Craigslist, a website known to many as the gathering place to buy and sell used products, is also a place for finding and hiring services, such as lessons and tutoring. But, with anything that is done online several precautions are required, and even for those who are careful, it is not always easy to find a good tutor who will be able to meet your child’s needs.
Step 1: Set Your Budget + Travel Distance
In large metropolitan areas like Chicago and Los Angeles, Craigslist shows tutors offering their services at large range of fees per session. Some will be very low sessions by college students or high school seniors, and more expensive tutoring advertisements will be offered by expert tutors, who have years of experiences and/or worked in tutoring companies like Sylvan Learning or Kaplan.
So, it is crucial for you to determine what is your budget (how much are you willing to cash out per hour?) and think how far you will be able to travel or have the tutor come to you. The longer the travel distance, the more likely that the tutor will ask for additional fees for gas. As a tip, it is recommended to be realistic with fee and the age of your child – that is, a 5th grader in elementary school does not need a tutoring session at $60/hr for her math class. Similarly, if your child is preparing for SAT, you should be able to invest a bit of money for tutoring sessions.
Step 2: Location + Fit
If you take a chance to search for “Craigslist murder,” you will find frightening articles about unfortunate events that took place in Craigslist. That is why when you are picking a tutoring location, choose a public location, such as Starbucks or Panera Bread, because inviting a stranger to your home may not be a great idea in all cases. It is also crucial to look at the fit of the tutor with your child. Ultimately, it is your child who will be studying under the guidance of the tutor – if those two do not fit well, then it is very possible that the tutoring session will actually backfire, leading to negative consequences for your child’s grade. So, for first few sessions, ask your child for inputs – even if you like the tutoring fee and the tutor.
Step 3: “Extra” Preparation Time
One of the biggest differences that I notice between novice tutors, who usually tend to be young college students, and expert tutors is the “extra” preparation time. In other words, novice tutors tend to focus on teaching what they know; their belief is that because they took that class, they can solve the problems and help with the student’s confusion for materials. This approach usually works, but it is critical to know that it does not always work, and that’s why many expert tutors triumph and can cost higher fees. These tutors will always have extra papers from their preparation time to give as additional worksheets. If the student was confused on how to add/subtract fractions with different denominators, these expert tutors will likely have additional worksheets that the student can do during the session or be assigned as the homework.
Of course, there are exceptions to both groups, but in general, it can be viewed that there are two types of tutors – ones who help with the homework/tests and others who go beyond that and give more worksheets to practice – and such difference may not be important in all students, but it may be a deciding factor for some students.
In the end, it really come down to trying out few tutors based on these suggestions and consider about your child’s ability. Step 3 is certainly one of those factors that may be a great importance to some parents while not so much for other ones, so it is recommended to discuss each option with your child and respect his/her decision with tutoring.