by Ashley Ring
I have a bachelors degree in English and I am currently working on my masters degree. I am a private school teacher, and...

How to Make your First Tutoring Session Fun and Natural


Before you start your first session with a brand-new student, you want to make sure that you have a little insight on your kiddo. It is important to know their age, name, interests like soccer perhaps, and have an idea of what they are struggling with. This will help you to plan your lesson and give you some ideas on how to break the ice on the first session.

Another tip to help ease any anxiety, is to make sure that you over plan. You don’t know how quickly or slowly your student works. You can only gauge how long you think each activity may take. So just in case, make sure you have extra work and aren’t left with nothing to do for the last 20 minutes. Always over plan! In addition to planning your instruction, you will want to make sure you leave time for chatting at the beginning of the session and getting to know your student a little better.


Make Room for Fun

Face it, not all younger kids are happy about “doing more work” after school. You have to come in with an edge. Something that I believe in is a reward system. I promise you, it doesn’t matter your student’s age, every kid, big or small, loves earning a prize. This helps to get your student engaged in the lessons, and will also gain confidence when he’s getting praise for doing well on his work or what have you. Some kids like to have a grid where they can add a sticker at the end of the lesson or after an accomplishment, this really gets them excited. I tend to create a little prize bag with a mix of Dollar Tree prizes. You would be surprised how many cool nick-knacks you could find for a dollar. One of my student’s favorite is the Slime Flarp.

Moreover, make sure to break up the activities you choose to do. Maybe in the beginning you have a longer writing activity, which means you can follow that up with a brain teaser activity or a word search.

Just as you would in the classroom give your student a bit of independent work both fun and academic. You can also add in a fun stretch break or some jumping jacks if your kiddo is sleepy that day. You have plenty of options in this department so make it your own.


2 Subjects in a Session?

Teaching two subjects in one session, I’ve got you covered. I usually run my session with English in the first half and end with math. For math I try to be prepared for each lesson with something hands on that show another way of learning a concept. For instance, if you are teaching place value you can play a game with dice. For my elementary students I like to keep our lessons fun by incorporating an upcoming holiday. Our October lesson plans were full of monster solving word problems, and finding frightening adjectives. My student also loves soccer so when he’s having a rough day, or we need to break the ice we talk about soccer and do soccer styled math problems.

If you don’t mind letting your student take the lead, you can also ask your student which subject they want to get through first. Giving choices is a great idea. When students feel like they are in charge, or have a say, they are more willing to do the work and give you their undivided attention. At the end of the session you can debrief with the parents about how the session went. Piece of cake!

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