When it comes to tutoring, the most important thing is connecting with the right people, not only the right tutor but parents and children as well. However, even though there are certain websites that follow a protocol process to verify , still there is a high risk when it comes to meeting people whom we have never met in the past and don't know anything about them.
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When parents give out an advertisement in the newspaper or post query on website regarding their tutoring requirements, there are certain precautions that one must take before any further correspondence takes place. Same goes with tutors as well, as they also haven’t met the students or their parents in the past. Getting to know people online is different, than meeting them in person. There is no surety about the client if he is genuine or not.
Here we have listed some guidelines and precautions that need to be taken, before hiring a tutor or working as a tutor:
PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN BY PARENTS:
If you are a parent and have plans to hire a tutor for your child, make sure to exercise the following precautions:
Background check for tutors:
The first step while hiring a tutor is getting their background checked thoroughly. This is important so that you hire a tutor that can be trusted and is reliable for you and for your child as well.
References and credentials of tutor:
Make sure you do in-depth research about the person yourself as well before you meet them. These days there are a number of social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google. Search for the person, if you are able to check there profile and the pictures they upload with their family and friends. If you find some, there is a better chance of the person being genuine. Ask for their identify proof, credentials, and contact details. Carefully examine the reviews given by other students.
Ask for DBS check:
Always consider hiring a tutor who has an up to date Disclosure and Barring Service also known as DBS. The Disclosure and Barring Service makes a DBS check on people who work in schools, educational institutes, and charities as well. This service makes sure as to why a person should or should not work with children and other vulnerable adults.
Tutor Interview: Talk on the phone
When you are looking out for information regarding the tutor, make sure that you opt for a telephonic conversation first, rather than meeting them immediately. This is going to help you to know the other person a little better. If you feel somethings not right, trust your instincts. Inform the agency about it and don't contact them again.
Meet at a public place:
Unless you are very sure about the person, always meet them in a public place for the first them. Most of the times this is the safest way to meet a new person. Even if you do decide to meet them at your home, make sure you have your family members around at the time. When you are having a conversation with them, go with your instinct, if anything seems to be wrong, end the meeting as soon as possible and make an excuse to leave or to make the other person leave.
Tell your family about it:
Make sure before going to the meeting, your family or friends are aware of it. Give them the details about the place, date and time of the meetup. Ask them to call you at a pre-decided time, so that if it is not going well, you can easily move out of the situation.
Have a contract with tutor:
It is always suggested that you have a written contract with the tutor. This helps you to set boundaries and have clarifications on the rules and regulations to be followed. It is possible that the tutor has not been working or is not aware of contracts in the past. You can always suggest them having one as it helps to maintain a clear and professional relationship for both the parties.
Testing the tutor's knowledge:
As parents, you are responsible for your child's proper education. If they can show you any prior employer details, it is a plus point. You can always ask for references from the previous assignments that they might have done. Make sure that the tutor is aware of the fact that family members will be present at the time of the class. They should not have any problem with that.
Make sure the tutor you are hiring exercises an effective teaching method. Also, ensure that the teaching methodology of the tutor works well with your child’s level of understanding.
Flexibility of tutor schedule:
The tutor should be available according to your and your child’s convenience. Make sure you communicate your preferred timings to the tutor in advance.
Checking the student’s progress:
Hiring a tutor does not mean that your responsibility towards academics totally ends. The ultimate goal is your child’s progress that should rise progressively. Therefore, it is necessary for parents to check their child’s progress reports regularly. Clear it with tutors how they plan to track the progress of the child in various subjects and how they will convey it to the parents.
Apart from the above-mentioned basic inquiries make sure you do inquire about the following things to the tutor as well.
Some additional questions to ask a private tutor:
1. What is the study book recommended?
2. Can we be present where the student is taught?
3. How is student’s progress measured?
4. Are any periodic progress report provided?
5. Is online coaching an option?
6. Usually how many hours per week are necessary?
7. For how many hours does my child need to practice at home?
You want to look for prompt answers and observe any contradiction in the answers provided. Contradictions indicate that the tutor is not being completely transparent with you and is concealing some information. If that is the case, consider it a bad sign and keep up with your search for a good tutor.
MODE OF PAYMENT:
Paying directly to the online tutoring platform will protect you from frauds and provide you with substitutes when the tutor goes away for a long holiday. When you are paying directly to the platform you can keep a record of all your payments. On each payment you also get a chance to provide a review and a rating to the tutor.
Safety precautions before you meet up with any tutor:
After the background check is conducted, make sure that the tutor is genuine. Students must always keep in mind about their personal safety and security when meeting the tutor for the first time. If you are a student who is going to opt for private tuitions make sure you follow the following steps:
First Free Lesson:
Consider taking a free lesson for 30-60 minutes free of cost as a demo preferably with a friend or a small group of students. This will help you understand the teaching style of the tutor and whether the tutor is able to explain clearly. Make sure you meet the tutor in daylight and at a public place. It would be better if you can take your guardians with you as well. Never let anyone come pick you up in a car.
If for some reason, your guardians are not able to accompany you, make sure you carry your mobile phone with you. Inform your family and friends when you leave. Give them information regarding place of meeting and by what time you shall return. If you don’t feel comfortable at any time during the meeting just make an excuse and get out of the place. In worst case scenarios, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Nowadays, you can also share your live location. Share it with your family for an enhanced safety.
Clearing of tutor doubts:
Properly ensure whether you are comfortable with the ways of the tutor. Check the tutor’s communication skills vary carefully. Is the tutor able to clarify any doubts you have in between? If yes, then that is a good sign.
After study sessions:
If you have a query in the absence of a tutor, find out whether the tutor is available to attend your calls or solve your problems via messaging apps.
The tutor should provide the facility of giving feedbacks after a study session. This will help fix any loopholes and avoid any mistakes in future sessions.
The attitude of a tutor should be encouraging and motivating. Tutors should be patient when imparting knowledge and make sure the student completely understands a concept before moving on to the next one.
Studies require time and efforts. Make sure your tutor is ready to give you sufficient time you require for grasping or practicing concepts.
Have a telephonic conversation with tutor:
It is important for the student to have a telephonic conversation with the tutor to determine whether there can be a rapport between them or not. Only parents interacting with the tutor is not enough. After all, the services are being provided for the students. They should have the first say in these matters as they are going to be the ones being dependent on the tutor for something as important as their academics.
You need to keep the focus on the inconsistency of the answers being told. If you feel that the person is either lying or hiding something, just call off the meeting. If the tutor gives any kind of inappropriate or threatening statement, make sure to inform your parents immediately.
Keep your family near during private tutoring classes:
While taking classes make sure there are other family members around. Studying in your bedroom is not a good idea. Keep doors and windows open of the room that you are studying in.
Maintain your distance:
A tutor is your teacher so make sure you have appropriate distance maintained from them. If any time you feel the teacher is behaving in an inappropriate manner, stop them immediately and inform your parents and family about it. Inform the agency about the specific teacher as well.
It is important to discourage and report inappropriate behavior instantly in order to protect other parents and students from being victimized by the tutor in future.
PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN BY TUTORS:
Now whether you have just started taking tuitions or have some past experience in the field, you must follow the below-given precautions. Safety and security of the tutor are equally important as that of the students and the parents.
The tutor should take full responsibility for obtaining his/her own license and a professional accreditation that qualifies him/her for providing Tutoring Services. Keep the background check as per your country's requirements for conducting tuitions for a private class. Maintain precise information regarding availability, location, and your services. Update your email, phone or what’s app number with register website. Use an appropriate and a polite language to contact the student/guardians. Keep your profile updated and upload your current certifications on the site or a tutoring platform.
Explain your importance:
You should be able to explain to the parents and the students why they need you in spite of having all the information freely available over the internet. Explain how a private session that you can provide is beneficial.
Studies without a punch of fun can get tedious. So remember, be professional, but don’t forget to enjoy what you do.
Find out why the student requires a private lesson and prepare accordingly beforehand. When you have a lesson plan in mind studies become a lot more organized.
Customized teaching pattern:
Find out what students need to learn, rather than teaching them what you think they should learn. Cater to what the student likes, and inspire them to practice on their own. Students normally don't care how much teachers know, but they should be assured that the teacher cares. Each student has unique needs. Try to customize your teaching pattern accordingly.
Be stern in money matters:
Respect your skills by giving importance to your own time and of course, money. Have clear policies regarding canceled, missed, and rescheduled lessons. Avoid cancellations or rescheduling lessons unless absolutely necessary. Be firm with your policies. If a student's payment is pending, you have full rights to refuse to teach till the payment is cleared.
Tutors who are experienced usually ask for an advance payment. This becomes helpful as to avoid cancellations and avoid any kind of financial risk that might be involved. You can ask for the full fees in advance or half of it. Have some terms in your contract which includes a cancellation policy as well. This will also show your professionalism and commitment to the work.
It is always better to accept payment through an online platform as it avoids frauds and irregularities. The tutor will not face issues such as unpaid lessons and higher ratings, good reviews, and recommendations will help the tutor in getting more students.
Safety comes first:
You must always be aware of the fact that potential students and their parents are merely strangers to you. You need to be cautious about it. If you are meeting them for the first time, meet in the daytime and at a public place. Make sure you inform your family and friends about the details. When you decide to meet them at their home ask if anyone else is going to be there or not. If you have concerns you can always ask about any pets they have. When you do start working with them, be sure that you have a clear exit from the building and the room of the house that you teach in.
Reaching out to parents and students:
When it comes to working with children, it becomes your responsibility to take care of them. Make a point to reach out to both the student and the parent before the first session. Evaluate the main goal of the session, and send your new student some materials that will assist them prior to the session. This shows them that you are a prepared and organized teacher, and assures them you will be able to help them reach their educational goals.
Keep in mind the following points:
1. Be in contact with parents:
Teens or college students might contact you directly regarding your tuition service. In such cases make sure you get in touch with their family and guardians and provide detailed information.
2. Don’t get personal:
Never get involved in having social conversations with the child. Be very professional in your behavior and keep your talks limited to academics. Any kind of other social relations like texting, chatting etc. should be avoided unless they are purely related to studies. Don’t talk about your personal life to your students.
3. Be responsible for child’s protection:
Deal with issues of child abuse in the right way. There might be times when a child who might be going through any kind of abuse and bullying asks for your help. Never ignore it as it can affect the overall personality as well as the academics of a child in an adverse manner. Be a responsible human being by informing the child's parents and contact the official authorities that can help the child in this condition.
4. Have someone around:
When taking tuitions at the child's house, make sure you have another person, be it parents or any other family members of the child present. This will make sure that as a tutor you are safe and any unlikely incident that might occur is witnessed by this third person. Never teach a child in the bedroom. If the guardian is in the next room, make sure to keep the doors and windows of the room opened towards them.
5. Avoid any kind of physical contact:
To prevent any kind of misinterpretation or doubts, make sure never to touch not to make any kind of physical contact with the student. For example, patting the shoulder etc. should be avoided at all costs. Of course, beating a child is strictly against the law. Be patient with children and learn to deal with them in a way that avoids any kind of physical touch.
6. A lift in your car:
Be very careful when you offer a lift to a student in your car. Do it only if you have the parent's consent and share your live location with them. This way you can avoid misunderstandings and doubts.
Be careful online tutoring:
When it comes to online tutoring it becomes all the way more important to stay one step ahead when it comes to exercise precautions. Never provide your personal information like the home address to anyone who sends an inquiry. Also, beware of identity theft.
In conclusion, whether you are a parent or a student looking out for a tutor to help with your studies or a tutor looking out for better work, make sure you are well informed. Putting forward your terms and conditions in a friendly and professional manner is always a good step as it facilitates transparency, avoids suspiciousness and helps build a better relationship between the tutor and the parents or students.