Tips for tutors


We’re Australia’s biggest tutor site. Which is great because of the volume of students looking for tutors (like you) here.

But… it also means you have to stand out from all the other tutors to get the most enquiries. Luckily that’s not too hard. Here’s 5 tips;

  1. Create a great listing.

    Here’s the reality: super short listings get way less enquiries. Students and parents want to get to know you as a person. Even your hobbies might provide a connection to you and a new student.

    Also, tutors can be role models, so what you are doing now might be the same career direction a potential student is looking at.

    The more you add to your listing, the more enquiries you will get.

  2. The best writing style is…

    Some people freak out about writing their listing. The best tip is to relax, and write exactly how you would talk. And I mean exactly. The more you formalise your writing, the less of your personality will come through.

    If you get stuck, think “How would I just say this?” …and write exactly that.

    Oh - and don’t forget to use the “return” key. Giant slabs of text with no paragraphs are super hard to read. Giant slabs of text with no paragraphs are super hard to read. Giant slabs of text with no paragraphs are super hard to read. Giant slabs of text with no paragraphs are super hard to read.

  3. Use a great photo.

    Not some crappy grainy shot with you way in the background… Not some sexy drunk-as shot either. Find a high quality photo where you look relaxed plus happy plus approachable. And just you - no SO’s.

  4. Reply fast

    Last tip. After all your work setting up your listing, don’t think: “I’ll reply to that enquiry on the weekend”. By then they have found a tutor who is more motivated.

    Even if the student is too far away… or you have exams right now… Always reply fast, even to say you aren’t taking any more students right now. (BTW, you can put your listing on pause if you don’t want enquiries for a short period).

    To keep the quality of the site high, we monitor how fast tutors reply and remove time-wasters who are not responding to genuine enquires.


We could go into 100 pages on latest science of Adult Learning Theory (ALT), or summarise it in just 3 points;

  1. It’s not about knowledge. Knowing you subject is critical, but alone, it isn’t enough to be a great teacher. It’s not even enough to be an ok teacher. Sorry, knowledge is only about 20% of your role. So what’s the other 80%?

    You are a motivator.

    Full stop. Read that again. What are you? “I am a _______”.

    At the end of each lesson, you can evaluate yourself as a tutor by one simple question: “Did that lesson motivate my student or not?”.

    So think of yourself as a sports coach.

    How often does a tennis coach show you how to serve? Does the coach show you how to serve for 50 minutes out of an hour lesson, while you watch? Nope.

    How often does the tennis coach get you to try serving, practicing, making mistakes, correcting them and practicing some more? That’s where 50 minutes of the lesson is spent.

    So your job isn’t to explain, explain, explain… Your job is to motivate and coach. Your student does the work, the thinking while you are on the sidelines, not centre stage.

    Why? Well, if you can slowly change your student’s motivation about a subject, they will start to;

    • pay more attention in class,
    • spend a little more time doing homework by themselves,
    • push themselves a little harder when they come up against a tough question in exams.

    There’s 168 hours in a week. You are only with the student for one. But if you can change their motivation, the effect ripples through the rest of the week.

  2. Different people are motivated by different things.

    Interestingly, not all people are motivated the same way. Here’s 3 types;

    They are motivated by other people:
    “I (or your teacher or your parents) would be so happy if you could have next weeks homework done before the lesson”.

    They are motivated by goals:
    “You got 14 out of 20 this week. Lets see if you can crack 15 next week”.

    They are motivated by competition:
    “How did you do in the text compared to Jake? Ok let’s see if we can beat Jake next test”.

  3. Small steps. Small victories. A story about motor bikes.

    The best teaching I ever had was at a motorbike course. It was a two day course.

    On the first day we didn’t even turn the bike on. Seriously. Step one was to learn how to sit on the bike. Just sit. So we sat.

    Then 20 minutes of just getting on and off the bike. Then we walked it around the car park holding the handle bars for 20 minutes. Then 20 minutes of squeezing the breaks on and off. We practiced parking it against a curb for 20 minutes.

    Remember, the bike still hadn’t been turned on yet!! At the end of day one, everyone felt super comfortable getting on and off the bike, moving it around, braking, parking. It was all so damn easy! We felt so good! Bikes weren’t scary anymore. We were motivated and confident. How hard could day two be?

    Day Two: The next day the bikes finally got turned on. Just playing around with getting in and out of first gear went all the way to lunch time. We never even got over walking speed. In the hour after lunch we got into second and third gear and something above walking speed. Then weaving slowly between cones. Then faster cones. In the last hour we tried slow speed emergency braking.

    And as the sun set on day two, real high speed emergency braking! Full throttle - red light flashes - then full two-sequenced emergency braking with a 10 metre stop target. There was a little smoke but not one bike was dropped. Everyone did it - everyone. 100% pass. The day before, half the class had never sat on a bike before. What was the secret?

    Every step was small.

    We started at the very very start. Nothing was skipped.

    Every step was practiced and practiced until we were 110% comfortable we had it mastered. We left each step feeling great (ie our teachers had motivated us) to try the next step. We weren’t uncertain or scared.


    • Break topics into little steps.
    • Start at the very very start.
    • Make each step as easy to master as possible.
    • Have the students practice and practice until they feel 110% confident about that task.
    • Congratulation them at each step! Make sure they see themselves progressing. Tell their parents. The end of (most) lessons should be a celebration! High five!

  4. Homework vs learning

    Lots of students feel the pressure of delivering this weeks homework, but what they really need is to go back to more basic topics.

    They pressure you to deliver an answer to this weeks homework, but they wont understand it.

    So negotiate. “How about we spend 30 minutes on the homework, have a 5 minute break and then come back spend 25 minutes on some important stuff I want you to get good at”.


“I just have to fill this empty bucket”.

New tutors think their task is like pouring knowledge into the empty brain of their student. So they talk and talk and talk… explaining over and over and over. And can’t believe their students still doesn’t get it. They think the missing ingredient is the “knowledge”. Rookie tutor mistake.

Solution: Rethink your role completely.
Read the above. It’s better you think of yourself as a sports coach. Sure you have to explain some stuff occasionally, but 80% is motivating the student to practice.


At the end of each lesson, ask: “Did that lesson motivate my student or not?”.


So this is a long page but it is still very general advice. Maybe only 20 people in the planet will get to the end of this page. But if you do - join our Facebook page to share your tips on how to be a great tutor. What little things do you do that seem to work?