When a new student is assigned to you for tutoring, it can be a very exciting experience going for the first lesson. However, it must be recognised, that they’re expecting a professional tutor who will be able to help the student. It is a good idea to keep in mind the importance of:
1. Being on time
Someone you are meeting for the first time is not interested in your “good excuse” for running late. Plan to arrive a few minutes early. And allow flexibility for possible delays in traffic or taking a wrong turn. Arriving early is much better that arriving late, hands down, and is the first step in creating a great first impression.
2. Physical appearance
The way you present yourself does matter. The client and student you’re meeting for the first time do not know you and your appearance is the first clue about who you are. It doesn’t mean you need to dress in corporate attire, but it does means that it isn’t a good idea to arrive in a singlet, boardies and thongs for the first lesson. While you are free to wear what you like to tutoring, your dress on the first lesson can create an impression of your ability to be skilled tutor.
3. Be yourself, and be confident
This can sound cliché, however if you are feeling uncomfortable and nervous, this can make the client and the student feel ill at ease as well. This would make them feel as though you have very little experience and that you’re not likely to be a good tutor. It’s important to be confident when arriving and showing professionalism by introducing yourself and shaking hands with the client.
4. Introductions with client and student
After you have arrived, it is important to speak to the client about the student and remember that small talk does go a long way. It will help the client to understand that you’re interested in making a difference to the student’s studies. Try to be positive and courteous and attentive when you hear about the student’s situation. Mention how you can make a difference and help the student. Confirm that the lines of communication are open should the client have any questions or issues, they’re also welcome to contact the head office directly as well.
5. Build rapport with the student
When you sit down with the student, it’s a good idea to introduce yourself and mention a little bit about your background. It’s good to spend the first 5-10 minutes just finding out more about the student, eg their academic goals, school etc. This will help the student to feel more at ease and enjoy the lesson more by knowing that you are there to really help them! Ask about the student’s problem and how they are going in other areas of school. It’s always good to know about what the student likes to do outside school so you can relate to interesting things they like in lessons.
6. Concluding the lesson with professionalism
If the client is still there at the conclusion of the first lesson, let them know how everything went. Explain to them you have developed some goals and a structure in order to complete these. Confirm a day and time for the next lesson and then say goodbye to both the client and the student. Leaving with a smile and showing you care can go a long way to leaving a strong and positive first impression.