Working with parents to build strong student-home-tutor relationships
Posted on 28th November 2023
As a tutor, it is important to have strong relationships with parents. I see it as collaboration and teamwork. I find that when I build strong and transparent links with tutor, parent/carer and child, that the student excels; it may not be immediate, but the breakthrough happens.
Parent engagement is important in developing the child both academically and holistically. Not all parents get involved but on the whole most do.
Building Rapport before the Session
Before I start my tuition session, I always ask my student how they are doing; how their school week was and what they did over the weekend. I find out all about what they’ve been up to outside of school and tuition and it makes for a great few minutes of conversation; where they’ve travelled, birthday parties they’ve attend, competitions they’ve taken part in, and family events- things that bring a smile to their faces. One of my primary school students, an avid football supporter, went abroad on a school trip and had the privilege of meeting the Barcelona football team- by accident- and received a signed football from the team players. He was smiling from ear to ear. Students will not always be excited or may have had a bad day at school; as a tutor this is also important to know so that you understand what is happening and how they are feeling before the session begins.
Once the session begins then it is serious work; going over homework and new topics and setting homework for the next session. There is a lot of explaining with examples on my part and also explaining processes and methodology on the part of the student to reinforce their learning. Once the session is completed then I take time out for feedback with the parent; this is a crucial part of my tuition process.
Creating a Positive Approach
When I have an initial consultation meeting with parents prior to beginning tuition, I always explain the importance of understanding what it is we all want to achieve in a way that is beneficial for the child. This creates a positive approach and a clear understanding which involves the parent in the tuition feedback session after each session to ensure that we are all on the same page and agree on the same expectations. It is crucial that parents play an active role in their child’s educational development. There is no point, from my perspective, in the parent asking for tuition and then stepping back expecting the tutor to perform miracles. Finding different ways to involve the parent is beneficial as some of my parents are travelling home from work after a tuition session, which requires a phone call or an email with an update and feedback. Mostly feedback is completed directly after the session.
It’s not only about getting to know the student, but also getting to know the parents/carers and building those relationships. One of my previous parents had challenging eye problems and many visits to the hospital and could not read and emails or texts unless they were written in extremely large font size. Another family experienced a relationship breakdown which required me adapting tuition to suit the new family situation, while another experienced a sudden bereavement. These challenging and difficult situations all take a toll on families and more than ever, in these circumstances, being adaptable as a tutor and making changes to assist the family goes a long way.
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