5 Questions to Ask a Potential Tutor
With school in full swing, students are getting past the review portion of their learning and starting to work on new concepts. This brings about the time of year when students may begin to struggle with concepts they don’t understand. Sometimes, they just need a few more minutes with the teacher before or after school. However, at times they need more one on one time. That is when a tutor becomes beneficial. How to choose a tutor becomes an even bigger problem than trying to afford one. It has become even worse according to Dr. Sandi Ayaz, executive director of the National Tutoring Association, who says that private tutoring in the U.S. alone has “exploded tenfold” over the past eight years. That is because while some parents are hiring to tutors to help their child who is struggling academically, there are parents who hire tutors to push their child to do better and obtain higher goals. Things that are not possible in the traditional classroom today.
Whatever the reason, a parent is hiring a tutor it is equally important that the tutor they hire is qualified and will work well with the child’s learning style and ability. To make sure that you have found the proper tutor for your child make sure that you follow these 5 questions to ask a potential tutor.
5 Questions to Ask a Potential Tutor
1. What is your teaching style?
Every student learns differently, which is why it’s impossible for school teachers to structure their classroom lessons to match each individual student’s preferred learning style. The right private tutor, however, can adapt lessons to cater to your child’s strengths whether he is an auditory learner (learns best by listening), visual learner (learns best through sight) or a kinesthetic learner (learns best through experience). Before you hire a tutor, find out if he can structure lessons in a format that is conducive to your child’s preferred learning style.
2. What is your plan for helping my child?
While this may seem like a loaded question for someone who has not yet met your child or even seen examples of his school work, the response will reveal the tutor’s thought process for diagnosing your child’s needs and creating a plan to achieve the desired results. The right tutor will have a strategy, and possibly specific methods, for identifying problem areas and understanding the child’s learning behavior. An effective tutor will also recognize the importance of working with the student (and in some cases, the parents) to establish performance improvement goals that are both measurable and attainable.
3. Why do you tutor?
Tutoring is about building a productive learning relationship between a tutor and student. The most effective tutors are individuals who are passionate about teaching and are able to derive value from seeing their students succeed. While many tutors provide lessons as a primary or supplemental source of income, the ideal tutor will take a vested interest in your child’s progress and have the patience and willingness to do whatever it takes to help your child succeed.
4. Do you have any references, or have you worked with students in a similar situation as my child?
Objective, reliable references are very informative but they can also be hard to come by. Online tutoring marketplaces like WyzAnt Tutoring* compile lesson ratings and written reviews from actual students who have previously worked with tutors. Reading third-party reviews from parents and students who have worked with a tutor will provide invaluable insight into what you can expect from a tutor in terms of subject proficiency and personality. If you choose to hire a tutor on your own rather than through a reputable marketplace, it’s still a good idea to ask for references; however, the reference you receive may not be a completely impartial source.
5. How can you help my child become an independent learner?
The most effective and valuable tutoring relationships will help the student become a more engaged, independent learner. Memorizing and mastering very specific topics or skills may yield some results, but it is ultimately a short-term solution to the student’s broader educational needs. While certain lessons may focus on a particularly troublesome topic, learning to understand and appreciate the learning process, theory and logic behind concepts will help your child overcome subsequent obstacles, avoid future frustration and flourish as a student.
**WyzAnt Tutoring is an online marketplace for private tutors. WyzAnt’s network includes more than 75,000 active private tutors nationwide in subjects that range from math and science to test preparation and music.