Finding a tutor isn't easy. You could say it is like having a full time job. First you have to navigate the wild internet, and depending on your search skills, that is enough to burn the most hardened parent. If you manage to find a few site with tutors, you then have to decrypt their information and or wait for correspondence back and forth to and fro. If you manage to survive this far, you then find yourself worrying about a tutor's personality, subject competency, availability, and alignment. If it wasn't for your insatiable need to help your child you would have given up long ago. |
After having spoken to hundreds of parents throughout the years, I have heard a multitude of gripes and quips about the process of finding a tutor, and I have concluded it isn't for everyone. Finding a tutor is hard. Treat finding a tutor like a full time job. Rest assured, I do have some advice to help you along your journey.
Since you managed to get to the third paragraph of this article, you are probably expecting me to list a number of do and don'ts. After all, that is what 99.99% of the articles on the internet do, right? You are right, but in this case, you are wrong. I hope you read that sentence and paused at the comas. I am not going to list some do's and don'ts and collect my link juice. Instead, I am going to part some actual wisdom.
I better not mess this up or I am going to look foolish.
Finding a tutor who is knowledgeable, patient, available, and "clicks" with your child is important. You should be looking for all of that good stuff. If you are burning out looking on your own, think about hiring a tutoring company. Tutoring companies might be more expensive but they take the burden off of you. Moreover, this is what they do for a living and I bet they are better at it than you. This is all good stuff, but it isn't the wisdom I talked about earlier.
All of those things listed above are important but they are not the most important aspect of finding a tutor for your child. The most important aspect of finding a tutor for your child is...
Huh? Confused? That's okay. Let me explain.
All too often, parents approach tutoring as a quick fix. Sit a stranger down in front of your kid, have them knock some intellectual sense into them. A couple of hours of help, a few days before a test, and bingo boungo, there you have it, a successful student.
Oh boy! You know what comes next? Upset parents. Upset parents who feel they were cheated by wasting their hard earned cash on tutoring. In the case where they found the tutor themselves, it becomes the tutors fault. When a tutoring company was hired, the administration is to blame. These parents are not managing their expectations.
Here is how to manage your expectations to ensure your child succeeds. Here comes the list, finally!
1. Start the tutoring early. I mean very early, before there is a problem.
2. If the tutor has an accent, appears quirky, or generally does not meet your requirements of a soul mate, that's okay. Most tutors have a tonne of credentials and are extremely intelligent. They have accomplished what your child has yet to accomplish. They can help. Not to mention, your child will face difficulties in the future dealing with people. Why not teach them those vital life lessons now? If they can't communicate with a tutor who is paid to help them on a 1:1 basis how are they ever going to communicate in the workforce? Teachable moment anyone?
3. Hold your child accountable for their decisions. If they fail don't run to their rescue and shower them with your love. Don't let them see you lash out at others in their defense. Ask them what they did wrong and how they intend to fix it? This is a huge problem today. I saw it as a college level instructor. I saw it as an elementary teacher. I see it as an owner of a tutoring company. Parents today, and I hold myself among this crowd, are far too defensive of their children. I think many of us grew up with foreboding parents and vowed to provide a better upbringing for our kids. Unfortunately, some of us went a little too far.
4. Work with the tutor as if you and them are on the same team. Talk to the tutor about your expectations and make sure to have frequent meetings with them in private. Yes, you will have to pay them for that time, but trust me, tutoring without open communication will fail every time.
5. If you know your child is giving it everything they have be happy with the results. A tutor does not have fairy dust at their disposal. They can't work miracles. Maybe your child does not have a gift for chemistry and therefore won't be a doctor some day. Maybe they can't write to inspire others and therefore won't be the next J.K. Rowling or L. Ron Hubbard. All that is fine. Sometimes we have to take a journey to discover what we don't already know. That is the way school should be handled. It's a journey of discovery. We learn things about ourselves. In the end, they will be enriched by the experience.
If you take these 5 tips to heart I guarantee hiring a tutor will be more rewarding. No matter the method you choose; on your own, or with the help of someone, managing your expectations will result in a happier more favourable outcome, for yourself and your child.
ABOUT THE AUTOR: Christopher Binns is the owner and operator of www.tutordirect.ca and Certified Tutors of Canada. Both companies are education based and help parents and students connect with qualified, in-home tutors.
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