How to choose your tutor

There are many options available for online tutors since the lockdown. It can be difficult to decide who to entrust with this important task! Your chosen tutor will be spending time with your child on a regular basis. You need to be able to trust that they will not only do the job they're paid for, but also be a positive influence, and make your child feel at ease. No one can make that choice for you, but here are some things to consider to help you to make that choice. Know what you are looking for

There are many tutors available with many specialisms. What support does your child need? Do they need help with dyslexia, do they need confidence building, do they have communication difficulties? Some specialise in 11 plus exams, some specialise in A level, some support students writing their dissertation. There's a wide variety of tutors available, so it pays to do your research on who is available.

At Green Tutors, our tutors are all STEM specialists. They're great for inspiring students who struggle to engage with maths and science lessons. They're also able to offer advice to students wanting a STEM career as they're all scientists and engineers.

Are they DBS certified?

DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service, and provides assurance that candidates have no criminal records or registrations that prevent them from working with children. Since anyone can put themselves forward as a potential tutor, there is no requirement for them to be vetted beforehand.

All of my tutor team have an up to date and clear Enhanced DBS certification before they're allowed to engage with any clients or potential clients. You can request to see their certificate, which they should be able to provide for you. It should be an enhanced check (it will say this on the certificate) issued within the last year, and show their full name and address. Do they have experience?

There's a wide range of tutors available online. From GCSE students themselves who have decided to put the knowledge they've accumulated to use earning money, to retired teachers who have decades of experience in the classroom and now want to work on their own terms. My tutor team are scientists and engineers who I coach to share their knowledge with teenagers, and inspire a passion for learning.

Even with the best of intentions, without experience of exam preparation and participation, and an extensive knowledge of the subject beyond the level they're prepared to teach, you're not likely to get a good level of tuition. And so they're likely to be priced accordingly. Whereas a tutor who dedicates their entire career to teaching and inspiring students to give their best exam performance will have a great chance of helping your child succeed, and come with a higher hourly rate.

The average rate for an hour's tuition is currently £35, but that can vary quite widely based on other factors.

Does your child like them?

We always aim to match students with a tutor that they will get along with. Every student has different needs, and they need a tutor who will address those well, while making the student feel at ease.

Many tutors will offer a trial lesson or introductory appointment with you and your child before committing to regular lessons. This allows you time to see how they interact with your child, and if they get along. They should have a good rapport with your child, and you should feel comfortable around them.

If you feel like this is not the case, you are absolutely at liberty to ask to switch tutors. The tutor will likely also have noticed if they are not building a good relationship with your child. It shouldn't be considered rude to express that as it is a very personal thing.

What qualifications do they have?

There are no qualification requirements to become a tutor, so you will find a range of diverse qualifications amongst applicants. Some will be school students tutoring for the same exam they're sitting. Some will be qualified teachers with a raft of classroom and examination experience.

At Green Tutors, we don't tend to look for teaching qualifications, as students have that from their school teachers (if they're not home schooled). Our tutors are extensively qualified in the subject they teach, and are usually also employed in that field. They bring real life applications of their subject to the lessons, and inspire students to see the value in studying it. And they also have completed many years of higher education so that they are very experienced in good revision and exam preparation skills.

At a minimum, we recommend that tutors have qualifications at least a level above that which they are teaching. So GCSE tutors would have A level qualifications, etc. However, these tutors would likely be charging a lot less than the average rate.

Are they professional?

You can generally get a feel for someone's level of professionalism when discussing your requirements with them. They should be up front with their terms and conditions, happy to accommodate what you need, and not delay responding to messages, etc. But there are a few things I've seen so-called professionals say that are an absolute red flag.

They should not agree to do your child's homework with them. Homework is set so that school teachers can see whether or not their classwork has stuck. If the child can not complete the homework, it is a sign that they need more help on the topic. If they don't understand the topic, but hand in perfect homework because the tutor helped them with it, they are at a disadvantage.

They should not guarantee top grades. There is no way that any tutor is able to guarantee top grades. There is absolutely every chance that your child's performance will improve with one to one support from the right tutor, but it is the child's performance that gets the grade and that is something that no tutor can guarantee. These guarantees are empty promises designed to make their service seem more shiny and attractive. What they do is move the onus away from the child, and disincentivize them from their studies.

They should never ask the parent to leave the lesson. You are always entitled to sit in, or to watch if it is delivered online. Of course it is not a good idea to disrupt the lesson by asking lots of questions or participating too heavily, but there should be no reason for you not to witness the entire lesson. If the tutor is not comfortable with that, it is a definite red flag.

Do they have references?

A good, experienced tutor should have happy customers who are happy to share their experience. You should be able to see reviews for them on their web page or social media, or get references from past customers.

A new tutor might not have those references. That doesn't automatically mean they're a bad tutor, but without the experience they will come at a lower price.

If you're looking for a tutor for maths and sciences, you can arrange a trial lesson with one of our tutor team today and be assured that you will get a great service.

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