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Insider Secrets to the Perfect Tutoring Lesson

An experienced tutor can be flexible and take it in stride if there are sudden changes to their planned lesson. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a dream of what we wish all lessons were like! Of course, now that I’m also offering 1:1 virtual homeschooling and homeschool pod support, the schedules for those lessons are quite a bit different since the daily lessons are longer, but when it comes to typical tutoring, my perfect tutoring lesson with a student would have 5 distinct parts.

 

My perfect tutoring lesson would look a little something like this:

60 minutes homework or review
05 minutes of break
40-45 minutes cover new material or practice problems
05-10 minutes structured free time
05 minutes of debrief with the parents

Part 1: Get the Tough Stuff Out of the Way First

Ideally, all the materials for the day would already be laid out on the table ready for our lesson by the time I arrive. This can save quite a bit of our time being spent searching for pencils, pens, paper, rulers, and anything else we might need. Once I arrive, there are two options: we can work on homework or review old material. I consider alleviating parent stress a big part of my job and to that end, if you’d rather we complete homework during lesson, I would be more than happy to oblige.

Some parents, however, prefer that our time be spent reinforcing the child’s lacking foundations rather than completing homework. To that end, the first hour will be spent either completing homework or projects, or reviewing a lesson that is still giving them some trouble. Starting the lesson off with these tasks gets students in the habit of tackling difficult tasks first. This leaves them feeling accomplished, confident, and knowledgeable about the topic by the end of the hour.

Part 2

After the first hour, they would have a restroom or snack break for 5 minutes. Incorporating breaks into their homework and study time works wonders for their focus as well as their ability to continue retaining information.

Part 3

Then, we would learn new material to prepare for the next class, or do more practice problems to review the lesson. Ideally, these 40-45 minutes would be a little more fun, either through subject-related games or through example problems that they help to write. I like to bring in technology in this part of the lesson too, so for example, for my Spanish students, I’ll pull up their Duolingo accounts and we can compare progress on our language learning.

As an educator and lifelong learner, it is important to me to show students that learning should not be limited to school, or to children. I also like this segment of our lesson to be fun because sometimes students think that learning is boring, difficult, or “work”. It is a priority to me to show students that learning can actually be fun if you’re doing it the right way.

Perfect Tutoring Lesson Part 4: Now For Some Fun!

Yay part 4! Structured free time! The next 5-10 minutes are the best! In my ideal and perfect tutoring lesson, the student would get to chit chat with me about whatever they like, or do a fun activity with me that they enjoy doing. This is why it’s very helpful if the tutor you hire has interests they share with your kiddo. I have one student that loves drawing so we sometimes end the lesson by taking a few minutes to doodle, or checking out her new art materials. There are great benefits to wrapping up the lesson with a fun activity, including:

  1. bonding with me through a shared hobby. This prevents them disliking me and possibly trying to find ways to get out of lessons,
  2. doing the fun activity in the same space we had our lesson pairs the learning opportunity with the sense of relaxation and enjoyment they get from their preferred activity.
  3. if they have concerns on their mind, they’ll feel more comfortable talking to me during a low-pressure activity,
  4. they get to see that you can be smart and good in school while also having fun hobbies. Nerdy doesn’t have to be boring!

Perfect Tutoring Lesson Part 5

And to wrap up the day, the fifth part of my perfect tutoring lesson, is to have some time away from the child to debrief with their parents. Some children react very poorly to being spoken about (and I mean, who wouldn’t?!) So I would request to speak to the parent in private to discuss their strengths as well as their weakness and what I would need from the child and parent moving forward for the child’s success. Sometimes its as simple as continuing on the path we’re on.

Other times, I recommend increasing or decreasing our hours, and lately with homeschooling and virtual schooling on the rise, I have been strongly recommending that the parent join my membership program, since it will help them be better educational support for their child. In the membership, we cover topics such as study skills, time management, increasing their focus and motivation, and tons more, so its honestly a great supplement and a no-brainer for parents that are serious about helping their children develop higher-level learning skills.

TL;DR

So there you have it. The 5 parts to my perfect tutoring lesson.

60 minutes homework or review
05 minutes of break
40-45 minutes cover new material or practice problems
05-10 minutes structured free time
05 minutes of debrief with the parents

This is of course not always practical. But hopefully, it gets you thinking about what a low-stress high-results tutoring lesson might look like.

If you are looking to hire a tutor for your child and my perfect tutoring lesson structure sounds like that something you might be interested in, you can reach out to me for a free consultation here.

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