How to Pick the Right Tutor for Your Child
Let’s face it – tutors are a dime a dozen in Singapore. It’s a favourite side-income source, so you’re spoiled for choice. The downside is, there’s just too many to choose from – and even after you find one, it’s hard to evaluate whether they’re doing the job. Here are a few guidelines to help:
1. Good Tutors Share Instead of Lecture
This is the most obvious sign of a good tutor. When a tutor is truly enthusiastic about what they teach, they don’t just teach, they share. The session will resemble an intense, in-depth conversation, rather than a droning lecture. Some examples of these are:
- Sharing their own favourite stories (if they are language tutors), beyond the school’s reading list
- Sharing personal anecdotes, if their job is related to the subject
- Animation and energy – when tutors are enthusiastic about their subject, their energy levels are infectious. Check if your child’s energy levels match the tutors.
- Mentioning related events in the news (e.g. discussing economics in relation to a current newspaper report), instead of relying solely on textbook examples
This doesn’t mean that a tutor with a genuine subject interest is always the correct one – there are other factors to consider (see below). However, do consider it a starting requirement.
2. Good Tutors Keep Proper Records
Good tutors monitor their students’ progress, even without being told to. One of the first questions you should ask is how a tutor will assess your child – a good tutor will have milestones and goal targets (e.g. move from a C to a B grade within the next three months). An amateur tutor tries to make up for this with good intentions.
Also check the quality of their record keeping – tutors’ records may take various forms, from simple gold stars to complex achievement tiers – but a good tutor has record-keeping methods that can be explained, and keeps the records updated.
3. Good Tutors Have Clear Revision Processes During Exam Periods
Good tutors are proactive, and will alert you to the coming of exams. You shouldn’t have to be the one to tell them.
In particular, look for tutors who have a specific revision process for your child. The ideal process covers your child’s academic weaknesses – it should be more than a “general revision” of everything.
4. Good Tutors Connect on an Emotional Level
This isn’t to say they’re always cracking jokes and having a good time with your child (although that is a strong sign of empathy). Some tutors can be stern, but still have a real bond with their students.
You should check how your child responds just before the tutor arrives. Do they look relaxed or enthusiastic? Are they unusually quiet, or even pouting? You will usually start to see a consistent pattern after three to four months.
Be careful not to trade your child’s emotional comfort for results – even if a tutor seems to be driving up your child’s grades, it could be stressing your child. That results in a host of future problems, from lack of self-confidence to deliberate rebellion.
5. Good Tutors are Upfront about their Credentials
The best tutors may not have ivy league degrees, but they are upfront about their qualifications. Be wary of tutors who cannot produce their paper qualifications, or who are unclear on the details (e.g. claiming they “cannot remember” the graduation date).
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Uncertain about a tutor? Give us a call and we can help you out!