There are certain signs you need a tutor; however, before you decide whether you need a tutor or not, or how to choose the right one for your child, you need to understand what a tutor does.
The Cambridge dictionary defines a tutor as a person who gives an individual, or in some cases a small group, instruction. Tutors are often hired to improve academic performance, but they are responsible for so much more. The purpose of tutoring is to help your child help themselves, and to assist or guide them to the point where they become independent learners.
A tutor reviews class assignments, discusses the content, and assists your child with homework problems. If your child has particular difficulty in a subject, the tutor works with them until they succeed in understanding the subject. They also encourage your child and build up their academic confidence by giving them positive feedback and helpful suggestions.
What is effective tutoring?
Effective tutors facilitate a learning environment that is open and friendly but also challenging, where students are comfortable enough to identify the areas where they struggle and admit when they don't know something. A tutor is a vital part of the academic support network for your child and should communicate clearly with both you, as parent, and your child while working alongside them. An effective tutor should challenge your child to improve academically while helping them to develop their study skills and build their confidence, both academically and socially.
Signs your child may need a tutor
1. Your child needs extra help
When your child’s grades don’t match up with their potential, they are most likely struggling in school and need to start working with a tutor. If your child is spending more time on homework than usual, then it’s time to find out why. It should also be investigated when your child has been doing their homework diligently and studying for every test, but their grades don’t align with their effort, then it’s time to pinpoint the problem and get some extra help.
2. Your child is disorganised
If your child just can’t seem to get their schoolwork organised, it could be a symptom of a learning disability. Students with learning difficulties typically show signs of struggling in all of their classes or subjects and they may really need one-on-one time with a tutor that can provide a substantial amount of repetition, positive reinforcement, or simply validation that they’re on the right track. The extra help offered by a tutor can provide them with organisational and learning strategies that will help them deal with and overcome the challenges they are faced with academically.
3. Your child has a low self-esteem
Consistently struggling in school can take its toll on your child’s confidence, but with a little extra help, they can start to understand the concepts that they are being taught and see improvement in their grades. It is amazing how quickly you will be able to see a change, not only in their grades, but in how they feel about themselves.
4. Your child has lost interest
Sometimes, when a child isn’t fully grasping the concepts that they are being taught, it’s easier to just give up than to keep trying. Tutoring gives them the extra attention they need and can help them re-focus and start to absorb the material.
5. You need help to help your child
Life happens, and while you as a parent try to be there for your child, sometimes they just need a little bit more than you can give. Using a tutor to take on some of your load can not only provide extra academic support, but can also help you to be there for your child in the time that you do have.
6. Your child struggles to take tests
Some children are great test takers, while others may freeze or completely blank when it comes time to take a test. As your child progresses through school and tests become a more prominent part of their overall grade, they may have a difficult time and a tutor can help teach them test-taking strategies.
Choosing a tutor
Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when choosing a tutor for your child.
- Explain to your child why you think a tutor is needed and include them in the process of choosing the right tutor.
- Ask your child’s teacher or other parents for recommendations.
- Always check the tutor’s credentials.
- Set clear goals for the tutoring with your child and the tutor. You can also ask for an outline for how the tutor plans to achieve these goals.
- For students with a learning disability, consider scheduling more than one lesson a week.
- Observe your child working with the tutor, if possible.
- Request periodic reports from both the tutor and your child’s teacher so that you can see how your child is progressing.