Qualities of a good tutor - CPS Tutoring

Tutoring sessions are dynamic, fluid, and at times, unpredictable. Each student is different and may face different academics hurdles along the way. Similarly, every tutor has an individual teaching style and may approach sessions differently in fulfilling the role of learning partner.

Still, there are some key qualities that make for a strong tutor, regardless of the situation. Here are 3 essential characteristics of a good tutor:


Adaptability is key to tutor quality. We know that all students have different learning styles and therefore require varied teaching approaches to learn in the best way. Being adaptable means being creative so that a tutor is willing to try varied ways of teaching the student. Flexibility is also essential because academic needs change over time. Finally, being adaptable means expecting the unexpected. A student may have had a bad day, received a disappointing grade, or simply be more distracted than usual, any of which can affect their ability to concentrate during a session. These types of unexpected situations will require the tutor to adapt how they work through the tutoring session.


Openness refers to how accessible and receptive a person is to information. It also implies a deep level of involvement in what they are doing. Students who are struggling in school are often lacking in self-confidence and may feel discouragement and/or shame about their academic standing; they require a safe space where they can feel comfortable being heard. An open tutor will be curious about their students’ likes and dislikes and will look forward to talking and listening to them during sessions. Good tutors will ask lots of questions and be interested in who their student is. Being open ensures that the tutor-student pair develop the strong rapport that is important to successful tutoring.


Though patience is the third quality listed here, it likely the most critical quality that any tutor should possess. Progress can take time, and it can feel disappointing to see students continue to struggle over long periods. It is important for a tutor to never give up on a student, even when things are moving slowly. The tutor is a student’s teammate the whole way through and should model perseverance and patience.

There are of course many other characteristics that an ideal tutor possesses: a love of teaching, strong organizational skills, a willingness to share about their own academic journeys, and being resourceful are just a few.  However, adaptability, openness, and patience are essential in a good tutor and will complement and enhance the effectiveness of other characteristics.