If this is your child’s first home tutor, it’s definitely important to understand the factors to consider when choosing a good tutor. Even if your child has had home tuition before, it’s useful to revisit these points when choosing your next tutor. Engaging the right tutor for your child will determine the effectiveness of your child’s time and your money spent on tuition lessons.
- Understand your child’s tuition requirements
This is important as it will help you match your child’s requirements to the correct home tutor. Examples of requirements include:
i) What does your child (or you !) want to achieve from the tuition lessons ? Is your child having difficulties in coping with his school work ? Or your child wants to excel in his school work ?
ii) What is your child’s study personality ? Is he unmotivated or is he a keen learner ? Is he quiet or is he talkative ?
- Speak with the prospective tutor to understand him better
Once you understand your child’s tuition requirements, you should contact a tuition agency to explain this. A good tuition agency who uses experienced staff (rather than temps, students and contractors like many agencies do) will be able to help you determine a good match. Nevertheless, you should still have an opinion on what type of tutor constitutes a suitable fit for your child’s specific needs.
Examples of points to consider in matching your child to a suitable tutor:
i) If your child’s grades are poor, you should get a tutor who is patient and has a track record of improving his student’s grades from below average to above class average.
ii) If your child is unmotivated and inattentive, you should find a home tutor who has a dynamic personality and ability to capture the child’s attention.
Even if you trust your tuition agency to find a good tutor for your child, you should still take the time to chat with the tutor to understand more about him. You know your child best ! A 10 minute conversation goes a long way to getting the right tutor. Ask the tutor what he would do to achieve your child’s tuition objectives.
- Understand your tutor criteria
Here are some criteria to consider when selecting a tutor:
i) Gender – some parents prefer female tutors for their daughters.
ii) Age – younger tutors may be able to connect better with your child to facilitate the learning process. Older tutors may be able to handle difficult situations such as unmotivated children.
iii) Relevance of teaching / tutoring experience – It is important that the tutor is familiar with the exam syllabus and exam technique, especially in higher primary school and secondary school.
iv) Track record – if your child has specific requirements (eg. when your child is failing his subject persistently), the tutor’s track record may become more important.
v) Personality – a strict and disciplined tutor may help when tutoring an inattentive child.
vi) Tuition rates – based on parent’s affordability and also depends on how critical the situation is (eg. if there are only 3 months left to PSLE and the child is significantly behind on his results, it might be worthwhile to pay a higher rate to get a better, more experienced tutor)
- Keep expectations reasonable
We would love a miracle but it’s better to have reasonable expectations and give a bit of time for your tutor to produce your desired results. Speak with both your child and the tutor after the first and fourth lesson. If you’re unsure of the suitability, you can provide feedback to your tuition agency about the tutor, who should then provide advice on how best to proceed. Again, choosing the right tuition agency (not those staffed by inexperienced staff) will determine whether you get the right advice on how to get the best out of your tuition lessons.
- Assess results
After about eight lessons, take stock and review progress with your child and the tutor. Ask your tutor to give a mini-test to your child so that you can gauge effectiveness of the lessons. Speak with your child and hear whether he feels more confident and understands more on the subject. Importantly, your child needs to tell you whether the tutor is bringing him towards the tuition objectives. If the answer is negative, listen to the reasons why – it is important to give the tutor the benefit of the doubt. Either speak with your tutor or your tuition agency to see how the issue can be addressed.
If you’re thinking of engaging a home tutor, just reach out to us at HeyGuru Tutors. We provide you with free advice and we’re experienced, patient and we do care.