How to Choose the Right Tutor
Parents have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a tutor for their child. When a child is struggling in school, chances are that they are also feeling anxious about it. It can be a hit to their self-confidence, their self-esteem, and can make them the target of bullying. And then the problem isn’t simply that they need help getting caught up to their peers in a certain subject; instead, it becomes a bigger problem.
This is exactly why choosing a tutor is more than just finding someone who is a subject matter expert and who knows more about what your child is struggling with than they do. It is equally as important for your tutor to understand the bigger picture and be able to relate to your child in a positive way that will help them gain confidence and learn skills that will stay with them.
The Top 4 Most Important Qualities of an Effective Tutor
- Knowledge: Must be a subject matter expert
- Skill: Must have experience teaching and tutoring
- Empathy: Must be able to see and work with a student as a whole person
- Flexibility: Must be able to personalize and adapt tutoring for each individual child’s needs
These are not the only qualities that define an effective tutor, but they are the must-haves. It’s also very important to be a good listener and to respect the concerns and fears the student may have. There is also a need to be able to maintain discipline without being an authoritarian. Kids are going to have times where they would rather goof off than have a tutoring session, and an effective tutor needs to know if they should steer them back to work or reschedule for another time.
Successful Tutoring is a Partnership
There are four partners in every successful tutoring relationship:
Student: It’s more difficult to make progress with a reluctant student than with a student who sees tutoring as being helpful and supportive. Fostering a positive attitude towards tutoring is key to its success.
Parents: Parents are busy. They may have jobs and other children and responsibilities, so the tendency is to find a tutor and leave it up to the tutor and student to work things out. Checking in with the tutor regularly is important to the child’s success. And helping the child prepare for and then review each tutoring session is a great way to stay involved and know what your child is learning.
Teachers: When classroom teachers are aware of and involved in their student’s tutoring, chances are it will be more effective. Teachers can provide the syllabus to the tutor, and communicate what they see as the student’s strengths and weaknesses. This helps the tutor know what to focus on.
Tutor: The best tutors know that communication is critical. Working with parents and with classroom teachers will help them to be more successful in their tutoring efforts. It’s also important for tutors to connect with other tutors and to stay on top of professional development opportunities.
Your child may respond better to a female tutor or a male tutor. Some children need a firmer hand while others need an empathetic, supportive tutor. If language differences are a factor, matching a student with a tutor who can speak their language and who sounds like them may be important. They key is to choose the tutor you think your child will be able to connect with and learn from most effectively. If, after a few sessions, you or your child don’t feel that connection is working, by all means switch to a different tutor.
In keeping with the Top 4 Most Important Qualities of an Effective Tutor, all TutorUp tutors are:
- Certified teachers in the subject(s) they are tutoring
- Experienced classroom teachers with tutoring experience
- Skilled at working with students who are struggling and have all different levels of achievement
- Able to work effectively face-to-face and one-on-one in the online tutoring environment, personalizing each session for that student