Are you a student preparing for a major exam? A bit of specialised help in your targeted area of study could help you achieve a higher score.

Parents: is your child struggling in any academic subject? Are you considering engaging a private tutor for home study or homework help?

A simple Internet search for a home tutor will yield an overwhelming list of results. How to winnow that list down to that one perfect teacher who will meet your expectations and fulfill your needs?

Read on to learn how to focus your search in order to find a tutor offering exactly the help you need.

Home Tutors: Asking the Right Questions

Before talking with anyone about academic assistance, you should determine exactly why you/your child needs help.

  • What are your/your child's weaknesses in studying?

  • What is your/your child's learning style? What are your learning strategies?

  • Do you/your child have any learning disabilities?

  • Are you looking for specific help on target subjects, such as chemistry and English, or long-term general learning assistance with several subjects?

  • Would you/your child learn well via online learning, or would home tutoring be preferable?

  • What are your expectations of any tutor you engage?

Further examination of your individual situation might be required.

Could there be problems at school that prevent you/your child fully benefiting from classroom learning?

According to one study, 48% of students in the UK report bullying is a problem in their school. A climate of fear or intimidation can prevent students from applying themselves fully.

It is of utmost importance that you discuss the possibility of any disrupting influence at school with your caregivers/your child.

Perhaps you/your child cannot ignite an interest in math and science, or has lost interest in learning English. Here, inspiration can come from a dedicated mentor who can not only expound on the subject material but make it come alive through his/her  passion.

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning – Brad Henry

Conversely, if you/your child is more advanced than your current grade level, you could sharpen your academic edge by engaging in private lessons, beyond what is currently being taught at school.

Gifted students in the general education classroom suffer a mismatch between their abilities and the pace and depth of the curriculum being taught. Such disparity can be evened out through extracurricular learning from a tutor.

Other underlying causes for you/your child not performing well in school could be lack of organization or poor time management.

In both of these cases, engaging the services of a private tutor can help arrange a schedule in which, for a part of you/your child's day, focus is given exclusively to learning.

Establishing goals in advance saves time.
Establish your tutoring goals before contacting any tutors. Source: Pixabay Credit: geralt

Finding the Tutor that Best Suits Your Needs

Now that you know exactly why you are looking for help and what type of supplemental instruction you require, it is time to narrow your list of potential private tutors from all of the profiles and ads you have found online.

You can highlight certified teachers who possess your desired qualifications; ones with solid experience and possibly even positive feedback from other students.

And then, you should plan your interviews.

Questions of cost, where and when the tutoring will take place, and session duration are obvious. Other queries you should consider are:

  • “What is your teaching style?”

  • “Can you instruct a variety of subjects?”

  • “Do you offer online sessions/group sessions at lower cost?”

  • “Will you provide supplemental materials

  • Do you use teaching aids, like interactive whiteboard?”

  • “What are your methods for working around learning disabilities like dyslexia or ADHD?”

Bear in mind that it might take some time and effort to find the best tutor for your/your child's unique situation. While many tutors demonstrate exemplary profiles – excellent credentials, plenty of experience and positive testimonials from other students s/he has previously worked with, s/he may not 'click' with you.

A one to one tutor should be more than just a knowledgeable person who visits your home once per week and expounds on a subject or two at a fair price. What you are looking for is a mentorship with someone who can light a fire of inspiration and nurture it into a lifelong love of learning.

Every good teacher has this capability, but not for every student. That is why it is so important to hold out for one on one tutoring that will benefit you or your learner.

Making Initial Contact With Private Tutors

At this point, congratulations are in order: all of your planning is ready to be put to good use. Let us now refer to the list of prospects you have previously highlighted, and draft a letter for each one.

You can start your request by stating why you've chosen to contact him/her over all of the other tutoring programs offering similar services.

Was it a particular certification that drew you to that profile? Maybe the length of experience teaching physics or tutoring maths that s/he listed? Perhaps the glowing testimonials given by other tutees is what swayed you, or geographic proximity.

Declaring your reason for addressing him/her is a great attention grabber. Let's continue, now.

By no means should you write a detailed biography, but your future tutor will need to know some particulars about you/your child, such as:

  • Your/your child's level of study and which subject(s) you are seeking help with.

  • The reason you/your child needs a tutor - trouble with school math or reading comprehension.

  • Your desired outcome of such help – passing an exam, learning French, etc.

  • Your preferred method of delivery – online learning, in-home tutoring or a combination of both.

  • Proposed duration of the partnership

  • What skills your child needs to succeed

You can then take the opportunity to glean further details about this tutor's experience. Even though his/her profile might be complete, there is still relevant information to be mined: how students' progress is marked, or how s/he practices reinforcement techniques, for example.

You should close your request by reiterating your need for supplemental instruction, possibly stressing the urgency of your situation.

You might consider adding your phone number, for a faster response.

Enjoy learning with the help of your tutor.
You could enjoy academic success with the right private tutor! Source: Pixabay Credit: sasint


What Happens Next

Generally speaking, the best tutors respond to queries within 24 hours. By that time, you should already have a budget decided and a schedule to propose, in addition to all the extra questions you have prepared for your interviews.

Once those questions have been satisfactorily answered, negotiations begin.

Cost per Hour of Home Tuition

Most Superprof tutors offer their first session at zero cost.

This is an important distinction because it allows you to gauge how well you/your child's learning will progress under that tutelage with no financial burden to you.

Some tutors adjust their fees according to the subject matter and level instructed. If cost is a concern for you, please consider initially targeting only your most pressing need. Improvements in other subjects can always develop later, or even as a result of confidence building through excellence in one subject.

If you are the savings-conscious type, you might want to opt for a tutor online. Distance learning generally costs less because there is no travel time involved, something that the tutors consider when calculating fees.

Another solution to eliminating travel costs from tutoring fees would be for you/your child to visit the tutor's home or tutoring agency.

Perhaps a combination of these methods might work well for you and your chosen mentor, financially and time-wise. As with all negotiations, flexibility is the key.

Here is every information about tuition which you need to know.

Scheduling can be a delicate art when it comes to private tuition
Flexibility is vital to establishing a suitable tutoring schedule Source: Pixabay Credit: webandi

You might also consider searching for free tuition with a number of charitable organisations around the UK.

Arranging a Tutoring Schedule

It is as important for you/your child as for your hired tutor to maintain a regular schedule. Here, you will benefit from being flexible.

If you anticipated tutoring services on Tuesday nights for a maths session – because Wednesdays bring math exams at school, consider also leaving Wednesday evenings open so that you can discuss the test, instead.

You might also expand your availability to weekends. Weekday evenings tend to be busy for tutors of all disciplines; it would not do to lose out on potentially the most beneficial tutoring program simply because of a scheduling conflict.

The urgency and depth of your need plays a part in your tutoring schedule discussions, as does what you are seeking help with.

If you/your child needs a boost to pass a standardized test, most likely your prospective Math or Physics tutor will recommend short-term, intensive course of study requiring more than one session per week.

Here, a combination of online tutoring and one-on-one lessons in your home would work  well. 

If you/your child is looking for more in-depth understanding of particular subject matter(s), a more relaxed, long-term solution would be forecast.

No matter what your situation, you now have a guide to find the individualized help you need from tutors who are most qualified and ready to hone your study skills.

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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.