10 Questions to Ask a New Tutor

Hiring a new tutor for your child can be complicated and challenging. It's important to find a qualified tutor who is a good fit in terms of teaching style and personal connection. There are so many issues to consider that it can be easy to overlook important questions. Here are ten questions you should ask before you hire a new tutor.

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#1 What Certifications or Degrees Do You Have?

It's good to know what type of training a new tutor has. In some cases, you may want a tutor with an undergraduate or graduate degree in education. In other cases, you may look for someone who studied in the field in which your child is struggling. A tutor with a teaching certification demonstrates a commitment to professional development in education.

#2 Do You Have Any References?

Don't be shy about asking for and contacting references. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the person you may hire to work with your child. While a tutor who is just starting out may not have references, experienced tutors should have satisfied clients with whom you can speak.

#3 How Would You Describe Your Teaching Style?

It's helpful to know what type of educator this new tutor is, such as a strict disciplinarian or a believer in the Socratic method. Often, the best way to learn this is to ask for a demonstration. Ask if the tutor will work with your child in a short lesson that you observe. Is the tutor lecturing and, if so, how competent does he or she seem? Ideally, the tutor encourages your child and allows him or her to learn through exploration and asking questions.

#4 What Tutoring Plan Would You Recommend For My Child?

A tutoring plan is a way of mapping out the goals and methods for the sessions. How the tutor formulates a plan will help you understand how well the tutor understands your child's needs. This is also a good opportunity to get on the same page with the tutor about what you'd like to accomplish with the tutoring. This is especially important with older students, when their goals might not align completely with their parents' goals.

Tutor and student

#5 Why Are You Interested in Tutoring?

This question will help you understand the tutor's motivations for working as a tutor. You can learn why he or she is passionate about education. Note that tutors pursue this work for a wide range of reasons. Some tutors are aspiring full-time teachers or teachers seeking extra income. Others are financially stable and have careers outside of education, yet they find satisfaction and meaning in helping children become better students.

#6 What Do Enjoy Outside of Tutoring?

You'll also want to learn about the tutor as a person outside of education. This is a question that rarely has a 'wrong answer.' Instead, you may find out something completely unexpected about the tutor. It's also a great chance to discover if the tutor has similar interests as your child, which may help foster a stronger connection.

#7 What Ages and Subjects Have You Worked With Before?

It's ideal to have a tutor who is experienced working with children of a similar age as your child. Likewise, you may find that the most successful tutors have extensive experience with the subject area in which your child needs help. A lack of completely similar experience shouldn't always be a deal breaker, though. You may find a tutor who has highly diverse experience and this may be a good sign of adaptability and broad expertise.

Tutor and student

#8 Do You Have Experience Working With Students With Learning Differences?

If your child has any type of learning difference, from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to autism, you'll want a tutor who possesses relevant experience or training. Tutors with a formal background in education, such as teaching certification, are most likely to have formal training. However, many tutors have informal experience that may also be valuable.

#9 Can You Tell Me About a Success Story With a Previous Student?

Give the tutor an opportunity to brag about a successful student. This is a chance to learn about how impactful this tutor has been with other students. It's also a chance to determine how the tutor defines success. A related question that is often informative involves asking about a student with whom the tutor struggled. This question provides insight into the tutor's growth and development as an educator.

#10 Practical Questions

You won't want to miss several basic questions that will help you understand the logistics of how the tutor works, or establish ground rules if you intend to hire the tutor. For example, you'll want to cover how lessons are scheduled, how long they'll be, where they'll take place and what occurs if someone needs to cancel. You should also discuss how payment will work before tutoring begins so everyone is in agreement.

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