How to Have a Successful First Lesson: Tips for Online Tutors

Whether you are new to the online tutoring industry, or are a seasoned veteran who loves spending their spare time teaching, there are a few things that every tutor needs to take into account when planning their first lesson. First, it is important that you not only match your teaching style and knowledge but also your language to the student you are helping and second that you make a positive impression by being patient, confident, kind and professional. Doing these two things will go a long way in securing a productive and rewarding experience both for yourself and your students.

Preparing Your First Lesson Properly

Once you have a lesson scheduled with a student, you are going to want to find out everything you can about them either from them or their parent. This means you will need to find out what subjects and topics they are struggling with, what grade level they are at and what education system they are being taught in. Once you know this, you can ensure that the relevant course materials are brought to the lesson and that you have a copy of them. This helps you go over the questions that they are struggling with and allows you to expand and apply your knowledge directly to the problem area. In addition to this, create a study plan that details the topics being covered and provide a copy to the student so that proper expectations are set.

Make sure to ask about the student’s learning style. Not every student will learn by doing, nor will every student learn by reflecting on the answers. Knowing how your student learns, increases your chances of having successful lessons. There are several online tools that can be used to determine how the student learns, so make sure to do your research.

Finally, create the right online environment. Sit in a quiet room, preferably in front of a neutral wall that does not have distractions like pictures or interesting wallpaper. Make sure that your teaching instruments are set up so that the student has a full view of them. There is nothing worse than the tutor blocking the camera to write something on a blackboard or whiteboard. In addition to this, use teaching aids like whiteboards as they help the student verify what you are saying and makes them feel like they are in class.

Once the lesson is over, assign homework that is engaging. Don’t always rely on textbook material as that gets boring really fast. Make sure to mix in other methods of learning like: surveys, internet searches, or film and book reviews.

How to Make a Positive Impression

The number one thing you can do here is to be open with the student. Introduce yourself and tell them a little bit about your background. Then ask them about their goals, their struggles and, for older students, why they are studying the subject. Make sure to be friendly, but professional and put them at ease by not being critical about the questions they ask. Remember that you are there to:

  • Facilitate learning through the use of educational aids,
  • Establish problem areas and discuss their overall goals,
  • Give clear explanations and feedback,
  • Offer praise and encouragement,
  • Cultivate independence by having them re-teach you,
  • Aim for overall improvement and long-term growth.

Finally, another way to make a positive impression is to make the lesson fun and interesting. If you are teaching a humanities program, say History or English, make sure that the information you are parting is not dull or heavy. Mix in interesting facts or funny stories about the information to pique the interest of the student.

Preparing For Future Lessons

If both you and the student is happy with how the lesson went, and you feel like the conversation flowed freely, then book follow up lessons that coincide with the study plan that you previously created.

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