Are you considering hiring a private English tutor for your child? That’s a thoughtful move! After all, English is the language of international communication. The media and the internet thrive on it and thus, learning English is important for socializing, entertainment and work!
Hiring a private English tutor for extra help can make a lasting impact on your child’s English proficiency. But let’s face it, finding an English tutor is trickier than finding a tutor for any other subject.
Here are some reasons why we say so:
- English is a nuanced language – there is more than just a set of grammatical rules to it
- Good command over English is quintessential for learning in environments where it’s the medium of instruction
- Many people can claim to know English functionally, but very few can impart its lessons to a student methodically
- Written English and spoken English are two connected yet different learning areas. Each of them is important and requires specialized help
With this background, let’s now delve into how can you find the right English tutor for your child:
1. Assess your child’s needs in detail (even before looking at tutor profiles)
Try to understand your child’s specific learning needs. A professional, private English tutor will always take a diagnostic test first to assess your child’s understanding of the subject. You must also talk to your child to understand their requirements.
Here are some simple things to check with your child:
- Is there a particular exam (which involves English) that they require help with? For example, is the goal getting a great score on the SAT?
- Are there any specific areas that they need help with? For example, is it grammar or literature that they feel they need the most help with?
- What are the traits that they would look for in the tutor? What is it that they feel their English teacher at school could do better?
- Is it spoken or written English that they need more help with?
- How much time are they willing to devote after school to learn English?
Your child’s response to these questions will help you determine which tutor profile you must even consider. For example, if your child could say that they need the most help with grammar and not other lessons. In this case, you must look out for tutors that specifically call out grammar-teaching as a specialization in their bio.
2. Ask the right questions to the potential tutors
Asking your child right questions forms the plinth of the whole exercise. But equally important is asking the right questions to the tutor as well. It will help you gauge their intent, qualifications and fit for your child.
Here are some quick questions that you must ask over the first phone call or the first meeting itself:
- Details of qualifications and how relevant are they to English teaching
- Charges – are they for the course or per session? Are they negotiable?
- Reference books, reading handouts and practice materials they use – are these well-known reading & practicing books for English?
- Generally preferred tutoring timings every day
- Specialization in English – are there any professional assessments taken?
3. Look carefully at the past experience and qualifications
When the tutor shares their resume or bio with you, look carefully at their experience and qualifications. A lot of tutors embellish their bios, so be sure to do a double check while talking to them.
There is a set of standard questions that you must ask yourself while analyzing a tutor’s qualifications and experience:
- Do they have a professional qualification like CELTA or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)?
- With individual teaching, the experience is more important than qualifications. How much experience do they have with one-on-one teaching?
- Have they provided any testimonials/references/statements of past students? How reliable are they?
- Can they speak as fluently in English as they claim to on the resume? (talking to them will give you a fair idea of it)
This step is of pivotal importance while hiring a private English tutor. You can always speak to some of the past students of a tutor before hiring them. If you don’t know of anyone through your network, ask the tutor for a reference. A good tutor with a sound profile should have no issues making contact details available.
4. Look up demos sessions/sample chapter notes etc. before signing up with a tutor
Many tutors these days put up some or the other sample of their work online. You can look up their LinkedIn or Youtube channels (if any) or blogs to see their work. Some tutors can also be found on websites like Udemy where they may have put up lessons.
If nothing else works out online, you can always ask their previous students to share notes. This particular step is relevant for hiring a tutor of any subject and, not just for English.
5. Set your all-round expectations and take note of the tutor’s reciprocation levels
Being vocal about your expectations is very important, especially when hiring a tutor for a subject like English. Tell them clearly about what you and your child will expect after a certain number of days into the sessions.
Your expectations, for example, could be (but don’t have to be limited to):
- The desired score on the English section of a standardized test
- A measurable improvement in vocabulary
- Measurable improvement in speech fluency
- A grade improvement in the essay writing test
- Sessions 5 days a week and every Sunday off
- Session length no longer than 1.5 hours a day and billing on an hourly basis
Setting your expectations and discussing end goals can help the tutor plan their sessions better. They can also tell you right in the beginning whether they would be able to accomplish the goal or not. If it seems too daunting for them, you can always start talking to the next candidate on your list.
Make sure you have no ‘tacit’ goals or expectations – be it in terms of academics or pricing or timelines. Everything you have in mind must be conveyed to the tutor in advance, during the hiring conversation itself.
6. Don’t fall for popular claims and be open to switching from one tutor to another
Lastly, as a parent, you must be dynamic about hiring tutors. An English tutor who may seem a grammar wizard may actually be too technical for your child after a few sessions. Or, the master tutor for SAT English could be too vocabulary heavy for your child’s needs.
With English, there is a unique style of teaching associated with each tutor. While you can put all checks in place before hiring a tutor, you may still have to repeat the process more than once.
Be open to experimenting with different tutors if your child’s learning needs remain unmet after a few sessions. A fortnight is usually enough to gauge an instruction and learning frequency match. With Talentnook, you can find plenty of tutors in your neighborhood, so don’t settle until you find the ‘right’ English tutor.
Are you ready to invest in your child’s English skills and help them succeed professionally and personally? Talentnook has plenty of options to choose from. Signup now to explore the best of private English tutors offering their services in your vicinity.
Take the plunge today and see the difference that private tutoring can make to your child’s communication and expression in English!
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