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How to Choose the Right Private Tutor for Your Child

Parul Solanki Mar 16, 2020
Parents are increasingly hiring private tutors to help their children get better grades and become confident students in school. Since you are investing a considerable amount of money, you should know how to choose the right private tutor for your child.
"It is easier for a tutor to command than to teach."
―John Locke
There are many parents who are willing to supplement their child's studies with private tuition as well. This is because, unlike schools where the teacher is unable to focus on a specific student and resolve issues, a private tutor can focus on specific areas that the child may be having problems with.
This helps in better learning and consequently, better grades for the child. Private, one-on-one tutoring ensures fewer distractions and quicker learning. If you are looking to hire a private tutor for your child, then these simple tips will help you do so.

Assess the Child's Needs

The first thing you need to assess is your child's needs. Is he/she weak in certain subjects? Can the child perform better if general aspects of education, like time management, organizational skills and exam techniques are taught? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself when hiring a private tutor for your child.
Involve the child actively in the process, and ask questions about what help he/she would like.
It is also a good idea to decide in advance whether you and your child would prefer a male or female tutor. Some children are comfortable around male teachers, while others are known to favor female tutors.

Search for Private Tutors

You can start your search from your child's school itself. Some schools have tutoring programs where the child is provided tutoring during the free time before or after school.
There are many schools that provide a list of tutors along with their specializations and background. A school may also refer you to a good tutoring agency, or provide referrals for some good tutors in the area.
If you are independently looking for a private tutor, then you can try contacting other parents and get recommendations. You can also find many private tutoring agencies and listings online.

Check for Necessary Qualifications

There are no legal requirements for a private tutor, and it is not essential for a private tutor to be a trained teacher. However, when searching a tutor, you should ensure that you look for someone who has fair knowledge about the subject he/she wishes to teach. Ask for his/her qualifications and academic training in the relevant subjects.

Interview the Tutor

Once you have narrowed down a list of prospective tutors, you would want to meet them one-on-one. Prepare a list of questions that you intend to ask a prospective tutor. Even though the tutor may have been interviewed by an agency, you still need to ask a lot of questions before finalizing a tutor. Most tutors would be quite happy to answer your queries.
Some of the sample questions for a prospective tutor can be as follows.

✓ What are your qualifications and grades in the subject?
✓ Can you provide a list of references?
✓ What is your tutoring style?
✓ Do you plan your classes?
✓ Will you be willing to collaborate with the school teacher?
✓ Where and when will you be tutoring?
✓ Will you be providing feedback?
✓ What are your hourly charges?

Teaching Experience Matters

Teaching experience is important. A subject matter expert need not necessarily be good at explaining basic concepts to a twelve-year old. 
This is the reason why parents prefer someone with previous experience of tutoring students in the subject, and one who possesses good recommendations. On the other hand, it is not necessary that someone who has ten years of teaching experience is a good tutor.
Since an experienced teacher is likely to charge more, you need to decide whether this is what you really want. Do take references to see what the previous clients thought of his/her teaching skills and results.

Friendly and Approachable

Look for a friendly and approachable tutor. This may not seem like a huge deal, but when the tutor has to work with a child, he/she needs to be patient and friendly with the kid.
This makes the child comfortable with his/her tutor, thus, allowing them to work better. Good communication skills and ability to articulate the concepts properly are some positive traits of a good tutor.

Location and Availability

You will need to consider the logistics when hiring a tutor. Will he/she be coming over to your house or school for tutoring, or will your child have to attend sessions at a tutoring center?
Do you have to drop the child to the tutor's home or a library? Of course, a parent will prefer having a tutor come home, but you will have to consider the transportation costs of the tutor, which you may have to bear.
Apart from location, you will need to decide the duration and time of the sessions. Make sure you talk to the tutor about his/her policy on canceled sessions. Tutors who are flexible with an occasional change of time and day are always preferable to ones with a rigid schedule.

Background and References

Positive referrals and a background check is very important. Most parents like to choose a tutor who has great recommendations from friends and family members.
If you are hiring a tutor through an agency, do take the full list of references. This will help you discern the tutor's style and effectiveness. Since the tutor has to work with children and vulnerable adults, he/she should have been screened by the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau).

Charges and Tuition Fees

Charges and tuition fees can vary, based on the tutor's qualifications and teaching experience. While some tutors for high school students can charge as low as $20 per hour, more experienced teachers can charge around $50 to $75 per hour. If the tutor has to work with a student with special needs, then the rates might vary.
You also need to ask if the tutor would charge for canceled sessions, and whether the child would be expected to carry along any special supplies.
Even after hiring a tutor, you need to keep a tab on your child's progress. It is not just about getting better grades. The right tutor should be able to develop effective ways for the child to study, and get his home assignments done on time. He/she should develop strategies that enhance the child's skills and help him/her perform better.