What to Discuss Before Hiring a Private Tutor?

What to Disuss Before Hiring a Private Tutor - Privatetutors.ie

 Hiring the perfect tutor is not a decision to be taken lightly. After all, you are practically inviting a stranger into your home…

You want the best private tutor for your child, the best role model. You’ve read our blog posts, downloaded our notes, read the private tutor’s profile, but you still aren’t sure. So you schedule an interview. It’s impossible to find the perfect private tutor if you’ve never even spoken to them, right?

The following are some suggestions of the things that should be discussed with your private tutor before the first lesson…

Step 1: Get to Know Each Other Before Hiring a Private Tutor

What Parents Should Ask About

What does the tutor do in their spare time?

Let’s kick things off with this shocker of a personal question. Obviously don’t start off your conversations with this question. (Although it would be quite funny!) Anyways, after exchanging pleasantries, and explaining briefly why you’re looking for a private tutor, you should ask this question…

We all know people love talking about themselves so this question should ease any tension. Interviews can be nerve-wrecking! As well as easing the conversation, you’ll be able to quickly find out if the tutor is a suitable role model. Perhaps they have a similar interest in music, or they’re a college student in your child’s dream course!


What is the tutor’s teaching style?

Having a hobby or two in common, is a huge plus as students learn better from teachers they can relate to. However, a common interest may not be enough for effective tutoring to take place…

The student will have to relate to the tutor on a personal level as well. We find that private tutors who treat their students as friends, often get better results. Your student deserves a well-earned break from the hierarchies of the school system.


Does the tutor have a track record for success?

Most of this information will be on the tutor’s Private Tutors profile. But this question is all about going beyond their profile. What are their own achievements like? Perhaps they captained the Irish under 16’s rugby team…

More importantly, what are some past student results like? Perhaps they’ve had a student go from a H4 up to a H2, or a student achieving 100% in their actual Leaving Cert exam, or even a student whose overall points improved dramatically because of a dedicated study schedule the tutor created and implemented…

We honestly believe that results are more important than any qualifications. After all, the smartest person may not be the best teacher. And the person with the most qualifications may have no experience. So, please, ask for results and not qualifications!

What Tutors Should Ask About

 Can you have a quick chat with the student?

Instead of talking about your potential student with their parents, we recommend you bring the conversation straight to the student. Show them why you’re there. Don’t be one of those tutors who sucks up to the parent and leaves the student in the background!

The student may be shy to talk to you or sometimes too chatty. (That’s the best!) Through a quick conversation you should be able to find out a lot about the student and their personality. If you don’t feel a bond or connection, ask the parent if they are their usual self. If so, you have the choice not to take them on. Don’t forget that!


What’s the student like?

You only have a few minutes to get to know the student. So, your questions must be meaningful. For example, ask them who’s their favourite teacher is, and why? who their least favourite teacher is and why? What extra-curricular hobbies they have? What’s their favourite movie? Favourite food?

Now, you’re probably thinking, it’s hardly important to know the student’s favourite food. And we agree, their favourite food doesn’t matter, unless it’s yours as well! But the question does matter.  This way you’ll let the student know that you actually care about them and that you’re a fun and approachable tutor. Your classes will be something they look forward to!


What do they need help with?

After the ‘chit chat’ you should move onto the more serious questions. Are they getting a private tutor because they can’t keep up? (this is usually the case) Or are they ahead of their class and looking to learn even more? What does their weekly timetable look like? How many hours are they studying, if any? What are the target grades?

From this information, you’ll be able to plan their lessons and provide a rough future plan. Then you should show off straight away. For example, say, “I think the best thing for us to do is spend 10 minutes per lesson going over any questions you have from school, spend 40 minutes going over a topic or two of your choice, and then the last 10 minutes going over any new questions. And we’ll aim to get your grade up to a H2 by Christmas. How does that sound?”

Step 2: Technicalities to Discuss Before Hiring a Private Tutor

Where will the lessons be?

A quick and easy question, but it’s always best to confirm. Will the lessons be at the student’s house, the tutor’s house, or online?


When will the lessons take place?

This may be a bit difficult to schedule so both the parent and the tutor must be understanding and willing to adjust. (Most of the time, you won’t have to sacrifice anything.) Please remember that travelling time often depends on traffic…


When will the tutor get paid?

We recommend paying the tutor at the end of each lesson, not per term. This is to save both sides from worry. You should also confirm that the hourly tutoring rate is still the same as the one the tutor has on their Private Tutors profile…

How will the tutor get paid?

Will the tutor be paid by bank transfer, PayPal, Revolut, or cash in hand? Decide this freely amongst yourselves as we are the only tutoring platform in Ireland that doesn’t take a cut of our tutors’ pay!


What is the cancellation and make up policy?

What will happen if the tutor cancels the lesson? We believe that consistent learning is important, so we recommend giving the tutor a three-strike rule. Tutors should be given a free pass if they cancel the lesson weeks in advance and schedule a suitable make up lesson. Tutors should be given one strike if they cancel without a make up lesson, and tutors should be given two strikes if they cancel hours or minutes before the lesson without a valid reason…

What will happen if the student cancels the lesson? We’ve often seen tutors complaining about this. That’s why we think it’s essential to discuss this before taking on a tutor/tutoring job. We believe that if the student cancels the lesson without giving at least 48 hours’ notice, the tutor should be entitled to their full rate. This is to account for the hard work private tutors put into preparing each lesson during the week. Please, remember to discuss this point!

Step 3: Miscellaneous Things to Discuss Before Hiring a Private Tutor

Will the tutor be available during the week?

Often the student may have a simple question during the week. If the tutor is available to answer such questions during the week, the student will benefit hugely. However, if this ‘out-of-hours’ availability is abused or the student really needs the extra help, we recommend scheduling an extra lesson per week…


Does the tutor have their own resources?

Tutors with their own notes, study plans, and subject predictions should of course be favoured over those who don’t. If they don’t have their own resources, feel free to teach from ours. We share teachers and past H1 students’ notes for free! (Although you’ll have to purchase the crème de la crème!)


Can the tutor give a basic lesson plan?

Based on the conversation so far, the tutor should have a fair idea as to how to help the student. The tutor should give a rough lesson plan that they’ll follow for each lesson, and also a timeline of the goals they want their student to achieve. To impress the parent, the tutor should also give a rough idea as to how they are going to achieve those goals…


How will the progress be measured?

Tutors should assure parents that if the student follows their plan, they should be on track to achieve A, B, and C. Then if the student doesn’t achieve the agreed results, the tutor will take the responsibility, and the parent will be free to switch to another tutor.

Although this may sound extreme, we believe it works, especially if the student likes their tutor. The student will work extra hard to keep their tutor and do them proud. The only downside is that the student’s other subjects may take a hit!


Will the tutor be setting homework during the week?

This is up to the tutor. Sometimes the student will have too much homework from school and the tutor may choose not to give additional work. However, if the tutor does assign homework, it should be done…


How can the parent help the tutor?

The tutor should let the parents know how they can help. After all, they are working as a team. And the student’s success is all that matters. They could ask for the parent to watch over the student’s study, make sure they have the homework done, or to make sure they don’t have to worry about making their own dinners…

Private Tutors Mic Drop

 Wow, thanks for staying till the end…

Hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two, and you’re feeling more confident about what to ask during the tutoring interview. If you have any questions, feel free to send us an email at team@privatetutors.ie

We stand by our goal to positively impact 100,000 students by 2030. But again, we can’t do it without your support!

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