There are a lot of frustrated parents who want to hire a tutor. But, every family has different needs and every tutor has a different degree of caring and know-how. It is very important to know exactly what you want from them, then investigate their skill, commitment, experience, and personality before hiring them.
What level of help are you looking for? Does your kid need help with homework, exam tips, intensive remediation?
What areas do you want to see improvement in? General skills, study skills, particular subjects, motivation?
Do you know anything about their style of learning? Do they like to listen, read, move, touch, etc.?
How much money and time are you willing to devote to their tutoring? It’s best to be honest with this figure from the beginning.
Speak with your child’s teacher in school or counselor and tell them your concerns. A good counselor would have regularly met your child and should have files that detail their progress throughout school, their scores on tests, and any notes on possible problems with their personality. Most schools also have a list of tutors on file. You can use this information to help ensure you make the right choice. Sometimes schools may even post the details on bulletin boards. Don’t forget to go through the local newspaper too. A lot of good tutors will advertise there.
You could also consider speaking with neighbors or friends for recommendations. There may just be retired teachers in your neighborhood who are more than willing to help you out. They are usually really good when it comes to general problems like reading comprehension. Do not expect too much from them when it comes to specific subjects like literature or biology, though.
Unfortunately, the price is usually a determining factor as far as choosing tutors is concerned. But, it is much more important for you to look at value in such situations. Getting an expensive tutor might be a better choice for your child and may make it easier for them to progress. Do not rule out a tutor just because they charge too much.
Apart from the cost, you should ask them about their payment policy. Find out the type of payments they accept as well as when they expect it. There are certain tutors who accept nothing but cash and require payments to be made after every session. Some tutors let you prepay for the month. Others might just bill you for sessions completed.
While most tutors are very flexible, some of them ask for twenty-four-hour notice if you are thinking of canceling. It is better for you to find this out in advance so that you don’t have to deal with additional charges later on.
The first and obviously the most important thing for you to do is to check the credentials of the tutor. Ask them questions and see how well their skills match the needs of your child. Find out what their educational background is like. If you are expecting them to teach your child chemistry, they should at least have a minor in that subject. When it comes to teaching first-grade reading, they will need a different type of education.
You should also find out about their teaching experience. Try and find a tutor who works with or has worked with children of the same ability and age as your child.
Always meet with a number of candidates before you decide on which tutor to go with. Ask a lot of questions when you meet them. If you are having trouble locating tutors, there are many finder tools available on the internet. Choose one of them; it will make this process so much easier.
Try to find out how they evaluate the needs of a student. Are they going to be using standardized testing, school reports, or some other form of evaluation in order to find out the strengths and weaknesses of your child? Ask them how much time they will need to get the lessons ready. Remember that when it comes to difficult subject matter, preparation time will be longer. You need to be ready to pay for this additional time.
Find out about their tutoring methods too. Skilled tutors are going to be able to do much more than simply answer questions and solve problems along with their students. They should be able to assess their strengths and weaknesses too. They need to work together with the classroom teacher and offer positive reinforcement to your child.
A good tutor is also going to need the cooperation of the child’s family. Ask them what they are going to need from you. They might need you to communicate with the classroom teachers so that the tutoring is successful. Also, ask them how they plan on motivating your child. Without the proper motivation, everything else will be in vain.
It’s also important to find out the hours they are available and where they do their tutoring. These two questions are much more important than you may think. It’s not like you are going in for online tutoring services where you can easily be tutored from the comfort of your home whenever you want. With regular tutors, scheduling and location become very important.
Ask them about the kind of results they expect to get. Ask them about previous children and how much they’ve improved. If they have any references, have a look at them.
Bring in your child
Once you have done all of this, the last step is to bring your child in and introduce them to the tutor. Try and sit in for the first few sessions and see how your child reacts. They need to be comfortable. Ask them if they like the tutor and feel like it is helping. If you don’t notice any improvement, you should switch the tutor immediately. There’s a lot of work that goes into finding a good tutor. Don’t think it is going to be a walk in the park.
Author: Sim K