The 7 vital traits of a successful tutor

by Anna Michaelidou

Tutoring is a fast growing and often much needed addition to a child's education and comes with great responsibility. A private tutor is hired to provide a student with any extra support that they may need and to:

  • Build a student's confidence
  • Help improve study skills
  • Provide relevant and necessary information
  • Work closely with the student and build a strong, personal relationship
  • Encourage progress
  • Communicate with parents and students
  • Provide students with the opportunity to ask questions
  • Provide exam tips where necessary

A successful tutor is someone that not only knows a great deal about their given subject but can relate the necessary information in a way that will ensure the student reaches their full potential and individual goals.


First Tutors aims to provide parents and students with the best possible tutor match for their child. We have come up with what we believe to be the seven most vital traits of a successful tutor.

1. Builds a strong personal relationship with their student

A tutor does not have the same role as a teacher and one of the main differences is that a tutor has the opportunity to build a strong, personal relationship with their child. Most tutors will work on a one-to-one basis (or in a small group) offering a fantastic opportunity for them to get to know the student and understand their strengths and weaknesses.

A successful tutor will spend time listening to the student and building a relationship with them that will allow them to genuinely personalise the student's learning. The more comfortable a student feels with his or her tutor the easier it is for a tutor to help the student maximise their potential.

2. Communicates with the parents

Tutoring is not simply a matter of attending individual lessons but of communicating their findings along the way. It is imperative that a tutor communicates well with the parents of their student to ensure their expectations are being met. Tutors that take the time to speak to the student's parents are often far more successful than tutors that do not. Parents can offer useful insight into their child's personal characteristics or learning styles that will ensure the tutor can better understand the student's needs.

Also, a good tutor will offer feedback after every lesson so that a parent can keep track of their child's progress. This may be a small chat after each lesson or a follow-up email detailing what the student gained from their lesson. This feedback is vital for parents wishing to encourage their child to learn and progress until their next tutoring session.

3. Will have a professional manner

It is essential that a tutor acts in a professional manner when working with their student. All information about their student should be treated in the strictest of confidence. Although each tutor-student relationship should be viewed as a partnership the tutor is present to supplement their classroom and individual study and ensure that the student progresses accordingly. A successful tutor will have a confident but friendly manner and act professionally both during the lesson and when communicating with parents.

4. Has an honest relationship with the student

One of the most vital components of a successful tutor is the ability to establish trust and rapport with their student. If a student has not done as well with their work as they were hoping, a good tutor will go through it with them and ensure they have a good understanding before embarking on a new chapter. A student should feel at ease with their tutor and be able to confidently ask any questions they may have without feeling embarrassed or uneasy.

5. Is flexible and patient

Two very important traits of a successful tutor are flexibility and patience. Being flexible means having the willingness to adjust certain techniques or teaching approaches to meet the requirements of each individual student.

Patience is also a very important part of being a successful tutor. Understanding that certain subjects may be more difficult for a student to grasp and taking things slower for them is essential. A good tutor will not show annoyance but be willing to explain in further detail until they are sure that the student is ready to move on.

6. Meets the students needs

All good tutors set goals but setting the bar too high can often backfire and leave the student feeling incapable and unhappy. Each lesson should be tailored to meet the student's needs, building up from easier exercises to more challenging ones.

A successful tutor will aim to make sure they cover topics that are not too difficult at first and give the child praise and encouragement before moving on to more challenging topics. Keeping manageable goals is imperative to the success of a student's progress.

7. Makes the lesson real and relevant

A good tutor will be an expert in their academic subject and therefore be able to custom each lesson to the student's needs using real-life examples and relevant content. It has been proven that student's engage far better with real-life scenarios and topics that they can relate to their own experiences. Relevant and real content will also increase a student's interest and allow them to express their own personal opinions about certain topics.

To Conclude

A great tutor is often the best way to ensure that your child progresses well ensuring a brighter academic future for them. When hiring a tutor always look for signs that the tutor is maximising your child's potential and encouraging them as much as possible. First Tutors is the best place to find a tutor that matches yours and your child's needs. We offer all the information necessary to make the best possible choice when seeking the help of a private tutor, from their teaching experience and qualifications to how much they charge and the distance from your home.