You’ve finally decided that you need a tutor, and the why, and the what, but how do you go about choosing the right tutor?
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a friend with the perfect tutor who also happens to have time for you, then it’s always best to use an agency. As well as having a choice of tutors you will have the confidence that requirements such as DBS checks and qualification checks have been completed.
Many people will say that you need a qualified teacher, so be guided by the agency recommendations. Look for someone with experience working with the subjects or specialisations that your child requires.
Don’t be afraid to conduct a mini interview with the tutor, many will be happy to meet for 20 minutes or so for free, or only charge for one session before you commit.
Glynis Kozma outlines some questions you need to ask.
What should you ask a tutor?
Most tutors are more than happy to answer as many questions as you want. If they aren’t, then alarm bells should ring! Ask them about their qualifications, experience and fees.
Do they set homework, are you supposed to help with it, do they charge for missed lessons? It’s worth establishing if and when you can call them in between lessons if you need to. Clarify whether they will liaise with your child’s teacher if necessary – by phone or in writing – and if they expect additional payment for this. If your child is going to the tutor’s home for lessons, you need to be happy it’s suitable – clean and quiet.
Don’t forget to include your child, the student in this initial meeting, if they don’t like the tutor they’re unlikely to work well with them. Tutors are used to working with children, it’s literally their job, they should be able to communicate with the student and give them the confidence to work with them to improve their learning.
- Are they suitably qualified, do they have a degree in the subject they are offering, or are they a qualified teacher?
- Do they have experience teaching the subject you are looking for at the level you want?
- Have they tutored before, tutoring is vastly different to teaching?
- Do they have a CRB or DBS check?
- Are they an agency tutor, if not make sure you see proof of CRB/DBS, their qualifications and references.
- What is their teaching style, do they have the authority to work with your child, are they a student centred teacher which is key in tuition? Ask for them to teach a small topic and see if they encourage your child to talk and explore ideas themselves, rather than just be talked at.
- Are you comfortable with them, and do they get on with your child?
- What are the extra terms and conditions, what is their policy on cancelled sessions, do they offer discounts on multiple bookings, will they come to you, or you to them, is an hour an hour, or 50 minutes to let them get ready for the next student?
- What about outside the hour or hours of tuition, will they liaise with school, do they set homework, will they commit to a certain period of time e.g. the school year.
- Will they be helping with homework and coursework, many tutors won’t help with marked work so that the student’s teachers get the real idea of the student’s abilities.
Above all else remember that this is a two way relationship, Good tutors have their choice of students, and repeated missed sessions, or extra work not completed will mean the tutor will be moving on. Once you find the right tutor, hold on for dear life.