When should I get a Tutor for my child?
- Feb. 18, 2010
- dr wright
All parents want to know that their child is realising the very best of their academic potential. Dr Wright explains when parents should get a tutor for their child
A Tutor can be prompted by all sorts of things: impending exams, for instance, or simply a sense that a child needs extra support to fulfil his or her potential
Most of us have been there at some point – as parents, we know that our child’s school is doing the best it can, but we just have a little niggling doubt ... is our child really getting all that he or she needs? Wouldn’t it perhaps be sensible if we found a Tutor as well? This can be prompted by all sorts of things: impending exams, for instance, or simply a sense that a child needs extra support to fulfil his or her potential. Tutoring is widespread and usually easily accessible in most towns and cities; the question, however, is how you know whether your child actually needs a Tutor or not. So when should you get a Tutor for your child?
Before you make the decision to look for a Tutor, think very carefully about why you feel you need one. Have you identified an area in which your child is underperforming and needs support? If so, talk to your child’s school to see what they think and feel about this – perhaps he or she is making better progress than you think, or perhaps there is something that his or her teachers can do that will help iron out the problem and save you the expense and time of a Tutor. If you don’t feel confident in this support, or if your child seems to be struggling with the concepts and understanding even when extra support is put into place at school, then this is when you should consider a Tutor.
A good Tutor will listen to what you want, and will identify quickly what your child needs. Is it just confidence-building by going over areas already covered in class? Or is it a focus on a specific topic or set of concepts which perhaps have passed him or her by? It might be, as well, that your child needs some extension work to help stimulate him or her and retain interest in a subject. Whatever you need, a good Tutor should provide, so make sure that you are as explicit as possible when discussing your child’s requirements.
It is most likely that you will want to consider a Tutor when your child is preparing for exams, either entrance exams for senior school or public exams later in their school career. Again, beware rushing into this solution – your child’s school will most probably have a carefully planned programme of preparation, and the work set by a Tutor might add an unnecessary extra workload, leading to your child becoming overstretched and overstressed. In order to do well in exams, children have to learn to work independently, and a good Tutor will help to prepare your child or teenager to do exactly this, while ensuring that they have good coverage of the exam syllabus and know how to respond to exam questions. Exam technique will be an important part of what they teach.
Always think about the practicalities of employing a Tutor for your child, quite apart from the cost. You want to make it work for you, so avoiding having to travel is good; timings are important, too – if your child is always tired at the end of the day, he or she will probably not respond well to an extra hour of tuition. If this is the case, you might want to consider a Tutor in the holidays only, helping to keep work going during long absences from school – not forgetting, of course, that children need a break too! Most importantly, however, in choosing a Tutor, it is crucial that your child and the Tutor connect, and your child comes away from the tutorials feeling as though he or she has learned something. The more motivated and enthused he or she is after a session, the better!
You can find Tutors from all sorts of sources: you can use local recommendations, or go straight to the big hitters in this field – Fleet Tutors, for instance, even have a write-up in the Good Schools’ Guide. Whoever you choose, and however you organise it, keep evaluating what you are receiving – is your child gaining in confidence? Does he or she report being able to understand things at school more? Are school grades improving? If not, don’t labour the point, but move on. Tutoring will in most cases only be a temporary aid to school work, and Tutors expect this – your prime concern is for your child, and you should only do what works for him or her.