How to Choose a Tutor

September 26, 2016 by Breanna
Image "How to Choose a Tutor?"
Not sure how to choose the right tutor for you or your child? Not sure what to look for in a tutor? This is our checklist of what to look for when choosing a tutor - which should help you pinpoint the right tutor to help you or your child progress academically.

What qualifications does the tutor have?
When choosing a tutor, find out about the tutor's education - what school and university they went to, what they studied - as well as asking if they have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Remember that 'experts' don't always make the best tutors; core knowledge is vital, but it can be equally important to ask if they took the same tests/exams your child is going to sit.

On Tutorfair, you can easily view a tutor’s qualifications on their profile. If you have any questions regarding a tutor’s qualifications, just ask, by sending a tutor a message.

What tutoring experience do they have?
Bear in mind that for certain subjects, such as UCAS applications, or degree-level help, a tutor who has recently been through the same process and been successful can be just as helpful, even if they have less tutoring experience.

Our tutors often write about their tutoring experience in their profile. If you are wondering if a tutor has experience with a certain exam board etc. feel free to send them a message and ask.

Can they provide testimonials from previous clients?
Reading what other students and parents have to say about a tutor can be the best way to find out what they might be like - today's digital word of mouth! Think of it like booking a restaurant online - it's always useful to have a nosey at some reviews first.

Tutorfair tutors have references and testimonials featured on their profile. We encourage all our clients to leave reviews for our tutors, it is really helpful for other parents and students who are deciding on which tutor is right for them.

Which examination board(s) is the tutor familiar with?
Ask your child's teacher which exam board they use, so that your child and the tutor are aligned. The syllabus for each board is available online, and often past or practice exam papers.
A tutor with experience as an examiner can also be really valuable, and this is something which may not always be advertised, so it's a good question to drop in.

Does the tutor have a speciality?
When deciding between tutors, realise that some tutors are specialists in exam practice, while others are best for confidence-building or for making learning fun. Some tutors have had successes with students taking specific exams; these tutors will be able to tell your child exactly what to expect and help prepare them to be at their very best. Don't be afraid to ask the tutor how they approach certain areas.

What 'extracurriculars' do they do?
Many of the most popular tutors on Tutorfair are those who are involved with interesting non-academic activities, have other jobs alongside tutoring, or who have won prizes at school or university. Having broad interests can be an indication of dedication, willing and hard work - all of which are vital in the work of a tutor.
Many of our tutors teach part-time alongside their regular work including schoolteachers, economists, lawyers, actors and musicians. Whereas there are many who tutor professionally, full-time.

Is the tutor's documentation up to date?
For some parents this is very important; for others, testimonials serve as sufficient evidence of a good tutor. Experienced tutors and anyone who is a teacher should have all the right documentation to hand.

Tutors who are “verified” on Tutorfair have had their documents checked by Tutorfair. If you want to book lessons with a tutor who isn’t verified, be sure to ask them to bring these documents to the first lesson.

We advise that you ask the tutor to bring their DBS (the government's new name for the CRB Criminal Record check), and one or two academic certificates along to the first lesson.

How long do their tutoring relationships usually last?
Depending on the horizon you have in mind for you or your child, it's a good idea to have an idea of whether you'd like tutoring to be long-term, or if you are simply looking for a few lessons before an exam or interview - and to communicate this with the tutor so that they can plan appropriately.

What is the tutor's approach to independent learning?
Knowing this can be a good step towards ensuring the tutor and your child will work well together and make good progress. The best tutors are aiming to get their students to a point where they no longer need them!

After each lesson ask your Tutorfair tutor to leave lesson feedback, that way you can keep on top of any homework your tutor has set, as well as the progress being made.

How do they make lessons engaging?
It's helpful to ask the tutor what ideas they have; will they use "fun" learning materials, or engage through mutual interests? Depending on the student, good tutors will quickly learn what the best approach is to engage your child, and will often ask for your advice on this.

If appropriate, what is their attitude to liaising with a child's school teacher?
Tutors’ liaising directly with schoolteachers isn’t uncommon, as it can be beneficial for both the tutor and the teacher. It helps ensure that teaching methods and goals are aligned. For example if your child’s school teaches a particular calculation technique in maths, it is best to explain the school’s method, as to not confuse the student. Also, teachers spend a large amount of time with your child, they are very in tune with your child’s academic abilities - these insights can be very useful to a tutor.

Who arranges all the required resources, worksheets, books and paper for lessons?
This is an important question to remember. Often parents provide these materials and tutors will likely advise parents and students on which books to order, or even order them for you.

How does the tutor conduct assessments?
Keeping track of progress is vital. Tutors' assessment methods will vary, as different practices work for different people, so be sure to ask what approach they use.
Tutorfair will prompt your tutor after each lesson to write lesson feedback – including a short progress report. Let your tutor know that you would like to receive this regular feedback.

What feedback can parents expect from the tutor and when?
Some tutors prefer to communicate in written reports, some will ask to schedule extra time for a meeting once a month or term, and others will try to give feedback in person at the end of each lesson. Think about what would work best for you and your child.

How long are the tutoring lessons?
Ask yourself, 'can my child concentrate fully for an hour, or are half-hour sessions more achievable?' This will entirely depend on the age of your child and what you and the tutor think is sensible. It's a good idea to ask the tutor how long they would recommend. Either way, breaks are vital, so don't forget to schedule those in too.

Can parents contact the tutor between lessons?
Most tutors are delighted to be in touch in between lessons. Tutorfair offer free messaging for parents for this purpose.

Do they set homework?
Many tutors choose not to add to the workload of a student. However, a small amount of work (or past papers during exam time) can be beneficial. Be involved in arranging the homework schedule so it fits in well with schoolwork, and if in doubt about helping, the tutor will be able to advise on what is best.

Some parents will have a tutor to help with all of their child's homework; for others, 10 hours of one-to-one tuition is a big investment. It's crucial to remember that you can benefit from the experience without lots of expense. Ask the tutor what advice they can give on strategies or skills you can work on with your child.

We hope these questions will help you choose a tutor who is right for you or your child. Remember that your first lesson is covered by our first lesson guarantee. If you are not happy, let us know within 48 hours and we will refund your first hour and help you find another tutor.

Ready to continue your search? Find a tutor with Tutorfair using your chosen subject, level and your postcode.

How to find a tutor with Tutorfair?

1. Tutors Near You
Search for local tutor by subject and postcode. Tutorfair will show you search results with top rated at the top.

2. Contact Tutors
View and compare tutor profiles, send your chosen tutors messages before you buy your lessons. (We recommend messaging at least 3 tutors)

3. Book and Pay for Lessons
Pay securely through the website. Your first hour will be covered by the Tutorfair Satisfaction Guarantee.

4. Make a Difference
For every student who pays, we give free tutoring to a child who can't.
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