What to Look for in a Math Tutor

See also: Careers in Education

Academic studies are extremely important and, as a result, tutoring is a valuable service that many individuals are able to take advantage of, no matter their age or skill set.

Students worldwide take up extra lessons every week and math is one of the biggest subjects that individuals seek assistance with, whether they need ongoing support or additional help when exams are on the horizon. As a tutor can help students to grasp different competencies, it can be worthwhile to get lessons started as soon as possible.

Math tutor working online.

How does math tutoring work?

Considering there are a multitude of advantages to hiring a math tutor, it may be beneficial for you to start searching for a math tutor near me. Before moving forward, it is important to consider the following essential steps to ensure that you choose a teacher who aligns well with your child’s learning profile, availability, and budget.

For instance, the chosen math tutor will likely want to have an initial consultation with the individual to decipher the assistance they are looking for and outline their learning goals, so that they can go away and build a learning plan that will get them on the right track.

Students can expect their tutor to understand their coursework or work through their homework and guide them through sessions in a way that is dedicated, supportive, patient and promotes both learning and confidence. The right tutor will be able to detect what each individual student is struggling with, what works best for their specific needs and define their learning style for the best results.

What to look for in a math tutor

While students (or parents or caregivers of students) may want to take a look at the academic qualifications and the experience of a math tutor, they will also have to consider the soft skills that the individual will need to possess to be able to interact with the student in a way that promotes learning and approaches math competencies in a way that are easily digestible.

The hard skills that a tutor should have are as follows:

  • Relevant qualifications, knowledge and experience

    While all reputable tutors should be qualified to teach math, those seeking help should ensure that their potential provider has certified competencies in the relevant fields to the math subject in question. When teaching younger students, it is important for tutors to have a high school diploma for primary and middle school tutoring, but when high school and higher tutoring are needed, an undergraduate degree that covers specific mathematics, engineering, or science fields will be necessary. If you are confident that the tutor has the right qualifications, they should also have at least a few years’ demonstrable experience under their belt.

  • A firm grasp of technology

    As mentioned above, the learning environment has changed, so it is now more important than ever before for tutors to have a firm grasp of technology, so that they can provide a top level of service whether they are teaching in a physical capacity or providing online (or even blended) services.

Now it’s time to take a look at the soft skills:

  • Communication and listening skills

    A tutor should have fantastic communication skills to be able to provide the top learning resources and methods to help students understand and reach their full potential. They will also need to have active listening skills in order to build the right relationships with both students and parents (where applicable) and to be able to tailor ongoing learning as the competencies of students change.

  • Patience and the ability to provide constructive feedback

    All tutors will need to be patient in order to teach under often challenging situations and with students who will have a range of learning styles. It can be important to provide constructive feedback to students to help them to increase their understanding and grow and flourish toward success.

  • Time management skills

    Different students have differing needs and even budgets, so it can be important for tutors to be able to set the right amount of teaching materials for allotted lesson times. This will ensure that they learn the information necessary for the goals they want to achieve.

As with any service, you will want to ensure that the math tutor you select is a legit provider, so there are a host of red flags to be aware of before signing on the dotted line. If an individual or even a tutoring service doesn’t offer a grading system or report cards, zero practical teaching materials, isn’t very responsive to questions, or is late or frequently cancels sessions, you may want to look elsewhere.

What to ask potential math tutors before making a selection

It can be worthwhile to get a solid grasp of the services that you can expect before hiring a tutor, so be sure to ask how long the expert has been tutoring, their qualifications, certifications, and credentials, how they typically address problem areas and the strategies they use, their teaching philosophy, the kinds of results you can expect to see and in what time frame, and what you can expect to happen if yourself or your child doesn’t make the desired progress. Also, ask what their availability is, the length of their sessions, how much they charge, and if they have any references to hand.

Is hiring a math tutor really worthwhile?

The good thing about math tutors is that you can find a service near you and select whether you’d prefer online sessions via video call, in-person meetings, or a blended approach to the two for what best meets your needs. It can be a worthwhile idea to book a set amount of lessons to meet an initial goal and see how well either yourself or your child (depending on who is the student) works with the tutor. Be sure to keep your budget in mind and schedule your lessons at times that will work best for you for maximum results.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Coaching and Mentoring

The Skills You Need Guide to Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring require some very specific skills, particularly focused on facilitating and enabling others, and building good relationships. This eBook is designed to help you to develop those skills, and become a successful coach or mentor.

This guide is chiefly aimed at those new to coaching, and who will be coaching as part of their work. However, it also contains information and ideas that may be useful to more established coaches, especially those looking to develop their thinking further, and move towards growing maturity in their coaching.