How to find a good tutor

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Finding a good tutor is like finding a needle in a haystack. Image credit: Feature FM

Finding a good tutor can be a bit of gamble: a good ATAR doesn’t automatically translate into a good tutor, going to a ‘good’ school also guarantees very little. So what can you do as a student/parent? 

As someone who goes through the process all the time (I find and train tutors and send them out to students), here are some questions I like to ask: 

  • Tell me about a really rewarding tutoring experience for you.
  • What is your definition of learning and teaching?
  • What makes a good tutor?

I find that these questions usually reveal the person’s beliefs about learning, education and the role of students and teachers, which in turn influence how they interact with the student.

Tutors have the potential to do so much good and so much damage. The unique relationship between a student and tutor means that they can offer unparalleled support or do unimaginable damage to the student’s self-esteem and confidence. It is therefore of vital importance that you find a tutor who is going to do you good, not harm. 

Prospective students and parents usually ask, ‘what ATARs do your students get?’ I really hate this question as the ATAR reveals so little about the work I do with my students. If a student is regularly getting As and comes to me for extra support and they get an A+, that, in reality, is a very minor improvement. However, if a student regularly gets Cs and Ds and we get them into the B range, that’s amazing! If we only compare the end result, that one student got an A+ and the other got a B, very little about how much each student has improved is revealed. 

I hope that you find this information helpful; all the best with finding a tutor! Or, of course, you could outsource it to me and I’ll send one to you (observe the subtlety of my self-promotion). 

~Shirlaine

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