7 questions you should ask before you hire a tutor

photo of woman tutoring young boy

Are you considering hiring a tutor for your child? After almost 2 years of interrupted schooling due to covid-related lockdowns, you may be seeing a drop in your child’s academic progress. Your child with special needs or learning disabilities may have lost confidence or motivation to learn and you are worried they are beginning to shut off from learning. Perhaps you see untapped potential in your child that has not been uncovered by their school. Or maybe you feel frustrated and helpless that your child hasn’t received the most appropriate specialist support and you worry about their future.

Tutoring gives your child individualised educational support that they would otherwise not receive in a busy and fast-paced classroom. This individualised support benefits both students who are falling behind, and those who could benefit from additional time to practice skills to ensure they are secure.

Here are 7 questions you should ask before you hire a tutor.

1. Are you a specialist tutor?

A specialist tutor provides personalised educational support to individuals with specific needs or learning disabilities. They will be focussed on helping individuals achieve their goals of becoming more independent, acquiring employment skills, or lessening the impact of a disability or developmental delay.

2. What qualifications do you have?

Look for a specialist tutor who is also a qualified teacher or holds another relevant degree. These tutors will have the most appropriate training. They will be up to date with the curriculum, have knowledge about evidence-based interventions and be able to draw on their knowledge of learning theory and child development.

3. What experience do you have with children with special needs or learning disabilities?

A tutor who has a background of teaching children with special needs and learning disabilities will be familiar difficulties in learning to read and write, and learn maths. They will understand the factors that create learning difficulties such as medical, physical, neurological, opportunities, family, and experiences. They will be able to tailor their teaching methods to your child’s current holistic needs, allowing your child to learn more successfully. They will also be able to advise you on strategies for the home.

A non-qualified, un-specialised tutor will not have the expertise, background and training to draw upon, and this will inevitably result in lost time and money.

child with special needs having tutoring

4. How do you work with reluctant students?

Look for a tutor that will meet your child where they are at that particular moment. A good tutor will identify quick wins that helps them gain trust, and draw up an initial plan of small steps that will be built upon. Once they get to know your child better, they will then be able to devise a program based around your child’s specific and preferred learning style. Individualised tuition from a compassionate tutor can increase confidence and self-esteem while minimising feelings of overwhelm and frustration.

5. How do you deal with anxious students?

Developing a relationship with their tutor is critical to your child’s learning success. It is especially important if your child is anxious, lacks self-confidence, or has not previously achieved success in a subject. Hire a tutor who creates a positive, safe, and supportive environment for your child so that they feel valued and motivated to succeed. A tutor who is warm, approachable, patient, and understanding will instil confidence in your child.

6. How will you deal with my child’s barriers to learning?

Look for a tutor that recommends conducting a complete assessment of your child’s needs to identify any barriers to learning. A tutor should next devise a strategy for accommodations to overcome such obstacles. If your child has attention difficulties, for example, this plan could incorporate engaging multi-sensory learning, practical-based activities and movement breaks. If your child struggles to understand the language used in lessons, this plan could include teaching and exploring the language of maths and English, comprehension strategies and metacognitive techniques. If your child has physical disabilities and has trouble writing with a pen, this plan could incorporate the use of assistive technologies.

7. How will you ensure my child progresses?

An effective tutor should assess for knowledge gaps before carefully planning systematic, cumulative actions to fill such gaps. They will be able to identify your child’s challenges and the steps necessary to remedy them. This will ensure that they make the best possible educational progress. 

happy child having tutoring

Hire the right tutor

When you hire a tutor for your child with special needs or learning disabilities, it is important to get it right. The right tutor will help your child acquire lifelong strategies to help them manage their learning difficulties. They will help your child build a solid foundation of skills, knowledge, and confidence. This will ensure that the foundation for their future learning is secure.

Forging Roots Education offers targeted one-to-one and online expert tutoring to children and adults with learning difficulties, disabilities, and complex communication needs. We also provide tutoring to NDIS participants who are plan managed and self-managed. Our sessions are delivered by a qualified special needs teacher with over 16 years’ experience.

Are there other questions we haven’t mentioned? We’d love if you left us a comment, or connected with us on facebook, and told us all about it.

2 thoughts on “7 questions you should ask before you hire a tutor

  1. I love what you said about how important it is to get a tutor that is experienced in knowing the things that can make learning hard such as medical issues. My nephew is a special needs student who struggles with reading. He has been diagnosed with dyslexia. The main concern if to get him to a point where he can function to his potential. We will look for a special needs tutor this week.

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