What to ask before you hire a private teacher or tutor in NY/NJ
Finding a private teacher who is knowledgeable, addresses the specific tutoring needs of your child, and gets along well with him/her, is a critical part of creating a great learning experience for your child. Here are a few questions that can help you screen potential tutors before you make the hiring decision.
Initial Phone Screening
- What kind of academic training have you got in the subject matter you’re tutoring?
- Have you done any tutoring before? For how many years? How many students have you worked with, and what age groups?
- Why do you want to be a private teacher of children?
- Have you got any previous experience working with different learning styles?
- My kid needs help with (name the specific subject, e.g. English as a second language). What would you do to help her/him?
- What kinds of materials will you bring with you?
- What is your availability? And have you got your own private transport?
- How long a commitment can you make? (A tutor student may be graduating …).
In general, try to listen for clues that the candidate tutor might be truly motivated and enthusiastic to transfer knowledge to your child – not someone just looking to make a few quick bucks with private lessons.
- Did you get any trouble finding our home? Did (private/public) transportation go smoothly?
- Would you mind trying a brief exercise with my kid now? Then, bring your child into the room and have her show her textbooks. Watch carefully how they communicate with each other. Keep in mind that it’s not gonna represent a real private tutoring session (as you’ll always be there). You’re just providing them both the opportunity to know each other a little.
- Based on what you just saw with my kid, do you think you’ll be able to work effectively with her/him?
- How do you foresee you can help my child? What specifically will you do for her/him over the next 3 months?
- How do you normally measure progress or address obstacles?
- Have you got any specific questions for me?
- Are you willing to consider talking with my child’s teacher at school?
- What specific environment do you normally prefer for tutoring? For example, do you prefer a private study or home office? Or would you rather work with my child more informally at the kitchen table?
- Would you agree setting up an initial trial period in order to make sure it’s going smoothly and that we’ve made a good match on both sides?
Before Hiring the Tutor
- Consider hiring the tutor for just two or three sessions on a trial basis, to see how it works for everybody.
- Agree on the fee and establish cancellation policies. Decide what will happen if your tutor or your kid is sick – will there be a make-up session and any fee for the missed private session? And does the tutor expect payment after each session, or at the end of each month? What form of payment is expected: cash or check?
- Ask for references and check them.
- Check also our Caregiver / Sitter Interview Checklist, here.
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