Aug 01, 2017
Where to find a tutor after narrowing your search parameters and the important questions to ask prospective hires.
After having read parts one and two of Clark’s Advice For Parents Who Need A Tutor series, you’ve determined that your child needs support outside of the classroom and identified the important factors to consider when preparing to hire a tutor. Now it’s time to start your search but with all the resources available, where do you start? Today’s final post in this series highlights the best tools for your search and the questions you’ll want to ask prospective hires. Read on for advice on making your ultimate decision:
Schools: It’s often possible to find tutoring and extra academic programs through your child’s school. Even if they don’t offer these services, talking to your local school should still be top of mind when searching. They will, at the very least, usually be able to recommend private companies, individuals, or other ideas for parents who need tutors for their children.
Classifieds: Be sure to browse through the classifieds section of your local newspaper, as many tutors will list their services there. You can also try heading to a nearby public location that has a community bulletin board allowing local service providers to post flyers. Many times you’ll find tutors who are available.
Peer tutoring: Sometimes, your child may just need some one-on-one time with a fellow classmate to achieve the desired results. Peer tutors can be in the same class with your child or have taken the same class in the past. They’re great options for students who feel more comfortable communicating with someone who is similar to them rather than someone who feels more like an authority figure. If you’d like to explore peer tutoring, you can speak with your child’s teachers to find out if they might be able to recommend someone or discuss the idea with other local parents in your network.
Nonprofit organizations: Talk to local and national nonprofit organizations for help finding a tutor. Your local YMCA will often be able to assist in identifying helpful resources for you, as will many education nonprofits. If your child has a learning disability, you can also contact nonprofits that focus on those specific issues as they will frequently be capable of connecting you to people who are qualified in teaching children needing individualized help outside of the classroom.
Learning centers: Learning centers are wonderful resources for parents looking to hire tutors. These companies do a lot of the vetting legwork for you, ensuring those who are supported have good credentials. They also often handle the payment and other administrative processes, allowing you to rest easy knowing that it’s taken care of and there’s nothing dishonest going on behind the scenes.
Tutor-for-hire websites: There are many sites today that act as marketplaces for parents to find qualified tutors. These platforms allow tutors to list their services, rates, and credentials while providing filtering abilities that allow you to narrow down options to fit your preferences. These websites generally vet their tutors before allowing their profiles to go live. However, you will want to double check with any prospective hires as they often have a high volume of service providers and thus the vetting process sometimes isn’t as robust as you’ll want it to be. One example of a popular tutor-for-hire platform is Chegg Tutors, along with many other tutoring agencies who offer virtual tutoring services along with their in-person programs (and look out for Clark’s matching service launching this fall!).
Classifieds: Virtual classifieds tools seem to be popping up every day, and it’s generally very easy to find a tutor through these platforms. The major players in the tutoring services realm are Craigslist, mytutorlist.com, teachers.net, Nextdoor, Thumbtack and even freelancer.com. There are two downsides of searching on classified sites, the first being that these platforms sometimes host services of all types, making the search a bit more time consuming. Also, anyone can post listings and there sometimes isn’t any vetting done for services offered. That doesn’t mean that you won’t find excellent tutors on these sites, but it does mean that you’ll want to be prepared to do more of the vetting legwork on your own if you do find someone you’d potentially like to work with based on their ads.
Social media groups: A great option for finding tutors online is through social media groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Angie’s List, and Yelp. The latter two are helpful due to their robust review systems and you’ll often be able to find someone who comes recommended in the community. At the same time, while these two sites are technically online, the tutors you find will likely be local as searches are completed via location. The former two, Facebook and LinkedIn, can often provide a bit more flexibility if you’re looking for a remote tutor.
It’s a good idea to choose a few prospective tutors during your search. Once you have a couple of options, you’ll want to take the time to vet them. Be sure to meet with or schedule a call with your prospects and, when you do, be ready to get answers to the following questions:
Teaching and tutoring experience: Make sure the person you work with has the experience you’re looking for in a tutor for your child. You’ll want to ensure they have an exceptional grasp on the subject matter and have practice putting together lesson plans, providing appropriate feedback, and have other education-related procedures down pat.
Credentials: Sometimes credentials aren’t mandatory depending on what your child needs help with, but they are certainly valuable (and sometimes required in other situations). For example, if your child has a learning disability you’ll want to work with someone who is trained and certified to work with students affected by that specific issue.
Scheduling and availability: Remember to double check prospective tutors’ availability against yours and your child’s to ensure that they will be able to accommodate your calendar and meet frequently enough to achieve your goal. Also, check that they don’t have any upcoming long-term commitments, such as career changes, that might interfere with or shorten the length of engagement you’re trying to achieve.
Policies: Find out whether they already have specific policies in place as you’ll need to make sure they are mutually agreeable before you get started. Types of policies include fee schedule, late payment penalties, cancellation procedures, and others.
Communication: Ask up front about their communication style and what you can expect from them. Will they be sending you progress reports each week? Do they need you to check in with them regularly on scheduling or updates? Ensure the person you hire has a compatible communication approach so you can both have common expectations before you begin your engagement.
Past results: Ask prospects about the results they’ve achieved with students in the past. Instead of having them only focus on their successes, find out more about the students they’ve struggled to significantly help, if any. It’ll be important for you to determine if your child’s needs are similar to those they’ve worked with before and, if so, what you might be able to expect based on their past clients.
References: Finally, it’s a great idea to ask anyone you’re interviewing if they can provide references. Past clients are often the most valuable, but you can also ask them if there are any past professors, relevant peers, or professional contacts you can consider speaking with.
There are many reasons your child may benefit from a tutor and when you make the decision to hire someone, it’s not always easy to figure out how to get started on your search. Taking enough time to identify your child’s major hurdles and lay out goals will help you narrow your search before you get started. Once your parameters are set, there are many resources to aid in helping you find the ideal tutor for your child.
Looking for a tutor for your child? Stay tuned for Clark’s tutor matching service, launching this fall. Subscribe to the Clark newsletter to stay up to date on the official launch.