One of the hardest things in finding a tutor can be finding one that suits the student’s needs. There are some things to look for and some things that can tell you if a tutor is not right for me/my child.
A very important point is that the student needs to be comfortable enough to ask a question. By being comfortable enough to ask a question, the student will demonstrate to their tutor what it is that they are unsure about and the tutor can work on that. In very rare cases does the student know exactly what they do not know and tells the tutor about this. It is much more common that through asking questions and doing the assignments that the student and tutor can get to the causes of the student’s difficulties. A lot of students struggle with asking questions in class because they do not want to be laughed at by their peers. A student should never feel this way in a tutoring lesson. A tutoring lesson should be a time for the student to ask questions about the subject matter to help them find a way to internalize the knowledge and have it make sense to them.
The student must receive an answer to their question. The answer does not have to be instantaneous. It can take a bit of time to process and think about (a quick Google search might also be need in some cases). If the student does not receive an answer, they will stop asking and this is not a productive use of anyone’s time.
A good tutor-student combination also involves the tutor being able to adapt to (or already shares) the student’s way of learning/studying. Some students learn by asking questions, some learn by doing/moving and some learn by listening and vice versa with tutors. Often tutors use the style that they use in their own studies. For example, if a tutor prefers to learn through doing, they are most likely to give their student more chances to perform than a tutor who prefers to listen and ask questions. It is important to have the student and tutor be compatible with their styles. If they are not, this can make learning the subject matter even more difficult for the student who is struggling. For students who are ahead of their class and want a little extra, it is also important that the student-tutor combination be well-matched. If it is not, the student might become confused or lose confidence with the material they already know if it is presented in a way that does not make sense to them.
DID YOU KNOW?
Going through a tutoring agency can take some of the stress out of finding a new tutor. Most tutoring agencies have access to many tutors and will not stop searching for a tutor that the student and their parents are happy with.
No matter how good the combination is, a tutor must be able to present concepts to the student in different ways depending on the student’s needs. This might seem like it is a continuation of the point in the paragraph above, but it is slightly different and needs to be said. Just because a tutor and student are compatible, it does not mean that they will be compatible for everything. For example, if you have a tutor that your child likes for mathematics, it does not mean that the same tutor (no matter how qualified) will also be able to help your child in chemistry. Some people learn different subjects in different ways. Some subjects, like the sciences, are much easier to learn through doing and watching, while history is easier to learn through listening and asking questions.
Finding a tutor that you or your child is comfortable with is a hard process. It can take a lot of tutors who you are not happy with to find one that just seems to fit. We hope this quick blog post helps with figuring out whether the tutor you have selected is a good choice, but what it really comes down to is “how happy are you/your child with the tutor you have selected?”.
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