# How I Tutor

**Xunzi, 3rd century BC Chinese philosopher**

## How My Lessons are Structured

Once we have identified topics that the student thinks that s/he needs help with, I go through a cycle.

I set the student a problem on the topic. Typically the student cannot do the problem. That’s why s/he came to me in the first place, after all. So, I set an easier problem on the same topic.

By this time I understand how well or poorly s/he understands this topic. If necessary, I give a mini-lesson. Then we try again. I may create and work on examples until s/he understands and can do the original problem. Then we do another similar problem to be sure.

It’s not uncommon that in this process I discover that the student has learned and been using for years false methods that s/he must unlearn. (See my list of math errors on this site.) The student has been building on sand. So we stop what we were doing, put in the needed strong foundations for progress and then return to the current topic.

## Lesson Schedule

Normally I suggest one two-hour lesson per week. Two hours is enough time to get a lot done. I find that one-on-one, I have no trouble keeping students engaged and productive for the whole two hours.

I try to schedule as many lessons as possible on Saturdays, but am also available after school. If the student needs more help or has conflicting commitments on Saturdays, I can be flexible.

**Mark Twain**

*See also: SAT math*