I always start a tutoring “contract” with the students I’m tutoring where they choose the goal instead of me being the one deciding. This ensures the student is invested in his or her own learning. I don’t want it to be about my goal for the student but the student’s goal for him or herself. Then I have the student sign it and I sign it. That way we’re both invested in the outcome.
As tutoring progresses, I remind myself about the contract from time-to-time. I even read it again just to keep it fresh. Then I try to remain conscious of actually doing what I said I would do, for example, providing guidance on conceptualization, spelling and grammar, feedback, etc.
It is also helpful to review and modify things if one approach isn’t working. I will ask the student, “What do you want me to do?” “How can I best be off service to you?” This way I am continually getting feedback on how I can best help the student achieve his or her academic goals. I think of myself as an ally of the student because we really have to work together to achieve the desired result.
If you count the years I worked as an educational consultant I’ve really been tutoring for a lot longer than two years. I’ve always worked in a helping profession one way or the other. I’ve also taught as an Assistant Teacher and Substitute Assistant Teacher from pre-school age to 8th grade level, so I guess you could consider me a long-time tutor, just wearing different hats and having other titles. It’s really about helping people, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. It is gratifying to me and I enjoy seeing students fulfill their dreams.