“My son/daughter is crying over their homework again. It doesn’t seem like every night should be like this.”
Many of the families who found my tutoring services arrived with some form of the above sentence on the tip of their tongue. They felt in their heart that something was not right in their child’s learning, and came to me looking for guidance. An assessment, a proposed action plan, and a few sessions later, these parents were able to take a deep breath as their child started to learn. But perhaps the path to private tutoring isn’t as clear cut? How can you tell when it’s time to seek private support, and when things are going along okay? What is the secret to hiring a good tutor?
“Isn’t school enough? Why does my child need more?”
The decision to seek private tutor can seem like a daunting one. As a parent, you are choosing a person to bring into your child’s life, at an additional cost, so you want your child to like them. In order to truly help your child, a tutor is going to need to know private information. This might include their educational history, evaluations, and confidential information. You, as the parent, have to be able to trust their discretion and feel comfortable with that level of honesty. Your tutor will need to know as many private details as possible to truly help your child.
At this point, many parents might be thinking, “With all of these considerations, is it worth it? Is hiring a good tutor possible?” The answer is simple. A quality tutor can become a guide for your child. Each session becomes a safe haven in which they can share their weaknesses and receive support. They’ll also being recognized for the many strengths they possess. An experienced tutor can also help navigate the ins and the outs of the public school system. Many tutors will advocate for clients by attending school meetings to get your child’s needs met.
“This all sounds great, but where can I find this magical unicorn tutor? Who can help me with all of these things?”
That’s the tricky part. There’s no one place to find tutoring services. As a tutor active in several online tutoring Facebook groups, I’ve heard tutors say they’ve found clients through websites like NextDoor, Care.com, and Craigslist. I personally have had success finding clients through local Facebook groups and word of mouth. Try talking to other parents who’ve had students with academic challenges. Perhaps they know of someone great who helped their child through a rough patch. It takes a village, and parents can be the best resource for other parents, especially within the same community. Hiring a good tutor is possible.
“What should I look for in a tutor?”
There are a range of professionals calling themselves a tutor. A tutor can be someone with an area or expertise without any formal educational certification. Some tutors might be certified teachers who teach in classrooms all day, but will take a student or two after school for a little extra money. Sometimes high school or college students will earn a little extra money on the side by tutoring kids in subjects they perform well in. And you can find highly qualified tutors with master’s degrees and specialized qualifications. Don’t be afraid to ask a potential tutor about their background. If they have a website, check out their about section to learn more about their background.
“What if my child has very specialized needs?”
If your child is looking for a boost in one or more areas that require a little support, you have more options available to you when choosing a tutor. Multiplication not going well? Difficulty with fractions? It’ll be easier to find someone to tutor your child as the range of tutors will be wider and price points more varied. Perhaps a college student will provide enough support to get your child through decimals or division.
If your child is fitting the profile of a dyslexic learner, you’ll want a tutor with certifications that qualify them to teach students with dyslexia. With those learners you want a tutor certified in Orton Gillingham, Wilson Reading System, Barton, or one of the many multisensory reading programs. These programs are research-based to teach students with dyslexia or similar language learning difficulties. A certified Wilson or Orton Gillingham tutor may cost more then a high school student, but they will provide a very specific remediation that someone untrained cannot.