A private tutor can make learning tremendously easier. But with the wrong tutor, you could invest substantial amounts of money and time only to end up disappointed and not any smarter than when you started. Be sure to ask these seven questions before hiring your child’s tutor.
What’s your background in the subject?
Make sure your tutor knows what he or she is going to be teaching.
It’s easy to be impressed by a tutor with a PhD or 10 years of experience, but is that person with an advanced degree in Computer Science Algorithms really the best choice to help your child with writing? Make sure the tutor is truly an expert on the exact subject your child is learning, not just a related one.
Ask the tutor about the subject your child is studying—and don’t be afraid to get specific. You can even show a copy of your child’s syllabus or textbook and ask for confirmation that the tutor is familiar with all the concepts.
How much experience do you have tutoring or teaching?
The ideal tutor will have taught the desired subject many times before, to many different students.
For example, a great math tutor will know several different ways to explain fraction multiplication and will tailor lessons to your child’s individual learning style. She’ll be able to teach using practice problems, examples, outlines, visual diagrams—whatever works best for your child.
Experience tutoring or teaching doesn’t necessarily have to be formal. In fact, the skills honed in delivering lectures to a classroom of 200 students do not necessarily translate to working one on one or in a small group. Instead, look for someone who’s approachable and who will pay close attention to your child’s needs.
Have you tutored students with my child’s needs before?
Every student is different. Be sure to explain to your tutor what your child’s exact situation is so they know how best to help.
If your child has a diagnosed learning disability or learning and attention issues, look for a special needs tutor who understands that issue and has specifically worked with students like your child before.
Or, perhaps your child has other needs the tutor should know about. Is your child on a very tight timeline, for example, with a paper due next week? Has your child struggled with this subject for a while and maybe developed an emotional aversion to it? Is your child easily distracted and needs someone to be a taskmaster who can keep him focused? Or is your child completely overwhelmed, and, as a result, you’re looking for someone who’s extra patient and kind?
The more your tutor knows, the better the tutor can help your child.