News & Insights 28 March 2022

Nervous about your first tutoring session? These tips will help!

Volunteers are the engine of everything we do. In 2020–21, 2,749 volunteers provided nearly 32,000 hours of tutoring to pupils across England. Without you, our mission of tackling educational inequality would not be achievable!

tutoring tips volunteer as a tutor

That’s why we want to make sure all our volunteers feel supported and receive the information and guidance they need in order to deliver high-quality tuition to children who need it. 

We understand that not everyone has the experience or the confidence to interact effectively with young people, but we are here to make the tutor journey as smooth as possible for our volunteers. It is important for us to ensure that our tutors have a clear idea of their volunteer role, responsibilities and commitment.

Read more: Curious about the tutor journey? Here are the steps to becoming a tutor.

Lack of tutoring experience should not hold you back from volunteering. The qualities tutors need are empathy, patience and being understanding. In case you are feeling nervous about your first tutoring experience, the tips below will help better prepare you for your first interaction with your pupils.

The first tutoring session is an opportunity for volunteers to create a safe learning environment for our pupils and make them feel heard and understood.  This way, pupils will feel more comfortable and confident, and will engage more during the sessions. 

As a volunteer tutor, you can have a significant impact on a child’s attitude towards the subject you’re tutoring and their learning outcomes.

Introduce yourself

It’s essential to begin the session by greeting and welcoming pupils with a smile. Introduce yourself, then kindly ask your pupils to do the same. It’ll help make everyone feel more comfortable, and set the tone for the rest of the session.

At this stage, you can also take some time to get to know them better, so why not include some warm up activities to find out more about them and their interests?

Familiarise yourself with the content before the session

Our volunteers don’t need to prepare their own activities and resources for learning. Our team has ensured that our tutors are provided with all the training materials and workbooks they need in order to provide personalised and targeted tuition to our pupils.

If you want to increase your own confidence around the  curriculum, we advise you to familiarise yourself with the content before the first lesson. This way, you’re better prepared to answer questions and structure the session.

Ask open-ended questions

Open-ended questions have the power to challenge pupils and motivate them to think critically. This way, they are not passively obtaining new knowledge, but process it in an effective way and provide a range of responses.

Remember to be attentive, show an authentic interest in what they say and reply with kindness.

Pay attention to non-verbal communication

Keep in mind that body language, posture, gestures and the general attitude play an important role in establishing a good relationship with pupils. This can make you appear more approachable and help you connect with your pupils more.

End on a positive note

At the end, make sure you summarise the session and praise them for their attendance, participation and engagement. Remember that praise is an important part of tutoring and can motivate pupils to do better.

Remind them that they are one step closer to their learning goals, and this will leave pupils feeling inspired and excited for the next session.

Lastly, have patience with yourself and your pupils too,  so everyone can take their time to feel comfortable and build a stronger relationship.

Online tutoring  – how does it work? 

The same tips apply for virtual learning. Online  tutors need to pay slightly more attention to reading body language or facial expressions, as they’re not physically in the classroom.

tutoring tips

Online learning can be engaging, interactive and fun. We use the Vedamo virtual classroom, which is a safe digital platform,  to deliver online tuition. It gives us the possibility to host live tutoring sessions, regardless of the location, create captivating learning experiences and easily manage the tutoring sessions and content. 

Once our volunteer tutors have completed their initial tutor training, they will be given access to Looop, which is our online tutor resources library. Here you can access the compulsory training for online tutors, our tutoring resources and optional training courses designed to develop or sharpen your skills as a tutor.

If you are tutoring online, it’s important to ensure that you are in a suitable working environment with limited or no distractions. It would be best to run a browser test before your first session begins, so you can check that your network connection, webcam and microphone are working.

We are always here to support you 

Most importantly, our volunteer tutors will have an assigned Programme Coordinator for each volunteering programme they are a part of. When you become a tutor with us, our amazing Programme Coordinators will always be on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly in our online and in-person programmes, and give you the support you need.  

They do so by keeping in touch with you while you’re tutoring to resolve any issues, provide updates and thank you for your support. 

Are you curious to see who they are? Here’s our incredible Programme team! 

At Action Tutoring we believe that the right tools and a supportive environment have the potential to not only help pupils progress academically, but serve as a learning experience for tutors as well. 

This is an opportunity to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Being nervous before your first tutoring experience is completely normal; don’t let it hold you back from experiencing the joy of giving back to your community and expanding your skills!

If you have the qualifications and want to tutor in English or maths, we would love to hear from you! We welcome all individuals from different backgrounds to join our volunteer team and make a difference.