I hear this from parents all the time.
Everyone I have spoken to lately has expressed a worry about the loss of learning for their children and how much work their child needs to do to catch up.
Homeschooling was an eye-opener for many parents, including myself. I have realised how much work a teacher puts in to get the children focused and engaged in their schoolwork. I have a renewed appreciation of the work they do.
For some, getting additional help and support from a tutor is the way to go. So, you have decided to look for a tutor but do not know where to start? Where to find them? What to pay? How many hours needed?
These are good questions to ask. The first thing you need to know is what the characteristics of a good tutor are. Here are my pointers to a good tutor.
- Qualification: Do they have teaching, completed a relevant degree or training courses? Not all tutors have teaching qualification. They need to demonstrate they have extensive knowledge of the material they are teaching. They need to find ways to help the student understand the material.
- Experience: How much experience do they have home tutoring children? Do they know the National Curriculum? Are they good with children with special educational needs? Tutoring one on one is different to teaching a class of 30 children. The tutor needs to show that they can adapt to the situation.
- Expertise: How well do they know their subject(s)? Are they an expert in their field? It depends on the students’ needs. For example, if your child is struggling with Year 3 Maths, you do not need a tutor with a master’s in mathematics.
- Are they DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked? The law allows anyone to call themselves a tutor and offer their services without one. It is a good practice to ensure the tutor you hire has it in place. It also needs to be current, preferably less than three years old. All reputable tutors will have one. Checks on the DBS are done before anyone enters the house. Tuition centres and tutoring companies will have done these checks beforehand and assure the parent of safeguarding practices.
- Personality: Do they have a good personality? Are they approachable and easy to talk to? Are they passionate about what they do? A good tutor not only imparts knowledge of a subject but enthuse their students to enjoy learning. It makes the session fun!
- Flexibility: Can they work around you and your child’s schedule? A one size fit all approach is not what you will get with a tutor. Lessons are created with your child in mind. When situations change, a good tutor can adjust to their lessons to fit the new situation.
- Knowledge Gaps: Any good tutor will quickly assess the missing blocks of information, and start filling them in. A student can only understand a subject fully if they have a solid foundation presented.
- Study techniques and skills: Are they knowledgeable about the current study skills and techniques? A tutor should know the different study strategies for the student to use going forward. These would be study skills, revision techniques and exam tips to use for future learning.
- Affordability: It depends on what your child needs? If they need help with a GCSE subject, seek a person with expertise in that subject. A qualified tutor will command more per hour than an A-Level student tutor. You are paying for the expertise. Prepare to pay anything from £30 per hour upwards for a tutor with teaching qualification or experience. You can get tutors for less, but they tend to be students who have done the subject, got good results and will coach other teenagers in getting good grades.
There are just a few things to be considered when looking for a tutor.
The one thing I will always say to a parent is this – involve your child in the conversation of getting a tutor. I have come across situations where the parents are keen on the idea, but the child hates it. Have the child get onboard with the idea; get them enthusiastic about it. The session would be a more enjoyable experience.
These are the characteristics you should look for in a good tutor.
Until next time.