How to find a good tutor…Where to find a good tutor…
Tutors are like the picture above…tons of them, but once in a while there is one that really stands out from the rest. Every parent who wants a tutor for their child dreams of finding the Mary Poppins of tutoring, and with good reason! A good teacher can drive your student in ways they will never be pushed or motivated in a classroom. It is possible to learn more in one hour of tutoring than the 5 math classes a student attends in one week. Tutors are a dime a dozen, but good tutors are diamonds in the rough and once you find one, keep him or her as long as you can!
The best way to find a good tutor is through word of mouth. This is the most sure-fire way to know that a tutor is successful. This is how my business first spread in Portugal and how I became so successful initially. When I moved back to the United States, my business took a bit of a plummet because I no longer had those connections through word of mouth.
It is difficult for good tutors to start out, or start over in my case, so sometimes giving someone a chance is great. I think you should always interview a possible/potential tutor to see if his or her personality matches what you are looking for in a tutor. If you like them and they are credible (see last weeks post about traits a good tutor should have), then give them a shot and do a trial-period with them.
Trial periods are a great opportunity to try out a tutor. At the end of the trial, see if there are any visible improvements in grades (remember, tutors are not always miracle workers, and good tutoring takes time), but mostly ask your child what his or her thoughts were about the tutor. If your son or daughter dislikes them personally or seems negative, that is probably a good indication that the tutor is not a good fit and therefore, not likely to accomplish much with your child. Tutors a child likes or admires will have a much better chance of helping teach and improve your child’s opinions of and performance in certain subjects than unlikable tutors who will fail to improve intrinsic motivation.
So where can you find these tutors if you do not happen to find any through word of mouth?
School Counselors/guidance counselors
Flyers that you find intriguing
Possibly at the local library
By reading blogs…if you like what someone is saying about education then you will probably like what they have to offer your child in terms of education
General online searches, but do your homework! Remember CREDENTIALS!!!
Through tutoring agencies/centers
Let me speak to tutoring centers for a minute…. I am not a big fan of tutoring centers such as Kumon or Sylvan for a few reasons: they don’t seem to offer the quality of one-on-one tutoring I think you can get from a stand alone tutor; the tutors are employees of the center, not YOU; there seems to be a focus on worksheets and rote learning, which probably is already not working for a child who is in need of a tutor.
Most schools today still teach using centuries-old methods of rote education. Teacher shows how it is done, students try with guidance, and then students practice alone….THIS IS NOT HOW HUMANS LEARN….oops, sorry, I got a little too passionate there for a moment.
Most centers teach exactly how schools teach, so if your child isn’t learning and retaining in school, they probably will not learn and retain at one of these centers.
Lastly, many of these tutoring companies charge you a premium, yet pay their tutors very little. If you are paying for a service that costs $100 per hour, but the tutor only makes $25/hour…they may not see the investment the same as you do, and may lack enthusiasm to meet all of your desired outcomes.
Where I wouldn’t find tutors:
– Local high schools/colleges (see my previous post to learn why)
– Craigslist (too risky, and too much spam)
If your child is looking for a Mathematics tutor or someone to help with SAT and ACT prep, I am a highly-qualified tutor and would love the opportunity to speak with you to see if I am the right fit. For more information, see my website at www.exclusiveprivatetutor.com
One last note! Don’t be afraid to pass along the name of a good tutor. Good tutors will not take on more clients than they can handle and if they are in need of more work, it can only benefit you that they not resort to a side-job which distracts them from their true focus…your child!