Question: I’m a new tutor and I’m nervous about attending my first session. I’ve never tutored before and I’m not sure what to expect. My student is 15 and is starting 10th grade. Do you have any tips for breaking the ice?
-Nervous in Region 4
Hi, Nervous in Region 4!
First sessions are always the toughest. I’d suggest doing an activity with your new student that allows him/her to feel comfortable and, at the same time, allows the two of you to get to know each other. In the past, I brought an inexpensive composition book and told my student that this would be her tutor notebook. Along with the notebook, I brought two old magazines from home, scissors and glue. At our first session, I told her we’d personalize the outside cover of the notebook with words, phrases or pictures from the magazines. It only took about 15 or 20 minutes, but I really got to know a lot about her based on what she chose to put on the cover. We were also able to have a comfortable conversation about what should or shouldn’t go on the notebook, which really broke the ice. During future sessions, she used it as a writing journal; other times we’d use it as scratch paper, and sometimes she used it to to write example problems in case she got stuck when I wasn’t there. The tutor notebook became a really practical tool for my student and personalizing it together helped us both feel more comfortable right from the start.
About the tutor: Jackie Romo has been a School in Wheels tutor for nearly 9 years. Aside from tutoring, she teaches first grade in Rowland Heights and recently earned a Master of Science in reading. She is happy to help in any way she can to make your tutoring sessions successful!