Finding A Tutor - 10 Tips for Finding a Local Tutor
Jan 27, 2011 Tutoring/Home School 1757 Views
It can be tough finding the right tutor to fit your child's needs. Let us help you ask the right questions and find the right match.
1. Know your child's needs: The real key to finding the right tutor for your child is knowing what kind of help your child needs. Just because his or her grades are slipping only in math, doesn't mean that your child isn't struggling with other subjects. Do your homework by checking your child's homework and having concrete examples and problems to discuss with potential candidates. The only way to find a qualified tutor is to hire them knowing what you'll need. You don't want to be stuck with only a math tutor when your child needs help with writing, too.
2. Know the market: Every community is different, so finding a tutor can take several different forms. In a university town, many parents turn to college students to get their students the help they need. However, college students often have different priorities and are inexperienced in being an independent contractor. An alternative might be going to a tutoring center, but your child might not get the one-on-one attention that he or she needs to rebuild crucial foundations. Some cities have companies that offer one-on-one tutoring in your home at prices equivalent to group centers.
3. Know what questions to ask: In order to find the right tutor, there are a lot of factors that need to be considered: areas of expertise, training, experience, and personality. If your child has special needs, you need to make sure your tutor has experience working with children with your child's specific disability. Often, experience with one does not translate into being able to help with another special need.
4. Involve your child: At the end of the day, you need to find a tutor that your child will listen to and respect. If you get your child invested during the entire process, it's much more likely that he or she will bond with the tutor and commit to creating positive habits through the guidance of their new tutor. As a role model, tutors really need to click with their students in order to maximize their teaching and coaching.
5. Be patient:Finding the right tutor can take time. Make sure you don't settle for a quick fix that might end up being inexperienced or ineffective. Your child's future is worth the wait.
6. Do a background check:Unfortunately, not everyone who wants to work with children has the best of intentions. If you go through a company, make sure you ask them to provide a copy of a recent (within one year) background check. If you hire one on your own, you are entitled to ask the tutor to submit to a background check. If they balk, make sure you walk away. Your child's safety is paramount.
7. Get your child's teacher involved: In many ways, finding a tutor is like finding a second teacher-- someone to work in tandem with parents and teachers to ensure your child succeeds. If you make your child's teacher aware that you're looking into tutoring and that you would like his or her input, the teacher might be able to shed light on the underlying reasons for your child's issues. This information can prove invaluable for rebuilding foundations and reforming negative habits and attitudes.
8. List your goals: In order to find a tutor that understands where you want to go and what you want for your child, you need to be able to articulate specific goals -- both short-term and long-term. These goals could be something simple, like "I want my child to write his homework in his planner everyday" or they could be more comprehensive, like "I would like my child to improve her science grade from a D to a B." You should list a variety of goals, keeping in mind that it's about more than grades. It's about building solid foundations and good habits.
9. Remember experience counts: Finding a tutor with experience can be a challenge if you don't go through a tutoring company. You need to keep in mind that just because someone gets straight A's in a subject doesn't mean they can teach it. You should look for someone who has the attitude of a learning coach with a holistic approach to tutoring and experience working with children you are struggling. For many smart people, they are easily frustrated when a child doesn't pick things up as quickly as they think they should. Patience and experience are key. One way to find out if your tutor has what it takes it to check references.
10. Monitor progress: It's not over once you schedule your first session. You need to make sure your child is responding to the tutor you've chosen and that the tutor is working toward achieving the goals you've set together. It's not a set-it and forget-it thing. At the same time, you need to give the tutor time to get to know your child and figure out how to equip them with the knowledge and habits they need to succeed. Checking in with your child and the tutor after a month is a good way to measure how it's going.
This could all seem pretty tough to do on your own, so there are companies out there dedicated to finding the "perfect match" for your child. At the end of the day, keep in mind that finding a tutor can be the crucial first step toward success for your child.
o learn more about how to find a tutor, download my free guide, "7 Ways to Straight A's" to help answer all of the questions you may have as a parent or student.