What to Look For When Choosing an Online Tutor
Looking for a good tutor online is a daunting task. Just typing the words "online tutor" into Google offers 1,880,000,000 results - and with all of them promising to be perfect for your child, how can you know who to go with?
It's not easy to judge a tutor's quality solely on their web presence. Unfortunately, some of the best tutors will have the worst websites, and vice versa. There'll always be an element of luck involved. But by looking for information on the 4 R's of any tutor, you can be reasonably assured of their skills before handing your child's education off to them.
The First R: Reliability
The first - and most important - thing to look for when considering a tutor is evidence of their reliability. Don't look for their students' grades or how much their academic performance improved after tutelage. This information isn't worth much when you don't know their students' backgrounds or what help they were getting outside of their tutor. Instead, you should look for testimonials from their past students.
Even if they're not readily available on their website, feel free to ask any prospective tutor to supply a recommendation or two, so you can see for yourself how well they worked with pupils in the past.
The Second R: Realism
There are a lot of people looking to make quick money online, and many will lie to do so. You should take every advertisement you see with a grain of salt. Judge each claim you read with the following rule in mind: “If it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is”. Many advertisements for tutors promise (implicitly or explicitly) that their students are guaranteed certain grades. However, even if the tutor genuinely believes in their claim, you shouldn’t take it at face value. Each student will perform to a different level, and expecting everyone to reach the same arbitrarily high standard is a bad note to start off on.
If the ad’s claims would sound ridiculous in a face-to-face conversation, they’re best dismissed. If the ad reads reasonably and professionally, consider contacting them for more information.
The Third R: Routine
Even though the main appeal of online tutelage is its ease-of-access and lack of strict scheduling, those same elements are what make it so difficult to establish a routine with students. It's tempting to procrastinate something you can do "whenever", and online tutors aren't exempt from making this mistake.
Make sure that whatever tutor you choose can maintain regular check-ins with you and your child. Routine is key when it comes to mastering new material. If your tutor isn’t in a position to help your child out on a schedule you’re happy with, you should look elsewhere.
The Fourth R: Respect
If your tutor's met the last three standards in this list, they'll probably meet this one as well. The perfect tutor for your child has respect for them as well as you, their parent. They'll treat your child politely and respect their individual strengths and weaknesses; they'll give you a fair amount of attention for the rate you're paying; and most importantly, they'll take the time to get to know their students and what works best for them. Without respect, a student's relationship with their tutor is meaningless. With this solid foundation in place, your child will have a much easier time getting to grips with whatever educational challenges come their way.