We all make mistakes, have patience with the person you’re working with

Posted on July 17th, 2018
But whose fault is it?


But is it actually their fault or yours!


There will be times when working as a tutor that you will explain something to someone and they will then attempt it themselves but make a mistake.



You will explain it again, but they will make another mistake. It might be the same one or it might differ from the last time you explained it.

You explain it again but they still don’t grasp it.

It’s easy to start thinking “Is this person stupid? How many times do I need to explain this?”


Maybe it’s not them that’s stupid. Maybe the mistake is because it’s you that’s not explaining it very well!


When we are looking for tutors at Starr Tutoring I’m not worried about where your degree came from, whether it was a first, a 2:1, a 2:2. What I want to know is that you are able to explain something to someone else so that it makes sense to them.


You need to be able to go back to the beginning and explain things from the start because without the basic understanding of something the person you are working with will struggle to go further.


You need to be able to explain something using a whole range of examples.

Many years ago, when I was doing maths at school, I couldn’t get my head around solving equations. Each time I asked the teacher to explain it again, she simply repeated what she already said. She could have been speaking a different language for all the sense I was making of it.


That evening my dad sat down with me and went through it. He explained it differently. I grasped it straight away. I wasn’t stupid after all!


Before you judge them, take a look at what you are doing yourself.


There will be times when you have addressed it from as many different perspectives as you can think of but they still don’t get it.

That’s fine, just keep practising. Each time they make a mistake go back and work through it with them. Show them where they went wrong. Praise every small step forward.

If you offer a flower water, it will grow. If you give a person praise, their confidence will grow.

The more confident they become the more likely it is they will move forward and achieve.


Some societies embrace failure. They recognise that in order to improve we have to make mistakes.

Children in schools will stay in every break time until they have conquered what they were struggling with. This isn’t seen as a sign of weakness for not getting it but a sign of strength for persevering.


Next time someone is making mistakes after you have explained it more than once, ask yourself why.  Readdress how you are presenting it and offer them the confidence to keep trying.


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