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Interviewing 101 for Tutors: Here's What to Ask Parents and Students

Tiffany Smith
March 13, 2017

What you need to know in order to get a tutor job and successfully tutor a child.

Before you agree to work for any parent who contacts you, have an in-depth conversation about the parents' expectations and their child's needs. Neither you nor the student will benefit (and you will both wind up frustrated) if you can't give her the educational assistance she needs.

What You Should Ask the Parents

During the initial meeting with the parents -- meeting by phone is OK, but meeting in person is highly recommended -- ask them some basic questions:

  • Why do you want your child to work with a tutor?
  • How long do you think it should take to accomplish your objectives?
  • How do you expect your child to perform in school?
  • How does your child handle stress?
  • Could your work schedule conflict with your child's tutoring schedule?

What to Ask the Student

You can discuss the student with her parents, but its best to let her do the talking. Spend your initial meeting getting to know one another. Try to determine her learning style. Listen. Some of the questions below may seem obvious or irrelevant, but their answers will explain what the student likes and dislikes, and allow you to plan your tutoring accordingly.

  • What are your hobbies?
  • What are your favorite and least favorite subjects?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?
  • What's your preferred way to learn? Do you like to listen to lessons, see lessons in action, or are you a hands-on learner?
  • How do you study?
  • How do you think tutoring can help you?
  • Do you feel stressed when you're at school or doing your homework?

It's up to you to craft an engaging lesson plan. This plan will be most effective if you work to understand each student and her parents -- and if they work to understand you.

Tiffany Smith has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter at @tiffanyiswrite. 

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