Selecting a Tutor

Whether your child is returning to school this year in-person, partially in person, remotely, or not at all, you may be interested in finding additional assistance to keep his or her learning on track. This guide contains suggestions for how to find and select a tutor to meet your child’s individual learning style, abilities, and needs.

Understand important considerations for selecting a tutor.

If you’ve decided to hire a tutor for your child, your first priority should be making sure that your child and the tutor are a “good match.” Here are a few important items to consider.

Subject Matter Expertise. First, establish the tutor’s credibility and subject matter expertise. The best tutors come by “word-of-mouth,” or people you know and trust who can share their experiences working with different tutors. When you contact anyone they recommend, follow up by asking for references. Then, ask those references about their child’s experiences and gains as well as logistics such as scheduling, billing, and communication.

Range of Tutoring Strategies and Environments. Ask the tutor about his or her experience working with children with different learning styles or strengths and weaknesses. Does s/he use a range of fun, effective teaching strategies to engage and motivate children? Is s/he willing to adapt approaches or learn about your child’s learning style and what works for him or her? The tutor’s teaching style and willingness to be flexible is key. Finally, consider whether your child will be better served in a small group or a one-on-one tutoring arrangement.

Rapport. Children who are struggling in school often come to distrust the subject matter and, by default, those associated with it. Find a tutor who has an easy personality and style that allows him or her to connect with your child so they can develop a trusting relationship. Student-tutor compatibility can make or break the tutoring outcomes, so be sure the tutor and your child have met and have a chance to work together before engaging in a long-term contract.

Technology Requirements and Communication. If tutoring will be online, find out which technologies will be used and what requirements there will be for applications and access. Ask how the tutor will communicate with your child, and what face-to-face and shared technology solutions may be necessary. You’ll also want to find a tutor (and a technology) that matches your child’s communication needs. It’s important that you feel confident that you and your child’s tutor can communicate clearly as often as makes you comfortable.

Cost. Since the cost of online tutoring varies greatly, do your research and due diligence carefully before entering into long-term arrangements.

Find a Tutor.

If you need help locating a tutor for your child, consider exploring one of the following options for online tutoring opportunities:

Organizations with a focus on special needs:

Ask key questions.

In addition to the considerations above, the following interview questions can help you organize your thoughts and guide your selection process.

  •  What drove you to get into student tutoring?
  •  How many students with similar struggles (to my child) have you tutored?
  •  What types of fun, effective teaching strategies do you use to motivate your students?
  •  How will you adapt your teaching approach to accommodate my child’s learning style?
  •  Please describe a couple of your most challenging tutoring scenarios? How did you resolve these challenges?
  •  What are your preferred assessment tools and why?
  •  How often will you be assessing my child’s progress?

Contract with your child’s tutor.

If you have selected an online service with a company, read the fine print regarding your obligations, including payment for the service.

If you are working with an individual, you are ready to enter into a contract now. Ask for a written proposal and be sure to have a discussion around expectations for delivery of services, timeframes, meeting dates, and pricing.


Torchlight does not provide medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice because of something you read on Torchlight. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911.

Torchlight does not endorse the organizations or technologies mentioned in this document, but offers their information as a sample of the kinds of materials and services that are available.

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