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Tutor questions: What you should know before selecting a tutor

Deciding to get a tutor for your child is important. Finding the right person to tutor your child is even more important.

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Today there are so many tutoring options, but unfortunately, not all tutors are of equal quality or experience. Asking some key questions can help you to choose the right tutor. Here are a few things that you should consider or ask of any potential tutor.

Questions for the tutor:

  • What are your qualifications?
    There are a number of people working as tutors who have no qualifications to do so. A trained teacher makes the ideal tutor because they have academic training and teaching experience. However, they are probably also the most expensive option. You might prefer a teacher education student who will understand the curriculum requirements and student needs but will generally charge less. The third option would be someone with qualifications in the area in which your child needs help and also previous tutoring experience.

  • Do you have training in the required area?
    If your child is struggling with physics, there’s not much point in having a tutor who specialises in history. Whether their qualifications are from a university or are specific to a particular industry, it’s obviously important that the person educating your child knows their stuff.

  • Do you have any references?
    One of the measures of a good tutor is the willingness of other clients to vouch for them. Don’t be shy about requesting references from other parents or to ask for recommendations. Word of mouth is critical in the tutoring world.

  • Do you offer a free trial session?
    This will depend on the tutor or organisation, but most will provide this if they are confident in their services and are genuinely interested in your business.

  • Are you cleared to work with children?
    This should be non-negotiable. All trained teachers must have completed a Working with Children Check (WWCC) and anyone else who works with children should too. A WWCC is a national criminal history check of charges, convictions and juvenile records and means that the person is considered legally suitable for such work.

Things you should consider:

  • Should a tutor be licensed or a member of an industry association?
    No, and not necessarily. There is currently no such thing as a tutoring licence in Australia and the industry is largely unregulated. Most tutors will not be part of an association, but this does not mean that they are unsuitable. Membership with an association, such as the Australian Tutoring Association may provide more benefits to the tutor than the client, but it also means that the tutor has been vetted by the organisation.

  • What are your expectations?
    Ensure that you make your requirements clear to the tutor and be prepared to hold the tutor to these. Checking in regularly with the child and tutor should be standard practice.

  • What is the time commitment?
    Most tutoring sessions last one hour per week; however, some may go as long as three or more hours and may involve multiple classes. Work out what you feel is appropriate for your child and whether there are requirements to complete additional tasks beyond the allocated tutoring time.

  • Where will the tutoring take place?
    There are a variety of options for tutoring locations: in your home, at the tutor’s home, at the library, at a tutoring company, or even online. Think about what each will entail and what your requirements are.

There’s a lot to think about when selecting a tutor, but it’s an important decision to make so it’s a good idea to invest the time in the vetting process. Considering these questions will help you to make the right choice.

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