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The Student’s Guide to Finding the Best Tutor

From Sophia, published on 27/06/2017 We Love Prof - UK > Tutoring > Advice for Students > Private Tuition: Tips and Suggestions for Students

The students we know aspire to academic success, just like you do.

Achieving it is a different proposition altogether, isn’t it?

While many long for one on one instruction from a private tutor, some still hesitate to seek a master out, for various reasons:

  • fears of high costs

  • worries over finding a suitably experienced teacher

  • concerns about learning styles not matching the tutor’s teaching style

Let us put these fears to rest.

Finding your ideal tutor is not difficult. In this article we will tell you how to fulfill your wish for quality supplemental instruction at a great price.

Follow these tips to find a tutor for private tuition Let this guide start you on the road to one on one tutoring. Source: Pixabay Credit: Geralt


Thomas

Our students are very satisfied

”With Superprof, I was able to find the perfect tutor to motivate me and help get the grades I needed. I 100% recommend Superprof!”

How to Contact a Private Tutor Online

To get the most from your tutoring experience you should state exactly what you need when initially contacting your tutor.

State Your Goal Effectively

“I need help with science”

This simple request will not yield acceptable results. While there is an abundance of physics, biology and chemistry tutors looking for students to help, they will not know what science you are currently trying to master, or what type of help you seek.

“I am 14 years old, looking for homework help in chemistry”

This profile example is a very specific announcement that tells prospective tutors exactly what type of help you are looking for. By disclosing your age, the experienced home tutor will know precisely which stage of the discipline you are currently working on.

There are three fundamental ‘stages’ of instruction for any subject you might seek tutoring in:

  • Basic: signifies that you are at the outset of your learning adventure. Be it English, music or maths, if you are just starting out, this is the level for you.

    • As a beginning learner, you would have a greater choice of tutors because many teachers, including advanced ones, welcome novice learners.

  • Intermediate: indicates that you already have a measure of exposure to the subject material, but that you need or would like an extra boost. Intermediate students have grasped concept fundamentals and are now looking for more insight or greater depth into what they’re currently studying.

    • Here you have the advantage over Basic level because your teacher can devote more time to your grasping more advanced concepts. Besides, your lessons might not be as frequent, so your cost could be lower!

  • Expert: shows a strong grasp of the subject material. Learners at this level are looking for absolute understanding of what they are studying. Are you preparing for an important exam? Maybe writing a deciding paper? The tutor you are looking for in this case is highly qualified, with years of experience.

Signal Your Intent

Are you preparing for GCSE or A Levels?

Are you looking to improve your reading and writing scores?

Do you want to master the guitar or the piano?

Are you aiming for specialized certification – TOEFL or IELTS?

Be as explicit as possible in stating your desired outcome of tutoring. Doing so will save you time in narrowing your search for the best tutor.

Conversely, when tutors know exactly what you are looking for, those with your desired qualities will be more likely to seek you out and offer their services.

Submit Details

Help prospective tutors find you by giving exact criteria. Are you only available for lessons on Tuesday evenings?

Limiting your schedule limits your pool of potential teachers.

You could try expanding your opportunities by posting a greater availability. Remember: tutors give lessons even on weekends!

Will you accept online tutoring instruction, or should the teacher come to your home for one on one instruction?

Beware that fees might be slightly higher for in home tutors than if you met online or somewhere public, because some tutors incorporate travel costs in their price.

How much are you prepared to spend per hour of instruction?

You should know that the cost of tutoring is determined by several factors:

  • Where you live: private tutors in London generally command £22.50 per hour. Compare that rate to the average tutor in York – £15.55 per hour; you can easily see that geography makes a difference in how much you would pay for your lessons.

  • Level of expertise/level of study: it stands to reason that a highly educated, experienced professor could command a higher price than a college student tutoring during summer break. Equally important to price determination is your level of learning. A student preparing for college entrance would have to pay more than a student at KS3 level.

  • Subject material: specialized instruction, such as piano lessons (average hourly rate – £30 across the UK) is much higher than, say, English grammar help (average hourly rate assigned by geography – see first bullet).

Be careful what you ask for: if your online ad specifies that you seek advanced biology or physics tutoring for £15 per hour, you will likely not attract the quality mentorship you need.

Finally, you should indicate how long you will need tutoring: only till you master basic math, or for the entire school year?

A few months’ engagement would be suitable for test prep; ongoing help is more suitable for getting a grasp on fundamentals or for deeper understanding of subject material, or homework help.

Supply Particulars

Many ad sites offer direct communication with individual tutors, such as dialog boxes or instant messaging.

However, there is no harm in offering prospective tutors other ways of contacting you. Listing your email address and phone number gives interested candidates different ways of contacting you.

Studies show online profiles that include a photo receive more traffic than those without an accompanying picture. If you are hoping to attract the greatest number of profile views – and you should!, uploading a friendly looking picture is key.

Don't give into frustration over studying. Seek help with a private tutor No need to panic over finding a tutor Source: Pixabay Credit punttim

You Need Results Now!

You posted your profile last week but received no hits or messages.

No need for panic!

It is quite possible that your post was simply lost in the shuffle. The market for private tutoring is booming these days. With teachers and learners both posting profiles, your request was likely overlooked.

You only need to amend your post!

Titling your ad Urgent help needed! or Need Help Immediately! is eye-catching and effectively communicates your pressing condition. Using a bright colored font might help, as well.

Indicating that you are flexible in price, scheduling and location could also lead to qualified instructors who are well-suited to your needs seek you out.

How to Quickly Find a Private Tutor

Posting an ad online is not the only way to find your perfect educational mentor.

As mentioned above, tutors of all subjects are also busy posting ads, looking for people like you who need their expertise. After building your profile, you can click through some sites that promote in-home tutoring.

Superprof is just such a site. There you will find detailed profiles of instructors willing and ready to help you. Individual listings include information on:

  • credentials and area of expertise – ‘high school math’ or ‘Algebra 1’, as opposed to the blanket ‘math tutor’, for example.

  • experience – with private tutoring and classroom teaching

  • location – what area of the UK they work in

  • Whether s/he is open to online instruction

  • price per hour of instruction

  • average response time

  • feedback from other students who have worked with this teacher

Testimonials  could be your deciding factor. A good recommendation from other students is a great way to help you select a teacher that is right for you.

A word of caution: don’t engage the first tutor you find just because you need help now. Take the time to look through several profiles before settling on the one who will guide you to the light of understanding in your chosen subject.

You’ve Found Your Match!

Great news! You’re about to get the help you need from a professor the your dreams!

Your initial meeting is the time to carefully consider planning your lessons. From the outset, declare when, how often and how long you will need to meet.

It wouldn’t do to lose this great master because of scheduling conflicts.

You have to take his/her other obligations into consideration while determining your future sessions.

Perhaps you could resolve a scheduling conflict by agreeing to group teaching online, if your prospect already has a commitment to such during your preferred time slot.

Next, you should present the materials you need to learn: school text books, extracurriculars – such as maths puzzles or word games; or do you need homework help? By being precise, you will help your tutor narrow the focus of your sessions to exactly to where you need it.

Good communication skills are key to establishing the most beneficial relationship between you and your tutor.

Free Private Tutoring

Education costs are skyrocketing, a fact that has put many off of seeking higher education at all, let alone private tuition. But there are some cheaper options for tutoring out there.

Enter the Khan Academy, a tutoring website that charges you nothing. You simply choose your subject and watch a series of videos detailing concepts, intricacies and how-to’s of some of schools’ most troublesome subjects.

Khan tutoring videos give in-depth explanations over:

  • Maths: arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, calculus, statistics and linear algebra

    • you can also select maths curriculum by level or grade

  • Science: physics, chemistry, biology, cosmology, health

  • Computing: programming, animation, computer science

  • Economics: macroeconomics, entrepreneurship, finance.

In addition to videos, you can find practice exercises and a most useful tracker to measure your progress.

Here we make note that Khan Academy’s tutoring videos are geared toward the American education system. While the material is certainly helpful – and ‘free’ doesn’t hurt, either, you might have to dig around to for the specific level of maths and/or science you are currently studying.

If you are interested in a more local solution, you can direct your search to your city council.

For example, typing “(your city’s name) Council homework help” can yield instructions on when and how you can receive help with your homework.

Take Nottingham, for example. That city’s libraries offer free assistance in maths, English and science. They provide a free Internet connexion and, if you find something online relevant to your studies, you can print it at no cost.

Their services are available any time the library is open, and they also have specific times and dates for clinics at every library, throughout the city. And, they permit drop-ins!

Might your city council and local library offer the same?

Are you learning a second language?

Lang-8 is a language exchange site that offers study in French, German, Spanish… even Tagalog!

After you sign up (it’s free, with nothing to download!), you will have the opportunity to help others learn English even as you practice your Mandarin or Portuguese.

While the site is limited to writing and all that it entails (grammar, spelling, sentence structure), through this portal you can cultivate relationships with people native to the language you are studying. Inviting them to video chat with you will help develop your – and their! – spoken language skills.

Helping others is like helping yourself – Henry Flagler

Academic success comes easily with tutoring You too can achieve academic success with the right tutelage. Source: Pixabay Credit: Rob Towne

What if Online Tutoring Is not Your Thing?

That is not a problem at all. You can find qualified tutors in your geographical area through a variety of means.

Using the same information described for your online profile, you can print fliers and post them around your community.

  • Libraries and community centers often have bulletin boards for exactly this purpose. Make sure your bill is visible and prominently placed.

  • Supermarkets and local shops also dedicate space for community announcements. Posting a flier here could bring your ad higher visibility.

  • Newspapers have ad space for just such announcements. You may even get to place an ad for free! More likely, though, you will be charged a fee for placing your request.

  • Ask around at school: it is possible that one of your mates or an administrator could steer you to a qualified mentor or two.

Word of mouth is an excellent form of advertising, and it’s free! Let people know you are in the market for school help. Perhaps even your neighbor could lead you to academic salvation.

It’s never easy to ask for help but there is certainly no shame in it.

Not when there are platoons of professors waiting for you to declare your need.

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