You have decided to hire a tutor. You have researched the want ads, online tutoring sites, and community or school bulletin boards. You have asked teachers and friends for recommendations.
And having chosen a potential tutor who you think would meet your needs, you have contacted them, asked some basic questions, and now you are going to meet with them for an actual consultation interview; or perhaps, alternatively, you are going to attend an initial lesson (for yourself, or for your child), and after the lesson, you are going to have an indepth discussion with the tutor to decide if you want to continue this tutoring relationship. (Note: if you have not yet had an initial conversation with the tutor, please read “Initial conversation with a potential tutor” first.)
Following is a description of a typical consultation interview. The tutor of course will have questions for you, but you should also be prepared to ask questions. After all, you probably know your own or your child’s needs better than others do, and bringing that knowledge to the conversation can lead to developing the best possible tutoring experience for the student. If you wish, you may also ask to have the student’s teacher involved in the consultation.
- Review of phone conversation: The tutor, after greeting you, will review the initial phone (or email) discussion you have already had. Listen carefully, and be sure to correct or further explain any misunderstandings.
- Further questions: The tutor will then ask you further questions (see the following post) in order to be able to plan the best tutoring plan for the student. He or she will no doubt take notes, and you are free to take your own notes. You may also wish to ask the tutor to summarize what they have learned from you. It is best to be clear and in agreement right from the start. The tutor may feel that some of your expectations are beyond his or her ability to fulfill; and will tell you that, along with alternative suggestions.
- Assessment: If the student is involved in this meeting, the tutor may give him or her an assessment test of some kind, depending on the needs you have expressed. The tutor will also take a look at materials you have brought, such as report cards and samples of the child’s work.
- Creating a plan: The tutor will recommend a general program/plan. If you have questions about any aspect of the tutor’s plan, ask. The tutor won’t have every detail of every lesson at this point (unless the tutor exactly follows a specific program) but should be able to give you a proposed overview and some examples of details. You may also supply other information that would be helpful, such as the student’s most successful learning styles up to now, if the tutor has not asked.
- Your observations: If the consultation meeting follows a sample lesson, ask any questions you have about the teaching methods, the interaction you noticed between the tutor and student, and so on. If you are uncomfortable with what you have seen, it is best to bring that forward now, and figure out if it can be addressed, or if this particular tutor-student relationship might not be suitable.
- Information packet/follow-up letter. The tutor may have an information packet which they will supply to you. This packet may include some or all of the following: a business card, pamphlet or flyer, a scheduling and fee sheet, parent questionnaire, materials checklist, resume and references, and an overview of the tutor’s approach, methods, etc. The tutor may also send you a follow-up email or letter describing the program plans you have just discussed.
- Date and time schedule: Assuming that you and the tutor agree to continue the tutoring relationship, you will now decide on a time schedule. The tutor will try to accomodate your scheduling needs as much as possible, but you need to be aware that the tutor likely already has students, and will have to fit you into the remaining time slots.
In our next post, we will discuss specific questions and information that you and the tutor may discuss at the consultation meeting.
Penticton tutor: If you live in the Penticton area, and are looking for a tutor, be sure to check out my Penticton tutor information page!