Almost every kid will go through periods in which they struggle with school. Whether it is an overall issue or problems with a specific subject, tutoring is always a good option to help, even if you’re homeschooling. But choosing the perfect tutor is not an easy task. It means that a stranger will be entering your home and be in direct contact with your child, so you have to be careful. While there are online directories that vet candidates, they may be more expensive. If you have decided to look into choosing a tutor on your own, here are 5 things you need to consider:
Verify their Identity and run a Background Check
You need to make sure that the person you are interviewing is who they say they are. So, during the application phase, be clear about your intention of performing a background check and ask for their consent. Someone that has nothing to hide will not feel bad about it. Use a professional service that gives you as much information as possible. A good choice is https://checkpeople.com. Their comprehensive report includes known addresses (past and present), social media accounts, sex offender status, criminal records, and contact information.
Verify their Credentials and Qualifications
Some people will lie about their qualifications in order to get a job. So before choosing a tutor, check their credentials. Where did they study? Do they have a degree? (always ask for proof) Do they have teaching experience? Ask for more than one reference and cross-check their information. A good idea may be to prepare some questions before you call references, which may include:
- Can you explain the progress that your child made while having X as a tutor?
- How can you describe their teaching style?
- Why did the relationship end?
- Would you describe X as an expert in their field?
Writing a clear and straightforward job description is an excellent start. Asking for a cover letter explaining their motivations to take the job is also a good way to understand if they are a good fit for your family. If you have found someone that you think will be good for the position, have a long chat about expectations. Think about asking the following:
- What do you need from us? This can include everything from school records and meeting your kid’s teacher, to a proper place to work and teaching supplies.
- How will you evaluate progress? Will you be giving us a daily/weekly report?
- Will you be giving us a comprehensive plan with clear tutoring objectives?
- How fast can we expect to see results? Will you provide a timeline?
- Are you comfortable with us supervising some tutoring sessions?
- How can you define your teaching methods? What are some strategies that have worked for you with previous students?
Create a Written Agreement/Contract
While you may feel that it is not necessary, written agreements can help avoid common problems. According to the information you got from the prior step, write down what is expected from your tutor, and what you and your kid are committing to. Clearly define fees, dates, and expected outcomes. Also, set up a probationary period with clear objectives. You don’t want to be stuck with someone when you feel that little or no progress is being made. Clearly determine causes for termination (such as lateness or no-shows). A good example of a tutoring agreement can be found here.
Create the Best Conditions for Learning
A common mistake made by parents is to expect a lot from a tutor when there are no proper conditions for learning. An example of this might be not having a private space for lessons (for example, having brothers and sisters playing or watching TV when and where lessons take place). Get as much information as you can from school and your kid’s teacher in order to help your tutor determine the best course of action, and expect your kid to comply with what the tutor asks of him/her. Remember that success in tutoring is a two-way street. Tutors are not wizards who can help your child progress without commitment and work from their part.
Choosing a tutor is not easy, and it requires time and due diligence. But, when you find someone who is a good fit for you and your child, chances are, progress will be evident. Personalized attention can help a lot when a kid is struggling, and there are a lot of passionate professionals who can help.