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Hey everyone!

 

I'm about to start tutoring maths and physics and I was wondering whether any of you are a tutor, have been a tutor or have been tutored by someone? Honestly, I don't have any experience tutoring, yet, so I wanted to see if anyone had any tips or wisdom they would be happy to pass on. Or if you have been tutored, if there was anything your tutor did that you particularly liked.

 

Thanks

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I've done a bit of tutoring for IB maths and physics, though not that much. I'm honestly not sure if I have any particularly insightful wisdom, but I think that the most important thing to keep in mind is to understand what the student is hoping to get out of being tutored, and to give them the help that they want and need. For instance, whilst one maths student might have missed/not listened to some classes and hence wants someone to basically teach the relevant syllabus points and textbook chapters to them, another might already completely understand the material and just want help with some tough past paper questions. A physics student might want help with IAs, understanding or making notes for the syllabus and/or questions. Although it's definitely true that some people might not actually know what they want out of tutoring (or even worse, have been reluctantly forced into it by parents), usually by looking through/hearing their current understanding of different concepts and problems, you can figure out some of their issues, and hopefully convince them that what you're teaching is useful to them. Whilst it's fine to admit you're not sure about some thing, overall you want to exude confidence (even if you don't feel it). :)

 

In terms of more practical tips: firstly, responding promptly to any questions whether by text/email is pretty important, as with any other job. Having said that, however, it's also important to set boundaries on how much time/help/resources you are able to provide with what notice (and whether you would charge extra for that), and to clearly communicate that. Also, requesting people not to cancel at the last-minute and to send you any difficult (especially maths and physics) problems beforehand is a great thing, though I'm yet to find mechanisms to ensure that happens! It's surprisingly difficult to be able to spontaneously solve and explain the answer to some extended-response maths question. Finally, if there have been any syllabus changes (e.g. new Maths IA post-2014 for SL/HL) or if you're tutoring non-IB, keep that in mind and mention that what you know may be different to what they need to know.

 

Hope that is in some way useful! Feel free to post or PM any more specific questions. :)

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Hey everyone!

 

I'm about to start tutoring maths and physics and I was wondering whether any of you are a tutor, have been a tutor or have been tutored by someone? Honestly, I don't have any experience tutoring, yet, so I wanted to see if anyone had any tips or wisdom they would be happy to pass on. Or if you have been tutored, if there was anything your tutor did that you particularly liked.

 

Thanks

 

Hello! 

 

I tutored students for IB Maths HL/SL, A level Maths and A level Further maths (Non mechanics/Decision modules). I mostly worked with the students who had slacked off, were generally weaker at maths or just difficult in general. So keep that in mind when reading, but I think it should apply to most students anyway :D

 

1) Know your stuff. I wrote a post before my IB Math exams, telling people to make sure they get all the marks, skip the last parts of the question in favour of getting all the easy marks, etc. However when you're a tutor, you really need to know everything, so that you can develop a certain credibility with your students. There is nothing worse than a tutor who doesn't know some of the content, or can't solve a question. 

 

2) Always be early/never reschedule. The tutor should be more responsible than the student. Be punctual, show up neatly dressed, with all the required material. Also, keep rescheduling to a bare minimum (i.e. never), because it implicitly gives the student permission to reschedule too. I guarantee this will become a pain in the ass when you've got many students, and they're all trying to reschedule. 

 

3) Adapt to the learning style of the student. For example, I had a slacker who was actually very fast at picking up concepts. However, he was too lazy to do the required practice, and would forget the content quickly. So I'd spend just half the lesson teaching him, and use the other half to throw the most difficult possible questions at him. Yes, its not ideal (the student should be doing all questions, not just the hard ones), but at least this way he could focus and do the questions that didn't seem to so easily be solved. I crafted my own questions using outlandish items (eg two squirrels using jet packs go off in different directions, on a certain direction vector. Squirrels can throw acorns across a magnitude of 34 units. At what possible angles could the squirrels have flown off in? Assuming the squirrels are as far apart as possible while still being able to throw the acorns to each other?)

 

Questions like that really stretch and cause the student to apply extreme focus, due to the imaginary nature of it. For example, I'm very happy to say that after about 15 mins figuring out the loci of possible direction vectors, the student realised that if something is thrown, it goes in a curve as opposed to a straight line, hence the diagram would look more like a sector than a triangle! It's things like this that causes them to look for little clues within the questions. 

 

4) Really care about your students. I don't know if you are doing this for free or you're getting paid, but either way you have to genuinely care how they do. So you really do have to choose your students carefully. All my guys were lagging behind, but they wanted to make a change. I honestly can't care about someone who doesn't want to help themselves, and frankly, it'll just bring my effort levels down. So make sure you get students who you really want to help. Text them at night, asking if they've done their work. Give them access to you via phone or email 24/7. Update their parents once every 2 weeks or so, etc.... 

 

I'm sure there are more, but they're not entering my brain right now :D 

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