List of Key Considerations Before Hiring A Tutor Part 1

If you do a search on Google, chances are you would have come across numerous articles dispensing advice regarding engaging the services of a tutor. We have our own take on things as well, and presented below is a compilation of what we recommend hiring parents to look out for. Note that we shall refrain from marketing any specific individual from our list of tutoring experts so as to ensure an absolutely unbiased, dispassionate discourse. Here goes:


1. Gender

For female students of ages 14 and below, to avoid any unintended situational discomfort/misunderstandings arising out of interactions with an educator of the opposite sex, it would be wise if a female tutor is roped in to coach the child. We are not sexist all right? This is erring on the side of caution.

2. Part-Time Vs Full Time Tutors

It is argued that full time tutors have the hours on their side to dedicate themselves completely to the cause of improving grades, whereas part timers don't. We are not going to make any hard-line assertions here, because we feel it really bubbles down to the individual tutor you are seeking out.

Who says part-time tutors can't be equally committed? It is likely true they can't accept a large volume of tutees since they are holding down office positions; it is probably equally true most are available only on weekday evenings and weekends. However, if he/she is responsible and can do a fantastic job, it is safe to say almost everything else doesn't really matter yes? Don't be blinded by stereotypes, judge fairly and chances of you crossing paths with a teaching maestro would be much higher.

3. Amount of Teaching Experience

Firstly, greenhorns who are typically JC/poly graduates fresh out of school- a big NO. They may excel in their studies, but being able to teach well is a different ballgame altogether. Nobody becomes an exceptionally awesome tutor overnight; it takes years of trial/error and recalibration of techniques just to reach a peak. So don't risk your child's immediate future by hiring a 19 year old. You may end up with a baby-sitter instead of a decent tutor.

Experience definitely counts for something, but not everything. If the prospective tutor has a good 8-9 years in his/her teaching portfolio, things look reasonably healthy in our opinion. That said, don't be overly obsessed with them numbers. It isn't a case of the more the merrier. Some old folks have clocked 30-40 years, yet can't teach to save their grandchildren. Again, being discerning is the way to go.

4. Tutoring Rates

Let us be clear on this: WE DON'T BELIEVE IN MARKET RATES. Anyone and everyone has the right to set his/her own rates "justifying" his/her personal ability to deliver results; it simply depends on whether they are capable of attracting potential clients. However, one thing is for sure: you pay peanuts, you won't get walnuts. If a tutor is really so out-of this-world good, what's stopping him/her from demanding sky-high fees as long as parents are willing to fork out the cash? (Be warned though: expensive doesn't always equals good; it will serve parents with deep pockets well to keep their eyes open for slippery, ineffective characters ).

Then again, we understand for many middle and low-income families, such costly engagements are financially unsustainable in the long run. Which is why a mixture of prudence and common sense works best. Rule of thumb: not too cheap, not too dear.

And there you have it, the first part of our list of points to mull over carefully before ringing up somebody to help your kid. For Part 2, visit HERE.