Katy has worked both for tutoring companies and as a private tutor for 5 years.
You can succeed in math with the right help. But that help is so hard to find.
You want someone qualified, but you don't want to overpay and really don't want to spend all your time searching.
There are options out there to connect your family to a qualified, affordable tutor.
Let's review them.
Finding a Math Tutor
How do you find a math tutor? There are few places you can search:
- Online tutoring services like Wyzant
- Chain tutoring businesses
- Local library postings for private tutors
- Online listing for private tutors from Craiglist or Care.com
Read about the pros and cons of hiring a tutor from these places.
A local Google search or perusal around newspaper ads will turn up a lot of companies that can set you up with a private math tutor.
Are they the best choice for improving math grades?
They're a good choice for convenience and safety, but they might not deliver the best value. Let's look at more details:
Pros: Easy to Find, Verified Tutor Credentials, Easy Payment
Tutoring companies are all over the place. There are many national chains in your area. These locations are well-established, and a lot of their information can be found online. Hiring a tutoring company has the added benefit of giving you confidence that the tutor you will work with has passed a background check and has some level of tutoring qualifications.
A tutoring business may be the best choice for someone who needs a tutor with a specific specialty.
Cons: Expensive, Usually Lower Quality
Tutoring businesses can be very convenient because their services make it easy to find tutors and understand the process, but understand that this comes at a cost. These companies have to make money by taking their cut, so the tutor will receive less than what you are paying. This means a lower quality tutor for the price than if you hired them directly. Depending on your circumstances, this can be an acceptable trade-off for convenience.
The quality is hit or miss. This is because tutoring companies don't pay the tutors very well, so a skilled tutor can usually find their own business and make more themselves.
Private Math Tutors
On the other hand, you can hire a private math tutor directly.
This involves finding a math tutor, determining a schedule and location that works for both the student and the tutor, and paying them directly.
Pros: Direct Payment, More Flexible Methods and Schedule
The advantage of directly hiring a math tutor is that every cent you pay goes straight to them, so the quality of instruction you get will match their rate.
Also, many math tutors are willing to travel to your home or school for the tutoring sessions, and they can work around your schedule. This is a huge cost and time saver if you use a tutor often.
A private math tutor can use the best methods for your student and isn't tied to fulfilling any other obligations.
Cons: Difficult to Find, Background not Verified
The cons of hiring a tutor directly are the same of hiring anyone independently: you have to find them yourself and review their credentials.
Mitigate the lack of certainty in their background by verifying their credentials and abilities on your own.
Where to Find Private Tutors
If you don't want to go through a tutoring company, you'll need to connect with a tutor on your own.
Here are some options:
Wyzant lets you view profiles of local tutors. When you select one, payment is handled through Wyzant so you can take a cut.
Tutors and student lose some money in the transaction, but it can be worth it to find a bigger pool of people.
Craigslist recently started charging for listing in the Services section, so this is no longer a free option for tutors.
Tutors from Craigslist are more difficult to vet. If you find some with a public profile to back them up, that can help.
Care and many other sites have profiles for private tutors. An advantage to Care is they let the tutors submit a background check for their profile. You can also see previous ratings.
Does the Tutor Need a Teaching Certificate?
The exact credentials of math tutors vary widely. Some math teachers choose to tutor in their free time, so they have a teaching degree and years of experience in teaching math. Other tutors don't have direct experience as a teacher, but they do have specialties in education that will be beneficial to your child. Still, other tutors earned degrees in college and enjoy tutoring students in similar subjects.
In general, a teaching degree or education specialist will be more important if the student is of elementary age or has particular difficulty learning new material. A learning or behavioral disorder is better handled by a professional.
Where to Find Private Tutors
A local math tutor can be difficult to find on your own, and it definitely does require more work, but you can save money in the long run and get great results. Here are some possible sources:
Try asking your neighbors, parents of other students, or a school academic counselor for suggestions of private tutors in your area.
Check Local Boards
Both online and physical community boards are likely to have postings advertising math tutoring services. Your local community center and library is a good place to start. Also, check out online boards like Craigslist or Nextdoor.
If you find someone through a posting, ask about their background, cost, and availability. Setting the first meeting at a public library works well for both parties.
Evaluate a Math Tutor
Once you have a prospective math tutor for your student, take some time to ask them questions that will help you decide if they are the right person to help you or your child with math.
Here are some areas to cover:
- What is your experience with tutoring?
- Will you be available to help more frequently around big tests?
- What can you do to accommodate my child's learning style?
Decide what is most important to you and the student. Finding a tutor that is a good match will make math so much more manageable.
© 2018 Katy Medium