One of the greatest privileges and working one on one with a student is to be able to encourage them to build good character qualities. Unfortunately, with larger classrooms – teachers are very limited on their time allotted per student. When I was teaching, I would always try to encourage my students when I saw them reaching beyond themselves to help someone else or when they exhibited a great amount of patience. This can be done so much more effectively in a one-on-one environment.

Here are some easy ways to encourage your students:

  • Praise them. If you see them struggling, look for opportunities to complement him or her when they’re doing something noteworthy. Did they push through a difficult math problem? Did they lend a pencil to a friend? Were they generous with their time? Did they have a good attitude?
  • Emphasize Empathy – Consideration for others. Help your students to be aware of how others feel and think in situations that they share with you. You don’t have a lot of time for this, but you can make consistent comments to help draw their attention to others and how their friends feel as a result of other people’s treatment or comments.
  • Encourage them to be advocates for themselves. Strategize together and how he/she can approach his/her teacher with questions that he may have. Role play.
  • Expect them to show respect. As a tutor, teacher or parent, it’s important to show your students respect. Be friendly, look them in the eye, and treat them with honor. By creating a foundation of respect, you can encourage them to do likewise. When they struggle with respect, a simple statement softly spoken, “I show you respect and would appreciate if you would show me respect too,” will usually do the trick.

When you spend time with a child, from birth to adulthood, they feel valued.  Utilizing the opportunities to touch their hearts and encourage them in their character will spur them on far beyond what you can imagine.

Don’t we all know someone who said, “I remember my 2nd grade teacher. She told me I could be a great writer.”  “My high school science teacher believed in me when everyone else labelled me a loser.”

Be generous with your praise. A simple phrase can change the trajectory of another person’s life.  Be the one who believed in them when they were unsure. Your words are powerful!

Building character with your student is one of those bonus areas of being a tutor, teacher or parent.  It is an absolute privilege to be able to work with each child.  Never forget the trust that your student’s parents bestow upon you.

Make the most of it!