Cell phones are the biggest distraction I see for students trying to study. Every 'ring' or 'buzz' breaks one's concentration. Even if one doesn't check the text message or voicemail...just knowing it exists is enough to take the student's attention away from the subject at hand. I would recommend just turning off the cell phone and/or putting it somewhere far out of earshot while studying. You can always check who is trying to reach you when you are done. Especially when being tutored you want the time with your tutor to be uninterupted and thus most effective. So consider trying something 'radical' and letting yourself and your attention be free from your 'smart' phone while becoming smarter yourself.
What Works For You?
Everyone learns a little bit differently and at their own pace. I am always impressed by students when they recognize their own learning style and what works for them. Some students will tell me, "My teacher does it this way but I like to do the problem this way." I take a look at it and if it is mathematically equivalent and it makes sense to the student I say go with what makes sense to you. Then as the student masters a problem in their own way they gradually become open to doing the problem in perhaps another quicker way. But first, go with what you know. I appreciate seeing all the creative ways that students make math easier for themselves. Some students always prefer their equations to have the variables on the left side of the equal sign and will ask me, "Can I flip this whole equation over?" When I say, "yes of course" I can sense a feeling of relief and ease like they are now recognizing a familiar face when they then approach solving the problem. When I explain math to students I give the student all of the different options that I can think of and they gravitate to what seems the easiest method.
Education: Business as Usual?
As a math tutor, I must confess, I don't make a good business man. When someone seeks out my help for their child I can tell after 1 session of working with them if I will be able to help them. Some students need special attention that may go beyond just helping them understand math concepts. After working with hundreds of students individually over many years, some just to prepare for a test or two and some that I have worked with for years, I can tell if I will be able to help a student. I respect all my students as people doing their best to improve and learn but some students need the help of someone with special skills and/or they are just in over their head in a math class that is too difficult for them. I won't continue to take someone's money when I don't feel it's beneficial or they need the skills of someone other than myself. So in that regard, I put the needs of my students first and don't consider education just any type of business selling products or services without the customer's best interests in mind.
Helping students succeed in math for over 15 years. Individualized attention makes the difference!