Does your child need a little extra help with their school work? If they’re struggling with math, science or writing, there may come a time when you will need to seek assistance to help them improve their grades and meet their academic goals.
The National Tutoring Association offers nine points of information to consider when hiring a tutor for your kid.
- Credentials– Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of credentials, i.e. transcript copies, copies of state teaching certificates, tutor certification, proof of other specialized training. Ask the tutor to provide a complete resume.
- Letters of Recommendation— Make sure that the letters speak to the person’s ability as a tutor and not just matters of general character. Letters should be current and include full contact information for the person making the recommendation. Above all, make the calls necessary to verify these recommendations.
- A Tutorial Plan— Give the tutor a list of your concerns and goals for your student. Ask the tutor to offer a basic plan for how he or she will assist your child. How will the tutor conduct an initial assessment of your student’s academic needs and challenges? How will success be measured? When will feedback be provided to you and/or the student’s teacher?
- Demonstration— Watch the tutor guide your student through a small portion of one lesson. How does the tutor approach the student? Where does the tutor sit; does the tutor respect your child’s personal space? How is the tutor’s intent conveyed to your student? Does the tutor write on your student’s paper or does the tutor allow the student to make corrections as needed? Is your student allowed to ask numerous questions? Is the tutor patient, professional in mannerism, tone of voice and information delivery? Does the tutor give your student time to process and answer the question before offering the solution? Does the tutor offer sincere praise?
- Fees– Ask the tutor for a detailed pricing plan, i.e. how many sessions at what cost per session. Be sure you are clear about payment requirements, rules about missed appointments, and miscellaneous fees for testing and materials.
- Location— Where will the tutor meet your student? At your home with supervision? In a public place such as a library? In a dedicated learning center? Tutors should never meet with your student in a location where there is no other adult present.
- Insurance— Does the tutor carry professional liability insurance? Has the tutor been recently background checked?
- Professional Affiliations– To what professional association does the tutor belong? How does the tutor participate in the overall improvement of the tutorial practice? Does the tutor stay current regarding innovative methods and strategies?
- Additional Questions— How long have you been tutoring? Why do you enjoy tutoring? How many students are you currently working with? When do you become frustrated with students? How do you communicate with a student who clearly isn’t “getting it”? How do you define your role as the tutor? What is my role as the parent? How will you communicate with my student’s teacher(s) and how often?
Finally, if any red flag sends off an internal warning signal, do not hire that tutor. You are the person who knows your student better than anyone else. You and your student must feel comfortable in this tutorial relationship. The bottom line is that no matter who recommends the tutor, interview more than one tutor if you have any nagging thoughts in the back of your mind when making the hiring decision.
The Iowa Department of Education provides a list of Approved Supplemental Services Providers.
Have you ever used a tutor to give your kid a boost? Let us know in the Comments section below.