If your child is struggling to keep up in school or not getting enough valuable one-to-one time from their teachers, you may have thought about getting them some private tuition. Working together with a tutor for one or multiple subjects can help bring your child back up to speed if needed, along with building their academic skills and confidence. However, this will only be possible if you are able to choose the right tutor who is a great fit for your child’s personality and learning style. Before you hire a private tutor for your child, ask yourself these important questions.
#1. Are They Approachable?
One of the most common problems with students who struggle with a specific subject is a fear of the teacher who delivers it. Online tutorial firm Ahead Initiative found that students who are afraid of their very strict teacher are often less likely to keep up with schoolwork. If your child is struggling with a subject because their teacher is strict and unapproachable, a friendly and approachable private tutor can help them re-associate learning with more pleasant thoughts, feelings, and memories. Look for a tutor who has experience working with school-aged children and is able to explain tough concepts to them without appearing intimidating. A tutor who understands child psychology can make a hateful subject more fun.
#2. Are They Well Educated?
Although you may be able to find cheaper private tuition from a student, it’s best to find a tutor who is educated to at least degree standard. However, this is more down to your discretion after meeting the tutor face-to-face or over Skype and speaking in-depth with them about their subject matter. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need about the tutor’s qualifications, teaching skills, and past experience – after all, you want to make sure that you’re getting the best for your child. Of course, you may feel that a less qualified tutor will be a better match for your child – go with your gut instinct.
#3. Are They Experienced in Teaching?
Certain people may be excellent in a particular subject matter but lack the ability to effectively teach it. So, it’s not only important to look at your potential tutor’s knowledge and qualifications; you’ll also need to assess their teaching skill. Look for somebody who has experience in teaching in any setting – for example, teaching English as a foreign language, coaching a sport, or online tuition. If a tutor hasn’t any past experience in teaching this particular subject, look for signs that they would be a good educator. The good news is that many private tutors are retired schoolteachers and university lecturers.
#4. How Do I Speak to My Child About Getting a Tutor?
If you feel that your child could do with some private tuition, the best way to speak to her about it is by including her in the process of finding someone. Be honest with your child about your concerns and explain how having private tuition will help her. Never present tuition as a ‘punishment’ for getting bad grades in a particular subject, but rather as support for your child to improve her performance and reach her goals. It’s a wise idea to speak to your child about which subjects she feels she needs the most support in, and why – this will help you determine the best tutor for your needs.
#5. How Long Will I Need to Wait?
If you’re looking for a maths tutor for your child, expect to be put on some kind of waiting list. With more parents than ever before prepared to invest in their children’s education from a young age, it’s no surprise that the best private tutors are in high demand. Bear in mind that most tutors work on a self-employed basis and due to these high levels of demand, are able to pick the families that they want to work with. So, be prepared for some rejections when finding a tutor – never set your heart on one particular individual since you can never be sure if they are going to have the right availability to suit your needs. If you’re planning to hire a private tutor to help your child study for end-of-year exams or their high school diploma work, be sure to book well in advance as many tutors get quickly booked up around these key times in the school year.
#6. What Should I Ask?
Once you’ve found a tutor who seems like a good fit for your child and is available when you need them, it’s time to ask some questions to ensure that the service they provide is right for your family. Most tutors will be happy to take the time answering any questions that you have honestly; if they refuse to, this is a huge red flag. Start with the basics – ask them about their subject-related and teaching qualifications, what past teaching experience they have, and whether they have taught children the same or similar age as your child in the past. All good tutors will be able to provide a clear background check upon request. Don’t forget to ask questions about their teaching style – for example, will they set regular homework for your child? Is there a fee for missing a lesson? Will the tutor visit your home, or will your child be dropped off at theirs? If your child is going to the tutor’s home for lessons, is it a suitable environment?
#7. How Involved Should I Be?
Getting the most from a private tutor means working together with them to offer mutual support and guidance for your child. For the first few lessons, it’s a good idea to check in with your child and her tutor to see how things are getting on. Watch how your child reacts to the tutor – do they seem comfortable in his or her presence? Bear in mind that sometimes it may take a child a while to come around to the idea of tutoring, so give it some time if needed.
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