Different students look for different things when choosing a private tutor. Tutors tend to come from a range of different backgrounds and all have a different level of experience. Some tutors have teaching qualifications and some don’t, so it’s up to you as a student or parent to decide what you think are the most important factors that will influence your decision on which tutor to choose.
All of the above can be said too when it comes to how you choose the best a level tutor too. You need to make sure in any instance this is not a hurried decision. You need to be sure they will be strong in the subject you need to study. It helps to also make sure they have a background and reputation that also checks out.
Look closely at what qualifications the tutor has
There are no legal requirements for tutors to reach a specific level of education and there aren’t any official tutor qualifications that they can obtain. So, it’s up to you to decide what you think is an appropriately qualified tutor for the subject in which you need tuition.
You should assess aspects like where they were educated and what they studied. Even areas such as their training should also be considered. It is also a good idea to also consider how many years they have been doing their job also. Back to the previous point, this is a good idea based on aspects such as their track record of working with privately educated pupils. It also helps to see and know if they have a good understanding of the different exam boards and the syllabuses that come with them and the key subject areas to learn also.
Work out what happens during study sessions
This will vary depending on the tutors’ preferred approach to education, what subject is being tutored and the time of year. At the very least, a tutor should be able to explain their plan of action to students and parents and show appropriate structure in their lesson plans. The content of a lesson will be determined by the subject being studied. Subjects such as English and Art for example, where answers are often more subjective or open to interpretation, may often take a more ‘discursive’ form and involve less methodical practice. Subjects such as math and science however, may be more likely to follow the logic of working through practical examples during the lesson.
The time of year a student starts a course of tuition will also determine what will happen during lessons. At the beginning of the academic year, tutors generally tend to focus on class-related tuition. This is done to provide a supplement to the coursework outlined by the school curriculum. From January onwards, tutors are normally at their busiest as the demand for exam preparation increases and therefore lessons tend to be more orientated towards final exams. As many will know, a school is likely to work in tandem with the curriculum and this too will correlate back to the tutors also.
Is the tutor working fully in line with the current curriculum in the schools?
This is a very relevant question. Not all tutors are teachers and therefore need to source their information from elsewhere. Tutors should be expected to keep up to date with the school curriculum from a range of sources. Of course, if someone is actively tutoring when you meet with them, then they will already have a fairly good insight into the course requirements. Tutors often have friends who are teachers, who are able to clear up any uncertainties that may arise during lessons. Each UK country’s National Curriculum website is a good sourcesof up to date information that can be used by tutors.
Cost – how much does the tutor happen to charge?
It’s essential that a price is confirmed before the first lesson so as to avoid future disagreement. Tutors normally charge on an hourly basis but some may give discounts if a student or parent agrees to a certain amount of hours over a certain period of time. Tutors will usually and charge from between £15 to £70 per hour, some charge slightly less, and some slightly more. Experience and qualifications are generally a determining factor in how much they decide to charge. Some people may also provide discounted rates to small groups of students who are interested in being taught together.
The London market and other areas
What you need to consider is there is the London market. There are also other price points for other areas of the UK. There are also areas where you may get a high concentration of private schools and grammar schools. For example, there are areas of Surrey, Somerset and of course areas of West London that all happen to be hot beds for private schools and private education. All of this for sure needs to be remembered. This is even more the case in how the UK tutoring market works.
The importance of references
Experienced tutors should have a list of telephone numbers they can provide for previous students and parents. It’s recommended that you call these references before agreeing to any lessons, to ensure that the references are genuine. Those who are relatively new to tutoring may not have contact details for previous students or parents, in this instance, it is even more essential that you check any references you have been provided with. At the very least, new tutors should be able to provide references from previous employers or university lecturers. Many will also have written testimonials from previous students and parents. Such testimonials should clearly show their referee’s contact details and these should be contacted regardless of what the testimonial claims.
Even the most intelligent tutors may not be the right fit if their teaching style doesn’t help your child’s learning process. Try finding out how the tutor will put his lesson across. In most cases, tutors that use active teaching techniques tend to yield better results with their students. With dynamic teaching, the tutor is involved with the child, delivering lessons and actively providing feedback.
The tutor you pick should be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your child. This is to create lesson plans to enhance those strengths and make up for the deficiencies. Additionally, the tutor should also receive healthy feedback. They should also use it to guide or tweak their teaching style as and when necessary. All of this needs to be key as a means to making sure the teaching will work. This is so it works in the best way and the best results can be achieved also.
Next, consider your child’s learning style, especially if they have special needs or any form of learning disability. Not every child learns the same way, and children have different levels of comprehension, attention, focus, interest, etc. As mentioned earlier, it is important to pick a tutor who can craft lesson plans. This is to suit the unique case of any child. However, as a parent, you also need to know your child’s learning style. It is also key to find a tutor with enough experience in teaching such children. This should be the case across all levels, from primary level right through and up to A-level tutor level.