Jul 25, 2017
The important details for parents to consider when starting the search for a tutor.
In Part 1 of Clark’s Advice For Parents Who Need A Tutor blog series, you learned about the indicators that your child could benefit from additional academic support. If you checked off one or more of those boxes, your next step is to hire a tutor. Where do you start to find the right one? Today in part two of the series, you’ll learn about the factors to consider prior to starting your search.
Before officially beginning your search for an ideal tutor, you’ll want to make sure you’re going into it with a strong understanding of the key details to clearly articulate your child’s needs. This will help you narrow your search from the start and ensure a better match overall. Here are the important factors to know before getting started on your tutor hunt:
The issue at hand: there are many different types of tutors, and where you look should be dependent on the issue you’re trying to help your child overcome. Most tutors concentrate on certain topics, and getting as close as possible to your needs will result in a better outcome. If they are struggling with grades in a specific class, you should hone in on a subject-focused tutor. If your child has a learning disability, it’s important that you search for tutors who specialize in working with that specific condition. Even if you have multiple goals, identify what those are up front so you can narrow your search accordingly. And, if you haven’t yet seen part 1 of this blog series, you can check it out here to get a good sense of a variety of issues that may require a tutor’s assistance.
The age and grade level of your child: Again, most tutors have specialties in terms of the topics and proficiencies they tutor. The same goes for the age and level of student they most effectively work with. If your child is young, for example, you’ll have more success with someone who specifically works with children in that age group versus someone who may have experience with the subject matter, but hasn’t ever worked with pre-high school students. Searching for tutors who have experience working with students in your child’s age group is essential to ensure they will utilize the right techniques and pacing.
Personality and character: Your child’s personality is an important factor when to looking for a tutor. If your child is introverted, be on the lookout for someone who either specializes in working with introverted children or at the very least isn’t overly-extroverted. Beyond personality type, identify typical mannerisms or character attributes your child exhibits. For example, if your child gets easily frustrated or has issues focusing, look for a patient and understanding tutor. Similarly, if your child is creative and art-oriented, find a tutor who takes more of a hands-on, unique approach versus someone who works in a lecture-style.
Qualification parameters: Regardless of your goals for engaging with a tutor, it’s important to ensure that they’re qualified enough to get the job done. In general, you’ll need to identify candidates who have experience with the issue at hand and, ideally, have at least some experience in a tutoring or teaching setting. To go a step further, you may want to ask for testimonials and certifications. These are helpful in all circumstances as they serve to establish further additional professional credibility. In some cases, certification is even necessary, like if your child has a learning disability.
Desired length of engagement: The tutor you decide on engaging with will usually be different depending on whether you’re looking for a few sessions or a long-term engagement. Look at your child’s goals: are they working towards a specific date such as the SAT exam, or are they in need of a consistent support system to help with an ongoing issue? Where you look will depend on this as the lesson plans and program be distinct, and some tutors are more skilled at accomplishing specific goals within certain time frames.
Budget: it’s essential to go into your search knowing your budget up front. The price of a tutor ranges widely and can be anywhere from about $20 per hour all the way up to $100+ per hour. On the low end, you’ll generally find student and peer tutors and those without a great deal of teaching experience. On the high end, the tutors will often be very specialized with a great deal of experience and proven success as an educator. Other areas to consider when thinking about budget include length of engagement and number of sessions within a given time frame, along with whether the tutoring will take place in person or online, among other items. If you have a budget framework before you start your search, you won’t end up wasting any time with potential tutors who aren’t within reach.
Finding a tutor isn’t always straightforward, especially with the huge number of resources available today to assist in your search. However, if you carefully examine your goals and parameters prior to setting out on your journey, you’ll have a much easier time in finding an ideal tutor. Ready to get started? Stay tuned for Clark’s next post in this series for where you should look to land the ideal tutor.
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