Once you've decided that you'd like to pursue private tutoring, how do you choose a tutor? Of course you want a tutor who is qualified to help you in your needed subject area. Here are some factors to consider:
1. How does your student feel before and after the lesson? While not every student will look forward to a tutoring session, a good tutor should make the student feel good about the time they spent together. Students should leave a lesson feeling more confident in their abilities, more comfortable with the material, and knowing/understanding more than before the lesson began. I like to end my tutoring sessions with a learning game. It's fun, non-threatening, and a great review of the material we've worked on.
2. Is the tutor's teaching style compatible with your student's learning style? This could be the reason you are looking for a tutor: your student has a teacher whose preferred teaching style might not mesh with the way your student learns. If the tutor you choose is unable to explain the material in a way your student understands, that tutor is not the right one for you. I try to include lots of different activities into my tutoring sessions so that I’m sure to work with the material in a way that is effective for my students.
3. Does your student feel comfortable being honest with the tutor? If not, do you? Nothing is more frustrating for me, as a tutor, than when an activity I’ve planned doesn't help my student learn. I want good feedback from my students -- they need to feel comfortable telling me what activities they like & don't like, what helps them learn, and if they understand what we've worked on. It's OK for them to tell me that they still don't understand something -- it's my job to go over it again until my students understand.
4. Are you seeing signs of success? It may take a little while for success to be reflected in a student's grade, but you should see increased confidence, increased desire to meet with a tutor, and less test anxiety. Those are all signs that you've chosen the right tutor.
5. Is the tutor organized & responsible? Does he/she show up on time, prepared? Does he/she bring materials to work on in case your student hasn't done anything new? Does the tutor incorporate a bit of review into each session? That is important as it will help keep older material fresh in the student's mind, making the final exam less of a burden. I come to each tutoring session with an hour's worth of practice and activities. If my student has homework to do or a test to study for, then we work on that. If not, then our session isn't 'wasted.' 6. Does the tutor communicate with you/ your student's teacher? Some teachers don't regularly communicate with tutors, and most cannot give out information about grades, progress, etc to a third party. Teachers who have regularly-updated websites (and will allow the tutor access) are especially helpful. If that is not the case, does the tutor contact you to see what your student has been working on in class? I am in regular contact with each of my students so I am better able to prepare for our tutoring sessions.
7. Does the tutor incorporate a variety of activities into each session? This may not be as applicable to some subject areas (math), but in language tutoring, it is important to work on all 4 skills (reading, writing, listening, & speaking). I believe it is important to incorporate a variety of activities. In my sessions, we review the grammar/vocab a student is working with in class, and we will do some type of practice activity (textbook, workbook, worksheet) for more practice. Then, we may do a partner practice (incorporating the grammar/vocab, speaking and listening), and then a learning game (more listening & speaking practice). I have a vast library of resources to pull from, so sessions are never all the same and boring.