Getting your child a tutor is an investment in their future. In fact, it may be the most important investment you can make for them during their middle and high school years. While finding tutors is easy, finding the right tutor will take some time and patience from both you and your child.
- Teaching experience. Experience teaching is as important as experience with the subject matter. It takes time to develop a repertoire of strategies to work with struggling students. The best tutors are those who can relate to young people on a human level who make students feel safe to learn and make mistakes. Ideally the tutor you choose will have at least 3 years of experience either teaching or tutoring.
- Get references. We are a society that requires references for everything from babysitters to deck builders. If you are searching online, you may find reviews and testimonials for independent tutors and tutoring companies. When meeting a new tutor, don't be afraid to ask for references.
- Consider location. Would you prefer in-person at home, in-person at another location, or online? If you have plenty of quiet space in your home, bringing a tutor to your house may work. If children and pets may be too much of a distraction, traveling to a new location for tutoring is wise. Perhaps your situation dictates that tutoring takes place online. In that case, focus on tutors that have a lot of experience tutoring online.
- Learning disabilities. If your child has a learning disability, then the tutor should have a certification or experience with special needs students. While many strategies can be used for all learners, there are ways to modify and extend learning opportunities so special needs children are given the chance to succeed.
Where to Find Tutors
- Check with other parents you know. Some parents may know tutors who only advertise by word of mouth. Parents talk, so you may find excellent tutors that will connect with your child.
- Contact your child's school and teachers. Schools often maintain a substitute list of certified teachers, many of whom also provide tutoring services. Start by asking your child's teacher who they would recommend to meet the needs of your child.
- Look for companies locally. There are many companies that provide tutoring services to children in grades K-12. There are usually formulas for measuring progress, so you will be kept up to date. You can ask other parents about local companies or do a search online.
- Look online. The internet is teeming with information on tutoring services. Your search may guide you to local companies and individuals in your area. You will also find there are companies that specifically offer online tutoring. It is still one-on-one with a tutor but done over the internet.
Free Tutoring Resources
No Child Left Behind did put some practices into place that will continue to evolve as the law changes. Students attending Title I schools may qualify for free tutoring services. Eligible students (those getting free or reduced lunch and/or are recommended by a teacher) receive an invitation to take advantage of the free services. The school can guide you in finding eligible tutors.
Tutors are as different as the young people they teach. Find a tutor that works well and provides solid instruction your child will be able to transfer into the classroom.