There are many things you should look for when choosing the right private tutor. Sometimes though it will come down to trying various tutors out and seeing which one works best with you. Outlined here are the characteristics you should look for and the steps you should then take to ensure you've chosen the right person.
Choosing your private tutor – Male, Female?
If you're choosing a private tutor for your child, be aware that with all the best intentions you and your tutor may have, children can take an instant unwarranted dislike to new adults in their home. Your child may refer better to male teachers than female teachers or vice versa. Ask your child which they would prefer as they will then feel involved and it will become their decision to select the tutor rather than it being forced upon them. It can be very difficult to judge how a person will get on with your child without actually trying it. We encourage our clients to try our tutors out, if they do not work out with the children there's usually another tutor available to take over. There's a fine line between perseverance with a tutor that is not getting on well with your child and giving up too early before a tutor is able to make a "breakthrough". We all know how stubborn children can be!
Experience and Qualifications
Depending on the level of private tutoring you are looking for you will obviously have different experience and qualifications requirements. Qualification checks are the one way you can be sure that your private tutor knows what they're talking about. For primary school all you really need to look for is someone with either a teaching degree or a university student (undergraduate) that has a great rapport with children. The way to find out if they're good with children is usually through word-of-mouth. Our tutoring service has online feedback for all our tutors so look for something like this if you are going through an agency. The higher the level of tutoring you are looking for the higher the qualifications requirements will be. If you are studying for a degree you will probably be looking for a post-graduate tutor who is specializing in your subject. It can be difficult to check your tutor's qualifications so we recommend you go through an agency that's reputation is hinged on providing high-quality tutoring services and will have checked these kinds of things out for you.
Experience is more important with younger people as experienced tutors will have devised ways of keeping focus and disciplining your child covertly! A friend of mine rewards her children with biscuits which makes them extremely attentive and willing to listen! As with anything, expect to get what you pay for. Highly experienced private tutors generally will charge a premium for their services. There really is no substitute for a highly experienced, qualified and reliable private tutor.
Location / Availability
Try to pick a private tutor that lives fairly close to you. Traffic promises, especially if you live in a built-up area, can be frustrating for both parties. The closer the tutor is to you the easier it will be for them to arrive on time. Make sure that your tutor's availability does not clash with other pre-arranged activities. Childrens diaries are so full these days that it's easy to mix up booking times. Try also to pick a time that leaves enough breathing room for your child either side. The last thing your child wants to do is walk in from school and straight into a home tutoring lesson! It also should not be too late at night as tiredness has a big impact on concentration levels.
Reputation / Word of mouth
The most compelling motivator to selecting a private tutor is a positive referral. If you can find a tutor that has great feedback from others, especially from your own social group then you're on to a winner! If you know someone that is using a private tutor, ask them if you can sit in on the lesson and watch it. The tutor may be uncomfortable with this so be sure to check with them first. First-hand experience is the best way of choosing a tutor that's right for you.
How do I know I've chosen the right person?
When you have chosen a tutor for your child, be sure to sit in on the lesson if possible. If this is provoking distracting to your child then talk to them afterwards and ask them to go over what they covered. Reinforcement of the things that they learned is a proven technique in improving memory skills. Showing an interest in what your child is learning can result in your child taking much more interest in the subject themselves. The proof of the pudding is in the eating so you should see a marked improvement in confidence at school or grades in exams. Private tutoring can be expensive so make sure you are getting good value for money.