Greeting and Climate Setting
In this phase, greet the student and either move together to the work station or indicate to the student where to take his or her seat. Seating arrangement is very important in the effectiveness of instruction. In one-on-one situations, both people should be on one side of the table and the work should be equally available to both individuals. In a small group setting, try to achieve as much of a circular seating arrangement as possible to facilitate equal access to discussion and work materials.
Regardless of the subject area you tutor, do not immediately arm yourself with a pen when you sit down with a student to work on an assignment. This may give the student the impression that you are willing to jump in and “save him” at any moment. If you are tutoring writing, this may indicate to the student that you plan to proofread his paper and little else. Instead, indicate to the student that you would like for him or her to be in charge of making notes on his or her own paper.
During this time, set a positive tone for the meeting. Smile and maybe make small talk for a moment to ease the student into the mindset of work. Particularly in walk-in settings, this phase is commonly associated with fear and anxiety for the student. If the tutee first learns to recognize you as an ally and a friend, you both will have a much easier time.