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05/20/15

Making the grade: Is your tutor up to par?

No parent wants to see their child struggle, particularly when talk turns to school, school work and ultimately kids who can't seem to make the grade.
The moms and dads who are concerned spend the majority of their time troubleshooting what actually is holding their child back. Could it be other students? Bullying? Maybe, they're just not engaged with the teacher or they simply might not understand the subject matter being presented.
In the case of the last item, parents tend to begin scouring their neighborhood or area for a suitable tutor for their kids, one that can help them outside of school hours and beyond what they learn from the teacher. Students who don't immediately connect with a teacher or their specific style might benefit exponentially from having someone different, who isn't in the front of the room, delivering information that they can grasp just from a different source. The information is the same but who is delivering makes a big difference.
So how exactly do parents find a worthwhile tutor?
Finding the right tutor can be difficult. Do you go with someone younger, closer in age to your child? How about an experienced, older person who is perhaps a retired teacher? While the answer often isn't right in front of your face, selecting a tutor that works often becomes more trial and error rather than an exact science.

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You should make it a point to have your child meet the tutor as part of the screening process and reference check (which you should do as far as previous employment and background checks). Your child might surprise you as far as how they interact, and you can even encourage them to ask questions, too. The goal is to find that happy medium between positive interaction and the ability for your child to learn as a result of you paying for this service.
Parents also must resist the urge to find a tutor that is overly textbook; that's why the former teacher route often isn't the best. A student, perhaps a recent graduate of high school that is en route to college, could be a better option, especially if it someone you know (perhaps a family friend).
They may have a more demure, yet simple, approach to teaching that connects with the intended audience: the child in question. It's also important to listen to your child if the tutor isn't working out; you can't dismiss this as them not wanting to learn or just being difficult for the sake of doing so.
The tutor can be the make or break proposition for parents. The "make" part just means you'll have to work extra hard to find the right fit but also know the signs that the tutor either isn't worth hiring or just isn't a match for your child.

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