Sep 19, 2017
Ten important practices for parents to ensure a positive tutoring relationship.
Positive working relationships are essential to almost all successful collaborations. Communication, understanding, mutual respect, trust, and honesty all play a role in facilitating effective outcomes. The tutor-parent relationship is no exception, It’s no with a good relationship relying heavily on these components. As a parent, your relationship with your child’s tutor can affect greatly affect progress throughout the engagement, and the last thing you want is a poor tutoring outcome due to a strained connection between you and your child’s tutor. Follow these ten practices when working with your child’s tutor to promote a positive relationship and facilitate the best educational outcome.
Be prepared. The time tutors spend with their students is limited. The ideal engagement has your child working with their tutor from the moment their session starts until the moment it ends. To ensure this happens, make sure you’re prepared. If your sessions take place in your home, have a workspace set up with the materials your child will need for the session and before it begins. If they take place somewhere else, make sure that you arrive on time. In addition, if their tutor has assigned homework or asked you to bring past work to the session, have that ready ahead of time.
Schedule sessions in advance. Tutors are busy, and student agendas can be hectic. It’s ideal for sessions to be scheduled in advance. By planning ahead, you’ll be more likely to secure your desired date and no one will have to deal with an inconvenient time or, worse, a last-minute scramble.
Pay on time. Consistently making late payments is a good way to cause tension. Tutors often depend on timely payment and, of course, expect to be paid for the services they provide. Remember, you are hiring a tutor for their professional expertise and they deserve to be paid for their help. Determine your tutor’s preferred payment method and make sure you understand -- and adhere to -- their payment policy. If they haven’t specified any of this information up front, it’s a good idea to be proactive and ask. If you anticipate payment being an issue for upcoming sessions, communicate your concerns ahead of time.
Provide details. It’s extremely helpful for your child’s tutor to have as many relevant details as possible. Talk to them about anything related to your child’s academic record. Things such as learning style, successes, obstacles, frustrations, attention span, and more will help your tutor better adjust and tailor sessions from the get-go, leading to quicker outcomes. Also, consider relaying allergies and other non-academic, but important, details that may arise during sessions.
Keep communication flowing. Strong and open communication channels are key to a good relationship. Did you recently speak with your child’s teacher about issues they’ve seen with homework? Does your child have an upcoming non-academic commitment that will be adding to their schedule? Be transparent with your tutor about anything that may affect sessions, no matter what it is. On the other side, remain open to your tutor and make it clear that you value exchange of information. While you should expect them to talk to you about your child’s progress through sessions and voice any concerns they may have with your child’s progress, it goes both ways.
Don’t cancel last minute. Last minute cancellations are frustrating, especially if your tutor is already en route. Communicating in advance means they may be able to schedule another student and therefore not lose money. However, by waiting to cancel, this spot isn’t made available to another student and results in wasted time. Let your tutor know as far in advance as possible if your child won’t be able to make the session. Adhere to the tutor’s cancellation policy in these situations, and understand if you’re given a penalty for it. It is worth noting that, of course, life can be unpredictable. Either way, talk to your tutor about any issues that arise as soon as you possibly can.
Read progress reports. Your tutor should provide progress reports throughout the engagement. These reports outline the student’s progress versus the original engagement goals. They also note specific areas worked on throughout sessions, along with strengths and weaknesses in most cases. It’s important that you remain aware of your child’s development throughout the engagement, and an easy way to do this is by reading the reports. This will allow you to communicate with your tutor in real time versus down the line, which can be a pain. It also allows you to adjust expectations or goals if needed and assess growth.
Be an active participant. Keep up with your child’s tutoring sessions and remain aware of what they are working on with their tutor. It will allow for much easier communication and your involvement will help strengthen the relationship between you, your child, and their tutor. Between sessions, follow the tutor’s recommendations for exercises and homework that will help strengthen their skills. Actively work with your child between sessions to carry out suggested practice work, and talk to your child about how sessions are going.
Give feedback. Feedback is important in any career and tutoring is no exception. Tutors often have numerous clients, and feedback can be helpful in identifying things they need to change or ramp up, allowing for more tailored sessions. By providing feedback about how you feel the sessions are going and any other relevant details, you’ll help encourage a positive relationship. Also, voice any concerns you may have the moment they arise. Whether you’re unhappy with the direction of sessions or something less significant, always speak up. It’s never a good idea to let a problem build up, leading to a blowup down the line. If you can’t reach a resolution, it may be time to look for a new tutor.
Be on the same team. It’s important to understand that you and your child’s tutor are both working towards the same goal -- your child’s success. Be supportive them in their endeavors and make decisions together. A great parent-tutor relationship depends on mutually respecting one another and working together.
In a tutoring engagement, parents have important role to play. Fostering a positive relationship with your child’s tutor will have significant benefits for both you and your child, and will promote a learning environment conducive to success. The above concepts shouldn’t be difficult for anyone to follow and, by adhering to these guidelines, you’ll be supporting the tutor who is supporting your child, and hopefully helping to produce the best educational outcome.
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