Choosing a Private Tutor For Your Child
So, you’ve decided you definitely want to hire a private tutor to help your child prepare for the 11-Plus English exam. But where do you start? And how do you know you’ve found the best one for your child?
The pool of tutors can seem endless from school teachers, former teachers, students, next-door neighbours, professional tutors and list goes on! This blog aims to give you some insider tips to help you find an excellent tutor for your child.
Where can I find an 11-Plus English Tutor?
- Ask your child’s class teacher for a recommendation
- Ask a friend for a recommendation (if your child’s year group is competitive trying looking to Year 7 parents)
- Use Google and read reviews
- Ask Facebook community groups
- Your local neighbourhood
Tips for the finding the best private tutor
Be clear on what you want to achieve. There is a coach to suit every individual style and taste. Not every tutor will be the right fit for your child and that’s ok because we’re all unique.
In my opinion, the best tutors nourish children’s confidence, empowering them with the tools for learning success. However, as a parent who may simply want to employ a tutor to ‘get the job done’, without all the bells and whistles.
Let’s look at this in a bit more detail:
Can you answer these questions?
- No time to spare? Are you a full-time working parent who wants a tutor to 100% take care of the exam prep?
- Are you a working parent with the time (and an inclination) to play a part in your child’s exam prep?
- Are you looking for a weekend tutor or weekday tutor?
- Why do I want a private tutor? Which quote best describes your intention:
(There’s a big difference here and really there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s just a case of knowing what you really want).
"Help! Just cover the curriculum to help my child pass the exam. Right now, I’m not particularly interested in longer-term academic growth. "
"I want to use the preparation process to help my child’s growth: make transformational change by helping my child to discover a love of literature and an independent desire to succeed. "
The vast majority of tutors will focus purely on getting the job done, covering the exam curriculum requirements. Other tutors will approach the process with long-term growth and success in mind. The latter approach will appeal more to parents who can invest the time and resources. Investing in growth requires hard work, perseverance and most importantly a ‘have a go’ attitude.
Aside from knowing your goals, having a clear understanding of how your child learns best will help. For example some children have a dominant kinesthetic (hands-on) learning style so may be more suited to in-person tuition.
Knowing what motivates your child is really useful for your tutor to know. Are they outwardly motivated or inwardly motivated? Also, is your child quiet, shy or very talkative? Sometimes it can depend on the situation, but it’s worth knowing so your child is matched with a tutor who will bring out the best in them.
What’s essential to have in a Private Tutor?
Whether you employ an online or face-to-face tutor, you want to ensure they hold a current DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) or they are on the DBS Update Service.
Current school teachers will have an up-to-date DBS but because the tuition sector is unregulated, tutors don’t have to hold one by law, so it’s always wise to check beforehand. Like current school teachers, tutors who are members of the Tutors’ Association will automatically have a current DBS.
Having a trial lesson or an independent assessment should give you the knowledge and confidence you need to make a decision. No tutor should pressurise you into making a fast decision. You should feel happy and comfortable before making a commitment to your child’s tuition.
A rapport between your child and their tutor can make all the difference. Think about the times you’ve worked with a performance coach (personal fitness or work), having an easy rapport makes the process so much more fun and rewarding.
Whilst it takes time to build a rapport, after a first lesson your child (and tutor) will have an idea of whether the fit is right. If it’s not right, don’t give up hope! It’s worth spending time trying out a few different tutors to see what works best.
1:1 online or an in-person tutor?
Both formats can work extremely well for your child. Having online tuition is very convenient as it’s one less trafficky journey you need to make! Exam papers can also be completed by hand and sent to your child’s tutor.
However, for children who struggle with poor concentration and are easily overstimulated, in-person tuition is normally more effective.
Every child is different and so is every tutor.
Finding out how your tutor will give you feedback is very important so you know what to expect. Another factor to consider is whether you actually get on with the tutor. The process could be a bit bothersome, otherwise!
The best tutor-parent relationships have clear, honest expectations and a mutual understanding of shared values and goals.
There is a tutor for every budget.
Be clear on how much money you’re willing to invest and what you hope to achieve when you are researching potential tutors.
Cheap tutors are plentiful and that’s fine as I believe there’s a need for all types. As long as both parties are clear on aims and expectations, then all should be fine.
Don’t assume an expensive, much in-demand tutor is necessarily the right fit for your child. An alignment of values is something that shouldn’t be overlooked by either parent or tutor. Knowing what value you are looking for from tuition is a really positive start. Whilst some parents want their tutor to simply ‘tick the relevant boxes’, others are more discerning and are looking for more value.
Another thing to consider are the payment terms. Knowing this information before you start will help make for a smooth and slick process.
Everywhere you turn, there are strong opinions about tuition, from within the sector and outside of it, which can be tiring. But by focusing on your own child’s goals, you’ll cut out a lot of the noise. This will help you to find the right tutor for your child so they can learn and thrive.
Being clear on your goals will help pave the way for a smooth and happy 11-Plus tuition journey for your whole family. ☺️
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