Things to consider when hiring a private tutor
In this post we look at some qualities of a good tutor and offer ten things to consider when hiring a private tutor
A good tutor needs to have a good understanding and knowledge of the material that s/he is tutoring and so it’s important that they have a strong formal background in the subject area. Don’t be afraid to ask a prospective home tutor about their qualifications – we would expect them to be qualified to at least a level higher than the level they are tutoring. For primary school age children, a tutor with at least a GCSE grade C in maths and English would be recommended. Teaching older students, in high school or college, requires more specialist knowledge and so the ideal tutor would have at least an A Level, but ideally a degree, in the relevant subject.
Helping others learn requires great communication skills, patience and the ability to identify the best way to convey the material that matches the individual needs of the learner. Ask to meet the tutor first to see if you and/or the student get on.
Previous experience in either tutoring or teaching is highly recommended when choosing a tutor, and that experience should ideally include the grade-level of the material you are covering.
A good tutor should be knowledgeable about the current education system and know what is expected of students at the various educational levels in the subject(s) they tutor. If you are looking for a primary school tutor, a good tutor will be familiar with the work children cover at keystage 1 and 2. If you are looking for a tutor for GCSE or A level, check that the tutor is familiar with the specific syllabus the student is studying.
Many academic studies have recognised that students learn best when they have more attention to their individual needs and one-on-one learning maximises the benefits of tutoring. There are various learning and teaching styles and it is important, especially on a one on one basis, to find the tutor best suited to the student. Don’t be afraid to ask to meet with the tutor first and to ask the tutor how they go about tutoring and how they would help your child.
Why do you want to hire a tutor?
Consider why you are looking to hire a tutor. Is it for general help and/or confidence boosting or is there a specific goal, like preparing for an exam? If the tuition is for exam preparation, ask the tutor if they are familiar with the exam being taken; ask the tutor about the results their past students have achieved in the exam(s).
To save time and travel expense, it is best to have the tutoring near you, or even in your own home. Many tutors offer the option of having the tuition at your home or at the tutor’s home. If you prefer tuition at your own home it is best to allocate a quiet place free from distraction and ideally with a table/desk and chairs for the student and tutor to work.
A tutor’s availability will depend on several factors, such as your location, the times you require tuition, the time of year [most tutors are fully booked close to public exam times] and the level you require – the most experienced, successful tutors get booked quickly and so often have less availability and/or a waiting list. Some tutors are only available out of school hours and/or at weekends, whereas others may be free at other times.
Tutors need to be compensated for their time (they’ve also got families to feed!), so it’s unrealistic to expect good tutoring for a very low cost or free – again, the most experienced, highly successful tutors are in high demand and as a result charge higher fees. One to one, individualised tutoring will naturally cost a little extra. Also, if you want the tutor to travel to your home, expect to have to pay a little extra to cover their time and travel expense. Whether or not that is a good investment will depend on the individual needs of the learner, and their enthusiasm to succeed.
Terms & conditions
Tutors that take their profession seriously are likely to have terms and conditions in relation to cancellations, notice requirements and fees etc so don’t forget to ask the tutor what their terms and conditions are.
If you need a tutor in the Manchester or Cheshire area then contact us today.