Selecting tutors in Greenwich, CT can be very challenging, and yet critical in providing an extra academic boost to a student at a critical time. But a poor tutor will accomplish very little with a student and may even discourage them from attempting material that is difficult for them in the first place. It is a very intimate relationship, as students typically put a lot of personal psychological stock in their ability to complete schoolwork, whether admitting to it on the surface or not. For this reason, locating and vetting a great tutor is a delicate but critical process. Here are five things to consider as you select a tutor.

1. Experience: An experienced tutor has seen a number of students with a number of different learning profiles and has built up a toolbox of techniques for teaching students. Not every project can be accomplished with a hammer, but this is exactly the approach of young, inexperienced tutors through no fault of their own: that’s the only tool they’ve got. The analogous hammer in this case would be inundating the student with the correct knowledge they need to solve a task or problem. That is rarely the best way to present information in a way that will stick with a student, so many young teachers and tutors struggle until developing alternative approaches that effectively teach to different types of students.

The other thing to keep in mind with experience is that more experienced educators tend to be more knowledgeable in their field of study, having taught it for many years. Reading and analyzing The Great Gatsby eleven times versus two makes a big difference, even if the instructor who reads it only twice is highly intelligent. ‘There is no substitute for experience,’ as the saying goes.

2. Educational Background: To no surprise, better educational institutions tend to produce more knowledgeable and apt instructors. There is some variability to this general principle, as some tutors who study at schools that don’t rank in the top 25 or 50 are actually highly adept at their practice, and some that have studied there are not born teachers. But generally speaking, this observation is true in practice. The level of study and intellectual height of peer interaction at a Stanford or Williams is simply more rigorous than a Connecticut College or Rutgers. While graduate programs can offer more variable value in their name branding, this tends to be true in undergraduate school unilaterally.

3. The “Engaging Person” Factor: While admittedly more qualitative than the two above factors, this dimension of a tutor may be the most important, as student/tutor chemistry is critical. Ask yourself, “If I were in a waiting room with this person, or sitting next to them in a bar, would I want to strike up a conversation? Do they seem like an interesting or engaging person? The student is likely going to have the same experience in their interaction with the tutor: if they are boring, the student will likely be bored. If they talk too much, the student will likely tune out, etc. Good people make good teachers as a general rule so seek a tutor that has object “person value.”

4. Reliability: It’s all great and good to have a stunning resume and good people skills, but if the tutor is flakey and unreliable, what does it matter? If the tutor fails to show up for a session on the night before a big test or paper, or arrives 40 minutes late, not only does that negate the value of the tutoring in obvious ways, but it also shakes the student’s confidence in the assistance they are receiving. Confidence is critical in academic performance, so anything that obstructs that is detrimental. 90% of success is showing up, so find someone who will show up reliably with no nonsense.

5. Specialization: If your student has ADHD, they will certainly benefit from a tutor who specializes in kids with ADHD. If they struggle with anxiety, anxiety-specialists have experience (see number one above!) in tutoring kids with anxiety and related conditions. If your student has difficulty with organization and other skills surrounding academics, an Executive Skill function tutor can prove extremely effective at both coaching and tutoring the student.

Alliance tutoring weighs all of these factors in selecting the perfect tutor for students. Locating the right tutor for a student in the right academic situation is generally the key to solving academic stumbling blocks. Having that one trusted adult in their back pocket who can help them in all the ways they need it unlocks a new world of possibility and the confidence that comes with it. With the right fit, the possibilities become limitless.