October 3, 2018

3 Questions to Answer before Hiring a Tutor

Few experiences are more exciting to me than providing the convenience and flexibility that my private tutoring clients enjoy. If this sounds boring to you, it's because I didn't mention the light bulb moments - wide-eyed prayers, clutched pearls, breaths of relief, and glowing smiles of accomplishment. Empowering clients with the knowledge and confidence to take on new challenges and demonstrate mastery is a skill set found only among the best tutors. This begins with advocating for strong home-school partnerships and taking massive action to bridge gaps - gaps in achievement, gaps in communication, and resource gaps.

Helping families partner with educators
Homework time and parent-teacher conferences are opportunities to identify gaps before they become potholes. We know that building strong home-school partnerships (not to be confused with homeschooling) is key to ensuring learners don't fall through the cracks. As learners age, historical patterns in parental engagement data tell us that participation drops significantly after elementary school. This is a challenging epidemic for educators and parents and family members to outrun when you're feeling overwhelmed and haven't taken a class in years. You know it's time to find a tutor.


If you're on the fence about tutoring, consider these questions.

  1. Are double shifts or school commitments preventing you from being involved?
  2. Are concerns about student performance snowballing?
  3. Are you struggling to cope with a learning disability?

No one has to know how you answered these questions. It's only important that you're honest with yourself and your needs (and your child's needs). I'm speaking to the parent or adult learner who typed 'tutor near me' in Google search and scrolled through pages of private tutors and tutoring agencies either without taking action or without finding a suitable tutor. Keep reading if you want to hire the best tutor the first time (or next time).

Whether math tutor, English tutor, chemistry tutor, reading tutor, or writing tutor, the best tutors and tutoring companies are committed to meeting your needs. Expert private tutors ensure the quality of service you receive reflects this commitment to meeting your needs (not the other way around).

National Tutoring Week is October 1 - 5, 2018.
Watch the video below to be the first to win one of four
#NTW2018 GIVEAWAYS.

It's time to find a tutor. Ask yourself these three questions.

1. Is the tutor certified by the National Tutoring Association (NTA)?

If the tutor isn't certified by NTA, does the professional have training and practical experiences that back up their claims to be an expert? What about referrals?

Many educators, professionals, and students tutor on the side to earn extra income. A teacher's license is different than tutor certification in the same way that a personal trainer's skill set is different than that of a team coach. Teachers and tutors are equipped to provide different experiences; the distinction is based on experience providing both kinds of learning experiences.

Though undoubtedly beneficial, learners who excel in whole class learning environments and require temporary support to tackle setbacks may not require the services of a certified/trained tutor; this type of student makes A's and B's most of the time. The imperative phrase is 'may not require'; still, some concepts may need to be taught by a certified tutor to achieve mastery. What's more, staying ahead often calls for the support of a professional as well.

On the other hand, learners with poor performance records benefit most from working one-on-one with a trained and experienced private tutor. For this second type of student, assessment data translates to D's and F's on a traditional grading scale. Moving forward without a private tutor may be likened to building a home on unstable foundation: at some point the home will no longer be able to serve its full purpose without intervention. Unfortunately in a classroom setting, intervention usually equates to missed seat time or instruction. Students receive remedial instruction instead of sitting through currently relevant instruction, which is a double-edged sword that makes tutoring the preferred alternative.

2. Does the tutor offer added value as part of the return on your investment?

Tutors step in when parents and family are unable to help with homework. The best tutors are not only experts in a particular subject area, they're also invested in tutee success. This commitment to the process manifests as quality service: providing timely feedback and flexible communication options, serving as a school parent liaison, engaging learners with creative activities, personalizing instruction, and tracking performance data.

Effective tutors also help learners reinforce instruction provided during tutoring sessions through planning. They prepare materials in advance or help students refine classroom notes in a way that extend learning beyond one-on-one experiences, beyond in-person and online tutoring. Expert private tutors look ahead and anticipate upcoming challenges using classroom correspondence.

You probably didn't know that the best tutors communicate with classroom educators and interpret performance data (e.g., graded papers, score reports) to personalize learning experiences. Hiring a tutor is like having a personal assistant; if your tutor doesn't make your life easier, it may be time to type 'tutors near me' into Google search again.

3. Are you ready to commit to the tutoring process?

If your tutor doesn't seek first to understand your unique challenges and goals, consider it a red flag. If your tutor doesn't personalize a learning plan to get you from where you are to mastery, consider this a red flag. If your tutor doesn't ask for performance data before meeting or during the initial tutoring session as well as periodically during the business relationship, consider this a red flag. If your tutor makes the grade, prepare to commit to the tutoring process.

Commitment looks different to different tutors and tutees. My clients who experience success consistently do these three things: communicate scheduling needs in a timely manner, volunteer performance data regularly, and complete reinforcement activities (or homework from tutoring sessions). You're ready to work with an expert private tutor if you're willing to make time to meet these expectations.

If you apply the advice shared in this post to your tutor search, then the expert you decide to work with will usher you into more challenging environments with ease.


I'm excited to highlight that I am National Tutoring Association certified, hold a Master's in Education, and held a teaching license during my time in the secondary science classroom.

My firm, Jackson Education Support is the only education firm in Mississippi where you can find a nationally certified tutor. This sets us apart.

We're eager to train tutors interested in joining the community. Don't let geography keep you from reaching out. You're invited to take advantage of online and in-person tutoring and training solutions.