10 Golden Rules for Being a Good Tutor

Whether you are a new or returning SSS tutor, these 10  strategies will make tutoring a productive and rewarding experience for you and your student(s).


Be honest. This helps to establish rapport and trust, the two most critical elements to a successful tutoring relationship.

Be flexible.
This means being willing to adjust techniques and approaches to meet the learning styles of the student.

Be patient. What is obvious or easy for you may not be so for your student.  Learn not to show annoyance in your speech or body language.

Be a good listener.
Learn to pick up clues in your student’s speech that enable you to understand how he is really feeling.  A good listener does not dominate the conversation!

Be professional.
Except for discussing your student with SSS staff and/or faculty, information about the student must be kept confidential.

Be willing to share your own experiences.
By sharing information about what you have encountered, the student  may feel relieved that he is not alone.  Sharing experiences and lessons learned goes a long way toward building trust and support.  It also helps the student build self-confidence.

Be a collaborator. The tutor-student relationship should be viewed as a partnership.  You are not there to take the place of the instructor.  Let the student know you are there to work with her to supplement classroom and individual study.

Teach the student how to learn. As a tutor your ultimate goal is to help the student become an independent learner.

Be confident. You were chosen for qualities that enable you to be a good tutor and role model.  However, having confidence also means having the courage to admit you don’t know an answer.  Be honest with your student; tell her you’ll need to do your homework– and then follow through.  She may actually feel better knowing you’re not perfect (and it is a great opportunity to teach learning skills).

Use available resources. The SSS staff is here to help.  Let us know if there are problems with the tutoring relationship or problems affecting your student’s performance.