Tips for how to choose a tutor

January 22, 2014 by Mark Maclaine
Image Want to find a tutor for your child but not sure where to start? Read on to find out my top tips for how to choose a tutor.

  • Discuss getting a tutor with your child first and check that he or she is comfortable with this as it could be a sensitive issue.

  • Where do you find a tutor? There are a growing number of agencies throughout the country, some people use personal ads and a great number rely on personal recommendations. is the first website that allows you to actually book online, with hundreds of tutor profiles visible to view. Since it funds charity work to address educational disadvantage, I would definitely suggest that you look there first.

  • Remember: it is not you that has to work with the tutor. It is therefore very important to listen to your child, see who he or she likes and would learn best from. This is why is ideal. As the website contains personal profiles of each tutor, your child can look through these, watch the tutor videos and be actively involved in choosing the tutor.  Involving children in the decision-making process is a great motivational tool, and if your child likes the tutor, half the job is done already as children will often work harder just to impress a new mentor.

  • Ask the tutor a few key questions:

  1. What kind of learner are you? More visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, or do you learn by rote?

  2. How would you deal with a student who doesn’t feel like doing any work that day?

  3. Have you had any very difficult students and how have you dealt with them?

Treat it like an informal interview and check that the answers would suit your child. Don’t give the tutor a hard time but do voice your questions or concerns.

  • Assess the qualifications and teaching experience of the tutor. Many tutoring agencies stipulate that tutors should have qualifications that are at least one level above the ones they teach. For example, a GCSE Geography tutor should have an A-level in that subject, and some even require a degree. However, remember that being very qualified in a subject isn’t the same as being able to teach it. Some of the most inspiring tutors I’ve ever met have been those who struggled themselves at school; they can empathise with the students who are struggling to ‘get it’. It is therefore beneficial to look for positive reviews from previous clients as well as find evidence of that tutor having taught that  particular subject before because they will be more aware of the common pitfalls and mistakes that occur. From this, I would say it is best to find the balance between expertise and good teaching when searching for a tutor.

  • Your child should interact well with the tutor. It’s often beneficial to have a tutor who is halfway between a teacher and a best friend to your child. These tutors inspire their students to want to learn, and often kids like them so much that they will work harder, perhaps to impress them. I’m not saying that all students should love every tutor they have, but if they really don’t get on then it’s bad news for both the tutor and the student. So, don’t be afraid to ask your children how they feel after a lesson. They don’t have to be overjoyed, but it’s a good idea to see if they feel like they’ve learnt something and that they don’t feel completely overwhelmed and lacking in confidence. The right tutor for your child should instead increase their confidence and make them feel ready to learn more.

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