Private tutoring is one of the best ways of accelerating learning – however, it’s crucial that you find the right person for the task. Here are some of the questions you should consider asking viable private tutors before hiring anyone and cover issues like qualifications, teaching methods, progress tracking, and how they can help your child/children prepare for the future.
What qualifications does the professional have?
When you begin your search to find a tutor take the time to find out more about the tutor’s education – what university and school they went to, what did they study – as well as finding out if they’ve attained QTS or Qualified Teacher Status. Keep in mind that “experts” do not always make for the best tutors; while core knowledge is crucial, it can be just as important to know if they took the same exams/tests your child will be sitting.
Do they have any tutoring experience?
It is vital to remember that for specific subjects like UCAS applications or degree-level assistance, tutors who’ve recently been through the process and were successful can be very helpful, even if they have minimal tutoring experience.
Can the tutor provide testimonials from his or her past clients?
Hearing what other parents and students have to say about the tutor you are considering is one of the best ways of finding out what they are like. Think of it as booking a table at a new restaurant online – it can be useful to go through some reviews first.
Which examination board is the tutor familiar with?
Ask the tutor about the exam board(s) they use to ensure that both your child and tutor are aligned. Each board’s syllabus is available online, and often practice or past exam papers are available for download, free of charge.
Tutors with experience as examiners can also be quite valuable, and that is something that most tutors don’t publicize. It is, therefore, worth asking this question.
Does the teacher have any specialty?
Some tutors specialize in exam practice, while others are great at making learning fun or building confidence in students. There are others who’ve has success with students taking specific exams and tests; such tutors should be able to tell your child what to expect and to help them prepare for the test. Remember to ask the tutor about their approach on specific issues and areas.
Is their documentation up-to-date?
For some people, this is a critical factor while for others, testimonials are sufficient evidence that a tutor is competent. Experienced tutors, basically anyone who’s a teacher, should have all the required documentation at hand. Ask the tutor to carry one or two academic certificates and their DBS (the new name for the Criminal Record Check) along to the first lesson.
Where will tutoring sessions take place?
Traveling to a tutor’s home works well for some students. Then, there are those who are comfortable talking or working with their tutor online – this is one of the best ways to keep sessions useful and relaxed.
How does the tutor make lessons engaging?
It can be helpful to find out how the tutor structures their lessons; does he or she engage through mutual interests or use fun learning materials? Great tutors will quickly pick up the best approach to engaging your child and tend to ask for your advice on the approach.
How long are the lessons?
Can your child concentrate fully for one whole hour? This is one of the questions you should ask yourself when deciding on lesson length. The decision on whether to take half-hour sessions or not will depend on your child’s age and what you and the tutor you hire think is sensible. It is a good idea to ask your tutor how long they’d recommend. Either way, a break is important, so do not forget to incorporate several breaks in there too.
If possible, what’s their attitude to liaising with your child’s school teacher?
A tutor liaising with a school teacher isn’t common; however, it can be beneficial for both the tutor and teacher to do so to help ensure that teaching goals and methods are aligned. Keep in mind, however, that this is not necessary, and tutors who don’t liaise with your child’s school aren’t worse than those who do.
Who arranges all the required books and paper, worksheets, and resources for lessons?
This is one important thing to remember to ask. In most cases, parents are the ones who provide these materials so make sure you consider this when thinking about costs. Nevertheless, some tutors do provide their own print-outs or resources.
How does the tutor track your child’s progress? Does he or she set homework?
Most tutors opt not to add more workload to their students. Though, small amounts of work or past papers for revision during the exam period is beneficial. Make sure that the tutor you get understands your child’s homework schedule so that he or she doesn’t become overwhelmed with all the extra work.
How does he or she conduct assessments?
The assessment methods tutors use will vary since different methods work for different people. As such, remember to follow up on the tutor’s approach.
What feedback can you expect from your tutor and when?
Some tutors prefer communicating through written reports, others by scheduling time for a face to face meeting once a term or month while others prefer giving feedback at the end of lessons. Consider what works best for you.
Can you, as a parent, contact the tutor in between lessons?
Most tutors don’t mind being in touch between lessons; however, there are some who have other jobs apart from tutoring and might not be in a position to be contacted or to reply within certain hours.
How can parents assist with the child’s progress when their tutor is not available?
Some parents will have tutors help with all of the child’s homework while for others 10-hours of one-to-one tuition is a huge investment. It is crucial to remember that you could benefit from the tutoring experience without spending much. Simply ask your tutor for advice on skill or strategies you can work on with your son or daughter when tutoring ends?
How long are their tutoring relationships?
It is a good idea to think about whether you would like the tutoring to be long-term, or if you simply want a few lessons before an interview or exam – and remember to communicate this to the tutor so he or she can plan accordingly.
What is their view of independent learning?
Understanding their view on this is a good step towards making sure that your child and the tutor work well together and make progress. The best tutors often aim to get their students to that point where they no longer require them!