What to Expect From Tutoring Sessions

Ever wonder what happens during tutoring sessions? If you’ve never hired a tutor, you may not know what tutors can do to help. This article will take some of the fear out of the tutor hiring process by helping you understand what you should and should not expect from tutoring sessions.

What Tutors Can Do.

In a previous article, I listed several basic things tutors should do (see my article titled “Are you getting your money’s worth from tutoring?” from November 5, 2012). Some examples are gather student’s academic background information and have a long – term plan with goals for their students. But, what services can tutors provide? How much is “too much to ask”?

The short answer is that tutors can help students, professionals, and military candidates learn knowledge and skills they do not have. However, this definition includes many possibilities. Will tutors help my child with their homework? Will they also teach or re-teach material they should have learned in earlier grades? These are all typical, valid questions about tutoring. Let’s look at both of these questions.

1. Can tutors help my child with their homework? It’s perfectly acceptable to ask tutors to help students with homework. Perceptive tutors will understand that there are several possible reasons you are asking for this type of help. For instance, tutors may believe you’re asking because the student is struggling in several classes and homework frustrates them. They may also take it as a sign that the student doesn’t like school and needs a tutor to liven things up and make homework interesting. Or, maybe the tutor believes that the student tends to procrastinate and their help is needed so the student’s homework is done before 10 p.m.

My point is this: don’t make tutors guess or assume the reason you’re asking for general homework help. Explain the reason and your child will have more productive lessons. Tutors will know, for example, that your child struggles in English, Math, and Science – the “big three”. Then they can bring along a list of review questions for those subjects and materials to do an easy Science experiment to spice up their homework. Also, make sure your tutor knows that your child should do the work. Don’t expect your tutor to do your child’s homework. Teachers have a saying, “Whoever is doing the work in your lesson is doing the learning.” Students should be doing all of their own work.

2. Will tutors re-teach material students should have learned in earlier grades? Yes! If you have a knowledgeable tutor, that is! Competent tutors should identify student’s knowledge gaps and teach or re-teach the missing information. For example, if a tutor discovers that the student doesn’t understand the Italian Renaissance or why it’s such a big deal, they should quiz the student about the Middle Ages to gauge their knowledge of prior content. Chances are, students don’t understand Medieval Europe and need some re-teaching. Once the knowledge gap is filled, the student will have a much easier time understanding the Italian Renaissance. Teachers and tutors constantly search for knowledge gaps and fill them in. It’s second nature. Just make sure to talk with your child’s tutor to see how they are dealing with any knowledge gaps they find.

Communication is the key to finding a tutor who can meet you/ your child’s learning needs and expectations. Explain the situation to your tutor the first time you talk with them. Tell them exactly why you are asking for their help instead of leaving them guessing or you may not get the help you truly need. If your child needs help with general study skills, U. S. History, and Science, tell the tutor and explain why help is needed. Are your child’s grades just starting to slip? Or, is it because they haven’t earned satisfactory grades the past two years? This is only fair to your tutor. They will understand the situation and can plan accordingly.

You should also discuss the number of hours per week you’d like them to help. There’s a big difference between tutoring twice a week for one hour versus an hour a day Monday through Friday. As a rule, tutors don’t begin tutoring before 9 a.m. on weekends or after 7 p.m. weekdays. This respects their personal safety and family time as well as your younger child’s bedtime. It’s unfair to ask tutors to stay until 10 p.m. unless they’re helping a college student, professional, or military candidate with last minute projects or test preparation.

Now you have an understanding of what to expect from tutoring sessions and ways to respect their safety and privacy. Remember, communication is the key. Explain your needs clearly before sessions begin and give the tutor a chance to consider their schedule before agreeing to help. This will help them prepare effective lessons and you will get the most out of your lessons.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please take a minute to leave a comment, Like this post on Facebook, or Tweet the post via Twitter using the buttons on the right side of my blog page. If you have questions about whether a tutor is right for you or if you would like advice for your unique situation, feel free to E-mail me using the “E-mail Jeff S.” button on my Wyzant tutor home page. (Here is a link to my page: I’m happy to help!

if (isMyPost) { }