This post: Parents Turn to Private Tutoring During Pandemic: 7 Considerations to Find the Right Fit
By Contributing Writer: Will Li
With the kick-off of the school year, educators and parents were challenged to decide the best (and safest) learning option for students.
And, while both educators and parents alike are putting forth tremendous effort to ensure our kids are getting the best possible education despite the circumstances, it has become blatantly clear that the disruption in their kids’ education has many parents not only worried, but taking matters into their own hands.
Stacy Holbrok – mother of a sophomore in high school – recently told Raising Teens Today, “It’s been stressful. I realize school administrators and teachers are doing their best, but through no fault of their own, this current learning environment is taking its toll on my son’s ability to learn. We don’t have the luxury of riding this out and hoping for the best. He’ll be applying to colleges next year and we need to ensure he’s ready.”
The fact is, stress on parents was already taking its toll back in May, according to a “Stress in America” survey from the American Psychological Association.
The study found that 46 percent of American parents were experiencing a high level of stress during the pandemic. And, a great deal of that stress was attributed to their kid’s education with 71 percent of parents claiming that “managing distance/online learning for their kids was a significant source of stress.”
Concerned about the pandemic’s long-term impact on their kid’s education, the question many parents are now asking themselves is, “How effective can formal education be through remote learning from home or a hybrid learning environment disrupted by lack of continuity?”
According to Will Li, Co-founder and CEO of TutorOcean, a global tutoring platform:
“Everyone’s situation is unique. What works for one child may not be the best option for another. However, many parents are aiming to ease the burden and ensure that their teen doesn’t fall behind by supplementing their kid’s education with private tutoring.”
With the pandemic fueling demand for private tutoring, the trick for parents is to make the right connection with the right tutor on the right learning platform.
According to Will Li, “We’ve found that private tutoring can be a parent’s lifeline during the pandemic… providing they find the right fit.”
Private tutoring during the pandemic: Here are 7 considerations to guide your decision.
Experience and Qualifications Matter
Whether you’re looking for a tutor who specializes in a specific subject or a tutor who can help provide your child with a little extra academic support, look for a tutor who has the experience, expertise and qualifications that align with your child’s needs. Ideally, the tutor should have a solid understanding of the material they’re teaching and the ability to teach in a manner that is understandable. Also, look for a tutor who can inspire and motivate your child and who is relatable. Your child is far more likely to enjoy working with a tutor who they can connect with and who is empathetic and understanding of their unique needs.
Rely on User Reviews
A parent’s best assurance of tutor quality and reliability is user reviews. Any tutoring platform (whether in person or online) should track user reviews and ratings for every tutor which allows parents and students to make informed decisions based on feedback and previous student-tutor interaction and success.
Don’t Settle for a Poor Fit
Any tutoring platform that serves as a marketplace to connect tutors with students should make it easy to search for the ideal tutor by subject and expertise, user reviews and ratings, cost, and even affiliation with a particular post-secondary institution. If you can’t find your perfect fit, take your search somewhere else.
Keep Budget in Mind
Unless a tutor is working solo, when a tutor signs up with a tutoring platform, they are subject to its terms of service. This includes how they set their fees and what percentage will be taken by the platform – all of which ultimately impacts what the parent will pay per tutoring session. The ideal scenario keeps the host platform out of the equation as much as possible, so that tutors have more freedom to set their rates and parents benefit from variable pricing to find the right fit for their budget.
The Best Option May Not Be “Just Down the Road”
In today’s online world, it has become increasingly common for students and tutors to work remotely. Given COVID-19 health concerns, it’s unlikely that your child will meet in person with their tutor even if they happen to live in the same town. The good news is, a tutor doesn’t have to have face-to-face interaction to be a great fit for your child. Don’t let remote tutoring scare you. Focus more on securing a qualified tutor who can meet your child’s individual needs.
Effective remote tutoring takes more than a video conferencing service
Whether the subject at hand is math, science or language, students and tutors alike need digital collaboration tools that allow them to interact as if they were working side-by-side for the most effective learning outcomes. Some tutoring platforms do a better job of this than others. Look for a tutor who embraces technology and has access to the technological tools needed to offer the best learning opportunities including such things as virtual whiteboards and the ability to work on the same file within the platform.
Consider Learning Pods
Unique situations call for unique solutions. One such solution that some parents are gravitating toward to enhance their child’s education is “pods.” These so-called “learning pods” or “pandemic pods,” as some are calling them, are popping up all over the country. They are small, in-person or online, groups of students learning together with the assistance of a tutor. What makes this type of tutoring especially appealing to some parents is that it’s less costly than traditional one-on-one tutoring, yet their child can still reap the benefits of working in a smaller learning environment designed to meet their individual educational needs.
Plan for After High School
Tutoring shouldn’t be viewed simply as remedial. The right tutor can serve as a mentor who can deepen your child’s love of learning and be a positive influence as your child prepares for their post-secondary education. Viewed through this lens, working with a tutor can be a parent’s strategic investment in their child’s future. Pandemic or no pandemic, the value of a great tutor cannot be overstated.
About Will Li:
Will Li is the CEO of TutorOcean. Drawing from his own childhood experiences, Will co-founded TutorOcean in 2018 to empower people to share their knowledge with those who are keen to learn – wherever they are in the world. TutorOcean has since grown into a global marketplace and virtual learning platform where tens of thousands of learners and tutors engage for K-12 subjects, university preparation, peer-led mentoring, and instruction in a variety of arts and hobbies.