How to Plan Lessons as a Tutor

Planning informative lessons as a private tutor

As a tutor, planning lessons can be both interesting and time-consuming. If you are first starting out then you might find that a lot of your spare time is spent either looking up exam requirements, further researching a topic or deciding what content to include.

However, as you grow more experienced, then you can expect this time to drop. You will acquire saved materials and extra knowledge that will mean your time extensively planning lessons will decrease.

Preparation is perhaps one of the most important aspects of being a successful private tutor. You can’t just turn up, deliver a lecture on the subject and hope your student will understand it.

Decide your goals for the session

Before you start planning your lessons, you need to decide what you want to achieve from the session. By having set goals, you can tailor your content to meet these and plan a more practical lesson.

You can form these goals by assessing the needs of your students well at the start of the tutoring, asking them different questions on your planned topics and evaluating their understanding. You can even do this by giving them a short quiz to find their areas of weakness and strengths.

If you don’t have these expectations then your lessons will have no focus and the usefulness of them will dramatically decrease.

How to structure your lessons

Before you decide on the content itself, it can be helpful to have a skeleton ready. If you know what sections you have to hit then it is much easier to full it up with information.

Here is an example of a simple schedule:

  1. Introduction - You need to account for some time setting up, greetings and your student getting ready to start the session.
  2. Review the old - Start by going over the concepts you taught in the last session to ensure your students have grasped the previous teaching well. This is usually a great introduction to the new learning.
  3. Teach the new - It is only now that you should be thinking about feeding your student new information. Start by explaining the concept and relating it to the previous knowledge they have gained.
  4. Activity containing new information - The specific activity can be entirely up to you, it is just a way to solidify your student’s understanding.
  5. Go over everything one more time - Use this time to answer any questions your students may have.

Remember to be flexible as a tutor

No matter how well your lessons are structured, you can plan them down to the last minute and still be met with last minute changes. It may be that your student did not quite understand last week’s content and need an extra half an hour to go over it, or they are well-versed with your chosen topic and will be able to get through the activity quickly.

When faced with these situations as a tutor, you need to be able to quickly adapt and be flexible with both your time and lessons.