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Optimizing Your Tutoring Time

Working with a tutor is a team effort, and at Dlin Academy we take this seriously. Knowing what to expect and what is expected makes the time spent with our tutors optimal.


Here are some strategies and expectations for using tutoring time effectively. Before the first session, parents and students should discuss expectations. This list will help guide that discussion.

Tutor Optimization Strategies

The first session

  • There is almost always an adjustment period in the first session, where you and your tutor naturally spend some time getting to know each other.

    • Our tutors are experienced educators and will adapt very quickly to the learning needs of each student. Part of this is asking questions.

    • This means your tutor may ask you questions that seem strange to you, or possibly explain things that you think you already understand.

    • If this happens, don't be shy! It is okay to interrupt when you think you already understand what the tutor is explaining. Communication is the key to making the best use of tutoring time.

    • That doesn't mean you won't be doing work in the first session. You definitely will! It is always important to us that the time spent in a tutoring session is time well spent.

Before each session

  • Students, come prepared! Knowing where your difficulties are, and what questions you want to ask will vastly and positively impact the time spent with a tutor.

  • Make sure that you have already attempted assignments and homework before you meet with your tutor. This way your tutor can be much more than just a "homework buddy" who watches as you attempt assigned work for the first time.

  • If there are concepts you are struggling with, make a list.​

  • If there are homework questions you are having difficulty with, have those ready.


During your session

  • Remember that a tutor supports classroom learning, and does not replace it.

    • Students, always ask questions in your regular class when you have them.​

    • Many students have questions in class but instead of asking their teacher they think "My tutor will explain that to me later".

    • Unfortunately what that does is to disconnect you from the rest of the lesson and actually makes it harder to make good use of time with your tutor, since you end up having to cover more material.

    • Keep in mind that in most cases every one hour you spend with a tutor corresponds to three to six hours of in-class time.

  • Clear communication in the moment with the tutor about the level of understanding of what is being explained is critical.

    • Students should never be tempted to pretend to understand things that they do not - don't be afraid to say that you don't understand!

    • Telling your tutor that you do not understand something is a surefire way to let them know that there is more work to be done in a specific area.

  • Be prepared to do real work during your tutoring session. Nobody ever learned to play violin by just watching a violinist, or listening to them explain how to play.

    • Have paper, pencil, a calculator (for math and sciences) and an eraser with you. It is also a good idea to have a set of coloured pens or pencils, and/or highlighters that can be used to enhance concepts.

    • You will want to insert this work into your notebook so it is also a very good idea to use loose leaf paper with holes punched.

    • Mistakes are an important part of learning. Although they will never let you finish a session without knowing what you may have done wrong, your tutor will often let you make mistakes to give you the opportunity to discover them.


After each session

  • ​After each session you will have notes created by your tutor during the session, either on paper or for virtual sessions in the form of a PDF file sent to you via email.

    • It is a good idea to print these and insert them into your notebook as well so that you can write on them/refer to them when you need them.

  • Your tutor may also assign additional work for you to do in areas where you need practice. You will get this at the end of the session or shortly afterward.​

    • This work is important, so it is critical that students make every attempt to complete it!​​

  • Students and/or parents may have follow-up questions for the tutor. Always communicate these. The best way is to send your tutor an email. They will get back to you as soon as possible.​

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