Are you considering becoming a tutor? If so, there are certain signs that you should look for to determine if this is the right decision for you. Being a tutor is a great way to help students learn and grow, and it can also be very rewarding for you. So, how do you know if becoming a tutor is right for you? Here are some factors to consider.
What Qualities Make A Good Tutor
Whether you're looking for a geometry tutor for your high school student who could use a little more support, or you're looking for a general tutor for your elementary school student who is falling behind, hiring someone to tutor your kids can be good for everyone.
First, it may reduce your responsibility to try and teach your child how to do their work. Trying to take over as the homework monitor/teacher can be stressful. Hiring a tutor may reduce the arguing and the frustration everyone feels.
A good tutor will know how to help your child connect the dots—so the material will make sense. They'll help your child gain confidence in their skills and help them become more independent.
But not all tutors are created equal. Therefore, it's important to find a well-qualified tutor who has the right characteristics and experience for the job.
You might think a tutor has a college degree or certification that shows they're qualified to teach kids. After all, many of them are being asked to teach tough concepts in a way that works for their child.
But a quick online search for tutors might lead you to ask, "Can anyone be a tutor?" There are a wide variety of people marketing themselves as tutors.
You might discover tutors range from high school students who want a little part-time income to retired experts with doctorate degrees who are just looking for something to do.
There's no tutor licensing board or regulating system for tutoring. So, essentially, anyone who claims they're a tutor can do so.
Of course, nothing says a high school student can't do a good job. And there's no guarantee that someone with a fancy degree can teach. But, it's important to consider someone's education, experience, and qualifications before hiring them.
A tutor needs to understand the material well if they're teaching it to someone else. And they also need skills that allow them to teach the material in an easy-to-understand way.
Personality, Characteristics, And Approach
Of course, the best qualifications in the world won't matter if the tutor doesn't have the right personality or characteristics to do the job. So here are some things you may want to look for when selecting a tutor for your child:
- Relatability: If your child isn't likely to get along with their tutor, they may dread sessions. And that will likely make tutoring ineffective.
- Flexibility: A one-size-fits-all approach isn't likely to work. It's important to find a tutor who knows how to work well with your child—and one who can make adjustments when certain approaches aren't effective.
- Enthusiasm: You want to find someone passionate about learning and teaching. It can help your child stay engaged in their work.
- Reliability: You and your child must trust the tutor. You want to work with someone who keeps their word. Someone who shows up on time sends you the information they promise and follows through on things they say they're going to do is essential.
- Empathy: An empathetic tutor can ensure your child feels heard and understood. A good tutor will recognise how test anxiety, insecurity, and stress impact performance. Showing a clear understanding of your child's emotions will be an asset to the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you feel comfortable with a particular subject and have performed well in it, you already have the makings of a great tutor. Yes, tutors should know the material well enough to explain it to another person, but you don't need to be an expert by any means. It's better if you aren't an expert.
Teaching and tutoring involve a lot more differences than you might think. While teachers have to manage large class sizes of up to 30 students, a tutor's job is to support students' learning more personally and flexibly.
Tutoring is a flexible, rewarding and interesting job where you'll make a positive difference. As a tutor, you'll help students prepare for exams, work together on classwork they need guidance with and help them improve in a particular subject that they're struggling in.
A good tutor will take the time to connect meaningfully with the student and their families. They will be caring and compassionate but also professional and organised. Having a good rapport with the student will move a tutor from good to great.
A good tutor can help students hone in on areas where they need to focus and put in extra work before they even begin to struggle, so they master new skills right off the bat and excel in school. Tutors are an invaluable part of a child's educational team, and they often have more flexibility than a regular teacher.
Questions To Ask
Before hiring a tutor, it's important to ask questions. Asking the right questions will help you gain the information to make the tutoring experience positive. Here are some questions to consider:
- What kind of experience do you have? Ask about the tutor's qualifications and experience working in a specific subject area. Also, inquire about what types of age groups the tutor has worked with to ensure it will be a good fit for your child.
- Can we talk to the families of any of your students or former students? Most reputable tutors will be happy to connect you with some of their other clients. And while they may post glowing reviews on their website from happy parents and kids, it's important to talk to other families directly if you can. Ask about their experiences to learn more about the tutor, the process, and the results they've seen.
- How often will sessions take place? Shorter, more frequent sessions are likely to be more helpful than one full day a month of tutoring. The tutor should have some clear suggestions about how often to meet—but of course, it's ultimately up to you to decide.
- What online platform do you use? The online platform the tutor uses can make a huge difference in your child's learning experience. Will they be video chatting, and your child only sees the tutor's face? Or, is there a whiteboard where the tutor can show your child how to work through concepts? Is there an interactive component to tutorings, such as slides or games? Learn as much as you can about what the sessions will look like.
- Will my child receive support in between sessions? If you or your child has a question between tutoring sessions, is there a way to reach the tutor? Some tutors are available by phone or email. You can't reach others outside of the scheduled appointment times.
- Do you assign homework? Will the tutor just be helping your child with their school work? Or will they be assigned other work to help your child better understand the material?
- What approach do you use? Tutors have lots of different strategies for teaching and motivating kids. Ask about the tutor's style and the strategies you can expect them to employ.
- How will we know if tutoring is effective? Will you see better grades at school if tutoring works? Or, should you expect to see other changes, like less time needed to complete homework? It's important to know how you'll determine if progress is being made.
- What kind of results can we expect to see? It's also important to get a realistic picture of what type of results you might expect from tutoring. Will your child become an honour student, or are you hoping they pass the class?
Signs You Should Become A Tutor
Ever wondered if you have what it takes to be a peer tutor? If you've never given it much thought before, you should consider it.
It's a great side hustle that comes with a flexible schedule and pretty solid pay. That said, how do you know if it's the right fit for you? After all, the fit is everything.
Let's start with some qualifiers:
- You're looking for something to help boost your resume. Employers know that tutors make great hires because, through tutoring their peers, they are developing the skills needed for success in the workplace.
- You're smart enough to know that the myths about tutors aren't true. Tutors have what it takes when it comes to hard and soft skills, they care about being connected to campus, and they are excellent student leaders.
- You're interested in helping your peers succeed.
Tutors act as role models and mentors for their peers, guiding them to help them reach their own academic goals.
Still not sure? Here's some more information on what it means to be a peer tutor. If you have at least two of the following three traits, you have what it takes to get started.
You Like Helping Your Peers.
If you're a student who enjoys helping others, you would love to work as a tutor. Using the people skills you already have, you can help other students gain the confidence to feel proud of their academic performance and overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. If you like cheering people on, being a role model, or serving as a mentor, tutoring will come naturally to you.
Maybe you're the go-to person always asked to be in study groups or the one others look to in study groups for leadership or direction. You always seem to know how to explain a concept differently, and you understand how your peers learn. You're able to put people at ease, encourage them, and be empathetic. You exhibit a high level of emotional intelligence that allows you to excel in working with others.
Imagine supporting a student going from getting a C+ on their first test to a B+ on their next test. Or helping someone finally understand something that has been stressing them out all semester and holding them back from doing well in a class. You see the light bulb go off for them, and the feeling of victory replaces the feeling of stress. Do you feel satisfaction from this kind of experience? If so, you should be a tutor.
You Know The Material.
Great news! If you feel comfortable with a particular subject and have performed well in it, you already have the makings of a great tutor. Yes, tutors should know the material well enough to explain it to another person, but you don't need to be an expert by any means. It's better if you aren't an expert.
You might also be a student who knows how to navigate academic resources. For example, maybe you have utilised tutoring services before yourself. You know what it's like to be someone who needs help, and you also know what good help looks like. It enhances your ability to make an impact with your peers. Whether you struggle to succeed academically or it comes naturally, if you know about academic resources and utilises them, you can empower your peers to do the same. If you're a regular at test review sessions, study groups, or professor office hours, you can help other students figure out how to best navigate these options.
Of course, knowing the material isn't all that's required. Tutors are mindful and capable of explaining basic concepts to others. They can anticipate what questions someone might have when learning something new. Tutors can teach so that their peers understand— communicating casually with a friend. They have tips and tricks they've learned to succeed in the classroom and love sharing them with others. Lastly, they realise that they are free from the curse of knowledge.
You Want To Be Career-Ready
Just like other Generation Z students, you might be career-oriented earlier in college and love anything practical that helps you jumpstart your career. However, if you are eager to graduate from college with the skills and experience needed to land a great job, tutoring is an opportunity worth exploring.
Not only does tutoring experience demonstrate that you have a deeper grasp of the curriculum than the average student, but it also helps build your credibility as an authority in a particular area. As a result, it can help you stand out as a job candidate. In addition, the professional development that comes with serving as a tutor is rich in everything that employers are looking for in future hires. The communication skills, leadership development, and collaborative opportunities tutoring experience provides are the most important career competencies experts have identified.
If you are pursuing a career where work experience related to teaching, training, mentoring, coaching or supervising others is helpful, you will benefit greatly from the practice you get in a tutoring role.
How To Spot The Signs Of A Great Tutor
So, you've decided to engage a tutor. But how do you choose one? In a crowded field of potential tutors, how can you know you're making the right choice?
Let's go through some of the most important qualities to look for in an excellent tutor.
Tutors should be experts in the areas that they teach. A great tutor will not rely on the fact that they achieved a great score themselves but will go above and beyond to collect resources, learn even more than they knew in high school, and equip their students to achieve greatness.
Someone could be the best in the world at a particular subject, but that doesn't mean they necessarily have the personality or temperament to be a good tutor. Tutors need to be patient and understanding, recognising that learning happens at a different pace for every student.
Tutoring, like anything, is something that people improve at with experience. So while some tutors with no experience can also be amazing, if you think it's important, it's worth checking if potential tutors have much experience, especially if you think your child has different needs to most.
Tutoring is all about effective communication. Look for a tutor who is great at communicating with both parents and students – these interpersonal skills will be very important in the teaching and learning process. In the end, students need to build up trust with their tutors to have the best learning outcomes.
Great tutors know how to adapt their teaching for each student. Look for a tutor who offers to tailor their lessons to the student and might have experience working with a wide range of people and needs. If the tutor adapts their teaching to suit the student, this will leave the student with the best educational outcomes.
Ultimately, a fantastic tutor is passionate about the subject(s) they teach, and it is a passion they are keen to share with the students they tutor. A great tutor will inspire students to find interesting subjects they might previously have found difficult. It is far easier to learn and be successful when you have a genuine interest in a subject, so look for tutors who care about what it is that they teach!
If you're thinking about becoming a tutor, there are a few signs that it might be the right decision for you. First, if you love helping people learn and want to make a difference in someone's life, tutoring is a great way to do that. You also need to have strong subject knowledge in the area you want to tutor and communicate effectively with students. Finally, having experience as a teacher or student leader can give you an edge when applying for tutor jobs.