The Ten Commandments Of Tutoring

1. Thou shalt always be punctual for lessons.

Save for the Acts of God aka natural disasters or unpredictable last minute troubling personal circumstances, show up at the doorstep of your student’s house on time. This is called basic courtesy.


2. Thou shalt always maintain a cheerful disposition during lessons.

After a tiring day at school, the last thing a student needs is to see another unsmiling, stern face dishing out instructions at home. A happy and fun environment creates an infectiously positive atmosphere which greatly facilitates learning and constructive discussion.


3. Thou shalt be humble.

Look in the mirror each morning and tell yourself : I am not bloody special. There are far too many educators who are definitely much more brilliant and capable on this planet. Take 1 gram of vitamin H (humility) a day to stay grounded.



4. Thou shalt admit when he is wrong.

To err is human; to defend oneself rigorously in front of a student so as to prevent embarrassment (when you have clearly made a mistake) is sheer stupidity. So just come clean and make the necessary corrections in your teaching. Remember you will rot in hell for misleading your charges. Ok it ain't that serious, but hopefully you get the point.


5. Thou shalt keep abreast of changes in the educational curriculum and generational mind-sets.

Defying this rule will render your methods of instruction ineffective (and obsolete) in no time. Surely you don’t want that?


6. Thou shalt know his limits.

“Batman has no limits.” – The Dark Knight (2008)

You are not the caped crusader, so there will be instances when certain questions raised by them kid geniuses will be beyond you. Honesty is the best policy; explain to them the upper boundaries of your knowledge base have been breached. Don’t stop there though. Offer to do some research and revert to them when that magical Eureka moment comes to you. This is called going the extra mile.


7. Thou shalt maintain records for all fee-related matters during the active teaching term.

Call it insurance if you wish; this must be done to avoid any misunderstandings from escalating (which could possibly sour relations). Note all dates, timings and durations of lessons conducted in a log. Upon receipt of payment, check to ensure you are given the right amount. Don’t be afraid to consult the parent if you discover discrepancies (which put you at a disadvantage financially). After all, you are making a living and deserve to be paid accordingly if you have discharged your teaching duties in a responsible manner.


8. Thou shalt stay healthy and fit.

Haul your ass to the gym to lift weights or get on the treadmill for some cardiovascular exercise. Be physically active by playing sports. A sickly teacher is never a good teacher because his/her state of mind (as well as thought processes) will always reside in the less than optimal band.


9. Thou shalt be fair.

In a group setting where you are coaching a few students concurrently, never practice favouritism. Always devote sufficient attention to each and every one; do not pamper the smarter kids and neglect the weaker learners.


10. Thou shalt be presentable attire-wise.

You only wear sandals and a baggy Bugs Bunny shirt when going to the beach or the local supermarket, not when you are going to teach someone. Respect is a mutual thing, so show respect to your student by dressing sensibly if you expect cordial treatment. When in doubt with regards to choosing what to wear, you can never go wrong with the “its hip to be square” formula .


Reproduced with permission from White Group Mathematics