Choosing the right tutor

So, you’ve decided that your child might benefit from a tutor? Maybe you feel they are struggling at school, or they’ve just been diagnosed with dyslexia or another special educational need and they need some support, how do you find a tutor that can engage with your child and help them to succeed?

Look for a tutor that has experience in either the subject you want help with, or with another aspect of tutoring, such as a particular special educational need. A lot of tutors find that they specialise in a particular area of tutoring. For example, although I have vast experience in English tuition, I now focus on special needs tutoring, particularly in nurturing and therapeutic approaches, which means I often teach a wide variety of subjects!

Meet your tutor over zoom or face to face. Ask them what they like to do in their spare time! Let them spend some time getting to know you and your child. I always insist on initial meetings to see if we can work together effectively, there may be a tutor with a different approach that would work better so an initial meeting makes sure we can call pull in the same direction!

Ask your tutor how they engage with their students! I specialise in working with children that find it very hard to engage with education for a variety of reasons, so I am very used to figuring out ways to get children on board with their education. Sometimes this takes a very long time, but the parents I have worked with will tell you that the results speak for themselves. I am often the first adult (other than the parents/carers) to build trust with a child after a traumatic experience with education. I do this by making education fun, and figuring out many different ways to get to the end goal.

Ask your tutor what their approach to education is. As I am trained as a specialist dyslexia tutor, I approach all tuition, for any child, in a multi-sensory way, which means I use a lot of creative and unusual resources to engage my students. This even applies to my GCSE, A-Level and degree level students. I can be often found crafting a game for a lesson, teaching students to creatively draw a problem out or annotate a poem. I will figure out what works best for each individual child. I am also lucky, as I have an entire room full of resources and a library of books to help support my teaching. If your child hates English, but loves facts about the space race, Egyptians or Volcanoes – I can teach them English through an exploration of their interests instead!

Finally, tutoring is a relationship, so sometimes it is just about finding the right person, whether they have qualifications or specialisms in particular areas or not. It always comes back to this learning relationship and the ability of the teacher to show up and be trusted by the parents and child for an educational relationship. I have engaged in CPD and with other professionals over the years, when I have worked with a child where we had a brilliant relationship, but to begin with I didn’t know about brain injuries for example. I love to learn and support my students, so I am always happy to engage with other professionals to make sure I am learning about the needs of my students all the time. Ultimately, it comes back to working together and trusting each other enough to learn together.

What question would you ask your tutor? What would tell you what you needed to know about them professionally or personally?

Here’s me on my PhD graduation day!

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