Connecting with your students

Starting off as a tutor can be quite challenging in not only the way you teach and the knowledge you have but also how you interact with the student. Throughout this article I’ll provide you with some tips with interacting with your child depending on his/her age and why you should try to be friends with your student.

Primary School Students

Interacting with primary school students in my opinion can be the most difficult age group to interact with as they are still growing and tend to be shy towards new people they meet, however don’t let this be a barrier from becoming friends with your student.

  • Emitting a positive and energetic energy from you is great to do because it’ll encourage them to follow suit by becoming excited and interactive.
  • When you meet your young student don’t go right into the work but ask him/her questions such as;
      • How was your day?
      • What did you do in school today?
      • Did anything fun or interesting happen?

    This will get the student to feel more comfortable talking to you and will answer more of the questions later in the lesson.

  • Showing interests in what they do as hobbies or what they do at school is good to build rapport with the student as it provides a common topic/interest to talk about
  • Using not necessarily monetary rewards but tangible rewards such as lollies, stickers, or chocolates can be a good encouragement for the young students as they might not have a particular goal to aim for.
    This provides them with that goal and will hence cause them to try harder to get that prize.
    Please ensure that the child isn’t allergic to anything and the parent is comfortable with it.

Secondary School Students

Older students who are in secondary school are much more easier to interact with and are more likely to open up faster as they have matured and most have an initiative or goal they want to achieve.

Most of the things I talked about in the primary school section can be utilised here as well, however the monetary award technique can vary as some older students might not be interested in stickers and etc.

  • Engage with interesting topics or stories on the topic you are working on, as it will build rapport by showing that you, the tutor, went through this as well and outline some similarities or differences that you notice in comparison.
  • Don’t talk about work the entire way through the lesson, open up with small questions to get to know them, as it lets their mind rests for a minute or so and then re-engage into the next question.
  • Once you have built rapport with your student/s you’ll notice that they will ask you questions more if they don’t understand something than before and will be more interactive within the lessons as well as not having a frown on their face as if it’s something they hate.
    Understanding how your student is feeling is critical in order to ensure they perform well on their tests and to ensure they aren’t deterred from learning.
  • P.S. All the different ways to interact with the students can be used for either primary or secondary school students however some may be more effective than the other.

If you’d like more tips, tools and teaching resources, check out TOTC Principal Tutor Pamela Buchan’s Free Teaching Resources and let us know if you have anything you think we should add!

About Luke Phoa

During his schooling years, Luke was appointed to numerous leadership roles such as House Captain and Debating Captain, also winning Musician of the Year. He volunteered as a Teachers Assistant at numerous primary schools, helping stimulate young learners interest in maths and literacy, and was the 2010 recipient of the Deakin Award for Community Service. He is currently studying Business at Swinburne University.

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