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What Are The Qualities Of A Good Tutor?

When you think about a tutor, what comes to mind? Of course, the first thing that comes to mind for many people is someone who can help them with their schoolwork. And while this is certainly one of the main roles of a tutor, other qualities make up a good tutor. If you're looking for a tutor, it's important to know what these qualities are so you can find the right person for you. So what makes a good tutor? Keep reading to find out!

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The Characteristics Of An Effective Tutor

Tuition services in Kent are fast-growing and are often a much-needed addition to a child's education.

In most cases, a private tutor is hired to give students any extra support that they may require, and to achieve this; they must:

  • Communicate clearly and appropriately with parents and students on all manners of topics
  • Work alongside the students, building a rapport.
  • Push for needed progression academically.
  • Provide the students and parents with relevant information that is sometimes hard to attain from your child
  • Provide all of the students with an opportunity to ask questions no matter the depth
  • Help to develop their study skills and techniques.
  • Provide exam tips where necessary
  • Build up their confidence both academically and socially

Frequently Asked Questions

Example answer:

"I think there are a lot of qualities that go into being a good tutor. A few of the most important skills for the field are patience and communication. I believe that these two areas are points of strength in my tutoring habits, but I also work to improve them constantly.

A good tutor is: patient, self-confident, resourceful, persistent, professional, internet-savvy, enthusiastic, results-oriented, adaptable, and compassionate. Let's look at each of these and how they play a part in moulding a good online tutor.

"I am a positive person who has an enthusiastic outlook on life. I love my job, and I get a great sense of achievement from seeing my students develop and grow as individuals. If I can positively impact their future, I feel I am doing my job well.

The primary responsibilities are to support students (tutees) to become more independent learners, persist in college, and reach their goals. Tutors meet with students to clarify and review concepts taught in class, explain processes and help students solve specific problems.

Get in touch with the young parents in your neighbourhood. They'll most likely trust a known person more than anyone when hiring a tutor. Tell people you know about your subject skills. Introduce yourself in social settings subtly but do drop in a hint about your tutoring skills every time.

The Qualities That Every Great Tutor Has In Spades

Educators, in general, are some of the most selfless people we know. They work hard to better others, and for that, we think they all deserve our appreciation. But, like in any profession, certain qualities make tutors more successful, and if tutors are successful, that means their students are, too. So here are six standout characteristics that we think separate the good tutors from the truly great.

They're In It For The Right Reasons.

Most educators don't get into the field because they're chasing wealth, but it's important to know what does motivate a tutor. Are they just trying to make some easy cash on the side? Are they looking at tutoring as a resume-builder? Of course, those are valid reasons to pick up tutoring. Still, because students benefit so much from working with the same tutor over an extended period, the most impactful tutors are the ones who are focused on tutoring as their career—not as a stepping stone to something else. These tutors will be dedicated to and motivated by student progress and invested in their success for the long haul.

They Listen

Good tutors don't take problems at face value. They know that sometimes academic struggles are symptoms and look to understand the root causes. Rather than just focusing on surface-level difficulties, they truly seek to understand a student's needs, listen to what they say—and pay attention to what they don't. Suppose a student suffers in a particular subject because they're anxious about participating in class, for example. In that case, a tutor can go beyond subject-specific lessons and help students build the skills and confidence they need to succeed long term. Active listening is a critical skill for impactful tutoring.

They Take The Initiative.

Truly great tutors don't rest on their laurels. Even if they've been tutoring for a long time, and even if they've had great success with students in the past, they are proactive about learning how to be better. That can mean taking action to get a particular student to the next level—reaching out to teachers or administrators of family members who might have insights that can help a student overcome a hurdle, for example—or seeking out personal and professional development opportunities to research, learn about, and try new teaching methods and tools.

They're Dedicated To Their Students.

The data on tutoring is clear—student outcomes are directly tied to the quality and longevity of their relationship with a tutor. So much of learning is based on relationships, from communication styles to understanding a student's background and their academic, social, and emotional growth that can only come with time. Great tutors are dedicated to their students and in it for the long haul. They commit to clients for more than just a season and are deeply invested in the success of their students.

They Tell The Truth

Honesty is the best policy in life and tutoring. Educators can feel like they are expected to know everything, but acknowledging a gap in understanding is critical for building trust and providing students with the support they need. It's okay for tutors to go back to the drawing board and do some research if they don't have expertise in a given area or aren't sure about the best way to approach a particular need. It's even okay to refer a client to someone more qualified in a given area. Part of being committed to what's best for students is recognising limitations and being honest about what can and can't be done by one person. Making really understanding—not just appearing to understand—the goal is a hallmark of a good tutor.

They Educate The Whole Person.

While a student may come to a tutor with a need in a specific subject, excellent tutors help them build and hone a much broader toolkit. Along with subject-specific lessons, good tutors help students develop other skills. For example, they work on time management, organisation, and preparing for class. It sets students up for success in more than just one class—it means they're better able to take on the rigours of all their classes and life in general.

In short, what sets great tutors apart is their commitment to being the best educator they can be for their students—truly understanding their needs, equipping them for achievement across the board, sticking with them over time, and going the extra mile in terms of their professional development. Ultimately, the measure of a tutor's success is the success of their students, and these qualities help them rise above the rest.


While experience is what they say brings patience, we say it's more of a virtue developed by choice. If you choose to become a tutor, learning to be patient is the first baby step you must take. You will likely meet many students in your tutoring career's journey. 

Each would come from a different background. Each will have different areas of weakness and strength. All of them will have very different expectations from their tutor.

Now, the catch is that some children need more patience than others. In addition, some might need patience levels that may put you through the toughest tests as well.

The best way to sail here is to know what section of children you generally gel well with – the junior or senior grades? But, then, keeping your audience in that one uniform segment can help maintain patience as well.

Flexibility, Dynamism & Openness To Changing

Tutoring is one profession that calls for continuous re-inventing. By re-inventing, we do not only imply knowledge up-gradation. An effective tutor perpetually adjusts to the needs of their pupils. These needs can range from academic rigour to emotional needs. A tutor is effective only when they can adapt quickly and change their pedagogy, communication style, etc.

Be prepared to be flexible on the following key fronts:

  • Timetables – you may need to re-adjust your work hours depending on a new after school project or a hobby class chosen by your student. Greater flexibility concerning the scheduling of classes will ensure you long students who generally perform better than those who have been with you for a shorter span.
  • Teaching style: If giving out blackboard lessons isn't enough, you may need printed notes or cheat sheets! If students ask for more example-based teaching, you may need to work up examples before taking a class. Be prepared to customise your teaching style to the needs of your students.
  • Performance measurement – if subjective tests are more your style, you may be tempted to stick to only one every month. But introducing a quick 5 question objective test after each class can help you achieve better results with some students. Be open to changing the yardstick of performance measurement from time to time.

Emotional IQ

It is easy to create and adhere to fixed teaching patterns. However, while discipline is discipline when you don't get emotionally involved with your students, this approach may not work.

For example, if you feel your student needs emotional support, be open to hearing them out. On the other hand, it would be best to ignore a student who looks distressed and waits for things to settle down on their own. Often an empathetic statement like – 'dear, would you want a day or two off from classes? You're bright, and we can cover it up; once you're sorted, my child,' can make a whole lot of difference.

Look out for these key signs to be more emotionally intelligent with your students:

  • Does a bright student appear unusually lost?
  • Does a student seem occupied with the phone more than ever?
  • Is a student making more silly mistakes than ever?
  • Is a talkative student suddenly more reticent than ever?

These are often the red flags that you must never ignore. But, again, your emotional IQ will help you deal with your students' different moods and situations.

Good Communication Skills And The Ability To Make Students Visualise

An effective tutor can convey subject expertise in a lucid, understandable form to the students. Good communication includes speech, clarity, appreciation, gestures, etc.

Good communication includes:

  • Use of ample examples
  • Being a patient listener
  • Speaking clearly and audibly if addressing a larger batch
  • Using optimal gestures and facial expressions while explaining
  • Being meticulous about the correct pronunciation
  • Not using heavy accents

Also, an effective tutor can help their students visualise problems. There will be many tutors who could ace the 3D geometry concepts. But, how many of those tutors can help a student visualise the three planes? It is where differentiation occurs, and tutors have the opportunity to build a long term reputation in pedagogy.

Some Things You Can Use To Help Students Visualise Problems And Concepts Better Are:

  • Interactive physical teaching techniques like the use of models, building blocks
  • Computer graphics, animations for science concepts
  • Coloured chalks and markers to bring more clarity to diagrams
  • Every day articles create simple, functional models (for example, using two straws and a tumbler to demonstrate the syphoning effect quickly!)
  • Illustrative posters, maps, globes, informative charts, etc. with precise drawings


Declared a test date and failed to produce a question paper in time? Or, promised to show up at seven in the morning but reached at half-past seven?

Missing deadlines, promised notes, extra classes, or timelines is almost antithetical to being an effective tutor.

A good maths tutor, for example, can't take it easy on a lesson plan, for every theorem derives from the previous one. Lack of planning and discipline can significantly hamper your effectiveness as a tutor. It is often good to address these issues right in the beginning. Plan your day, month and a quarter, if possible, in advance. Stick to your lesson plans, meet the deadlines and always be punctual.

Adaptability (Flexibility, Adjustability, Versatility)

With individual tutoring, you must adapt yourself to every case. Since there is no predetermined formula, the tutor's approach must depend on the student's needs and the particular difficulties they experience. Throughout the sessions, the tutor will have to re-evaluate the student's objectives as they progress. Therefore, it is important not to be afraid of creating a new action plan to better adapt to each new situation.

Energy (Motivation, Enthusiasm, Interpersonal Skills)

To establish a good relationship, the tutor must be an energetic person, enthusiastic about human interactions. This interest will positively impact a child discouraged by the school and their bad grades. Furthermore, through their good mood and motivation, the tutor will be a model for success, inciting the child to imply themself more and do better at school.

Openness (Accessibility, Availability, Involvement, Empathy)

Listening to the child's needs and demonstrating openness will help better understand a student's situation. Inquiring about the context (an academic situation, the environment at school, at home, etc.) allows the adoption of a more appropriate follow-up and the better use of work methods. The tutor's involvement and presence offer support for a student in trouble and make the student feel valued. The tutor's openness must demonstrate their accessibility and involvement. A good tutor must be curious about and interested in the student they are helping.

Humility (Respect, Discernment, Acceptance)

Even though we think we have most of the subject matter on the tips of our fingers, some concepts may escape us. It's normal, we can't know everything, and we must recognise this. It is, in fact, preferable to tell the student that we don't know the answer rather than guess it. In other situations, where the personalities don't mix or when the sessions are not producing the desired effect, it is important to take a step back and admit that we may not be the right person to help this student.

Frequently Communicate With The Parents.

We feel that tutoring is not just about attending individual lessons but of expressing all of the findings and discoveries along the way thoroughly with the parents. It is crucial to a student's development that a tutor communicates clearly with the parents to ensure that their child's targets are met. Parents can offer a useful insight into their child's character that a tutor may not reach; this may include learning styles that they know benefit their child. The overall goal is to ensure that the tutor can better understand each individual's requirements.

We also understand that a good tutor will offer feedback after every lesson so that each student has a parent who can keep track of their child's progression towards the defined target. It only has to be a small chat once a lesson has ended or even a text/email detailing what their child has learnt from each particular lesson. This feedback is vital for parents to encourage their children to learn and progress until their next tutoring session.

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A good tutor can empathise with their students, has a wealth of knowledge in the subject they are tutoring, and is patient. They also need to adapt to different learning styles and be comfortable working with students of all ages. If you're looking for a tutor for yourself or your child, make sure to ask about these qualities so you can be sure you're getting the best possible education.

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