How long should I tutor one student?

The best answer is: as long as you feel you have something to teach them.

The second best answer is: as long as they’re willing to pay you for your time.

Of course, the number of sessions you should have with a student really depends on the goal. If you were taken on to help Taylor get through his GCSEs, you may well suppose you won’t be hearing from him after the exams are over. It will be the same with most outcome-focussed tutoring jobs.

But there are other tutoring roles that can go on for years, where you really get to build the student up and support him as a mentor. Fran had one student who came to her every week for 4 years. He’d store up questions to ask her, and enlist her help with whatever he’d struggled with that week.

Finding, and keeping, a student in this way is based on a more flexible way of working. The student has to know that you have the versatility to find the answer to any question. He needs to know that you’re there for him.

I think the best kind of tutoring relationships are more long-haul. They’re less transactional and more transformational (more on that tomorrow).