When asked the polling question "What is the most important question a parent should ask a potential tutor?" I immediately thought of "What experience do you have working with children?". This may seem like a silly question, one that would only be asked of a potential babysitter or full-time caregiver, but I think it's of extreme importance when choosing a tutor.
Someone may have graduated from Harvard with an advanced degree in biology, but if they haven't ever worked with children in a one-on-one or group setting, then they probably lack the skills necessary to help a student learn. Besides being qualified in a specific academic subject, a tutor must have a variety of qualities including, but not limited to, the following:
>Passion for Learning/Teaching
>Commitment to be Encouraging
>Energetic--Be able to make learning fun
>Understanding of the way each individual student learns best
In my own experience, these are qualities and attitudes that I have developed through my experience as a camp counselor, a youth ministry intern, and a summer nanny, among a variety of other experiences I have had with students.
Basically, my advice to parents is to ask a potential tutor what other relevant experience they have had working with children before they decide to hire him or her. A great tutor not only needs to be an effective teacher to your student, but a trusted friend and encourager as well.