Insider Secrets to the Perfect Tutoring Lesson
An experienced tutor can be flexible and take changes to their planned lesson in stride. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a dream of what we wish all lessons were like! My ideal lesson with a kiddo would go something like this:
60 minutes homework or review
05 minutes break
45-50 minutes cover new material or practice problems
05-10 minutes structured free time
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.
After the first hour, they would have a restroom or snack break for 5 minutes. Then, we would learn new material to prepare for next class, or do more practice problems to review the lesson. Ideally, these 45-50 minutes would be little more fun, either through subject-related games or through example problems that they help to write. I like this segment of our lesson to be fun because sometimes students thing that learning is boring, difficult, or “work”. I enjoy showing students that learning can actually be fun, if you’re doing it the right way.
Now For Some Fun!
The last 5-10 minutes are the best! 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:
- bonding with me through a shared hobby. This prevents them disliking me and possibly trying to find ways to get out of lessons,
- doing the fun activity in the same space we had our lesson pairs the learning opportunity with relaxation and enjoyment. For more on pairing, read my post Lesson of the Day: Pairing,
- if they have concerns on their mind, they’ll feel more comfortable talking to me during a low-pressure activity,
- 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!
This is of course not always practical. Perhaps because of the family’s schedule, my schedule, or other restraints, so check back in for a post detailing a typical tutoring lesson with me.
If you are looking to hire a tutor for your child and this lesson structure sounds like that something you might be interested in, you can reach out to me for tutoring lessons here.
With all my support,
Author: Stephanie Ortega
Stephanie is a behavior analyst and tutor with over a decade of experience in helping children. She creates planners and worksheets for the organizer within us all, maintains a blog, and runs two start-ups. She’s also a doodler and puppy and cat mom who enjoys travel and learning new things.