Hiring a tutor can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you have never done it before.
The following five qualities are the most important ones that you should look for when matching a tutor with a child:
1) Their ability to "connect" with your child and you.
2) Their teaching style - does it match your child's learning style?
3) Their ability to be patient and empathic when your child is truly struggling.
4) Their reliability and dependability.
5) Their tutoring experience backed up by current references.
It is imperative that the tutor immediately makes a strong connection with your child. The tutor should use part of the first session getting to know your child by asking questions about their likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. Setting the rapport is important so future sessions run smoothly and productively. The tutor should also be able to easily communicate with you after the session and give you adequate feedback regarding what he or she accomplished during the session.
If your child is a visual learner, the tutor should bring appropriate materials (a small white board, for example) so the learning process compliments your child's learning style. Conversely, an auditory learner would benefit from reading out loud with the tutor or talking through math problems. A kinetic learner will need the sessions to be very hands-on and interactive.
There is nothing worse than a tutor giving up and getting angry with a child when the going gets tough. Patience is definitely a virtue and every tutor needs to posses this quality to put your child at ease. An inpatient person will have the opposite effect. Chances are good that your child will not want to be cooperative in the future with anyone who can't relate to their problems. The reason you hired a tutor was to find someone who can repeat themselves numerous times if necessary or present information in a different way until it "clicks" with your child.
A tutor who is constantly late or just doesn't show up without calling should immediately be terminated.
Checking a tutor's references is imperative. Written references should not be older than a year old and you should call the author of the letter anyway, just to confirm they wrote it. The best references are from individuals who have observed the tutor teaching or tutoring. Other parents who have used the tutor are the best references, but don?t dismiss your gut feeling about someone you are interviewing.
An extensive interview must be done to be sure you are selecting only top-notch teachers and tutors. You will want to conduct a thorough background and criminal check and call all of the references provided.
Most importantly, a visit to every home to meet the family before attempting to place a tutor is imperative. This complimentary visit proves invaluable when making a "match" with you child.
Short note about the author
Laurie Hurley, President, Bright Apple Tutoring Service, Home Tutoring Business, http://www.hometutoringbusiness.com