How to Hire a Tutor
So, you need a tutor for your child. Where do you begin? Here are some steps to find the right person for the job!
How to Help Your Child
Before you can decide who to hire, you need to assess your child's needs. Here are some questions to consider:
- What subject(s) does he need help in?
- Are there underlying issues (too many activities, learning disabilities, etc.)?
- Does he respond well to adults? Teens? Peers?
- Would he do better with online tutoring or face to face?
- What is your budget?
Once you've answered these questions, you have an idea of what kind of tutoring you need. This profile will guide you to selecting the right tutor.
How to Find Tutors
There are many ways to find potential tutors to work with your child. If you are looking for someone to tutor online, location isn't a factor. For online tutoring, check sites such as Tutor.com, Educate Online or TutorVista.com. These sites have a matching process that will assist in finding candidates for tutoring your child.
If you would prefer a local tutor for in person sessions, here are some sources for finding potential tutors:
- Ask at School: Explain the situation and ask your child's teacher or guidance counselor for suggestions. They may know other teachers who may be good candidates.
- Search Online: There are sites that can assist with finding local tutors. Care.com has an excellent Tutoring and Lessons section, which provides matches for tutors within a specific distance and with certain qualifications.
- Call Local Universities: Many colleges and universities have programs that match college students with tutoring opportunities. If your local college doesn't have such a program, contact the department of the subject that he needs assistance in (the math department if you are looking for a math tutor) and inquire about potential tutors.
- Ask Other Parents: Ask parents of other children to see if they have utilized tutors and may have some recommendations.
Phone Interview Questions
You've identified some candidates. Now what? Start with a phone interview to weed out the candidates that aren't a good fit. Here are some basic questions to ask during the phone interview:
- What is your background and experience in tutoring? Give some examples
- What grades and subjects are your strengths?
- What is your availability?
- What rate do you charge per hour?
Then move on to the tougher discussion:
- Describe the problems your child is having. What is frustrating to him? To you? What do you think is the underlying issue?
- Discuss any additional factors, such as learning disabilities.
- Ask the candidate to describe the steps he or she would take in working with your child. What would their plan look like? What would they do in a tutoring session?
Keep in mind that the ideal candidate will need more than just a background in the subject your child needs help in. They also need to be able to address the situation, keep the sessions engaging, and motivate your child to work hard and succeed.
Good Relationships with your Children
When you interview the candidate in person, make sure your child is there for the discussion. You can weed out some of the candidates with phone interviews, so your child doesn't have to participate in so many sessions. However, it's very important for your child to be part of the interview process.
Here are some things to look for during the interview:
- How does the candidate interact with your child? Is he or she expressing interest or asking your child questions?
- Is the candidate talking to both you and to your child? Beware of candidates who want to impress you and essentially ignore the child in the interview.
- How does the candidate break the ice with your child? Does your child seem comfortable, or is he uninterested, bored, or put off?
The relationship between a student and tutor is key to his success, so it needs to start off right.
Call References for the Tutor
Always ask for references from your tutoring candidates. These should be references related to past tutoring experiences. If those are not available, ask for other professional references. You can learn a lot from those as well.
Here are some examples of questions to ask references:
- How do you know him/her?
- What do you know about his/her tutoring experience? Ask for specific details.
- Describe how he/she interacts with children.
- Would you have any concerns about him/her working with children?
- How is his/her punctuality and attendance?
Asking these questions of professional references will give you a good idea of the type of tutor the candidate would be.
Set Expectations for Tutoring
Although this may seem like an informal relationship, remember that your child's learning is at stake! Be sure to set specific expectations with the tutor from the start (even before you hire them) so that both parties are on the same page. Here are some things to discuss:
- What happens if you or the tutor needs to cancel? How do you notify each other, and is the tutor still paid?
- How often will you check in? At what point do you expect to see progress?
- Where and when will the sessions take place?
- How many hours per week?
- How do you handle questions in between sessions? Are phone calls or emails okay?
Starting off on the right path will make the relationship smoother.
Finding the right tutor for your child is a very important process. Take the time you need to make sure you've found the right person, and you will watch your child succeed.