So I Have Hired A Tutor. Now What?

Help is on the way, question is, are you receiving the right kind of help? Are you getting your money's worth? While there isn't always a definitive set of criteria to establish a tutor as being truly outstanding, there are specific clues which are dead giveaways as far as identifying mediocre tutors are concerned. And here they are:

1. Preparedness

Or lack of it. Does he/she come empty-handed? Telling you school textbooks and lecture notes provided by the subject teachers are absolutely sufficient, hence there is no need for him/her to provide additional supplementary materials during tuition sessions? A tutor who doesn't create his/her summary notes or test question packages is not fully dedicated to the cause of improving grades, and without doubt will make a lousy academic coach. No buts, no excuses. Find someone else.

2. Competence In Lesson Delivery

If he/she simply reads lines from texts and puts the student to sleep, the tutor sucks. If he/she is unable to sift through thick piles of information and toss out all the redundant crap so as to efficiently reach the important core of things, the tutor sucks too. Incapable of improvisational teaching, thumbs down. Consistently becoming Aristotle-like (think: immersed in extended periods of "silent deep thought") when quizzed about the whys and hows of solving a problem, alarm bells should ring. And ring loudly they must if any answer finally given is nervously done so with a lump in the throat.

3. Time-watcher

We don't care if the tutor sports an Omega Seamaster on the wrist and is deeply in love with the timepiece; checking it every 10 minutes is just unprofessional, not to mention unacceptable. And if you didn't get the drift in the preceding sentence, here is laying it out more explicitly: maintain a distance between the tutor who is obsessed with leaving on the dot. He/she probably has more pressing concerns lurking around in a major corner of his/her mind than ensuring the student fully understands what is being taught.

4. Taking Responsibility In Lesson Scheduling

Everyone loves a tutor who is punctual for lessons and doesn't constantly make last minute changes to his/her schedule on a whim. Planning ahead is a virtue; excusing one's self with a text message dispatched to the student a few minutes prior to commencement of a tuition session is unforgivable barring a critical life-changing event. When your tutor refuses to be personally held accountable for his/her flippant attitude towards timetable management, you should definitely look for a replacement.

While we hope your first hire will be a good one through and through, it is very important to be decisive in making cuts when the situation demands as such, else money is flushed down the drain, and the student ends up getting nowhere closer to ascending the grade ladder. Nothing beats playing it safe.