How to Choose the Right Online Tutor for Your Child

With the increased popularity of online tutors, the Ask a Tech Teacher team has come up with some guidelines to help you select the right one for your child:

How to Choose the Right Online Tutor for Your Child

As many as a third of kids are given a leg up in their learning efforts by professional tutors, so there’s a high chance you’re considering this option for your child. Whether they are having trouble getting to grips with core concepts, or they need a little extra assistance with exam prep, there are all sorts of reasons to take this route.

What matters most in this context is picking a tutor who’s a suitable fit for the unique requirements of your youngster. With that in mind, here are some factors to weigh up as your search for an online tutor gets underway in earnest.

Evaluating Tutor Qualifications and Certifications

Choosing an online tutor for your child starts with verifying their qualifications. A degree-level education is not enough in isolation, especially since 300 million people will be entering the job market with this to their name by 2030. Instead, you need to seek out specialists who have certifications in the specific subject your child is struggling with, and at the level they’re focusing on. This includes:

  • Academic Degrees: Verify the tutor holds a relevant degree from an accredited institution.
  • Subject-Specific Certifications: Check for specialized certifications that demonstrate expertise, like TEFL for English or Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) for IT subjects.
  • Teaching Credentials: Prioritize tutors with teaching certificates or licenses, ensuring they’re trained in effective instructional strategies.
  • Professional Development: Ask if they participate in ongoing professional development to stay updated on best practices.
  • Regional Relevance: Tutors need to have knowledge of the particular education system your child is participating in. So for instance if you are in the UK then finding reputable private GCSE English tutors is better than picking a practitioner from another part of the world.

Assessing Experience and Subject Matter Expertise

Experience matters, with a McKinsey study showing that skills secured on the job account for 46% of the value professionals deliver over the course of their careers. A tutor with a rich, relevant background can tailor lessons to your child’s needs, adapting quickly if concepts aren’t clicking. Look out for:

  • Years of Tutoring: Opt for tutors who have several years of experience, particularly in online settings.
  • Subject Proficiency: Ensure the tutor specializes in the specific subject your child needs help with, whether it’s math and science, or language and arts.
  • Age Group Familiarity: Select someone experienced with teaching children in your child’s age group, as pedagogy varies significantly between elementary and high school levels.
  • Success Stories: Look for tutors who can provide testimonials or case studies showcasing past successes. If in doubt, ask for recommendations from friends and family.

The Importance of Flexibility in Scheduling

Flexibility can make or break an online tutoring arrangement. A tutor who accommodates your child’s schedule and learning pace ensures a more productive experience. Consider:

  • Availability: Confirm the tutor’s availability aligns with your child’s timetable, including weekends or evenings if necessary.
  • Rescheduling Policy: Understand their policies for rescheduling sessions, because life happens, and you’ll need someone adaptable. And don’t forget that if you struggle with time management as well, there are ways to get on top of this.
  • Session Length Options: Check if they offer varying session lengths to match your child’s attention span and workload. For instance, shorter sessions serve younger kids well, while longer ones for older students prepping for exams are immensely useful and allow for greater focus.
  • Consistency vs. Flexibility Balance: Ensure there’s a balance between consistent timing (for routine) and flexibility (for unforeseen changes).
  • Accessibility: Aim to work with tutors that can accommodate online sessions, rather than purely providing in-person assistance. This $7.69 billion market for remote tutoring has gained traction for good reason in recent years, and it can seriously assist with affording scheduling flexibility.

The Bottom Line

Having a qualified, experienced and flexible tutor on tap is one of the best ways to allow your child to get the most out of their education. And it’s important to keep in mind that needing a tutor is not a sign that something is wrong, but rather that a more bespoke approach is better for unlocking the full potential of your little ones.

The last point to make is that once you settle on a tutor and your child starts working with them, you don’t have to stick with this relationship if they don’t gel or you don’t see the desired results. Check in with them regularly to get a sense of what progress is being made, and how they feel about the tutor, then make a switch if necessary.

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Author: Jacqui
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

2 thoughts on “How to Choose the Right Online Tutor for Your Child

    1. When you look at the abysmal results of public education (35% passing grade level tests–I’m averaging), it seems everyone needs tutors. I hope TX is different. I got my kids tutors for calculus and they were great, but not the basics. Sigh.

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