Deciding to hire a private tutor is a big step in your educational career. Whether the tutor is for a college course or a hobby like chess, employing the help of an expert can make all the difference. While you would otherwise be left to your own learning devices, a tutor can help make learning not only painless but even enjoyable.
But when you start looking for a tutor it is easy to become overwhelmed by the large variety of professionals out there. Not only are there entire agencies that represent qualified tutors but there is an endless amount of freelance tutors that are just as qualified. How can you possibly know who to hire?
Thankfully, there are a few key questions to ask a potential private tutor during an interview to determine if they are the best match for you. Below are 10 topics to discuss with a candidate before deciding to hire them. These questions will provide more insight into their teaching style and will assist you in discerning if they are the right match for you. Let’s get started!
When you are first meeting with a tutor you will want to ensure that they are qualified to teach on the subject. While it is not necessary for them to have received a four-year degree on the matter, asking if they have any qualifications, certification or credentials on the subject will give you a better idea of their validity. Inquiring about any past work experience in the area will be informational as well. It is also possible to search for certified tutors in your area by using the tutor search feature on the National Tutoring Associations website.
When first meeting with a tutor, it is important that you effectively communicate what your goals are and what you hope to gain through meeting with them. Do you need help preparing for a big final or a standardized test? Or are you just looking for occasional help with your weekly homework? By making sure your potential tutor knows what you are expecting to get out of your sessions, you will get a better idea of how they plan to approach your meetings and if you are compatible with their teaching methods.
Asking about a tutor’s teaching methods directly relates to the above topic that suggests you mention what your goals for your tutoring sessions are. If you are looking for some help on homework, ask the tutor what methods or content do they typically bring in? If you are studying for a standardized test like the SAT, will they be using one of the official SAT prep guides or content that they created on their own or received from their tutoring agency?
It is also important to discuss with your tutor about their previous tutoring history. If they have tutored other students on this subject, you may want to see what their past students results were. If a tutor was not successful with several other students and has not changed their approach, you may want to think twice before hiring them.
It is also important to check on your tutor’s availability. It is prudent to ask the tutor how often they recommend meeting in a month. Be sure to consider their suggestion in reference to your own schedule. Unfortunately, many times a successful and qualified tutor will have very little availability as they are in high demand. However, if you find a tutor that is qualified and has some availability to take on a new student, be sure to make your decision quickly as they won’t be available for long!
Fees are extremely important to discuss with a tutor. Obviously, you will want to know how much they charge to meet before you hire them! It also is important to check if there are any other additional fees associated with using this tutor. Some tutors provide a specific curriculum or workbooks and charge an additional fee for bringing these materials in. Make sure that you know about all fees before hiring a tutor.
Even if you know that you can attend all the suggested meeting dates with a tutor, it is wise to check about a cancellation policy. Sickness happens as well as any other type of unforeseeable event and you will want to know what to expect from your tutor in these instances. Be sure to ask if there is a cancellation fee and if a makeup session is in their policy and how quickly it needs to be scheduled.
One of the main tools that tutors should provide is tracking their student’s progress. Not only does it encourage the student that they are making strides in their education but the tutor will be able to reference the data to determine if their curriculum needs to be modified at all. Be sure to ask what progress tracking system the tutor will be using throughout the sessions.
What Can I Do?
While you know what you are expecting from a tutor, be sure to ask what the tutor expects from you, the student! Oftentimes they can suggest using an online tutoring resource or additional work to do on your own time as it will enhance your sessions together. Also, be sure to ask if there is anything you should steer clear from while not in your sessions. By making these guidelines crystal clear, you create an open communication with your potential tutor and will be able to optimize your time together.
What If I Don’t Improve
When a tutor is hired it is because someone is looking to improve in a subject. But what happens if improvement is not made? This is a crucial question to ask the tutor. Be sure to ask the tutor what their strategies will be. Will they proceed with the same curriculum or will they reevaluate and try something new? If they decide to try a different teaching approach, how will they choose which method to employ?
There you have it! 10 topics to touch on when interviewing a potential tutor. By asking these questions you will get a better idea of the private tutor and their teaching methods and be able to hire the best tutor for you!