Are you preparing for an important exam? Extra specialised tutoring in your area of study could boost your results! Or are you the parent of a child who needs extra help with their academics? Have you looked into engaging a private tutor for homework help or home study?

A quick Internet search for "private tuition" or "home tutor" will show up an overwhelming variety of options. So how can you whittle down that list and find the perfect tutor for your learning needs?

Whether you're browsing sciences tutors, French tutors, or writing tutors, or looking for someone to help you ace the LSAT, we'll show you how you can find the best tutors and then narrow down your search and find the right tutor for you.

The first step: reflecting on your needs and expectations...

Before contacting anyone for academic tutoring, you should first take some time to reflect on you (or your child's!) academic profile, and identify areas where you may need help.

  • What are your study strengths and weaknesses?
  • Do you have a particular learning style? Do you prefer certain learning strategies to accommodate this?
  • Do you have any learning disabilities?
  • Are you looking to target specific subjects (English, or chemistry, for example), target a specific exam, or do you want general learning assistance long-term across a few different subjects?
  • Could you adapt to online learning or do you need face-to-face home tutoring?
  • Do you have any particular expectations of your tutor?

If you are looking for a tutor for a child who is struggling, make sure you look into any problems at school or home that might prevent your child from engaging in class.

If you know of any problems or disrupting influences affecting your child's learning make sure you discuss these with any potential tutors so they can adapt to your child's needs.

If your child struggles to maintain interest in science or maths or has completely lost interest in learning English, a dedicated mentor can inspire and help the subject come alive again through their passion.

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning – Brad Henry

On the other hand, if your child is further advanced than their current grade level, you can challenge their keen mind and sharpen their academic edge through private tutoring, expanding their horizons beyond the school curriculum.

'Gifted' students can sometimes lose interest at school if there is a mismatch and their abilities outstrip the depth and pace of the curriculum.

If your child is struggling, make sure to investigate all the possible causes, such as poor time management or difficulty with organization.

In these cases, a private tutor can help provide stability to their day and set aside a time that is solely for learning.

Save time by establishing your goals in advance before contacting tutoring companies.
Make sure you establish your needs and goals before contacting a personal tutor. Source: Pixabay Credit: geralt

Finding the Perfect Fit: Private Tutor Rates and Skills

Now you've established your needs and goals, you can narrow down your list of candidates from all the tutoring profiles you've found online.

Sift through this first, looking at how many years' experience, any desired qualifications, and testimonies from students they've tutored in the past.

Now, time to plan out your interviews!

Of course, you'll need to find our their rate, session duration, as well as when and where the tutoring will take place. Here are some other questions you may like to ask:

  • "Can you describe your teaching style?"
  • "Would you offer a discount for online sessions or group sessions?"
  • "What kind of supplemental materials do you provide?"
  • "Do you use any teaching aids, such as an interactive whiteboard?"
  • "Do you have experience working around learning disabilities such as ADHD or dyslexia?"

Do keep in mind that it may require considerable time and effort on your part to find the perfect tutor for you or your child's unique situation.

A private tutor isn't just a knowledgable person who lectures you on their area of expertise - you're looking for a mentor, someone who can inspire you and nurture a love of learning and the subject at hand.

All good teachers have this capability, but not every teacher is right for every student. That's why you should hold out for a tutor who you really feel you "click" with.

First Contact With Private Tutors

Well done for getting past the planning stage! Now let's return to the list of potential candidates offering tutoring services, and draft a message to each one.

Start your message by communicating why you're offering this teacher tutoring jobs over all the other tutoring centres and tutoring programs on offer.

What made them stand out from the crowd for you? Was it a particular certification, a long history of experience of being a math tutor or language tutor? The flexibility offered by an experienced online tutor? Or perhaps it was the glowing testimonials from past tutees that caught your eye?

After you've written a snappy, attention-grabbing first sentence, you'll need to add in a few particulars about you or your child. No need to write a detailed biography, but here are a few things you should cover:

  • Your level of study and which subjects you're looking for help with
  • Any background reasons you or your child may need a tutor - bored in school math class and looking for a challenge or need sciences tutors for general help with STEM subjects such as calculus or physics, for example!
  • Your desired outcomes and personal academic goals - learning French to a C1 level, passing your algebra exam, test prep
  • Your preferred delivery method - in-home tutoring, online learning, or a combination

Take this opportunity to gather more details about the tutor's experience. Is there anything not listed in their profile that you would like to know? You may wish to find out how they track or measure student progress, or if this tutor uses reinforcement techniques.

Close your request with your contact details, and do mention if you're looking for someone urgently and ideal start date (in the next few days, next week, next month?). Add your phone number will generally yield a faster response, but make sure you also include when you're available to be contacted!

Graduate in style with private tutoring
Find the right tutor to boost your academic success! Source: Pixabay Credit: sasint

So what's next?

Tutors will generally respond to new queries within 24 hours. On Superprof, we list the average response time of tutors, so you can rest assured you'll be contacted soon! 

Once they get in touch, you can discuss rates, propose a schedule or bank any supplemental questions you may have.

Home Tuition Rates

Many Superprof tutors will offer their first hour free as part of a trial lesson.

This allows you to "try before you buy" and see if you or your child "click" with that particular tutor before signing up to a term's worth of lessons.

Some tutors will adjust their rates depending on the subject or level being taught or the age of the tutee. If cost is a concern, consider targeting the subject where you need the most help. You can always develop your competence in other subjects later, and doing well in one subject often builds confidence in your overall academic abilities and boosts your scores overall.

For the savings-conscious, online tutors are often (but not always) cheaper than in-person tutors. This is because distance learning doesn't involve any travel time, something that tutors need to consider when calculating fees.

Another way to eliminate travel fees might be to visit your tutor's home directly or meet them at a tutoring agency.

A combination of these options could work for you and your chosen tutor, in terms of time and budgeting. Flexibility is key in your negotiations with your new tutor.

Scheduling free tutoring
Stay flexible when establishing a schedule with a new tutor. Source: Pixabay Credit: webandi

If you are in financial difficulty or on a low income, you could also consider looking for free tutoring or homework help programs. These are often run by local councils or charitable organisations across Australia.

Establishing A Tutoring Schedule

It is vital for your or your child's progress that you maintain a regular schedule with your hired tutor.

Here, staying flexible will help you get the most from your tutoring experience - don't lose the perfect tutor over a scheduling conflict!

Weekday evenings are often very busy for tutors, so consider expanding your availability to the weekend. If you have flexible work or can take a class during your lunch break, you'll find your tutor is much more available during the day on weekdays.

Your individual academic needs will affect your tutoring schedule discussions. 

For example, if you or your child needs to pass a standardized test, you may propose a short-term, intensive course of tutoring of two or three sessions per week.

To fit all this in, a combination of face-to-face and online tutoring might work better.

Or if you or your child are learning a language or looking to hone your study skills more generally, a more long-term, relaxed schedule might suit.

So what are you waiting for? Go forth and find your perfect tutor!

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Erin is an Australian musician, writer and francophile living in France.