“Teaching is a noble profession that shapes the character, calibre, and future of an individual”. This is said by a great human being, Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam, former president of India. He himself was a teacher, scientist, and politician, and he meant every word he uttered.
It is true that teachers mould the future generation and to become a good tutor is not an easy job. The following qualities mentioned below are those that a great tutor has to possess; they are the qualities that students yearn to see in their tutors.
1: Drop The Ego
YES, this sounds harsh but let’s be practical and agree that every teacher has some ego in him or her. As much as you are a “master” in the subject you teach, it is not right to assume that you know everything. There is always something new to discover and in fact, the best part about being a tutor is that you will learn so much while teaching someone else. A tutor’s mind must be flexible enough to learn, unlearn and re-learn.
There would be times when your students would correct you on your mistake while you teach or even share something new with you which you have never heard before. Situations like these test a tutor’s ego and a tutor’s reaction to such circumstances would determine whether he or she is an average tutor or a good tutor. Instead of pulling out your defence mechanisms, as a good tutor, you have to appreciate your students for their bravery and intelligence in pointing out a mistake or sharing something new. This gesture symbolises trust and approachability and your students will never to be afraid to ask questions when they are in doubt.
2: Understand Your Students
Everyone has a different finger print; which is nature’s way of proving that everyone is unique and special. A good tutor would take the time and effort to understand their students from different angles, like how the student processes information, how good his memory is, why he does not understand something and the tutor has to think of solutions to help the student to overcome his problems.
A good tutor would realise that they have to possess the quality that water has; which is to take any shape of the container that it is poured into. This means that the tutor has to customise their teaching style to suit different students. Each and every person store information in their minds in different ways and different students would have different misconceptions while learning.
A good tutor has to convey to their students that one should fearlessly clear his or her doubts and never feel insecure about not knowing something. Tutors have to ingrain this message in their students’ hearts and minds: Asking questions is not a sign of weakness; instead it’s a sign of strength that you are willing to admit not knowing something.
Be it a tuition teacher or a school teacher, patience is a must. Different students have different paces in learning; some are slow, some average and a few are fast learners. The advantage that tuition teachers have is that with fewer students or what we call a smaller classroom strength, would have an easier job when it comes to understanding their student’s learning pace as compared to school teachers. Nonetheless, tutors, in general, do not love trying to explain a concept over and over again to a student when they do not seem to grasp it. Here, patience is important.
When a student does not understand what you teach, it is not the student’s fault and as a tutor, you have to realise that perhaps the way you explain does not allow the student to understand. A good tutor will then be patient enough to ask the student to state specifically as to what he or she does not understand, identify his student’s learning gap and they will work together to bridge that gap.
Good teachers think like kids and act like adults; they put themselves in their students’ shoes and guide them with lots of enthusiasm. Be selfless and most importantly, enjoy your job and realise its importance.