Starting off the year is difficult, especially when you have students in your class that you are meeting for the first time. For me, I struggle when I have a tutoring student that I have never met, and know nothing about, because tutoring is one on one and establishing a relationship is vital for their progress.
With new students, I have a process that I use in order to get to know them and assess their abilities so that I can customise their learning experience, as well as ensure that they are making progress. I have designed my own self-assessment questionnaire for primary school aged students. This is available on my TpT store for free (you’re welcome) so be sure to check it out (link on the home page).
In terms of establishing a relationship, I believe it is vital to above all else make the student feel comfortable and safe in your presence. I have had tutors before that have focused primarily on the work, and I remember being less focused on my work and more focused on how uncomfortable I felt. That is not to say that they were bad at what they did, but I feel like they didn’t take an active interest in me as a student. I always begin the encounters with a light conversation about how their schoolwork is going, if anything interesting happened during the week, and how they are doing mentally.
Sometimes students are not doing too great mentally, and are tired out, so I try to keep the lesson less intense for them. During these lessons, I respect that they may not be up to scratch and may make silly mistakes, so I try to be gentle with my corrections.
I understand that in a class of around 30 students this sort of relationship is almost impossible to create, but showing students that you respect and care about them as people and not just students is important for their attitude in your class. I experienced this firsthand while on my first placement, where I was able to change a student’s attitude towards my classes just by having a conversation with them and learning about how they felt towards school.
As teachers we sometimes forget how much of an impact we can have on the life of a student. I will share more of my thoughts on this during the week.
In the meantime, check out the questionnaires on my TpT, follow my Instagram and check out my Facebook page!
Thanks so much friends.