How to Make the Most From Tutoring

Finding the Perfect Tutor for your Child

There are plenty of tutors out there, and picking the best one for your child can sometimes be a bit of a minefield.

It’s important that you choose the right tutor for your child, or else they might not enjoy their lessons and their learning will be affected.

Here are some things you keep an eye on when it comes to finding a tutor for your child...

  • How much experience the tutor has.
  • Where the lessons will be based.
  • How quick the tutor responds to messages.
  • What the reviews say about the tutor.
  • How much the lessons will cost.
  • What your child thinks about the tutor.

Their level of experience

There are generally two factors that can affect a tutor's expertise.

Firstly, how much experience do they have with the subject or topic areas? Secondly, how much experience have they got with tutoring? Both of these are important to think about.

Subject-relevant experience will differ from one tutor to another. For more in-depth subjects, like A-Level Chemistry, a high level of knowledge will be required. Therefore, you would reasonably expect tutors to be taught to the same level they are teaching, and perhaps even higher.

A lack of experience in a subject might mean they can't answer every question your child has, and they may breeze over certain topic areas.

For less academic subjects, experience might not play a big part. If your child wanted to learn beginner guitar, for example, their tutor would only need a few years of playing experience to teach the basics effectively.

A more important consideration is the level of experience your child's tutor has with actual teaching.

Knowledge of a subject is clearly important, but having the ability to communicate that knowledge to your child is far more crucial.

The more experience tutors have with teaching, the more they understand how to make your child feel more comfortable, and the better they can explain difficult concepts.

More experienced tutors will, of course, tend to charge more. That means you need to figure out a balance between the tutor's level of experience and how much you’re happy to pay.

Their location

Location is a key consideration when choosing a tutor.

You most likely want a tutor that’s as nearby as possible. Sure, you might think you’re happy to travel now, but you probably aren't going to feel the same in a couple of months.

The closer the tutor, the less time you’ll spend transporting your child around.

Obviously this is great for you as a parent, but it can also help with your child's education. A long journey can make them tired and restless, which isn't a great combo when it comes to learning.

Tutorful shows you the closest tutors when you start searching.

You should also think about online tutoring, with more and more parents booking online lessons for their kids.

Online tutoring is far more convenient. It means your child can learn in a comfortable and familiar space, vastly improving their concentration and focus.

It also means more tutors are eligible, so you won't have to compromise on other criteria such as cost or teaching experience.

Our online tutoring platform offers a fun and thorough learning experience, including video calling, screen sharing, and an interactive whiteboard. Each lesson is recorded for you to check over, and to help your child revise what they've learnt.

Their responsiveness

When you first message a tutor, you should be aware of how quick they are to reply to you.

It’s really important that you choose a tutor who gets back to you quickly. If, for whatever reason, you had to cancel a session, a responsive tutor could better accommodate you and rearrange.

Also, a more responsive tutor will generally be happy to answer any questions that your child might have about their work. You don’t want your child to be kept waiting for too long.

When you use Tutorful to find a tutor, our platform will show you how long a tutor normally takes to reply. This means you can see who responds the fastest, plus it encourages our tutors to get back to people as fast as they can.

We would recommend you pick a tutor who responds within a few hours. If they take more than a day to reply (unless they have a genuine reason) then that's probably slightly too long.

Their reviews

One of the most effective ways of assessing a tutor is to read through their reviews.

This way you can use other people’s experiences to make an informed decision, as opposed to relying on a tutor’s own profile description.

Whilst the quality of the reviews is important, how many reviews a tutor has is also worth noting. For example, a tutor with a handful 5-star reviews might not actually be as good as a tutor with dozens of 4-star reviews.

You should also remember to read any reviews with a degree of scepticism. Generally, people will only leave a review if they’ve had the best possible experience, or (more likely) if they’ve had the worst possible experience.

Reviews will only tell you part of the story.

Having said that, it’s well worth going through the reviews for any tutors you're considering.

We also recommend messaging any tutors you’re interested in and speaking to them for a while. You can then understand the context of the reviews, and also get a feel for what the tutor is like.

Your budget

You probably have a figure in your head for how much you're willing to spend on a tutor.

We recommend that you try to stick to your budget. You should view tutoring as a long-term commitment, so it’s really important that you don't go over your budget. Even the tiniest increases will add up over time.

Tutorful shows you how much tutors charge. Don't forget that if you’re travelling to the tutor, you should also factor the cost of fuel into your budget.

If you really have your heart set on a specific tutor but they come in slightly over your budget, then maybe you should consider making little sacrifices in other areas of your monthly budgeting.

A good alternative you should consider is online tutoring. Online tutoring has many benefits, including the fact that your child will be able to learn from the comfort of their own home. 

It often works out cheaper than in-person tutoring, thanks to the lack of travel for you and your tutor.

Your child

Even though you're organising and paying for the tutoring, your child is the one actually doing the learning. The final choice should be theirs.

If you can, arrange for a taster lesson which you be part of. You can use this opportunity to observe the lesson and see if the tutor is a good match for your child.

Here is what to look out for during that first lesson...

Does their teaching style suit your child? If you think back to when you were at school, you can probably remember some teachers you got on with really well, and some you just couldn't understand.

Everyone learns in different ways, and it turns out teachers teach in different ways too. Those styles can match, and learning is a joy. But other times they can clash, and things won't work out.

A clash of styles means your child won't enjoy their tutoring and they'll find it hard to learn. If this is the case, then you need to think about finding another tutor.

Do they understand your child’s needs? Every child has their own individual needs. Some require more support than others. Some want constant encouragement, some prefer to be left to their own devices. 

Sometimes tutors will struggle to recognise what your child needs and wants from a teacher.

Having a first lesson together will help you see if the tutor understands your child, and if they can provide them with the support and encouragement they want.

After the lesson, spend some time with your child and try to learn how they felt during the lesson. Encourage them to be honest with you. Ask them whether they got on with their tutor, and if they found the lesson useful.

Your child needs to be comfortable with their tutor. If they aren’t, then you should look for someone else.

Summary

There are a few different things you should look for when you choose a tutor. It’s worth taking the time out to do some research before you jump in and make a decision.

Choosing the wrong tutor will have a negative effect on your child, potentially setting them back further with their learning.

Tutorful makes it easier than ever to find the best tutor for your child. You can see their location, cost, experience, and reviews. Then you can use this information to make your choice.

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