandings the student has and can provide review of these particular subject areas.
Another characteristic of a good tutor is the ability to understand the student's situation. Students who work with tutors generally are frustrated and a tutor should not never make the situation worse. Also, students can often have learning disabilities so a tutor may need to explain certain aspects differently or use a slower tutoring pace. They should also be forgiving of minor misbehavior by a student as the misbehavior may be caused by stress.
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