Tutor: Professionals Show Up Every Day

One aspect of tutoring that attracts aspiring educators is the extraordinarily low barrier to entry. Answer an ad for subject help or test prep, and suddenly you’ve become a paid tutor. No wonder competition is so fierce out there.

However, if you are a true professional, you belong in a different class than the dilettantes and day-jobbers that populate the tutoring boards. How do you tell the difference? Deep thinker Shane Parrish (who I also referenced in issue #4 if you’re keeping track) clarifies The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals, which includes the following salient distinctions:

Amateurs stop when they achieve something.
Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.

Amateurs have a goal.
Professionals have a process.

Amateurs value isolated performance. Think about the receiver who catches the ball once on a difficult throw.
Professionals value consistency. Can I catch the ball in the same situation 9 times out of 10?

Amateurs give up at the first sign of trouble and assume they’re failures.
Professionals see failure as part of the path to growth and mastery.

Amateurs focus on being right.
Professionals focus on getting the best outcome.

Amateurs think good outcomes are the result of their brilliance.
Professionals understand when outcomes are the result of luck.

Amidst the many other differentiators, one resonates most with me:

Amateurs show up sometimes.
Professionals show up every day.

Your ability and experience strongly influence your effectiveness as an educator, but neither trait is enough to make you a true professional. Amateurs think being good is, in itself, the ultimate qualification, while professionals strive to always get better.

Getting paid to teach isn’t what defines a professional in my book. You have to show up every single day with the will to improve your craft and–through skill, experience, and emotional intelligence–improve your students.

— Mike Bergin

Tutor Tastemaker

Donovan Kelly is a tutor and small business general manager based in Dallas, TX who focuses on preparing students for the ACT and SAT.

What are three resources your practice depends on?
Our sticky-note process, officially released ACTs and SATs, and an iPad and Zoom

What is one more resource you strongly recommend?
Email templates – it is simple but saves me tons of time every day.

What is one insight every tutor should hear? 
Be ready to wear many hats. A tutor is a teacher, a coach, a cheerleader, a mentor, an unlicensed therapist, and so much more. I do not base tutor matches off of personality matches for a great tutor. A great tutor can meet different students wherever they’re at.

Tutor Tips, Tools, and Thoughts

4 Ways To Get Better Testimonials From Your Freelance Clients
Tutoring is a word of mouth business, so getting great testimonials drives success

Theory of Adaptive Intelligence
Successful intelligence is defined as one’s ability to set and accomplish personally meaningful goals in one’s life, given one’s cultural context.

Homework: What does the Hattie research actually say?
Is homework always good or bad? If only things were that easy…

Small habits, big changes
What are ‘fertile’ habits and why do we want to cultivate them?

All The Mental Health Challenges Faced By Freelancers
Do you recognize yourself in this list?


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