So you’re ready to hire a tutor for your struggling student. Where do you start? Your first step is to understand the qualities of an effective tutor. Our experience working with students and tutors at Train the Brain has led us to the following important list of qualities to look for when searching for a tutor:
- The tutor should have content area expertise.
- They should display enthusiasm for their work.
- A good tutor empathizes with their students.
- The tutor should encourage independence.
Content Area Expertise
Although a degree isn’t the only way to gain content area expertise, a tutor with a bachelor’s degree should genuinely understand the subject matter they’re helping their students with. An associate’s degree is acceptable, too, but it is very rare to find a tutor with a master’s or doctorate.
Teaching experience is another excellent tutoring quality. It’s one thing to understand the content, but it’s a whole other bonus when you get to work with someone who understands how to teach others. Tutors with teaching experience will understand how to explain concepts to your student, and they are often experienced in working one-on-one with different learning styles.
Years of tutoring experience can really help increase the value of a tutor. If they’ve been working with students for years and have experience working with individual students, then that experience can go a long way. If you don’t have the option of someone who has a content area degree or teaching experience, then a student currently working toward their degree is also a solid option because college or university students often have up-to-date information, styles, and skills as well as a strong ability to relate to their tutees.
If your tutor is an expert, you also expect them to display professional behavior. They should behave professionally because they are a professional. Any tutor who is taking their role seriously will demonstrate respect for the profession they are pursuing and respect for the content the student want to learn.
A great tutor displays a love for the subject they’re teaching. When the tutor is enthusiastic, that energy will help the student enjoy the subject as well. Positive attitudes rub off on students.
An enthusiastic tutor also builds strong relationships with students, and in order to learn, a lot of times, students have to feel that their teacher has an actual interest in them and cares about whether or not they will succeed. Good tutors demonstrate this by personalizing the learning, connecting to the student’s interests, and focusing on their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses. They don’t have a one-size-fits-all mindset, and they get to know what works best for their students.
Empathy is a valuable trait to find in a tutor. When a student and their family decides it’s time to hire a tutor, they usually have tried other avenues first. Often, they are frustrated and overwhelmed by the time they hire a tutor. An empathetic tutor understands what it’s like to be a student and understands how hard it can be to gain confidence in a subject area you’re struggling in. When a tutor has compassion for a student who is overwhelmed or just doesn’t understand, they find ways to be motivational as a result of that empathy. An empathetic tutor helps their students reach their goals, recognize strengths, and focus on learning by demonstrating strong listening skills and patience.
Finally, one of the most valuable qualities to look for in a tutor is the ability to provide their students with independence. You want your student’s tutor to teach them how to learn, how to think, and to understand how they learn.
A good tutor asks strong, open-ended questions to help the student learn the thinking process that is necessary for them to do the work on their own. They teach problem solving skills so that when the student is working on an assignment at home alone, they can reason their way through notes, calm their minds for clarity, and seek out resources to find solutions to the problem they’re facing. In other words, a valuable tutor doesn’t want the student to become dependent on them; instead, they give their students resources to become independent.
If you’re looking for someone to help your student improve their scores, GPA, or understand difficult concepts in their coursework, Train the Brain is here to help. Our tutoring sessions are 100% online, and they are easily arranged around your student’s schedule. To find out more, you can contact us directly on our website, but if you’re ready to sign up now, registration only takes few minutes and then you’ll be ready to select the tutor that has the right experiences to help your student learn and grow.