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How Can I Be A Good Tutor?

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

The responsibility of being tasked with significantly contributing to a student’s academic success is daunting. We are entrusted to provide a very high standard of tutorship, and we must make it our mission to deliver. The secret to being a brilliant tutor is recognising that it is so much more than merely facilitating our students’ academia. So what is it precisely that truly makes a good tutor?

Be a specialist in your subject

The mark of a truly excellent tutor is someone who knows exactly what they are teaching. Our tutees need to feel confident that the lessons you are providing are done so with a high level of skill. This is particularly important when it comes to preparing students for specialist exams such as the 11+ or the ISEB pre-test.

Additionally, a specialist in a subject will exude an essential quality – passion; never underestimate the importance of passion when tutoring your subject. A passionate tutor will inspire and excite their students, leading to a positive attitude and a renewed desire to succeed.

Know your tutee

It is impossible to tutor a student without knowing precisely what it is they need from you. An excellent tutor knows that every student is different in what they need to work on and how they need to work on it. You must identify exactly what the student needs to success by assessing the student regularly. Do not merely ask the student what they feel they struggle with, as often they are unable to identify it themselves. It is our job to assess the student’s work and identify their struggles using our own knowledge and expertise.

It is also of the utmost importance to establish how a student learns best. All students benefit from different ways of working; make a point to ask your tutee how they work best as well as assessing it yourself through observation. Does your student work best by colour coding their notes, or making mind maps? Does your student need to write down key facts in order to process them, or do they prefer discussing the points out loud? Many students struggle with concentrating for long periods, and thus may need a break to stand up and stretch their legs. An excellent tutor always makes a point to know the specific needs of their student.

Remember the 3 Ps

As a tutor, I live by the 3 Ps: Punctuality, patience and praise. I believe that following these principals always ensures an inspiring and productive working environment.

· Punctuality: ALWAYS be on time for your session. If an emergency arises and you may be late, let your student know. A sure sign of unprofessionalism is a tutor who arrives late to a session (and/or leaves early!) In order to earn the trust and respect of their student, an excellent tutor always needs to manage their time effectively.

· Patience: Be patient with your student. They are learning something new, which is why you are working with them in the first place. Be empathetic to their struggles. You may also find yourself in a situation in which the student’s behaviour is frustrating due to a lack of concentration – always remain patient and understanding.

· Praise: Another seemingly small quality often overlooked – be a tutor who praises often and specifically! Students need to feel they are making progress, or else there is a danger of them losing interest and motivation. Make sure you are always encouraging and positive.


These qualities distinguish an average tutor from a brilliant tutor. Becoming a brilliant tutor takes time and often requires learning these skills on the job. Make it your mission to be the best tutor you can be, and you can’t go wrong!

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