Why is it worthwhile to hire a qualified tutor?

This is part 3 in the series: Questions About Tutoring Costs

Why would you want to hire a qualified tutor at a higher hourly rate, when you know you can hire a less qualified teacher for less?  Here are some reasons:

Expertise:  A qualified tutor can likely provide as much or more help in a couple sessions, as a less qualified tutor might provide in several sessions.  The tutor will know of special ways to help out with special needs of an individual student.  The qualified tutor has invested a great deal of personal time, and money, into preparing for tutoring; and your cost of tutoring, as well as the positive results of the tutoring, reflects that.

Planning, follow-up, and interaction with learning team:  A tutor is not being paid simply for the half-hour or hour of the tutoring session.  The tutor also will often spend significant amounts of time planning for the special, individualized needs of the particular student, doing extra research, finding or creating individualized tutoring materials, and often contacting other members of the student’s learning team to insure that a coordinated over-all learning plan is in place.  The tutor, after each lesson, will spend time reflecting on the session, to determine exactly what help is needed in future lessons, and in what areas the student has succeeded.  The tutor will also report to you on the student’s progress.  You may, in fact, be paying for at least 2 or 3 hours of the tutor’s time with your one-hour fee!

On-on-one learning: In an average classroom, the teacher is dealing with 20 to 30 or more students, all at once.  Often without a teacher-aide, the teacher must not only teach all the students at once, but must deal with all manner of adminstrative items during class time such as taking attendance, keeping track of students who leave the classroom for various reasons, and of course, dealing with a variety of behavioural problems.  In many cases, there are children at all levels of academic success, or difficulties, and often a number with special needs.  The teacher must deal with all of them.

Unfortunately, in an average classroom hour, there may be only a few minutes of really fruitful learning time, shared by the students together, and even then, children who are ahead of, or behind, the other students, often end up “falling through the cracks.”  One cannot usually blame the teacher for these situations; they are simply the nature of dealing with large numbers of students at one time.

A tutor, on the other hand, works intensively, focused one-on-one with a student and his or her particular needs.  In an hour of tutoring, a child may learn as much or more than in a full day or even a week or more at school.  If the child has indeed been “falling through the cracks” at school, the tutoring time is that much more valuable.

In the home-school situation, similar issues may arise as in the classroom, especially if there are several children in the family, a certain child has particular needs, and perhaps the parent does not have the necessary background to help with those needs.  An hour with a tutor once or twice a week could make a tremendous difference to a child, not to mention that the parent can use that time to focus on one or more of the other children in the family – and/or the parent might decide to get some tutoring him/herself, in order to more effectively teach the child.

Learn basic/needed skills now; use them over and over down the line: Another great value of a qualified tutor is to help a student fill in gaps in their learning, or to understand a concept with which they have been having difficulty.  By waiting, the problem could soon “snowball,” and the problem become much more complex, take longer to solve – and cost much more than if a qualified tutor had been engaged to help the student with the difficulty while it was still reasonably simple to solve.

Be sure to check out the other posts in this series!

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!

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