When looking for a tutor, start by asking individual teachers and other parents at your own school if they can recommend someone. Ask other parents, first, because sometimes they know of current tutors that the school doesn’t. Sometimes students don’t want anyone at school to know that they are being tutored, which is why parents sometimes know of more tutors than schools do. Numerous individuals in schools know of good people, so don’t just limit yourself to asking only one teacher, or one administrator. If you don’t find someone through other parents, ask the librarian, the administrator, and all the teachers near the grade level of your child–a couple grades up, and a couple grades down. If that doesn’t work, try asking neighbors and work colleagues who have children. Don’t forget to ask people with older children, as previous tutors may still be available, but current school personnel may no longer know them. If you are an expat, ask other expats in your community.
The most important things in finding a tutor for your child are that:
1.) The student likes the tutor, and that they are able to develop a personal connection; otherwise, no matter how knowledgeable the tutor, it just doesn’t work with your child.
2.) The tutor understands that what you want is better grades, but also for your child’s skills to improve. It has to be a combination of both to work out.
3.) The tutor also functions as a cheerleader/coach for your child, as many students in need of tutoring have lost confidence in themselves. A good tutor, who the student connects with, can help replace that confidence, while helping your child master the skills he or she is having trouble with. This is why it’s so important that they like each other and have a good relationship.
4.) The tutor needs to be just a little more on your child’s side, than on the school’s side. Sometimes, the problem with tutors who are also teachers at the same time is that there is a fine line between helping a student overcome difficulties and helping them improve their grades, vs. helping too much, and crossing over into doing it for them. Tutors who are also teachers sometimes don’t go far enough, while sometimes tutors go too far. A personal recommendation from other pleased parents or pleased teachers can go far in finding a tutor that strikes the right balance to really help your child.