Competition among maths tutors in the private maths tuition market is on the up.
This is beneficial for those looking for a private tutoring, who will have a lot to choose from to learn maths, but how can you be sure you're making the right choice?
For example, would you be happy getting help from an undergraduate studying for a maths degree?
Growing numbers of engineers, university students and others who are passionate about a certain subject are offering tutoring services.
Having a good comprehension of the applications of maths is incredibly important, however, teaching methods vary among tutors. You need to be able to find out the pros and cons of each math tutor to find one that suits your needs.
Would you prefer the help of a certified teacher whose approach may be similar to that of the math curriculum? OR would you feel more comfortable with a more liberal approach?
Why Look For A Tutor?
First and foremost, why is it important to seek help with your Maths education?
Perhaps you are a college student or university undergraduate and need maths guidance or you are a parent with concerns about your son or daughter's progress in Maths. Whatever the case may be, considering some extra tuition is definitely a positive step and the fact that you are even thinking about it shows that you care.
Either you care about getting better at maths or you wish for your child to excel in the subject and open up more pathways and prospects for a good career.
Reasons To Have Maths
If you don't already love Maths then surely you must agree that Maths is essential for any person in this day and age.
In England, there are three main subjects that schools, colleges and employers all want to hear about: English, Maths and Science.
English, Maths and Science are currently taught to pupils as young as 5, with some nurseries and pre-schools even introducing numeracy and literacy to toddlers, which shows the huge emphasis that is placed on the subjects throughout the education cycle.
You might have experienced entry exams to get a place in your chosen secondary school. You may even have been asked to come in for an interview by your prospective sixth form college, during which they will no doubt discuss your level of education, including areas which you are doing well in and ones which you have clearly struggled with.
Even primary schools sometimes check that pupils are achieving a high enough level in these core areas before accepting them, especially private schools with strong reputations to uphold.
But it's when it comes to applying for jobs that your knowledge of Maths can really come into its own, whether or not you are applying for a Maths-heavy role.
If you haven't already, then you'll soon see that, on any professional application form for any type of role, you will be asked to confirm your qualifications to date, with a particular focus on the three aforementioned subjects. This is so that establishments can get a feel for your overall academic competencies, which reflect a number of key skills in business.
The reason for this is that your grade in Maths displays your ability to think logically and rationally, for one.
Similarly, Maths shows recruiters that you are able to take logical steps to problem-solving and, of course, that you have at the very least basic numeracy skills. You would be surprised how many people in the workplace struggle if they can’t add up, multiply or use fractions and ratios.
You don’t, of course, have to get top marks in Maths to get a good job, but it will certainly help your case, especially if you are keen on a profession that relies on your skillset in Maths.
Get an A Level Maths tutor here.
Tips for Parents: Hiring a Tutor for your Child
Maybe you've noticed your child start to struggle this year, or perhaps they've been getting unusually low grades on their maths tests.
Whether you're a parent of a child who is experiencing difficulties with primary maths, a GCSE student worried about exams or an A level maths student who is struggling and needs help keeping up, a private tutor could be just what you need to provide individualised help.
After all, maths is such an important subject in anyone's academic career and neglecting it is not recommended.
Maths equations and trigonometry are just the beginning, but maths is so much more than that - it's a way to make sense of the world we live in.
For A level maths students, maths tutoring is even more important since it could determine your career path.
Ask Your Child what they are Struggling with
It is always worth speaking to your child about what they are finding hard in Maths, rather than just assuming where their difficulties lie.
While it may be quite a straightforward issue, with your child struggling with the content in a specific module and finding it hard to overcome this hurdle to move on to the next level of learning, however, it could be something deeper bothering them like the Maths teacher themselves. They could not be getting on with how the instructor is delivering his or her lessons and thus need someone to approach the subject in a different way.
Asking your child what they find hard and what they want to do about it may make the process of hiring a tutor much easier because it will feel like their idea and like they have control over the situation as opposed to being pushed into it.
Ask your Child's Teacher what they are Struggling with
Do go ahead and ask your child what they personally feel they are struggling with but be mindful to also approach their teacher and get their feedback, because you could discover different points of view.
Your child, for example, may think that equations are their weak point but their teacher might disagree and suggest that it is just one part of equations that they can't grasp (and you don't want to waste paid tuition time going over old stuff that is understood!).
What's more, by getting the teacher's perspective, you can also get some tips from them on what to focus on outside of school and how best to pick a tutor based on what needs to be studied the most (i.e. if your child needs help with geometry then you may then look for a geometry expert to get the best possible quality of teaching for your child).
Consider what part Maths will play in your Child's Future
Of course, nobody wants to see their child do badly at school or to face daily struggles in class. However, before going out and hiring the most expensive tutor on the books, it's a good idea to step back and assess the situation.
Your child will, of course, need a pass in Maths as standard to qualify for most jobs after school or college, but will they go down a career route that will require top grades in mathematical subjects? For example, will they be doing Maths A level, a Maths degree or a masters in Maths and therefore need that top grade Maths GCSE? If that's the case, then yes you will indeed want to hire the best of the best (even if your child is only a little bit behind, just to get those extra hours of tuition in). You'll also want to consider which tutor might be able to offer the most tailored teaching for your child's mathematical interests - do they want an emphasis on Physics, for instance?
If not, then you may be able to look for a tutor who is qualified to teach lessons around the Maths GCSE curriculum and no more than that.
Choose a Maths Tutor Based on their Experience
To be certain of whether or not you're making the right decision, we recommend you ask the maths teacher about their experience of home tutoring - make sure you do this before your first lesson. Even if they are a certified teacher, giving supplemental instruction on a one to one basis is completely different from teaching a class of 30. Questioning them adds an extra level of precaution so that you don't hand over your money to someone you believe to be inexperienced.
If you decide to go through a tutoring company such as Superprof, you'll see that a lot of tutors have a document detailing their previous experience to give you peace of mind.
Math tutoring can help immensely if you're starting to fall behind in class and need an extra bit of encouragement.
Although one on one maths tutor prices can be high, you get what you're paying for: effective teaching.
Use Tutoring sites like Superprof to Pick a Tutor
Tutoring websites also give students the opportunity to leave feedback on their tutors, so you can see what other people think before making a decision on which one is right for your needs.
This has proved to be an effective way for parents and students to find the ideal maths tutor for them.
Self-Taught Maths Tutors
When you're searching for someone to coach you in mathematics, you'll find may tutors advertising various levels, from KS1 maths to year 7 maths and even A level further maths. It's not just the level that will vary either, some tutors advertise specific disciplines of the subject including:
Depending on what you need help with, you may be limited to only a handful of tutors to choose from - but this is positive! It means that you will be tutored according to your needs.
However, this isn't the only thing you need to consider.
It's highly possible you'll come across a number of self-taught tutors.
But this is part of the magic of home tutoring; you will be able to escape the strict framework of the maths national curriculum and receive personalised tuition that works.
What we are trying to say is don't be focussed on only looking for university lecturers, researchers or certified teachers. The world of private tuition has a rich community of self-taught tutors who have a wealth of knowledge to be shared. Whether you're an online maths tutor, chemistry tutor, physics and maths tutor, tutor in engineering - the list is endless!
Remember, it's always good to look at things from two different angles.
Private Math Tutors vs. Certified Maths Teacher
When you make the decision to start looking for academic tutoring, you have a choice between people who do tutoring jobs in their spare time and those with teaching qualifications.
Perhaps one of your friends is a maths teacher and you want to ask them to help your child go through some AQA maths A level past papers or GCSE OCR maths past papers in preparation for their exams.
Maybe you're looking for a full-time private tutor with all kinds of teaching certificates.
Or maybe you'd prefer someone who is in the education system themselves and can offer their help in maths.
What are the pros and cons of each approach?
The Flexible Schedule of a Home Maths Tutor
The way maths lessons are delivered in schools means that your child may be steered in any direction before they've got to grips with the previous topic. With around 30 pupils to look after, it's impossible for the teacher to cater for the needs of every individual.
This rigid way of teaching maths for kids has maybe put your child off education altogether.
To reinvigorate their passion for maths and give them the motivation to succeed, why not find a one to one tutor?
A level and undergrad students are particularly useful since they are familiar with the school system and can, therefore, help pupils understand what exactly exam boards are looking for.
The one-size-fits-all approach to schooling inevitably leaves some pupils feeling pessimistic. This is where the tutor steps in to show them their strengths and build their self-esteem.
One advantage of recruiting a full-time professional or self-taught private tutor is the freedom in their teaching methods.
This includes the freedom to approach a subject differently than the education system according to the pupil's individual learning style.
Such approached include using different media including tablets and smartphone to play interactive maths games, for instance, or visiting maths websites on a laptop.
Students also feel more at ease with private tutors, who are not feared the way school teachers are. This is because they come down to the tutee's level and work their way up the learning ladder together with them.
However, there is a risk of too much freedom with such methods which could lead to straying too far from the objective.
The Conventionality of a Certified Maths Teacher
Some parents worry about the children reaching the specific school standards and therefore choose to contact tutors with experience teaching national curriculum maths.
After all, why not take this approach? There are plenty of well-trained certified teachers offering private tuition, so it would be a shame not to take advantage of their knowledge and experience with maths papers.
This is the best way to keep in line with the school syllabus.
The idea behind this is staying within the pupil's comfort zone with a familiar approach to learning.
There are many advantages to this method including focussing on maths worksheets tailored to specific exam boards. For example, a teacher who has experience teaching AQA maths GCSE or A level Edexcel maths in school will be able to work through AQA GCSE maths past papers or Edexcel maths A level past papers with the student.
Working on difficult math problems during sessions can get students used to the general format of the exams and put them at ease when it comes to a big maths mock test or exam day.
However, the disadvantage is that it could bore the student, who already spends around 30 hours a week with the same framework.
Some students may begin to feel overwhelmed as the lines between home and school are blurred, making maths a sensitive subject and discouraging them even more.
Questions to Ask Your Maths Tutor
When looking for extra maths help, you'll whittle down your findings to the best tutors you find.
Whether they focus on maths homework help, academic support, home tutoring, or online tutoring, you need to organise a mini-interview in which you will ask them more about their work as a math tutor to see if they're right for you.
In case you need some inspiration, here are some examples of the questions you could ask:
- How long have you been a private tutor?
- Can you provide any references?
- What qualifications do you have?
- What are your hourly rates?
- Are there any area of maths you specialise in? (E.g. algebra, calculus, mechanics, etc.)
- Do you teach any other subjects? (Maths and physics tutor, for example)
- Do you come to the student's house do deliver your lessons?
- Have you ever taught a student in a similar situation to our child/me?
- Can you help boost the student's grades?
These conversations will be invaluable when if comes to making a final decision on which tutor is best for you.