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English Tutor Job Description

by Nicole Vulcan, studioD

When a student needs help in English beyond what they get in the classroom, tutors often step in. They help students gain a deeper understanding of the reading materials they're assigned in school and develop their writing skills. Tutors also work with students in programs such as English as a Second Language.


Before working with a new student, English tutors usually preform a skills assessment. This may involve a formal testing process provided along with the curriculum materials being used, or a more informal process. For example, the tutor may have the student read passages, write a few paragraphs, or in the case of English as a Second Language students, speak with the tutor. The assessment helps the tutor plan lessons that fit the student's needs. Throughout the tutoring process, the tutor may plan additional assessments to track process.

Writing and Grammar

Writing skills are a key to effective communication. Depending on the student's needs, prompting students to write compositions or essays -- or simply teaching the basics of sentence composition -- may be a big part of the tutor's duties. Since the English language can be particularly difficult to master -- especially for students whose first language is not English -- the tutor may spend a great deal of time teaching proper grammar.


English tutors often help student polish their reading skills. This can include helping students fully comprehend the content of written passages, or having students read aloud to help with oral communication skills. Tutors may assign students reading homework to be reviewed during the next session.


English as a second language students may come to a tutor simply to have someone with whom they can practice their speaking skills. Some ESL students usually live in communities in which they don't interact with other English speakers -- or they're reticent about using their limited English in other social or work situations. When that's the case, the tutor's only duties may be to converse with the student, and to correct him when he makes grammatical or pronunciation mistakes.

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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