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Should tutors be more transparent?

(19 Posts)
Joeyhale Fri 27-Oct-17 22:42:28

My younger brother is getting ready for his GCSEs and we've hired a few private tutors. It seems to be like we are just spending money with no real way of knowing his problem areas or whether he's improving, the real answer will come in the summer at that may be too late. Is this an issue that others have had, if so how are you addressing it?

PurpleDaisies Fri 27-Oct-17 22:44:39

If you want updates on progress, you need to ask. Didn’t you have a meeting with the tutor to talk about how it would work when you took them on?

Joeyhale Fri 27-Oct-17 22:46:58

Not really, I'm just wondering what everybody else tends to do with their tutors? Do you ask for updates regularly?

PurpleDaisies Fri 27-Oct-17 22:50:23

I should have said, I was a private tutor for a long while. Hardly anyone wants updates beyond “are they doing ok?”

MsTerry Fri 27-Oct-17 22:55:50

I work as a tutor. I answer questions that I am asked by the parents at the end of the session.
You need to be more proactive

Joeyhale Fri 27-Oct-17 22:56:36

Oh, I see, well I'm not exactly a parent but I am invested in my brother doing well. I'm a doctor which is why I'm so big on evidence base I guess. How do you and other tutors tend to determine the student's weaknesses and measure improvement so that parents don't need too? Apologies for all the questions.

PurpleDaisies Fri 27-Oct-17 23:02:03

To identify weaknesses I take a copy of the syllabus and ask them what they aren’t confident on, plus give the student past paper questions to try and see how they get on.

I don’t tend to “measure improvement”. They tend to be tested a lot in school. I work through topics and give homework so it’s obvious when they’ve understood something well enough to move on.

Joeyhale Fri 27-Oct-17 23:07:02

Thanks for this, good stuff to know!

Oblomov17 Fri 27-Oct-17 23:08:24

I’m not sure I quite understand the problem. I would talk to the tutor. Admit you don’t know how to monitor his progress. Ask his maths teacher. Look at his recent tests/exams. Ask teacher what tutor should be focusing on. It’s all in the communication.

echt Fri 27-Oct-17 23:11:55

When you say "we" have paid for a tutor for your brother, do you mean you? It's really up to the parents/whoever to ask those questions, or have made regular updates part of their expectations.

Joeyhale Fri 27-Oct-17 23:16:03

Yes I mean me, but because of my work schedule, I don't have the time to follow up and ask those questions. I'm just helping out my parents at the moment, and I'm wondering how parents generally work with their tutors and what their concerns are in terms of monitoring improvement so it doesn't merely become a recurring expense.

PurpleDaisies Fri 27-Oct-17 23:17:37

To be honest joey, most parents I worked with trusted that I knew what I was doing since I usually came highly recommended by someone they knew so I didn’t get a lot of end of session questions.

JenniferYellowHat1980 Fri 27-Oct-17 23:18:46

I am perfectly happy to give parents feedback and I do. Quite what they are supposed to do with it is up to them. It doesn’t seem to be the case in your situation but I am often hired with six weeks to go which is neither use nor ornament really.

Joeyhale Fri 27-Oct-17 23:26:38

Thanks, Jennifer and Purpledaisies. @Jennifer do you take the same approach to Purpledaisies where it comes to tutoring your students, or do you approach it differently?

JenniferYellowHat1980 Sat 28-Oct-17 14:10:11

I only really get tutees a few weeks before their exam so I tend to make sure they know what to expect on each paper, what the Examiner is looking for on each question and then check their skills as they produce responses. It’s too little, too late really. Tutoring for GCSE should really start at the beginning of year 10 but parents often don’t realise their DC is struggling until after mocks.

tutorwho Sat 28-Oct-17 21:50:35


Although you've said you're a doctor, you seem to know a lot about tutoring?

If you don't have time to speak to the tutor, ask them for an e-mail update. You could actually also speak to your brother/ask to see his work and to discuss what he's been doing. It is a two way street.. a tutor can only input so much and a student can only do what they can do in the exams.

PenelopeStoppit Sat 28-Oct-17 21:59:07

I do some GCSE tutoring. I use the technique I would with Yr 11 students in general which is a mock paper for first session followed by marking/ assessing and feedback to student to determine areas of strength and areas to develop and then we work on the areas for development each week. This is punctuated by more mock papers to track progress and inform future planning. I make students I tutor write LOs each week as we work through areas of development. Parents and carers can see LOs, mock papers, written feedback and track progress through the (hopefully) improving marks. Each to their own though.

RedHelenB Sat 28-Oct-17 22:04:00

The improvements should be obvious by improved results in their schoolwork/tests.

Joeyhale Sat 28-Oct-17 22:32:37

@tutorwho I said that I'm a doctor because that's my day job(or nights because I'm in trauma and orthopaedics), and I think it's apparent that I don't know very much about it haha. I'm just asking questions to help my family.
@Pennelopestoppit, thanks for that. My questions have more or less been answered anyways, but I do particularly like your approach. It does sound quite time-consuming on your part though, still sounds good though.

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