[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Industry is expected to climb to US$196.3 billion by 2020[/pullquote]
Parents often hire a tutor when their child is falling behind in a subject in school, such as science, math or reading. Others hire tutors to keep their children stimulated outside of school hours. In fact, the tutoring industry is so big, it’s estimated to be worth more than $1 billion in Canada annually. With the demand set to increase, the industry is expected to climb to US$196.3 billion by 2020. Tutoring is such a common occurrence, yet parents often wonder how to go about hiring a tutor. If you’ve decided that a tutor is right for your child, here’s how to find one and to ensure your child is reaping the benefits of extra help.
- Depending on the age of your child, he or she may resist the idea of having a tutor. What kid wants to do extra work outside of school, after all? The key here is to help them warm up to the idea and obtain their buy-in so they won’t be resistant when the tutor arrives. Be positive, encouraging and excited about the possibilities a tutor can offer. Your job may be easier if your child knows he or she is struggling. You might say, “You know how math is challenging right now? A tutor is going to help you enjoy it.” Or, if your child is older, you could try: “You know how you really want to get into business school, a tutor will help you get your grades up so you will succeed in university.”
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] A tutor is going to help you enjoy it.[/pullquote]
- Assess your needs. Do you want a tutor that comes to your house or do you want to take your child to a tutoring centre? Both options are excellent, but it depends on what is most convenient for you and your child. Would you want someone to come after school or is your child tired by then and less likely to cooperate? Perhaps first thing on the weekend might be better. Take into account their extra-curricular activities and ensure there is time in the schedule for all your top priorities. What is your budget? Prices vary depending on the tutor and whether it’s a group session at a big tutoring company or a private in-home tutor. Make sure to set the parameters of what you’re looking for so that your job is that much easier when you begin your search.
- Ask around. Many parents feel more comfortable speaking to teachers, friends and family for recommendations. Perhaps they have a tutor they love or know of someone who loves theirs. Maybe there’s a neighbourhood tutoring centre that has a great reputation. Flip through parenting magazines or local neighbourhood magazines and newspapers. Many of these sections have classified ads at the back or even special issues dedicated to kids. Scour the ads for a company or tutor that might fit your needs. Do a search online and see what options come up; there are sure to be many choices. Gather all the research you can; your next step is to make some calls.
- Once you’ve narrowed down your list by searching the ads in print or online or through word of mouth, it’s time to call the tutor or tutoring company to ask some questions. Do they have availability when you need it? Do they specialize in certain subjects or work with children in your child’s age range? Do they work in small groups or one-on-one? How much does it cost for an hour? What are their credentials? Are they teachers? Have they been tutoring for a long time or are they new? You’ll want to find a tutor who has experience but also the educational background, teaching methodologies, a teaching style and personality you feel will mesh well with your child’s needs. Narrow your list down further based on this additional research.
- This will be a good time to meet the tutor in person or chat with them on the phone. You want to be able to describe your child’s needs and what results you’re looking for from a tutor. While you’re talking, you’ll get a sense of whether this person will be a good fit for your family. Do they seem friendly? Are they patient? Encouraging? Do they have a genuine interest in helping children? How will you know whether your child is improving? Will they update you weekly? Provide an assessment at the end of the month? You’ll want to be sure that you are able to communicate effectively with them as well and that you are working together as a team to benefit your child’s education.
- Ask for references. They should be ready and willing to supply them. Call these references and get a sense of how the tutor is with children, how they are with parents, whether they were on time or cancelled often. Did their child benefit or succeed in some measurable way? By now, you should be ready to make your final decision.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Ask for references[/pullquote]
- Once you’ve decided on a tutor, make sure to go over a few things with them before their first session with your child. You’ll want to outline the goals you’d like the tutor to help your child achieve. Would you like them reading at a certain level by a certain date? Do they need help regularly completing homework or preparing for tests? You, your child, the tutor and your child’s teacher are all part of a team now, and you’ll want to ensure your tutor understands what expectations the teacher requires and what goals your teacher thinks your child can achieve. Communicate and be prepared to pass along helpful information. You are the link between the teacher and tutor. It’s also important to set concrete benchmarks. You might have discussed this in theory during your interview, but now it’s time to agree on an assessment method and set expectations. How will you know whether your child is improving? Will the tutor provide an assessment and what kind—written or oral? Are you hoping for a certain grade or report card at school at the end of the semester? Decide together how you will achieve this and how it will be measured so there is no miscommunication.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Be encouraging and positive[/pullquote]
- Be supportive. Greet the tutor warmly so your child knows you’re on the same team and that you’re excited about the extra help. While you don’t have to sit down with them for the session, you might want to pop in or stand nearby so you can hear how it’s going. Ask the tutor privately afterward how it went. Speak to your child about how he or she found the session. Be encouraging and positive. This could be a long-term relationship and you want it to go well from the start.
Crestwood Echo April 19th, 2017
Posted In: Community, Education, Parenting
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