Behind many successful students is a nurturing tutor. Mentorship is a huge responsibility and not everyone can do it well. It takes a large amount of compassion, generosity, and commitment to be genuinely invested in someone else’s growth and help them make progress in the right direction.
After all, when you are just finding your feet in school, university or kickstarting your career, it helps to have a guiding light – someone who challenges you, advises you and helps you chalk out your path to success.
Apart from knowledge, there are several other personality traits that are crucial for being a great tutor. If you're on the lookout for a great tutor, here are 6 traits you should definitely look for:
In a nutshell, tutoring is all about sharing knowledge, insights and experiences, isn’t it? An excellent tutor is one who proactively shares his wealth of knowledge and skills with you. They are able to identify gaps in your skill set and don’t shy away from sharing their wisdom and learnings in order to push you to do better.
You wouldn’t want a tutor who is uptight and arrogant. They might be extremely well-read and experienced but none of that matters if they aren’t willing to share it with you for your own good.
There is a lot of power and responsibility that lies on the shoulders of a tutor. A cynical mentor will give rise to an under-confident and anxious tutee. Similarly, encouraging tutors will leave a positive impact on their tutee. Hence, your success is largely dependent on the attitude and approach of your mentor.
Having a positive attitude does not comprise of mollycoddling and ignoring pitfalls. In fact, a positive tutor will ensure you don’t lose hope and will support you through the ups and downs you face in your journey. Sometimes when it’s difficult to look at the bright side, having a positive mentor by your side, who can help you bounce back does wonders to your motivation.
Anyone who has a one-sided approach to mentoring is doing it wrong. Tutoring is a mutual relationship, with listening being a very important aspect. Listening comes from a place of sincere interest and commitment. When someone is actively listening, they are engaged and invested in the conversation. It reflects in their body language and the way they respond to you. So, ensure you choose a mentor who actively listens to what you have to say rather than one who merely hears you out.
There can never be love and respect where there is fear and intimidation. You need to be able to share a good rapport with your tutor and not be afraid to ask questions in order to make the most of this mentoring relationship. Approachability stems from the fact that your tutor takes tutoring seriously.
If you constantly find yourself running behind your tutor asking for their time or are made to feel like a burden – it’s time to look for a new tutor.
Constructive feedback is one that helps the person grow and do better next time. While sugar coated feedback never helps, it’s also important to not be discouraging and vague while imparting feedback.
Giving feedback is a skill – your tutor needs to point out areas of improvement, substantiate with examples and also help you find a solution. At the same time, you should never take feedback personally because a tutor with good intentions is always on your side. Without constructive feedback, there can never be progress.
An effective tutor-student relationship is one wherein both the parties are honest and transparent with each other. Find someone who you can wholly trust and count on. When there is a sense of trust and confidentiality, you will be able to have more honest conversations which help lay the foundation of a successful tutoring relationship.