What to look for in a great online tutor

The online tuition market has exploded recently with new teachers and tutors looking to provide services. How can you ensure you’re hiring the right person for the job?

Questions to Ask an Online Tutor

 Sometimes a lot of consideration goes into building a tutoring business, other times tutors are simply other students that support the lower years. If you’re looking for a professional tutor, here are some questions that might influence your decision. 
Does a tutor have a teaching qualification?

There are many benefits to hiring a qualified teacher as an online tutor: they understand and will have studied the pedagogy of teaching; they actively teach the current curriculum and have seen the curriculum change; they have knowledge about SEND and ways to stretch and challenge more able students. But not every person who advertises themselves as an online tutor is a professional and qualified teacher. They might still have teaching experience: many schools (private schools, free schools and academies) do not require Qualified Teacher Status (QTS/QTLS) for their teachers by law. Ask the tutor you’re talking to about their teaching qualifications and experience.

What qualifies a tutor to teach that subject?

This needn’t be a formal qualification, per se, but the online tutor should know more than the level of the curriculum they’re intending to teach in that subject. If they don’t hold a qualification in the subject, feel free to enquire about their experience in teaching and why they’re interested in tutoring that subject/module. This is particularly important when finding a GCSE/A level tutor online. Different exam boards have different requirements, make sure you find someone with experience in that specification.

Does the tutor have a DBS check?
What safeguarding measures are in place?

A basic DBS check can be done online and takes a couple of days to receive the certificate. It’s inexpensive (only £25) and lasts for two years. Check they have one, and check the date.

 

An enhanced DBS check is slightly more difficult to get as it cannot be done as a single person, but through a company. Teachers in schools will all have a DBS check, but schools don’t often repeat the checks on a regular basis. The tutor might show you an enhanced DBS from several years ago if they’re still working in the same school.

Most online tutors will record the sessions of their 1:1 students for safeguarding purposes. 

Does the tutor have first aid qualifications?

When I decided to go into tutoring, getting first aid trained was the first thing that I did. When you send your child to school, there is a team of first aiders dotted around just in case something goes wrong; make sure this is also true if you send your child to a tutor. Even now that I tutor exclusively online, I’m investing in first aid qualifications and keeping up to date with courses. 

Hopefully, I will never have to use what I have learnt, but the piece of mind that comes with knowing that I will be able to deal with emergencies if they came up is invaluable.

Are they insured?

This – like being first aid trained – is more important if you go to the private tutor, rather than they come to you. However, anyone running tutoring as a business should have Employers’ Liability Insurance according to the Employers’ Liability Insurance Act 1969. Look out for those who also have Professional Indemnity Insurance – these tutors are clearly dedicated to providing a professional service and consider their work on a par with lawyers, accountants and financial advisors who are obliged to take out this insurance by law.

 

Aside from all of the professional certification, the most important questions should remain simple:

Does their teaching style/persona encourage my child to succeed?

Of the six questions, this in the only question that is not negotiable. You should feel fairly confident they’re the right ‘fit’ for you and your child after the first session but it might take up to three to feel confident on this. Online tuition should be fun, not a chore, particularly if the child is starting lessons at a young age. Find a professional online English tutor who is able to make learning exciting, someone who is able to make your child laugh, and you have found a brilliant tutor. 

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If you have any questions about online English tuition, or would like some more details on how it work, please get in touch. 

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