There was once a time that finding outside help wasn’t the thing to do and parents would place all their faith in the schools and teachers to facilitate children achieving their potential. These days it is seen as perfectly reasonable and quite common practice to seek the help of a tutor if you find your child is struggling or would simply like a little extra help to extend their school work.
However, finding the right tutor for your child is important to ensure they get everything they can out of the extra help, and to make sure they won’t simply be left even more confused!
Qualifications – This may go without saying but always ensure that the tutor you pick has the necessary qualifications in which to help you. The way private tutors become successful is through word of mouth and good references, so it is worth asking other parents and even your child’s school if they have any to recommend to you. If the tutor will be assisted by others, always check out their qualifications and experience too. Some tutors are assisted by local sixth form students and there is nothing wrong with this unless you feel you are paying for the experience of the qualified tutor and are not receiving it.
Past Success – You can always ask how they have helped other students achieve their goals and see how they will be going about helping your child to achieve theirs. A tutor that has a structured plan focused on achievement that is tailored specifically to your child shows their commitment.
Ask Schools – Schools will be able to recommend good and reliable services for tutors and this way they are also made aware of what areas your child is struggling with the most. In class, teachers can then pay more attention and help improve your child’s skills wherever possible.
Specific Expertise – Find a tutor that has experience and knowledge in the specific topic / area that your child needs help with. For example, if possible define the subject and ensure the tutor has some experience in the curriculum and in teaching it as well as the level that your child is at. When using a tutor for revision for an exam its essential that the tutor is aware of what level of question is likely to be asked.
How your child wants to learn – There is also the decision of whether or not your child wants to have private tuition or be part of a group with other students; the group approach can be very beneficial as students learn not only from the tutor but from each other as well. It depends on which environment your child will be most comfortable in which will in turn influence how well they achieve.
Ask for a trial session or at least an initial meeting; any tutor confident in their ability to help your child will want you to be sure too before expecting you to make any commitment.
Sharon Hughes is an experienced maths teacher, mum of two and owner of Tutors4gcse. Tutors4gcse offer a range of services aimed at helping learners achieve their potential, including qualified and experienced, subject specialist tutors.