The number of children in private tuition has risen significantly in recent years. With more and more tutoring services such as Tutorially™ available, many parents are asking themselves: 'how should I go about finding reputable tutors near me?' Finding a tutor has become easier with the arrival of the Internet, and recent innovations such as online tutoring mean you are no longer restricted to your local area. Finding a good tutor, however, remains as difficult as ever. And a tutor may be great for one child, but not so great for the next. With a bit of help from experienced tutor Paul Reynolds, we’ll go over a few pointers to help you find a good tutor for your child, improving the hit and avoiding the miss!
As a parent, you are the best qualified to find a good tutor for your child. Make sure to take a look at your child’s school books to help you understand their academic strengths and weaknesses. Consider feedback from teachers at recent parent’s evenings when choosing a subject for private tuition outside the school, but also keep in mind your child’s interests and passions. The reality here is you are going to be making your child do school work outside of school hours, and that weight will be far easier for all to bear with a little more enthusiasm for a subject.
There are many ingredients that come together to make a good tutor, some can be easily validated where others call for using your gut. Few tutors will tick every box, so considering the overall result is more important than any single category.
Qualifications - A lack of qualifications may not make a tutor bad, but it makes it harder for them to demonstrate their worth. What level of education does the tutor have, and what school did they go to? Many qualified teachers with classroom experience are expensive as tutors, but they may still be good value for their fee. Some subjects are less reliant on qualifications and more on practical application and experience. Bringing us neatly on to…
Experience - What experience does the tutor have of teaching children of the same age the subject at hand? Have they previously supported children approaching the exam you would like your child prepared for? Perhaps they have taken the exam themselves and have first-hand experience. Students often advertise lower rates for tutoring and may lack qualifications, but they may also have more recent and relevant experience of the syllabus, which is worth considering.
References and Testimonials - Can the tutor provide references from past students and their parents, ideally for both results and teaching style? A proven track record is a strong indicator of finding a good tutor, though obviously no two students are the same. Testimonials are a guide toward finding a good tutor, not a guarantee.
Documentation - A good indicator of an experienced tutor is having the right documentation to hand. Asking the tutor to bring their DBS (the government's new name for the CRB Criminal Record check), and one or two academic certificates along to the first lesson is a good way to check qualifications for yourself. Whether using a reputable online service like Tutorially™ or personal recommendation, nothing is more important than the wellbeing of your child, and an up to date DBS check provides peace of mind. Although being nearby while your child is receiving tuition is always advisable – not just for safety, it is also important to be engaged in your child’s education, particularly in a service you are paying for!
Once you’re satisfied that your prospective tutor has the right skills and experience to deliver the tuition service you need, as well as an ability to prove their talent and trustworthiness, we move from finding a good tutor to making sure you have found a tutor who will be a good fit with your child and your family. So, what makes a tutor the right tutor for you?
Where would you like lessons to take place? Some tutors like to teach in their own homes so they can assure students of no distractions, as well as saving time on travel. If you would like a tutor to come to your home, you will need to be sure you can offer a suitable environment where it will be easy to focus on the lesson, as well as likely paying a premium to cover travel time. More and more tutors are offering online lessons over the Internet today saving the difficulties of travel as well as reducing safeguarding concerns one might associate with children and unknown tutors.
Will the tutor ‘get on’ with your child? Hugely subjective, and to an extent the only way to find out is to give a lesson a go. Many good tutors offer an initial one-off session to discuss current student abilities and your ambitions, lesson length and frequency as well as any other pertinent information. This session will be invaluable for gauging the potential for success. A good tutor will quickly adapt to a new student and likely offer the same level of service to all but the most resistant of students, as well as asking for your thoughts on how best to motivate your child. A student who does not connect with a tutor may result in less than perfect results from the session. You might want to ask the tutor how lessons are structured, what strategies the tutor has to keep material engaging, particularly for lessons that potentially happen after a full day at school. A good tutor will have a plan for all situations based on their experience. Being close enough to be aware of progress without being in the room and influencing it is advised.
What kind of involvement do you want as a parent? Some tutors are happy to work with schools to ensure a ‘joined up’ approach, but many work to their own schedule to compliment the national curriculum without direct reference to the same source material. Would you like additional work set for completion during the week? Although becoming increasingly popular as parents’ expectations of their offspring rise year on year, be careful about balance – pushing a child too hard can be counter-productive. A good tutor will be able to help you find the right balance.
Whether the lessons are online or in person, make sure cost and payment arrangements meet your expectations and are agreed before tutoring begins. Discuss tutoring with your child after the first lesson, the most important factors being whether they enjoyed the session and whether their thoughts align with yours. If everyone feels the session went well, chances are you have managed to find the right tutor for you. Arrange another lesson and go from there.
As parents ourselves, at Tutorially™ we would always stress you should trust your instincts as a parent. If you get a negative vibe from a tutor, don’t be shy about your first session also being the last. A good tutor will understand they cannot be a perfect fit for everybody, and a professional one will not take any offence. The child is, of course, the most important person in this interaction, so always make sure to put their wants and needs front and centre to get the best possible results from any good tutor.
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