6 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a K-12 Tutor
K-12 students are incredibly diverse, spanning multiple age ranges, personality types, and unique academic needs and challenges. As a result, tutoring these students can be very rewarding as you learn how to connect with them and what they need most. If you're interested in becoming a K-12 tutor, these are the six things you should know before you embark on your journey.
1. Determine your preferred tutoring subjects
Pear Deck Tutor (formerly TutorMe) offers support in hundreds of K-12 subjects that span all major disciplines: English, math, science, and more. Before you start tutoring, conduct an honest assessment of your areas of expertise. What are you good at? What areas are you comfortable teaching?
Ask yourself these questions to narrow down your tutoring subjects:
- What areas are you certified in?
- Have you received any additional support or training, including a college degree, in any specific areas?
- What fuels your passion? What subjects do you enjoy learning more or talking about?
Ideally, you should choose a subject that you are both passionate about and knowledgeable in.
As a tutor, you may form a strong relationship with your students, especially those that keep coming back to you over time. With a strong relationship, you may help students develop an appreciation and passion for the subjects you tutor.
2. Know your preferred student type
At Pear Deck Tutor, we offer support in all major K-12 subjects and grade levels. Before you tutor, carefully consider what type of students you might like to teach.
What grade levels do you prefer?
Do you have more experience working with students in a specific age range or a strong preference for one age group over another?
Some people genuinely enjoy connecting with elementary school students. Others may prefer to work with students of middle or high school age.
Understanding your preferences will help guide which grade levels you choose to work with.
What type of learning styles are you most comfortable tailoring instruction to?
Some students may prefer to learn visually, while others are more auditory learners. Some students learn best by working directly with the content and manipulating it themselves.
Is there a specific learning style that you're more comfortable teaching to? If you're not familiar with learning styles and how they can impact both the student and the instruction, this could be a great chance to freshen your knowledge before diving into tutoring.
Which personality type do you prefer working with?
Sometimes, you may feel more comfortable working with students with a specific personality type. For some tutors, that may mean introverted students. Others prefer a more extroverted personality type.
Do you like energetic students? Or do you enjoy collaborating with students who are very easy to get along with?
Knowing the personality types you prefer working with can make it easier to choose the students who will be the right fit for you.
3. Acknowledge your strengths
Examine and acknowledge the areas you excel in. You might be great at:
- Oral communication skills
- Motivating others
- Connecting with students
- Conveying complex concepts in a simple way
- Engaging students
Think about your unique teaching style and where you excel. If you've worked with K-12 students in the past, those interactions could give you a clue regarding your strengths. Once you know where your strengths lie, you can precisely develop your tutoring style.
You may also discover that knowing your strengths can help you determine which students you might prefer to work with. For example, a tutor who can effortlessly build solid rapports with others may work well with shy, introverted students.
Be honest in assessing your strengths, and don't sell yourself short! Your talents are integral to unlocking your students' potential.
4. Recognize your weaknesses
As important as it is to acknowledge your strengths, it is equally important to recognize your weaknesses. Reframe the way you think about them. Your weaknesses are new opportunities for you to learn and flourish.
Be honest and patient with yourself as you assess the areas in which you may need some growth and help.
Are you struggling with a specific student type? Do you have a hard time dealing with students with wavering attention spans?
When you identify those weaknesses, you can then create a plan of action that will allow you to grow and improve. For example, if you're not the most confident communicator, you could read helpful articles or engage in exercises that could help you polish those skills.
5. Figure out your tutoring schedule
At Pear Deck Tutor, you have the opportunity to tutor as often as you'd like. We’re available around the clock to provide students with the support they need, when they need it. Select tutoring hours that work with your lifestyle and fit your existing schedule.
Keep in mind that K-12 students may need more support during different times of the day. Younger students, for example, are often more active on the platform in the earlier afternoon, right after school, while high school students often need academic support late into the night.
As a tutor, you can choose your availability and tutor students whenever it's most convenient for you. If you're a night owl, you might find it easy to log in and support students during those late hours.
On the other hand, if you prefer earlier tutoring times, you may want to work with elementary school students during their usual homework hours.
6. Be ready and willing to participate in a background check
Pear Deck Tutor’s robust tutor community has earned a reputation as one of the most trusted in the education space. This class-leading reputation is due in large part to the rigorous screening and onboarding process that all prospective tutors undergo before joining the platform.
All prospective tutors on the Pear Deck Tutor platform must consent to and pass a thorough criminal background check before working with K-12 students. The background check is a critical measure that ensures the safety of students on our platform.
Be true to yourself and your students
Tutoring K-12 students can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. You have the amazing opportunity to connect with those students on a deeper level and provide them with the support they need to learn, grow, and excel. Determining who, when, and how you tutor is very much a process of self-discovery. The more open-minded and honest you are about your strengths, weaknesses, and passions, the better learning experiences you’ll be able to provide your students.
If you share our passion for shaping success futures for all K-12 students, apply today to become an expert online tutor on Pear Deck Tutor!