If you’ve never done it before, private tutoring will be a learning experience for you as much as your child. Done right, it’s an enlightening, hopefully college tuition-saving, learning experience. Especially when you consider the potential benefits for your child and your home.
In fact, by going in with the right set of expectations, you can get more out of private tutoring in less time and for less money. Here are six tried-and-true ideals we’ve uncovered that make up the foundation of affordable private tutoring experiences:
1. A Great Tutor Is One You Won’t Need Forever
The single most important thing to remember about tutoring is that a good tutor puts himself out of a job.
The goal of a private tutor (and in our minds, any educator) is to create self-sufficient students. This knowledge is a guiding principle for finding the right tutor. When you first start working with a tutor, always ask him or her to provide you with an assessment and plan. The right private tutor for you will always be able to show how your child is progressing and if you’re still researching tutors, make sure to ask questions.
2. Improved Grades Is an Effect, Not a Goal
There are two things that successful students possess: confidence and study skills. The individualized attention from a private tutor fuels these by:
- Evaluating gaps in your child’s abilities to process information from input (being taught) to output (testing). In the journey between point A and point B, countless obstacles need to be managed and averted, many of which aren’t recognized in a classroom setting, because teachers have too many students to provide in-depth, one-on-one help to all of them.
- Giving students a relaxed, non-judgmental environment where it’s okay to make mistakes. The dynamic of having a private tutor means it’s much easier to learn from mistakes, which builds confidence quickly and organically. As confidence grows, a student is more inclined to take on bigger challenges.
Until your child is equipped with the right emotional and behavioral tools of confidence and study skills, you’re putting the proverbial cart before the horse if you’re focusing just on grades and test scores. Most parents on Tutorneer report their child’s grades were raised by a full letter after only 8 hours of tutoring. You will see progress in grades and test scores, but the real goal is to get your child set up for lifelong success even if a specific subject or low grade first introduced the idea of hiring a private tutor.
3. Parent-Tutor Transparency Is a Must
As a parent, it’s important to share anything that can be of value to the tutor.
Not only does letting your private tutor know what to expect of your child’s behavior at the start give them time to prepare, but it establishes trust right from the beginning. More importantly, it prevents the waste of time and money that comes from heading down a road of dead-end techniques and inappropriate materials.
And as a parent you should expect the same sort of clarity from your tutor so you can make an informed decision about the progress of your investment. Asking a tutor for regular check-ins is a great way to understand exactly what progress is being made.
4. You May Need to Change Some Bad Habits
It’s not easy to hear, but creating an independent student means keeping your distance. For much more better than worse, coddling your child to answers or solving their math problems hurts in the long run.
You might have to watch a struggle before you can see success, but it’s worth it.
How can you enable yourself in maintaining that distance? Start by creating a dedicated, neutral study space, preferably somewhere out of earshot. If your child is a teenager and ready for a little more independence and responsibility, you can take it one step further by letting your teen schedule lessons and even meet with a tutor outside the home at a coffee shop or library. This is a great way to show your high schooler their education is something they have control of—just make sure you have an established relationship with your tutor before starting down this path.
5. Private Tutoring Isn’t a Class (And Different Is Good)
You might not expect to see your child dancing while conjugating in French, or using iPad games to conquer math problems, but tutoring isn’t always what you expect. Really great tutors find a new way to communicate information to their students in a way that they can grasp. They meet them at their level of understanding and start building up from it.
Additionally, if you first looked for a tutor to solve a problem, then remember what you expect out of education, such as sitting down, quiet study, and patient hand-raising, wasn’t working for your child. Something different might be just what your child needs to set the light bulb off.
6. The Teacher-Tutor Line of Communication Is Invaluable
Is it within the bounds of your tutor’s job to deal with the teacher? It is.
As a parent, you likely don’t know the full extent of how the child behaves in class. You might not have the time for an intricate dialogue with the teacher outside their school hours and your work hours. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t make you a bad parent, and it doesn’t make the teacher a bad teacher.
Putting your tutor in contact with teacher(s) gives the tutor access to 360 degrees of information on the behavior of your child. And that back and forth benefits everyone involved.
Private tutoring is a monetary and emotional investment. It has the potential to change the way your student sees school, and in some cases even the world. But by preparing yourself and approaching the tutoring journey as your own learning experience, it’s an investment that pays off many times over.