The Tutor Guide: Interviewing a Tutor or Teacher
What to ask before you hire a private instructor
Finding a tutor who is knowledgeable, works well with your child, and addresses your specific tutoring needs is a crucial part of creating a great learning experience for your child. Here are a few questions that can help you screen potential tutors
Initial Phone Screening
- What kind of academic training do you have in the subject you are tutoring?
- Have you done any tutoring before? For how many years? How many students have you worked with, and what ages?
- Why do you want to be a tutor?
- Do you have experience working with different learning styles?
- My child needs help with (name the specific subject, such as reading on the third grade level). What would you do to help him?
- What kinds of materials will you bring with you?
- What is your availability? Do you have your own transportation?
- How long a commitment can you make? (A student may be graduating or taking a semester off).
In general, listen for someone enthusiastic and committed to working with your child, not someone just looking to make extra money.
- Did you have any trouble finding our home? Did transportation go smoothly?
- Would you mind trying a short exercise with my child now? Then bring the child into the room and have him show his textbooks and other materials. Watch how they interact with each other. You probably don't want to leave the room for this first meeting, so just keep in mind that it's not going to represent a real tutoring session. You're all just getting to know each other a little.
- Based on what you saw, do you think you will be able to work effectively with my child?
- How do you think you can help? What specifically will you do?
- Do you have any questions for me?
- How do you measure progress or address obstacles?
- Are you willing to speak with my child's teacher?
- What environment do you prefer for tutoring? For example, can you work with my child at the kitchen table or would you prefer a home office or private study?
- Should we set up a trial period to make sure it's going well and that we've made a good match on all sides?
Before Hiring the Instructor
- Consider hiring for two or three sessions on a trial basis to see how it works for everyone.
- Establish cancellation policies. Decide what will happen if your child or your tutor is sick. Will there be a make-up session and any fee for the missed session? Does the tutor expect payment after each session, or at the end of each month? What form of payment is expected, check or cash?
- Agree on a fee. Find out what other tutors in your area charge so you can establish a fee. If you live near Seattle, see what other Seattle Tutors are charging. By having this information ahead of time, you know what your tutor should expect for payment.
- Ask for references and check them.
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