Hello. In this post, I want to discuss how there are times where you have to guess in what topics the student is doing when it comes to preparation work as a math tutor. This is something that I am going through right now with an upcoming tutoring session.
The Importance Of Preparation Work
A big part of being a good math tutor in my opinion and experiences is doing preparation before each tutoring session. Prep work in mathematics helps in reviewing material, keeping the mathematics and algebra skills sharp and for preparing for potential questions the student would have.
Some student clients really hate unprepared tutors. I once did not get a second session with a high school calculus student because I did not know a certain topic from the top of my head. At the time, I was told the course was in Calculus but it was Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus. My boss/manager at the time did not make this distinction. Big difference.
If you know your stuff well from memory, you can get away with not doing preparation work. However, remembering years of mathematics (that has not been used) from years ago is not very easy. It is recommended to do preparation work to keep the mathematics skills sharp (or less rusty).
A Good Idea To Ask What Topics The Student Is Working On Before A Session
What helps in the math prep work is trying to find out what math topics the student is working on. It also helps the tutor in the sense that the tutor knows what to prepare for and what to focus on. This leads to time savings in preparation time and a prepared tutor usually provides a better tutoring experience for the tutee.
Sometimes, You Have To Guess When It Comes To Math Prep
What if as a tutor you have no idea what to prepare for in terms of math topics? The worst case scenario is to review all or most of the mathematics you have learned and hope that you cover most of the stuff. This is very time consuming. You will most likely more time on prep than the tutoring session itself!
If you as a math tutor know the math course and the topics, you still have to do a bit of review. What can be done is reviewing most or all of the topics in the math course. For example, if the course you are tutoring is Calculus II, you can guess that the topics are likely to be on parametric equations, sequences and series, trigonometric substitution with integrals or maybe some multivariable calculus.
The prep work will not be easy and will take time. Remember though that some preparation work is better than no preparation work. As a tutor you do what you can.