Building long-lasting relationships with your students is the best way to build a solid income from tuition, and the best way to do this is by helping students make accelerated progress. The better your students do, the more likely their parents are to continue using you as their tutor.
If students aren’t performing as you would like, do not get frustrated - it won’t help them improve, and will undermine your relationship with the pupil and their parents. Be positive, keep seeking new ways to explain tricky concepts and take a break from a subject area if the pupil is feeling frustrated themselves.
Often, however, it is difficult for parents to know whether good progress is being made or not, so plan in regular assessments which will allow you demonstrate the improvements your student is making. Even if you are teaching older or adult pupils who pay for sessions themselves, giving them the chance to use their new skills is vital in helping them to build their confidence.
Good communication is crucial to maintaining strong relationships, whatever field you work in, and it's important you set expectations with your clients (families and students) through clear communication as soon as you start working together. Make sure they know exactly what is going to be delivered and when, and how you expect things to progress over the course of your time together.
This is no different to the normal business world, though it's important to do so in the right tone which might differ from a traditional office environment. You want to keep things professional, though there is room for a bit more informality to enable you to build a closer relationship with your clients.
If you can do this it will build empathy between you and increase the likelihood of clients wanting a longer relationship with you. It will also increase the chances of them taking your thoughts and circumstances into account when making decisions on holidays and other commitments which can all impact you from an earnings perspective."
Tom McLoughin, Director, seotravel.co.uk
Your students will quickly feel bored if each lesson feels the same, and bored students are unlikely to continue with lessons for very long. Mix up the feel by changing the style of your teaching. This may be in the resources you use: introduce videos, books and websites, which will liven up your lessons. Introduce practical tasks to lessons and, with parents consent, change the location by going outside into the garden if possible. Anything to excite and engage the learners.
Make sure that you are empathetic to your pupils’ and their family’s other commitments. If you are to have long-term lessons, you will have to pause for holidays, birthdays, appointments and illness. Be understanding. Parents love tutors who can be flexible to fit in with their busy family lives. Obviously, if this is damaging your earnings, then you will have a decision to make, but for the sake of regular sessions, it is always worth being flexible where possible.
Whilst it is fair to expect families to be equally understanding about your own commitments, make sure that you give them plenty of notice about sessions you may miss, and try to minimise these wherever possible.
Maintain a good relationship with parents by offering regular feedback at the end of lessons, as well as leaving home learning between sessions. Make sure that the home learning is actioned, so learners feel that it is valued.
Communicating proactively with parents is critical for maintaining long-term tutoring relationships, especially for school-age children.
It often happens that parents are not aware of the effort put in by the tutor and rely mainly on the student's school performance reports to decide whether to continue with a particular tutor. Tutors need to remember that, for school-going children, while students are the recipients of their service, the customer is actually the parent."
Anindya Kar, Founder, MyPrivateTutor
If you follow these tips, you will generally find that you build great relationships with students and their families.
Scott Woodley, Co-founder of Tutorful.
Scott is a fully qualified primary school teacher who left teaching to set up Tutorful, a site which helps parents and learners find the right tutor for them.
If you are looking to become a tutor, you can easily create a profile with Tutorful. You can set your own price, offer online or face-to-face tuition and begin building your rewarding career in no time.