13 Tips for Selecting the Best Tutoring Near Me
My daughter needed help with her school course work. As a concerned parent, I did my time searching for tutoring services near me. I realized there was a “Chinese menu” of confusing options and considerations before you hired one. Having gone through the grind of finding the right tutoring services for elementary students, I know the search can get pretty overwhelming. It is easy to go wrong with your choice as well. In this article I’ve shared my learnings on how to navigate through this maze and how I got around to selecting the best tutoring near me for my daughter. It is worth mentioning that, in the process, I changed from being a traditionalist who preferred in-person tuitions to a sworn online tutoring evangelist.
Let’s start at the beginning of my hunt.
Scanning the market for tutoring services
There were just so many big and small tutoring programs near me. I realized I needed to start somewhere logical. First of all, I filtered out all the tutoring agencies near me that offered advanced courses, test prep and entrance exam coaching. These weren’t relevant for my daughter. I scanned websites and fliers and made a few phone calls. Finally, I had a focused list of tutoring services for elementary students near me. The idea was to make sure that the agencies were well versed with elementary school syllabus and knew how to handle younger pupils.
One challenge I faced was that most of the tutoring companies near me helped students in small batches. They often didn’t provide one-on-one tutoring services for elementary students even if one could afford it. I needed to solve this because I was certain about wanting individual attention for my daughter.
Setting tutoring goals
Goal setting is a great way to further refine you search efforts. Every child has different learning gaps and different needs. And the outcomes expected from tuitions vary likewise. My daughter and I sat down and discussed what we wanted to achieve out of the tutoring programs near me that we were going to reach out to shortly. We went about shortlisting the in-home tutoring that offered the subjects she felt she was weak in.
Assessment of strengths and weaknesses of tutoring services
I would strongly recommend involving your child’s school teachers in your goal setting mission. This helped me get some crucial insights about my daughter’s strengths and weaknesses before selecting the best tutoring near me. For example, what was the level of help she needed? Was it just help with her homework or to boost her grades in certain subjects or to up her game a niche area of interest?
The discussion with her teachers was enlightening. I discovered that Math was where she needed remedial intervention. I was aware she needed help but I didn’t realize how far behind she actually was! Apparently, she had a great interest in dinosaur fossils and paleontology that could be further nurtured! Armed with this greater level of understanding, I was better placed to scan the tutoring places near me to find the right fit for her.
Preferred learning style
Having made the decision to supplement my child’s learning with extra help from the tutoring services near me, I felt I’d be able to amplify the impact if I knew her learning style. The discussion with her teacher revealed some nuances that she wouldn’t have been able to articulate herself. Apparently, she wasn’t the most interactive kid in her class and she was more receptive to written instructions than verbal. She was more attentive if there was humor in the instruction style. I got a good sense of the right personality type of the tutor to ensure progress. I’m told there are learning styles quizzes online that give a fairly accurate assessment of your child’s unique style.
I made it a point to discuss my daughters learning preferences with the tutoring services near me just to make sure they took this seriously and incorporated it in their plan.
You child’s approval for tutoring
With dinosaur fossils firmly in the plan, my daughter was now fully onboard with helping me select the best tutoring near me. This turned out to a real game changer. A buy-in from her before choosing a tutoring service ensured that I got maximum bang for the buck. It helped me gauge her attitude towards tutoring. It also increased her level of interest and excitement in the process. Knowing that she was looking forward to this, I too went about searching for best tutoring service with greater zeal.
Seeking references from tutors
I had a lot of questions and information in bits and pieces. But there were fellow parents who were already using the tutoring programs near me. They were able to give me an excellent overview of the more popular tutoring services near me, their fee structures, cancellation policies, timings etc.
They also shared their opinions on the skill, experience, commitment and personality of the tutors. More importantly, they talked about the progress they saw in some of their children. If you’re searching for a local tutor, there is no better rating system than local reputation to gauge how good the tutor is for your child. This went a long way in the process of selecting the best tutoring near me.
Seeking references gives direction to your search. Opinions of other parents are a source of comfort that you’re on the right track. However, this actually got me thinking hard on another track about the tutoring services near me. Before we try out a new restaurant, don’t we check the online ratings and reviews? Wouldn’t it be great if the local tutoring agencies near me had a system for ratings and reviews?
Tutors’ creds and experience
For all of us parents who are serious about selecting the best tutoring services, the tutor’s credentials are crucially important for us to rest assured that our children are in safe hands.
As far as tutoring near me went, I observed that most of the options I found were either more experienced or more compatible with kids. Several individuals offering tutoring programs near me were university grads helping out a few neighborhood kids in their spare time. They appeared to be kid-friendly and quite adept at adjusting to the wavelength of their pupils, but they didn’t have a great deal of knowledge or teaching experience. At the other end of the spectrum were retired profs with a wealth of knowledge and experience. They seemed less clued into the minds of their young pupils, often losing them during the lessons. Whatever your preference, it is a good idea to think about what is important to you.
The tutoring agencies near me were more professional about qualifications. They loudly advertised their staff quality to outshine competition. That I thought was a good thing. There was one concern. I didn’t get to examine the creds of the specific tutor out of the pool of tutors who’d eventually be teaching my daughter. Additionally, when it came to tutoring services for elementary students, the stress on strong qualifications seemed a little diluted at most of these tutoring places near me.
These tutoring services offered limited options of tutors with the relevant qualifications and the right level of experience that my daughter needed. The search can become all the more complex if you have niche subject requirements like dinosaur fossils!
Leading from the last point, I stress on the compatibility aspect because I’ve experienced the merits of paying attention to this first-hand. It pays to bear in mind that creds don’t necessarily make a good tutor. Because there are a lot of soft skills that come into the picture that finally secure the benefits of personal tutoring for your child.
It came as a surprise to me that only a few of the tutoring places near me indicated that their tutors had special training on child-handling. Not many tutoring agencies near me allowed a close interaction with the tutors without obligations. I am not sure how this works because every child has a different approach to learning. I’d have liked to make sure that my daughter would gel well with the person who was to become her tutor. I would strongly recommend that parents insist on interacting with the tutor beforehand.
Interview the tutor
I thought it may be a good idea to equip you with a few interview questions to ask before selecting the best tutoring nearby for your child. I’d advise interviewing a few different candidates before finalizing. Once you’ve enquired about their degrees, qualifications, teaching experience, certifications, etc. you can ask about what age groups they’ve tutored before. Get them to evaluate your child independently and see if it matches with your assessment. Ask them how they prepare for the lessons, what teaching methods they use and how they motivate their pupils. Enquire about homework. Enquire about how they measure progress. Ask if it’s OK to observe a couple of sessions on the side.
Once you’re comfortable with the responses, check their availability. Make sure you enquire about how many other pupils they teach currently. Check how free they are to accommodate your child. If the tutor is already teaching 25 pupils on a weekly basis and your child is the 26th pupil, chances are that the tutor won’t be able to give your child adequate attention. So watch out for that. Finally, ask what they expect of you as a parent so that the tutor sees you as a serious ally in the child’s progress.
Have a budget in mind
How much does the tutor cost? This was an uncomfortable question to ask the tutoring companies near me because it gave the impression that I was skimping on my child’s progress! In any case, I was better off having a budget in mind because the fees and charges varied widely amongst the tutoring near me. Ultimately, it boils down to how much you’re willing to set aside for this service.
The rates vary (as it should) on the basis of complexity of the subject and the qualifications of the individual tutor. The tutoring companies near me also charged a set fee for services, plus a registration fee. They didn’t offer the option to calibrate the tutor’s level with my budget. This was disappointing.
Search online tutoring options
All in all, I was beginning to realize that these tutoring companies near me had some inherent limitations. These were coming in the way of selecting the best service for my daughter.
Some of the fellow parents had suggested that I look up online tutoring options for my daughter. They appeared to be quite pleased with the results for their kids. After scanning all the tutoring programs near me, I decided to look into this whole new business of personalized online tutoring and I was thrilled at what I discovered.
Advantages of online tutoring
I found some online tutoring platforms that listed several thousands of highly qualified tutors. These platforms had some obvious advantages over physical tutoring places near me. Firstly, they were were capable of personalizing the interaction through various technologies. All my daughter needed was a laptop and wi-fi. I could choose tutors from anywhere in the world based on my budget. Tutors of all skills and backgrounds were available. My daughter found her paleontology expert! We simply posted our requirements and soon I received a few applications from highly qualified tutors to choose from. I could interact freely with the tutors free of obligations and hire one only after I was sure about the person on all fronts. One site that allows you to do all of this is ViTutors.com.
Even from a budget point of view, online tutoring seems to have a definite edge over the tutoring services near me. First of all there are tutors catering to different budget ranges. The bidding system keeps rates competitive. The platforms do retain a service fee if you hire a tutor but there are several sites that charge reasonably. Looking at all the benefits, I thoroughly liked the idea of online tutoring for selecting the best tutoring for my daughter.
Weighting my options
As most parents would do, I started by checking out local tutoring services near me. There were some decent options but often lacking in one way or the other. If a tutoring agency near me had well-qualified tutors, they were unavailable. If they were available they were too expensive. But my biggest disappointment after combing through several tutoring services for elementary students near me was the serious dearth of quality tutors particularly in niche subjects.
Both online and in-person tutoring options have their pros and cons. The decision comes down to a range of things from your requirement to your location and budget or just your natural preference for one over the other. Speaking for myself, the discovery of one-on-one online tutoring services done from the comfort of home has changed everything for my daughter and me.