Welcome to our blog site - its more of a personal opinion than our website blog and we'd like to sometimes challenge views we come across as tutors and we welcome feedback. More generic blog posts to offer help with educational issues are on our website - thanks for visiting :)

Friday, 6 August 2010

How to choose a tutor?

We get several telephone enquiries per day asking about tuition that don't get beyond the question 'how much does it cost?'

Granted, cost is a consideration, but cheapest is rarely the best and often, a more expensive tutor can actually provide better value. Should cost be the main decider when choosing a tutor?

To be fair, for some the financial cost of helping their children improve their confidence, grades, knowledge and future prospects is a huge burden. But, tutoring is a worthwhile investment - if a child receives more qualifications and/or at higher grades through working with a tutor than would have been likely without a tutor, then they are likely to enjoy higher earnings since their employment prospects have been enhanced. To choose a tutor simply on the basis of cost must be flawed? While using the right tutor can help enormously and be a fantastic investment - having the wrong tutor may well turn out to be a false economy!

Thats not to say that the 'cheap' tutors are necessarily bad - but it begs the question as to why some tutors offer tuition at such low rates? Are they inexperienced? desperate for work? undervalueing themselves, or simply tutoring for the greater good/out of the 'kindness of their hearts'? I could go on here about teachers/educators at all levels being undervalued/underpaid, but I'll stick to tutors! Although, I suspect the reason for some tutors offering such low fees is that they are less experienced and don't appreciate themselves - or rather their skills - fully (yet!) and that they perhaps don't look at the fee in real terms.

To clarify, I've managed to find a tutor site where a tutor was offering A level maths tuition for £10ph [way underpriced]. Even if no preparation time was required or travel expenses incurred, this amounts to a net fee of £7-8 max. But, for even an experienced tutor with years of experience/notes/lesson plans and material, most tutorials require at least 10 mins prep and are a minimum of 5-10mins drive away. This makes the actual work time taken to deliver an hours session approx. 75-80 mins which makes a £10 fee equivalent to £7.50-8/hr; net of expenses and tax, this could equal an hourly rate of £5-5.60 at best estimate [The national minimum wage is currently £5.52 for over 22's]

For those of us in the profession, why should we allow ourselves to be undervalued? Do some tutors not realise?

For those choosing tutors on the basis of cost alone - just a warning to consider why the tutor's fee is so low. They could be a gem, or they could be unreliable, inexperienced or unqualifed.

So, how should you choose a tutor? Important is the tutor-tutee relationship. Since tutoring is mostly on a 1-2-1 basis, its very important that the tutee feels comfortable with the tutor and at ease enough to ask questions and enjoy the sessions. Other considerations are experience in the subject/level required, knowledge of subject and curriculum/level requirements, track record/past results, qualifications, availability, reliability and finally cost!