“I don’t get it!”
“What’s the point in learning this?”
These words can often be heard muttered in school Maths lessons, and moaned over kitchen tables laden with calculators, squared paper and textbooks. Whether your child is battling with 11+ numeracy tests or A Level algebra, Maths can be a challenge. The right tuition, however, could transform your child’s attitude to this fascinating subject, and give them the knowledge and confidence they need to master this core life skill.
With this in mind, here are our top 10 tips on how to find the right Maths tutor.
1) Experience is crucial
The best tutors are often the most experienced. If a tutor has taught Maths at an excellent school or has a long history of one-to-one tuition, they will know how to bring out the best in every student and make Maths not only accessible, but interesting and fun.
2) Specialist knowledge works wonders
Be sure to pick a tutor who has prepared students for relevant assessments in the past. If your child is due to sit an entrance exam for Westminster College, for example, choose an 11+ tutor who has successfully prepared other for students for the same exam. Knowledge of past papers, mark schemes and assessment criteria is invaluable when it comes to exam success.
3) Qualifications should be checked
With so many people offering tuition services on the internet, it’s crucial to know that your tutor’s qualifications are what they seem. Always use a tutoring agency that carefully checks the documentation of their team. Ideally, choose an agency that interviews candidates in person. That way, you know you won’t be deceived or disappointed.
4) Teaching styles vary
For some students, Maths does not come naturally. It’s essential, therefore, that the tutor you choose —whether they are an A Level Maths tutor or a 7+ Maths tutor —explains things in a clear way that suits your child’s learning style. It is often sensible to arrange a one hour taster session to see whether the arrangement will work.
5) Personality is key
Just because someone has a fantastic CV and years of experience doesn’t mean they are the perfect tutor for your child. Although this is a great starting point, rapport counts for a huge amount when it comes to learning. Good tutoring agencies will try to satisfy the academic and emotional needs of their students. Pupils perform best in subjects they enjoy, and this heavily depends on whether they get on with the person teaching them.
6) It’s not just children who benefit from tutoring
Lots of graduate schemes and entry level jobs ask candidates to sit a host of psychometric and numerical tests. If you haven’t touched a calculator since taking your GCSEs, this can be daunting. A Maths tutor will help to refresh your memory and polish up your arithmetic. Don’t be embarrassed. Lots of adults seek extra help with Maths.
7) Learning environments are important
Some children worry that one-to-one tuition will be stressful and too intense. It is crucial, therefore, that tutors put students at ease and fill them with self-belief. A supportive, relaxed learning environment will help to unlock your child’s academic potential. Without the pressure and distraction of other students, children can flourish in a one-to-one setting.
8) Seek out specialist support
Pupils with conditions such as dyslexia and dyspraxia can find Maths a struggle. Tutors with professional knowledge and experience teaching children with learning difficulties can be transformational. When you’re looking for someone to teach your child, therefore, ask whether they have provided specialist support in the past.
9) Safety can’t be ignored
Not all tutoring agencies and online sites require their tutors to own up-to-date DBS certificates. DBS stands for The Disclosure and Barring Service, and ensures the safeguarding of vulnerable people, such as children. For your child’s safety, and for your own peace of mind, make sure the tutor you pick has been DBS checked. The easiest way to do this is to use a tutoring agency which carefully screens all of its staff.
10) Enthusiasm is underrated
Enthusiasm is probably the most important quality a tutor can possess. Learning is not all about passing numeracy tests and getting good grades. Maths is a fantastic subject and children deserve to enjoy it to the full. The best tutors love their subject and their enthusiasm is infectious. If the tutor you choose has passion and spark, you know they won’t let you down.