In this article, we hope to provide some helpful insights for parents to get the most out of their home tutoring program. Regular and effective communication with the tutor that you have hired is important to reduce misunderstanding and possible dispute. Below is a checklist that you may consider for successful hiring.
Choosing a Tutor
Before selecting someone to teach your child, probably you need to know in mind what is your expectation of the tutor and how you want to qualify the candidate. There are many criterias in choosing a home tutor, which we listed some below:
Tutor Specialization - If a tutor is going to teach a particular subject, he/she will probably teach better if the subject to be taught is also the same that he/she specialized in college or university.
Tutoring Experience - A tutor is probably more familiar with the syllabus if he/she is also teaching/has taught another student of the same level and subject. However, some young tutors below 21 years old have shown that they remember about their primary and secondary school syllabus much better than university graduates.
Tutor's Location - When using the search function to choose a tutor, try to find a tutor that is near your location. Tutors are often more willing to travel to locations that are near their residential address.
Tuition Rate - Sometimes, parents want to choose the tutor who can teach at the lowest rate. We believe that affordability is an important consideration but as the old saying goes:"Pay Peanut, and you get Monkeys". How much a tutor charges is often linked to his/her teaching abilities. Depending on your budget, you may consider someone who charges reasonably according to what is shown on his/her profile. We do provide some guidelines online which you may refer to.
Available Schedule - Your tutor can be a superstar, scoring straight As in school. But does he/she has the time to commit teaching? It is always better to check on this as well.
Tuition coordinators can often suggest good candidates for your consideration but the choice is ultimately yours.
Tuition Session and Subjects
Normally, we suggest each session to be around 1 hour to 2 hours. Younger children tend to have shorter attention span and we do not suggest a primary 1 student to study 2 hours per lesson. They can easily become impatient and wait for lessons to end. Secondary school students may study longer hours because the questions they need to tackle may take more time for discussion and resolve. Music lessons normally do not exceed 1 hour.
Some clients try to squeeze as many subjects to be taught in 1 lesson. For a 2 hour tuition session, we only recommend at most 2 subjects. Learning 3 subjects in 1 lesson is probably too rush.
Tell the tutor about your Expectations
Initial arrangement with your home tutor is really important. We suggest that you communicate with your newly hired tutor about your expectations during the 1st meeting. Do not expect the tutor to be some kind of superman such that your child can score from grade 'D' to 'A' in few months. If you think that your child is the playful type, tell this to your tutor and allow the tutor to be strict, or even fierce. If your child is often impatient and may become restless after a while, let the tutor know that he/she has to make lessons interesting. Providing useful information to help the tutor get started saves you time and money.
Monitor Homework, Tutoring Materials and Lessons
A qualified and responsible tutor always gives homework. This is necessary because many things cannot be covered in a short period of 1 to 2 hours tutoring session. To ensure that the tutoring program is on the right track, you can monitor the homework that the tutor has given and check on the tutoring materials such as assessment books etc. Some parents even sit beside his/her child for 1 or 2 lessons to understand what is being taught.
Assess the Tutor's Abilities
During the 1st meeting, tutors may show you flashy certificates. But to ensure that the tutor is really qualified, how about asking him/her to solve some problems from a difficult exam paper? In this way, you can truly assess the tutor's level of competence instead of relying on certificates that are awarded by institutions that you may not trust.
Gather your Child's Feedback
Since parents cannot be present for each tutoring session, it is important to ask your child whether if the tutoring session is beneficial. Younger children probably do not fully understand about the tutor's ability at all, or why they should spend another few hours learning instead of playing. Or worse.. some children will always say that tutoring is not useful. But if your child is in the secondary level, he/she is probably more mature and responsible, able to give you truthful feedback about the tutoring program.
Like any other of your colleagues in the company, tutors may sometimes have their own problems... Not arriving on time, personal / family problems which may arise and affect their performance. Tutors need to be monitored too. Regular monitoring and reporting is needed to show the tutor that you care about your child and the money you spend. Monthly reporting is important and tutors are like you and me, they need to be motivated as well. We suggest that you ask the tutor to prepare a progress report every month on what is covered, how time is spent, problems that he/she encounters when teaching your child etc.
It is not uncommon that families encounter financial problems. If you have problem paying tutor's salary on time, then tell the tutor directly the date that they can expect to be paid. Paying late by few days should not be a big issue. But if you can't pay on time, ask the tutor if its okay that payment be made 1 or 2 weeks later that usual. If the tutor do not agree, you can simply just look for someone who can agree on that. Just make sure that salary payment does not affect performance.
Providing Feedback to the Agency
At Gradtutors, we keep internal notes about every individual tutor that has registered with us. There are possitive and negative reviews from customers and this helps us to spot the reliable tutors. Preferably after 3 months of hiring, we encourage you to tell us about the tutor that you hired. This is necessary so that we can continue to refer good candidates to other customers and uphold our reputation.
To request a home tutor from us, pls click here and submit an online request form.