The fact that you’re reading this tells me that you’re wondering if you might need to find a personal tutor for your child, to turbo-charge their grades.
If you are, you might be about to make a decision that will change your child’s life, and their future.
Think about how many adults look back and say ‘I wish I’d tried harder in school’, or ‘I wish I’d gotten better grades’…’I wish I’d learned another language’…
To avoid growing up with similar regrets, some children just need a bit of extra help. They may prefer a Playstation right now, but in the long run – a personal tutor might just be the greatest gift you can give them.
Finding a private tutor is a road that many parents have gone down. Here’s a step by step guide to taking your first steps down that very same route.
1. Decide if your kid really needs a tutor
When a child’s grades start to slip, a lot of parents speak with the child, and then to their teacher.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but let’s not forget – those teachers have to spread their attention across over 30 individual students. It could be plain impossible for them to give your child the attention they need and deserve.
Parents should always be open-minded to the idea of a personal tutor, and keep an eye open for the signs that their child might need one:
Their grades are starting to slip in certain subjects
This is one of the main reasons tutors are there for you: to turn a freefalling academic performance around.
Tutors are specialists at getting results. Whatever the reasons for a student’s suffering grades, a tutor can diagnose the problem, and put things back on track.
Their poor performance matches a lack of motivation
Here’s a problem:
School = the education system. The education system = exams. Exams = hard work and stress.
It’s no wonder that so many students find it hard to actually enjoy their studies, and tend to see their subjects as a chore.
The thing is (as most of us grow up to realise), Science, Maths, Literature, etc. are all so fascinating – Studying them should be a joy, not an ordeal.
If you hear your kid saying ‘I hate science’, think about how a tutor can help them see how interesting it really is.
In a one-to-one session, a quality, passionate tutor will stir the same passion in all of their students, and help them see the subject they teach as they do themselves: as a source of wonder.
Not only will the students start to enjoy their schoolwork, they’ll also see their grades go through the roof. The more motivated an individual is to do their work, the better their performance is.
The class-dynamic at school doesn’t suit them
It’s all too easy to simply see education as a system (after all, it is called ‘the education system’), and forget that it’s all about human beings. Whether it be students, teachers, or the academics writing the curriculums.
We’re all individuals and, as individuals, we inevitably find it easier to work with some than with others. Classrooms are no different.
For example, let’s say your child is quieter and more reserved in nature. If he or she finds themselves in a history group full of the outgoing noisy types, they’ll find it difficult to engage.
Equally, if you’re the parent of a high-energy, bubbly student – they’ll hate working in a class full of more introverted, withdrawn classmates.
Sure, we want all of our children’s classes to be perfect – but that just isn’t realistic.
What is realistic, however, is bridging the gap with some carefully chosen tutoring sessions. That way, students can learn to work with different personality types at school (a great social skill), without failing to fulfil their academic potential (let the tutor handle that).
2. Think about your child’s personality type
If your child is finding it difficult to gel with their classmates and teacher at school, it’s essential that you choose a tutor that they’ll respond to in one-to-one sessions.
Many parents reach out to the most experienced, well-qualified tutor, thinking that they must be the best. This is actually quite the misconception.
In fact, it’s not uncommon to find that more inexperienced tutors arrive to the game with fresh ideas, and an infectious natural enthusiasm, as they get stuck into their new job.
If your child responds to older, more traditional teachers at school – that’s the style of tutor you should be hiring.
Conversely, if your kid always raves about the younger (perhaps more energetic) teachers: that’s the profile for your tutor.
A perfect class is about a two-way relationship: student to tutor and tutor to student. Make sure you know what kind of teaching methods will suit your child best.
3. Check out a few profiles
Now that we do things online, it’s a lot easier to learn a little about potential tutors, before hiring them.
First of all, before we look at the content, think about how much effort a tutor has put into creating their profile.
If they’ve written a comprehensive biography, updated all of their credentials, chosen a professional looking profile picture, and even made a profile video – you know that, when it comes to anything related to their job, no stone is left unturned.
Read what they’ve got to say for themselves, watch their videos, and try to image what it’d be like to work with them and boost your child’s grades.
You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn about a tutor, just by reading their profile.
(Use our services to find private tutors near you.)
4. Check out their qualifications
Your prospective tutors don’t have to have been on the job for twenty years, but if your kid needs some help with maths – it’s best to pick a tutor that specialises in the subject.
Every tutor’s online profile should clearly display their education history and any other relevant qualifications.
There are a myriad of factors to consider when you find the right tutor, and it isn’t simply a case of picking the most qualified. That said, it’s important they do show some experience and interest in the subject your child needs.
5. Read recommendations
Happy parents is a clear sign of quality tutoring, and all tutors will be eager to show you how hard they’ve worked for their previous students.
There’s no doubt about it: If a tutor has a reputation for delivering, you can be confident that you’ll be getting what you pay for.
However, that doesn’t mean you should discredit every tutor that doesn’t have any recommendations. They may be new to the game, or previous happy parents may have simply forgotten to leave any online feedback.
When you do get in touch, ask your tutor about their previous work to get the big picture.
Oh, and when your kid has passed their exams, and you’re another happy customer, don’t forget to leave some feedback. It goes a long way in the tutoring world.
6. Get in touch and arrange some classes
Now we’ve found the perfect tutor for our student, let’s get the ball rolling.
Before the first lesson, we need to put all of the necessities in place. I’m talking about objectives, schedules, and all things practical.
Tick these items off the checklist and you’ll be ready for the first lesson.
7. Tell the tutor your objectives
It’s important that both you and your tutor are on the same page, right from the start.
First of all, explain to them why you’ve reached out. Is it to stop grades from slipping? To prepare for exam season? Or just because your child isn’t getting enough out of school?
Secondly, work together to create a tangible plan to achieve these aims. Trust your tutor’s advice – they’re experienced, and know how to get the most out of their students.
8. Let the tutor know what to expect from your son or daughter
A tutor never really knows a student until a couple of lessons have passed. Still, a little heads-up never hurts.
You don’t need to file a report, just have an informal chat about your child’s personality: What are they good at? What they need more help with? What activities do they complain about at school?
Also, when you give the lowdown on your pride and joy – try to take off the rose-tinted glasses. Granted, it’s easier said than done, but if your tutor has a better idea of their student’s shortcomings, they’ll be able to make a positive impact with more haste.
9. Create a schedule that you’ll be able to stick to
When a tutor agrees on a schedule, they’ll always stick to it (unless in case of an emergency). You should try to do the same, too.
Primarily, consistency is key. Kids need a weekly routine, and their classes shouldn’t be set apart from that. If the student knows that Wednesday is tutor-day (for example), they’ll always be mentally prepared to apply themselves that evening.
Furthermore, most tutors work on a freelance basis: having a new lesson day/time every week can make their timetables outright impossible to manage.
10. Agree on a payment plan
The majority of tutors will indicate how much they charge on their profile, so there shouldn’t be much to discuss here.
Nonetheless, it’s important to ensure that both parties are agreed on how much the lessons will cost.
The last thing you need is an avoidable monetary dispute, which gets in the way of your kid’s progress.
What to expect at first
Looked for a tutor: check.
Found a tutor: check.
Arranged some classes: check.
All of the admin is out of the way, it’s time for the student to start their extra studies and send their grades through the roof.
The first few lessons are all about finding a rhythm and establishing a working dynamic. Here’s what to expect from them:
Your tutor will need to get to know their new student
In the very first class it’s likely that your tutor will want to perform a needs analysis on your child. In short, a quick test to see where they need the most work.
After that, the tutor and the student will probably take a couple of classes to work each other out and get into a routine that suits them both.
There might be some teething issues
Nobody likes change, and teenagers certainly don’t like change when it involves them doing some extra work whilst their friends go out to play.
Don’t be surprised if you hear your son or daughter complaining about the sessions in the first month or so. It can be a shock to the system, and it’s not uncommon for them to direct their frustration at their new tutor.
A month down the line, they’ll have acclimatised to their new routine, and will be reaping the rewards at school.
Your tutor might draw up a long-term plan
All tutors create long-term, short-term and sometimes even medium-term plans for their students. Whether they share them with the parents or not varies from individual to individual.
It’s likely that your tutor will give you a copy of the long-term plan. If they do, don’t feel that you need to do anything with it – they’re just keeping you in the loop, and involving you in your child’s development.
How you can help your tutor and your child
Once the tutor’s been booked, the admin’s been sorted and the lessons have started – the parent’s hard-work is done. It’s all plain-sailing from here!
That said, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for you to play, should you want to.
There are a couple of ways that you can help to give your child an extra push in the right direction:
Quiz them on what they learned in the last lesson
Your tutor will be more than happy to quickly run through the last lesson’s progress with you so that you can quiz the student over the course following week, and keep the information fresh in their minds.
It doesn’t need to be anything prolonged or stressful, just a few quick-fire questions. You can even go the extra mile and use a website like www.getkahoot.com to create something a little more exciting!
Talk about arranging progress meetings with your tutor
It’s not a necessity, but some parents like to schedule progress meetings with their tutors, to keep their finger on the pulse.
If you’d like to arrange a progress meeting, let your tutor decide when the best time is to arrange it.
It’s great that you want to be involved and help, but remember that the tutor is in charge. They’ll let you know exactly how you can be of the most help, without stepping on their toes.
More and more parents are turning to private tutors to keep their children on top of an increasingly competitive academic world.
If you think your kids could do with a little extra help, a private tutor is a small price to pay for the benefits of being an A-grade student.
Oh, by the way… Tutorean can help. 🙂