What Tutors, Parents, and Students Can Do to Make it Successful
First impressions are everything! Just like with any interaction, you might feel nervous going to your first tutoring session, whether you’re a student or a parent. Still, the first session is the cornerstone for success—it sets the standard for all future sessions. If you prepare for it, you can lay the foundation for not only academic achievement, but a meaningful relationship!
But what makes a first tutoring session successful? What are the specific steps tutors, parents, and students should take to make the first session as successful as possible? Let’s take a look at how we at AJ Tutoring prepare for our first sessions!
What do our tutors do?
Behind the Scenes
Our tutors are masters of their subject areas, armed with knowledge from elite colleges and universities. We as a company also provide ongoing support in the form of mentors, teams, and academic departments to ensure that our tutors remain at the top of their game.
To be a successful tutor, we believe that you must be able to build positive working relationships with your students. Our student-centered approach allows our tutors to customize the sessions to the particular needs of each student. We coach our tutors to ask the right questions and encourage them to use their own strategies and bring their unique personalities to every session.
Our tutors make their own schedules and so can work around a student’s needs. Once a student is assigned to them, tutors will reach out to schedule the first tutoring session. (We use Google Calendar to create event reminders for both students and parents.) Finally, tutors create a general plan for the student’s first session based on information gathered from our various communication channels.
What can parents do?
As a parent, you can help by making sure that your student can easily meet with their tutor. With younger students, you may need to take on a larger role in scheduling tutoring sessions. For older students, we recommend that you at least schedule the first session. For example, you can check in with your student to make sure they know when it is and at which office it is taking place. (Hint: check your Google Calendar invite if you don’t remember!)
Fill Out and Collect Materials
At AJ, we want to ensure that we understand the goals for the student. For academic tutoring, we provide a parent goal form for you to fill out—the information lets us know if there’s anything specific we should target in sessions. For test prep tutoring, please bring any relevant previous test scores, if available. In addition, if you want to speak to the tutor in person, please do so! We encourage parents to use the beginning of the first session to let us know of any specific concerns or long-term goals.
Prep the Student
Lastly, talk to your student about their classes and goals. Does the student have any concerns or emotional needs? Are they motivated to try their best? What would they like to gain from their sessions? These conversations will be very valuable to tutors as they customize the tutoring sessions to the student’s needs.
What should students do?
As a student, there are a few things you should do before your first session. First, make sure that you have a general idea of what to expect from the first session, either by talking to your parent or your tutor. Also, plan out how you’ll get to the office (and on time!). Lastly, be prepared to answer questions about your education and academic goals. The more you have to say about your past experience, the better your tutor can figure out what you need to succeed.
Beyond what you literally bring to the session, your mind-set (your mental attitude) will affect how well your session goes! Students who come to the tutoring session with a growth mind-set rather than fixed one will end up getting more out of the experience. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that nothing they do will change anything. Someone with a growth mindset sees failure as an opportunity to get better. They know that they can improve through dedication and perseverance. Dr. Carol Dweck’s research proves that students with a growth mindset are more likely to succeed. In other words, don’t let yourself hold you back! Come to your first session willing to do your best and open to trying new things. We are all lifelong learners at AJ, and we are excited to begin working with you!
AJ Tutoring’s Checklist for First-Session Tutoring Success
- Master content knowledge through college coursework
- Receive ongoing organizational coaching and support
- Collaborate and develop relationships with other tutors/educators
- Build effective and meaningful connections with students
- Develop competency in student-centered teaching methods and strategies
- Individualize tutoring sessions to the particular needs of students
- Knowledgeable of test prep and academic tutoring processes
- Customize the tutoring schedule to make the preparation happen
- Communicate all necessary information to students and their families
- Organize transportation to and from the tutoring session
- Set personal reminders to ensure the first session is not missed
Fill Out and Collect Materials
- Prior test scores (test prep)
- Parent goal form (academic)
- Set goals for the tutoring prior to the first session
- Communicate the importance and opportunity of tutoring
- Get your student excited for the first session with their tutor!
- Tutoring: why you are coming to AJ?
- Transportation: how you are getting to AJ?
- Know your vision: think about what you want to gain from tutoring
- Adopt a growth mind-set
- Be willing to try your best
- Be open to change