In today’s day and age, they say, think math, think the right math tutor!
Proficiency in mathematics is both a coveted quality and an enabler of excellence in today’s world. And, who doesn’t want their child to sing multiplication tables correctly even in their sleep and get an A+ every time in math?
Teaching mathematical concepts even early on during schooling can be daunting for busy working parents. The same is true for those who haven’t studied math for much of their graduation and beyond. And this is where the role of a good tutor becomes quintessential!
If your kid abhors numbers, the right math tutor can still make math for him/her a captivating, endless puzzle solving game.
Good vs Right Math Tutor
A good tutor may be one who has experience and sound knowledge. He or she may also be a good communicator. But it’s not the experience or academics that are always synonymous with being right for your kid. The right tutor will have to match his modus operandi with your kid. He would go an extra mile to make your kid visualize math beyond a homework task.
Now that you are reading this article, you’ve probably already decided to trust the academic prowess of a professional math tutor for your kids.
Before you start your quest for finding the right tutor for your math genius in the making, try to write down your preferences under the 5 headings:
- academic qualification of the tutor
- the average age of his/her students (does it match roughly with your kid’s age?)
- yearly fee
- the choice between sending your child to the tutor’s classes or having a tutor visit your home or online tutoring (yes, it works!)
- number of students taught by the tutor in one session
The choice of individual tutoring and group coaching is entirely dependent on the parents’ assessment of their child’s inclination. Observe meticulously – does your kid study better alone or with others?
There are math tutors who take informal classes, work at tutoring centres and also offer home tutoring – to help you choose the right alternative for your kid, we have 5 Ps.
The 5 Ps to help you find the right math tutor for your kid
1. Prepare – do your thorough primary research first
Reach out openly to friends and family and ask them for references of math tutors whom they have hired in the past. But do NOT rush with finalizing someone solely based on word of mouth.
Make the process streamlined by following these few steps in the order:
- Make a list of all people whom you know, reach out to them one by one
- Listen carefully to every feedback and take notes (pros and cons of each tutor in reference)
- If you can get their kids talking, nothing like it! Ask the children for the most honest feedback about their tutors
- Shortlist names of math tutors whom you think would fit in your above 5 preferences
- Reach out to these selected few and request demo classes for your kid(s)
2. Pick up – from secondary research
Now that you have a list of potential tutors from your peer circle, the next logical step is to explore the adverts.
The places to look for are:
- local newspapers
- local magazines
- pamphlets stuck in the streets
- freelancing websites
- messaging groups
- social media
Contact the tutors who have advertised their services. Filter out the ones who fit your 5 key preferences.
A higher fee is usually not proportional to the quality of education. A lot of young college goers, fresh graduates etc. are sometimes adept but underestimated tutors.
A part-time tutor is not necessarily less devoted to teaching than a full-time tutor. Do NOT fall flat for tall claims like the number of students per batch who secured an A+ in math. Such statistics are often misleading and math tutoring is never a one-size-fits-all solution.
3. Participate – in the process of demo sessions
Does the tutor make your kid visualize the problem statement or pushes for plugging numbers into formulae? Noting this is particularly important in the case of MATH!
A good math tutor will discuss a problem in much larger detail than just etching a formula in your kid’s brain.
Shortlist a maximum of 5-6 potential tutors from your primary and secondary research. Most tutors are usually willing to do a few test or demo sessions with children before they start coaching them full time.
The key here is to participate in the initial part of the process by doing the following:
- Ask for at least 4-5 demo sessions, since the performance of a tutor cannot be judged in 1-2 sessions
- Take detailed feedback from your child after each demo session, try to test him on basic questions from the topic studied
- If possible, seek permission to go through a recorded session (if the tutor records his lessons) and analyze the effort the tutor puts in
- Do not get too critical about smaller things which are often every tutor’s distinctive style
- Observe whether the tutor is patient enough to handle your child’s smallest of doubts related to a concept or a problem at hand. For example, does the tutor explain how a formula is derived or just asks the kids to memorize a problem-solving technique.
4. Provide – all the necessary background of your kid’s academics and learning behavior clearly
Note down your child’s specific problem areas like trigonometry or data interpretation or algebra. Next, let the tutors know about them beforehand. Notice how the potential tutors handle those topics with your child.
Tell the potential tutor about both math related strengths and weaknesses of your child, but carefully observe how he/she handles the weaker areas.
This will help him/her tailor the lessons better for your kid.
5. Prioritize and peruse – before you sign up a yearlong contract
Changing tutors very often is not a good idea, hence, you must do your best due diligence before signing up with one for a year or more.
Prioritize things that matter to you the most – fees, the distance of tutoring centre from home, choice of group vs. individual tutoring etc.
Try not to make a half-hearted choice. Your effort in choosing the right math tutor will go longer a way than you can today imagine, so all the diligence will be worth it!
Apart from all the above, you as a parent you must foster in your kid(s) a spirit of collaborating with the tutor.
Also, collaborate with the tutor – give him regular feedback, share your thoughts about your kid’s performance but do not meddle too much day-to-day. Make sure that your kid doesn’t view his tutor as another teacher who is unapproachable. Your child must see his tutor more like a friend with whom he/she can communicate without any apprehensions.
Having thoughts about finding the right math tutor for your children? Finding the right tutor has never been easier! Talentnook is the world’s first after-school learning community for children. The platform brings parents and teachers of the same neighborhood together. To know more, visit our website today!