Questions for Parents to ask a Tutor

Questions for Parents to ask a Tutor

Questions Every Parent Should Ask a Tutor


Private tutoring can be a great way to improve the progress and educational outcomes of your child, but it is vitally important to find the right tutor for you and your child. Here are some of the important questions you should be asking a tutor before you consider hiring them covering their qualifications, approach, how they work with schools, and how they plan to help you prepare your child for a bright future!


What qualifications does the tutor have?


Ask about a tutor’s education. It will be helpful for a tutor to have attained a degree in the subject at hand, although qualifications do not of themselves make good tutors. Some fields, music for example, tend to place less emphasis on academic qualifications and more on competence with the instrument, but it is still worth asking. Find out what school your tutor went to, and what they studied. Are they a qualified teacher? Non-essential, but helpful for setting a context. Has the tutor taken the exam your child is preparing for?


What tutoring experience do they have?


How long has your tutor been in private tuition? How many students do they have? For some subjects, recent experience means relevant experience, especially when preparing for an exam.


Can they provide references from previous clients?


The experience of others can be a fabulous indicator of tutor performance. Any established tutor will have references and testimonials they can refer you to – probably on Facebook and email as well as in writing. Tutorially™ allows their tutors to collect and display reviews online with star-rating, making it simple to find a well-rated tutor.


Is the tutor's documentation up to date?


Many parents overlook what others consider the basics. In the UK, many tutors will undergo a DBS check to demonstrate they do not have a criminal record and are considered fit to work with vulnerable people… of which your child would be considered one! For teachers, this is a mandatory process, although the absence of a DBS check does not have to ring immediate alarm bells. We would always recommend staying close by with your child during tuition sessions, perhaps in an adjacent room to minimise disruption.


What are the private tutor's preferred teaching methods?


A bit of a free-form question this one, but an opportunity for you to establish whether the tutor sounds like a good fit for your child. You might consider asking additional questions around strategies to keep learning fun or to re-capture lost focus. After all, your child will likely be taking part in these tuition sessions after a long school day so no matter how fantastic the tutor, an occasional off-day is to be expected. How will your tutor react?


Where will the tutoring sessions take place?


For some students, travelling to a tutor's house will work well. Some prefer to have a tutor visit them, but expect to pay more owing to the time and expense of travelling. Tutorially™ provides the facility for tutors to teach online, which can be fantastically convenient as well as effective.


How long are the tuition sessions?


After a long school day and extra-curricular activities, can your child can concentrate fully for an hour, or would a shorter session be more appropriate? Discuss with your tutor and decide what you feel works best. Ask them what they would recommend and keep the session length under review – with appropriate notice it is usually relatively easy to shorten or extend tuition sessions as required.


What do you need to provide for lessons?


An important consideration when planning the cost of tuition. Some tutors provide all materials, where others expect parents and/or students to purchase books and download materials from the Internet. Not necessarily a problem, but a good thing to clarify.


Which exam syllabus(es) is the tutor familiar with?


Make sure to ask your tutor which exam boards they are familiar with to make sure they are a fit for the test your child will take at the conclusion of study. Each exam board publishes their syllabus online, making it easy for you to check requirements as well as downloading past papers for practice!


Does the tutor have a speciality?


You’d hope any tutor you met would be capable in their subject, but many tutors have secondary specialisms as well. Some specialise in exam preparation, UCAS applications, building confidence or developing focus in ‘challenging’ students! These tutors will be able to tell you exactly what to expect and help prepare them to be at their very best.


How can parents help?


Some parents look for a private tutor so save themselves the stress and aggravation associated with trying to help their child learn. Some may not feel qualified to teach their child, where the closeness of the relationship can often make such situations tense. Tuition can be a significant investment, but it is possible to get the benefits without paying for a full-time governess! Ask your tutor what advice they can give you on helping your child, working with them and the tutor for the best results possible. You may also wish to be involved in your child’s education, which is awesome!


How does the tutor assess and track progress?


As a parent and paying customer, you will naturally want to see results. Tutors' assessment methods will all vary, as will the means for tracking progress, but any tutor should be prepared to demonstrate progress and have an established means to do so. You will not be the first or last person to ask!


Can parents contact the tutor between lessons?


The majority of tutors value student relationships very highly, and as a parent you are the customer in terms of payments. Most tutors are very happy to be contacted between lessons, but successful tutors are busy people and if they are also working teachers you may find it difficult to get in touch during the day. Make sure to understand general tutor availability from the outset, since communication difficulties can cause issues. Mutual understanding is key.


How can a private tutor help prepare your child for the future?


The $64,000 question! Another question with no correct answer, but a great opportunity to find out whether your tutor’s aspirations align with your own. Clearly, if there is an exam coming up that will be a focus, but tutors are likely to cite the main outcome of education being providing a student with the means to teach themselves. Whatever answer you get, be sure to find a tutor who sounds like a fit for you, your child and your household.


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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