By Rachel, Tutorful's Tutor Expert

As the tutor expert here at Tutorful, I work closely with many of our tutors, and I understand some of the key challenges you face—especially when it comes to retaining students after the first lesson. This guide, enriched with insights from our expert tutors, aims to give you actionable strategies for keeping those students engaged and coming back for more lessons. 

Show Them the Endgame

From my conversations with successful tutors, it's clear that linking lessons to a student's life goals can make all the difference. For example, if a student aims to pursue engineering, illustrate how mastering that tricky math topic now can be a stepping stone to that engineering degree later. 

Expert Tip: "Making real-world connections in your teaching can make lessons more relatable and more valuable." - English Tutor, James

Set Expectations Up Front

From the get-go, it's important to have a clear understanding with your student. Talk about how often they'd like to have lessons and on which days. Setting these expectations early can pave the way for a fruitful relationship down the line.

Start with Three Key Questions:

What are the student's long-term academic goals?

How often would they like to schedule our lessons?

Do they have a preferred day for the sessions? This will help the student get into a routine of having regular lessons with you so it becomes a habit.

Getting answers to these questions upfront can help you tailor the lessons more effectively and sets the tone for a collaborative learning experience.

A Strong Finish: Recap, Feedback, and Homework

Wrapping up a lesson isn't just a matter of saying goodbye. Think of it as sealing the deal for the next session. Start by recapping the key points you've covered. This helps the student digest the material and remember what they've learned.

Next, offer some immediate feedback. Did they grasp the concept quickly? Struggle with a particular problem? Share your observations. It's like giving them a mini report card on the spot, and who doesn't like to know where they stand?

Last but not least, assign some homework. But don’t just give them random exercises; make them relevant. If they struggle with a concept, the homework should focus on that. If they aced the lesson, give them something a bit more challenging to keep them engaged.

Expert Tip: "Always follow up with a brief email summarising the lesson and homework assignments. It's a small gesture that goes a long way in showing your student that you're invested in their progress" - French Tutor, Sarah

Don't Ask, Suggest the Next Lesson

When you're wrapping up and talking about the next lesson, be a bit savvy. Instead of asking, "Do you want to book another lesson?" try planting the seed for future sessions. Mention what you'll be covering next time and how it directly benefits their learning goals. This makes the next lesson feel like a natural next step, rather than a commitment they have to make.

Always Have a Backup Plan

Life's unpredictable, and sometimes a student can't commit to the next lesson right away.  Offer to send them a lesson recap or some additional exercises related to what you just covered. It keeps the educational flame burning and gives them a taste of what they’ll miss if they don’t come back.


So, there's your toolkit—practical strategies and insider tips to not only keep your schedule busy but also to make each tutoring session a fulfilling experience for both you and your students

Key Takeaways
  • Connect your lessons to your students' long-term objectives.

  • Be crystal clear about what both parties expect right from the first lesson.

  • Be proactive in encouraging students to commit to future lessons.