Does my child need a tutor?
I have recently started working as a tutor. This has come about mostly due to the fact that I am taking a break from my full time teaching career to stay home for a little while and do some full-time Mummying. I wasn’t sure if tutoring would be my cup of tea but I have found it an incredibly rewarding experience. It has also surprised me how many parents feel the need to seek out a tutor for their primary school aged child.
It got me thinking about why tutoring may be important and why tutoring is needed as an additional educational service to schooling. As a tutor myself, I see great benefits in tutoring sessions for students, however, if you are thinking about obtaining some tutoring for your child, I believe it is important for you to consider a few things first.
Why does my child require a tutor?
For many families, it is about time management, concerns of parents about a child’s progress at school or anxiety they may be experiencing about their school work. This concern may come from a parent-teacher interview or a report card. Before you decide to pursue tutoring, it might be a good idea to take your concerns back to the classroom teacher to clarify anything you are not sure about. In some situations, the school might be able to clear up any concerns you may have or offer additional support during school hours that will prevent you from needing to employ a tutor. You may also find that the school may advise that tutoring will be beneficial and be able to help you with this process. Click here to read more about communicating between home and school.
What are you hoping to achieve from the tutoring sessions?
It is a good idea to set some goals for these sessions, once you have decided that tutoring may be the best option to support your child’s learning. A good tutor (more about that later) will ask for these goals and ensure that each session is planned according to meeting these. Your goal might be to get your child to reach a certain reading level or perhaps to help them work through their English essays. Consider the key learning areas (e.g., Maths, English, Science) that you would like focussed on during the sessions too.
Where will the tutoring sessions be held?
There are many options when it comes to tutoring. Some private schools will employ tutors to come to the school campus (before or after school hours) to tutor students and this is often an additional, extracurricular service that parents may pay for. In some state schools, there are additional support situations available such as homework club that may also be available to students.
There are private tutoring companies (much like an agency) that employ tutors and set you up with a tutor who would best suit the needs of your child. In these situations, they may come to you at your home, at a mutual location such as the local library or you may come to a facility set up by the organisation. You will often pay the company a fee for each session and not the tutor directly.
The final option is a private tutor (you may find advertised online) who may come to your home or meet you at a location decided by both parties. If you decide that home is the most ideal location, ensure that there is a neat, organised, space set up that is free of distraction for the sessions.
When will these tutoring sessions happen?
The duration, frequency and time of the sessions are something that needs to be negotiated between you and the tutor. For primary school children, I believe that afternoons or weekends are the best options. Evenings are often difficult as children are tired and learning in a tutoring session before bed is not always ideal.
A good tip for an after-school tutoring session is to allow your child to have some time to play and eat a healthy snack between the end of school and the beginning of their session. This allows them a break between learning and will ensure that they have the most focus possible for their sessions.
I offer all my students one-hour sessions and believe that most primary aged children really only require a one-hour session, per subject, per week. An hour allows enough time to review the last session, discuss any needs with the parent and child, teach new concepts and consolidate new learning with an activity or game.
How do I find a good tutor?
That is a good question. I think talking to other parents is always a good way to gauge if there are any tutors or organisations around that may have a good reputation. Your child’s school may also be able to offer advice on this.
If you seek a tutor privately, don’t be afraid to ask them for a copy of their credentials and even a CV of their experience. You are paying them good money to support your child’s education so it is ok to ask them for this. Another good idea is preparing some questions to ask them when you call to inquire about their services and being prepared with your concerns to make sure they are qualified to help. It is also fine to discuss with them that the initial session is a probation session to ensure that they are what you are looking for, they work well with your child and that it is something that will be best for your family.
It is also advisable to ensure that the tutor has a blue card child safety check or if they are a registered teacher you sight their current teacher registration card.
There you have it. Tutoring can be extremely beneficial as long as it is purposeful, in partnership with the learning that is happening at school and is achieving learning goals successfully.