How to choose the right tutor for your child
Just because a tutor is perfect for one child does not necessarily mean they're right for your own. So how do you determine who will be the best fit?
This checklist of what to look for when hiring a tutor will help you pinpoint the ideal person to help your child achieve his or her academic goals or improve their confidence in a subject they're struggling with.
Questions to ask before you hire a tutor
- Does the tutor have experience and passion?
It is of course essential that the tutor has the right academic background and experience to help your child. However, a great tutor will also have a real passion and enthusiasm for the subject being taught. Just speaking to the tutor should give you an idea of whether the passion is there; although, do give more reserved tutors a chance to show their enthusiasm through their sessions with your child (see rapport below).
- Does the tutor ask the right questions?
Asking the tutor about their academic background and experience is important, but a good tutor should also be asking you about your child's particular needs. Does the tutor want to know about your child's strengths and weaknesses, their particular personality and quirks, and most importantly, their academic goals? Such attention to your child's needs from the offset will be a good indication of the tutor's dedication in the long-term.
- Can the tutor provide testimonials?
Positive references from current and past clients are always a sign that you've got a decent and dedicated tutor on your hands. Try and actually speak to some satisfied customers, as this will give you an idea of whether your children have similar needs and personalities.
- Is the tutor's documentation up to scratch?
It's crucial that the right security checks are in place, and the tutor should be able to show you an original form of identification, their academic certificates and a recent Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly Criminal Records Bureau) certificate. Another reassurance is if the tutor is registered with the Tutors' Association, the industry's regulatory body. If you're using a tutoring company, they should complete all these background checks on your behalf.
Once you've hired a tutor
- Does the tutor come prepared?
A good tutor should always come with a structured lesson plan that includes specific aims of what your child will have learned by the end of the session. The tutor should also be able to adapt this plan if your child is finding the subject matter too easy or too challenging.
- Is there ease of communication?
It's important that your tutor keeps you up to date on your child's progress, and that you feel comfortable about contacting them with questions about your child. However, do try to be respectful of the tutor's time. So, rather than long conversations before or after every session, it can be more productive to book in structured meetings on an ongoing basis where you and your tutor can discuss the plan for the month or term ahead. Consider using online resources such as Google Documents that both you and your tutor can use to provide feedback and discuss progress.
- Does the tutor have a good rapport with your child?
This is possibly the most important factor in determining whether the tutor is right for your child. Does your child look forward to the sessions? Does he/she feel confident asking the tutor questions? Is there a friendly atmosphere during the sessions? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you've got a gem of a tutor on your hands.
What Mumsnetters say about finding a tutor
- What made me choose our tutor was that he already tutored pupils from DS's school and so was familiar with the syllabus and exam timetable etc, which is very important. You want the tutor to be focusing on the right stuff and getting the student ready on time. lainiekazan.
- My friends and I usually find tutors through personal recommendation. Saracen.
- If you're hiring a tutor to get your child into a school, pick one with a track record in succeeding for the school(s) you're aiming for, and let them gently prepare, stress-free, over time. racingheart.
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The content on this page is supplied by Enjoy Education, an award-winning tutoring consultancy