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How to Choose the Correct Tutor

We are living in uncertain times, and we are learning as we are going. School districts are doing learning-from-home for the entire or part of the academic year. Many parents have reached out to ask if it is a good idea to hire a tutor to provide additional support to strengthen the instruction their scholar is virtually receiving. Choosing a tutor can be overwhelming because anyone can be a tutor, and tutors are an investment in the scholar’s academic success. Here is a checklist that will ensure proper tutor selection.

Consumer Reviews– Price is not a determining factor for the effectiveness of the tutor. Ask her for past reviews, perform an internet search and compare what other consumers have said. Don’t hesitate to request references and follow up on them. In addition, ask the school if they have any recommendations for tutors.

Price Guarantee– Check to see if there is a deposit, refund or prorated tutoring fee policy. Ask whether if the student doesn’t meet the planned goals the money will be refunded or at least prorated. Refund policies are indicators of the level of investment of the tutor.

Personality Test –Student (and parent) should meet with the tutor first to ensure their personalities complement each other. The scholar should feel inspired by and comfortable with the tutor. If the personalities do not fit, it will be challenging to conduct tutoring sessions, which may hinder the student’s progress.

Pre-Test – The tutor should give the student a pre-test before starting the tutoring sessions. The pre-test will inform the parent, student, teacher and tutor of current academic knowledge and skills. The tutor will use this knowledge to build a tutoring plan.

Tutoring Plan – The tutor should provide all invested parties with a plan that consists of goals, timeline to complete the objectives, skills (besides content) the sessions will work on and content topics (e.g., content math topics: linear equations, inequalities and algebraic expressions). All parties should review, modify if needed and agree to the plan.

Teaching Content – The tutor should not solely help with homework. The tutor should review the content topics and provide additional practice problems for the scholar to complete. The tutor may help him with one or two homework problems that are troublesome. Homework help should not be more than 10 percent of the tutoring sessions.

Virtual Tutoring – Because of social distancing, it is most likely that your scholar will receive virtual tutoring. Ensure that the tutor can do virtual tutoring. Ask the following questions: Will software be needed? Which electronic platform will the tutor and student use? Does the scholar need a computer, or will a cellphone be sufficient? Will the tutor be present the entire session, or will the tutor use a program for the scholar to complete? Will the sessions be live or prerecorded? Will there be group tutoring or one-on-one tutoring?

Collaboration – The tutor, with the parent’s permission, should reach out to the student’s teacher. The tutor/teacher collaboration should consist of updates on the student, issues he is having and his attitude towards the content. Both parties should be in communication with each other.

Reports – The tutor should provide a progress report to the parent, teacher and scholar after each tutoring session. The tutor should solicit feedback from all parties based on the report. The tutor’s purpose is to put herself out of a job. The scholar should walk away with content knowledge and transferable study skills. Hiring a tutor is not a guarantee of success, and all parties should continue to play an active role in the success of the student.