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April 17, 2024

Building Meaningful Connections: My Journey as a Tutor at Pear Deck Tutor

At the heart of Pear Deck Tutor is the amazing community of tutors who bring their valuable insight and knowledge to the platform every day to connect with students. 

The following is a personal essay by one of Pear Deck Tutor's tutors, Candi Hampton, where she shares insights into building strong relationships with her students every day.

Becoming a tutor at Pear Deck Tutor 

Most classroom teachers enter the educational field because they love helping children. Every year, we have around 30 students  we’re able to reach both academically and emotionally. 

When interviewing to be a tutor at Pear Deck Tutor, I knew I would have the opportunity to help thousands of students. While that fact excited me, I wondered how I would be able to build relationships with them, as this was one of my favorite aspects of being a classroom teacher. 

You see, teachers often call their students their “kids.” I feared I wouldn’t be able to build that type of relationship with the students on the platform. However, I quickly realized how wrong this assumption was. 

Building trust on a digital tutoring platform

As a teacher, I know the importance of children feeling safe and cared for, including in their learning environment. I wondered how I would be able to achieve this while tutoring online. After some time tutoring for Pear Deck Tutor, I noticed students started directly requesting me after working together on previous occasions. 

Then I realized building strong relationships with students is achievable on an online platform. 

Strategies for strong relationships

It is our responsibility to ensure our students feel respected and appreciated while using Pear Deck Tutor. I urge new tutors to begin building solid relationships with their students, as they require our attention and care. The following are suggested strategies I used in my own sessions to build positive relationships when tutoring on Pear Deck Tutor:

Personalized learning files

Start by taking notes during each session with information that might be helpful for future sessions. For example, note the student’s preferred method of communication,  learning style, interests, and topics you've worked on.

Effective communication

Establish clear communication with each student. Don’t simply ask and meet the student in their preferred method of communication, but also make note of it. 

Then, when the student directly requests you, you already know how they prefer to communicate. This sends the message you are listening to the student and care about their preferences! Further, inform students of your willingness to help them. 

Tell them  they should reach out to you through the chat function if they have any questions or need further assistance. Students have excellent support networks through schools and teachers, and we get to be a part of that network. 

Personalizing interactions

Personalize your interactions with each student. Students respond positively to different types of praise and encouragement, so you must be conscientious of a student’s verbal and non-verbal cues in response to it. This allows you to adjust your approach to better address the needs of each student. 

Examples of personalized interactions could include the following:

  • Giving rounds of applause (clap in circles)
  • Giving online high fives (high five your camera)
  • Relating learning materials to the student’s interests
  • Creating clear and consistent goals
  • Remembering and noting the student’s learning preferences
  • Using the student’s favorite color on the whiteboard

Creating a welcoming environment

Create a welcoming environment for each student. Be genuinely warm and welcoming to students and demonstrate you are approachable, empathetic, and understanding. 

Use the student’s name often, because it’s part of their identity and shows  you care about them. Be genuinely enthusiastic when the student demonstrates progress. Use process-praise and encourage your students throughout each session.

Active participation and feedback

Encourage active participation in every session. Act as a coach throughout sessions, guiding students through the learning process. 

Ensure you’re having an interactive discussion with the students, not simply directing them. To do this, encourage them to ask questions, share their thoughts, and contribute to their learning within the tutoring session.

Provide timely and constructive feedback to the student. Ensure your feedback is specific, actionable, and, most importantly, supportive. Think about how your feedback will encourage improvement and help to build confidence in the student.

Most of all –  treat your students as you would like to be treated. 

Meet the tutor

Candi Hampton was part of the first cohort of Part-Time Tutors (PTTs), starting in January of 2023. As a result of the success of the PTT pilot program, Pear Deck Tutor decided to expand the PTT team, creating a need for Tutor Leads. Candi was promoted to Tutor Lead in May of 2023 and enjoys mentoring tutors, creating resources, and providing professional development opportunities for PTTs. 

Become a tutor with Pear Deck Tutor

Interested in starting a career as an online tutor? Learn about joining the tutoring community at Pear Deck Tutor.


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Candi Hampton

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