About half of K-12 public school students began the 2022-2023 year behind their grade level in at least one subject, according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ School Pulse Panel. While nearly all public schools are employing a combination of learning-recovery strategies to help students get back on track (including offering tutoring), finding extra, tailored support outside of the classroom can seem like an overwhelming endeavor. Hiring a tutor, however, can provide peace of mind while ensuring that your child’s education is well supplemented by a qualified individual, from providing extra support with common issues like test anxiety to helping middle schoolers navigate a new learning environment.

The Value of Extra Support

For young students who are having a difficult time with class material, finding extra support via private tutoring can provide numerous benefits. For example, children who have a hard time grasping math or science concepts may benefit from hiring a tutor who uses a different teaching style than their school teacher uses. As a result, your child can benefit from a more tailored approach, allowing them to look at the material in a new way and gain a better understanding of it. Tutoring can also help by providing general support, such as by strengthening a child’s self-esteem and their engagement with learning, as well as working to address common issues such as test anxiety.

Test anxiety is fairly common — researchers estimate that somewhere between 25% and 40% of students in the U.S. experience it. U.S. News & World Report cites that one study found that elementary school students experienced “higher levels of test anxiety during standardized tests compared to regular classroom assessments.” It’s further noted that research shows that test anxiety can interfere with a student’s performance, ultimately lowering their self-esteem — which tends to correlate with academic success. A tutor might spend time going over specific concepts to ensure full understanding, help out with homework, heighten retention via educational games, or teach your child valuable study habits that they can carry throughout their educational journey. As a result, students can feel more confident when it comes to schoolwork, allowing them to face a test well prepared.

Successfully Navigating New Transitions

A private tutor is not only beneficial for students in grade school, but also new middle schooler due to the number of challenges in a new academic environment. For example, elements such as switching classes and adjusting to a bigger school bring new challenges, and can be overwhelming for some — especially when more challenging homework, projects, and assignments come into play. Unlike in grade school, middle school students typically have a different teacher for each subject. With each teacher having their own way of teaching and differing expectations in the classroom, students can find themselves having trouble academically — especially when first transitioning to a new and overwhelming environment.

When coupled with traditional academic concerns (such as test anxiety) and the general falling behind due to the COVID pandemic, hiring a tutor has shown to be beneficial for middle school students. For example, one 2017 study examined the impact on student achievement of high-dosage reading tutoring for middle school students in New York City Public Schools. The abstract highlights the fact that across three years, schools offered “at least 130 hours of 4-on-1 tutoring based on a guided reading model, which consisted of 1-on-1 read alouds, independent reading, vocabulary review, and group discussion.” As such, the study found that tutoring has a positive and significant effect on school attendance and a positive (but insignificant) effect on English Language Arts (ELA) state test scores.

Empowering Your Child’s Academic Endeavors

Knowing whether or not your child could benefit from a private tutor can be a challenge, though there are signs to watch out for. According to Understood.org, understanding what is typical for your child’s age can help, though it’s necessary to remember that kids develop at different rates. “Some just need longer than others to gain skills.” Looking for patterns (like refusing to go to school on certain days) and talking to your child’s healthcare provider can also help in identifying a problem — for example, your child may not want to go to school due to anxiety surrounding learning something specific, or they may be struggling due to a medical issue like poor eyesight.

Introducing the Idea of Hiring a Tutor

According to one Parents article, not every child will benefit from tutoring, “particularly if they are not willing or engaged participants or the tutoring program isn’t a good fit.” With that in mind, it’s recommended to first “assess (and encourage) your child’s buy-in,” before hiring a tutor. Getting your child on board with the idea of having a private tutor can seem like a challenge, though explaining the benefits and giving them time to process the idea can help. This can be particularly beneficial in situations where your child may be dreading going to school due to not understanding a specific academic concept or due to test anxiety.

When talking with your child about getting a tutor, Understood.org points out that it is important to assure them that getting extra help is nothing to be ashamed of. Empower and encourage your child to improve their academic experience by talking about tutoring in a positive light. This helps your child look forward to a lesson just for them. While talking to your child about the idea of getting a tutor is a great way to introduce them to the concept, involving them during the tutor selection process is just as important — especially when ensuring they are comfortable and ready to learn.

From Qualifications to Questions

When looking for extra help for your child, a private tutor can be a great solution, though it’s imperative that you choose the right individual. The process of hiring a tutor should be thorough, with multiple considerations and factors at play. Ensuring that a candidate is qualified for the position and that they’re a safe choice (especially when aiming to hire an in-person tutor) are just a couple of basic elements to cover during the hiring process. In addition to asking about a tutor’s qualifications and experience, performing a basic public records search can be a great way to ensure that a potential candidate is who they say they are. Note that a public records search can reveal criminal records and some states have versions of Ban the Box laws, which battle criminal record discrimination.

Staffing Agencies Can Support your Search for a Private Tutor

Staffing or nanny agencies, often offer the service of placing a tutor. They can do all the hard work so you don’t have to. Let them go through the initial phone screening, formal resume review, background checks, and more. Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny is a Boston and CT Nanny Agency that is now proud to service all of New England. They offer Educational Nannies, Tutors, and much more! Their elite team will work with your family to identify the specific educational plan that fits your child’s needs and learning styles.

Staffing agencies also support you through the interview process. An interview is a great way to get to know a private tutor in person. It provides your child the chance to meet them and determine whether they’re a good fit. Use the meeting as a chance to get to know the tutor, their personality, and their teaching style to further determine whether they’re a good fit for the role. Come to the meeting prepared with a list of questions that cover the essentials, from inquiries regarding the strategies they may use to how they might handle specific needs, how they measure progress, and how they will communicate with the caregiver.

For young students who are falling a bit behind academically, hiring a private tutor can be a great way to supplement their education early on. From tactfully introducing your child to the idea to successfully finding the right tutor for their needs, you can support their educational journey to academic success early on. Reach out to Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny if you live in New England and are looking for a tutor or nanny, 781-444-4063.

About The Author

Briana HilitonBriana Hilton spent eleven years working in social care before taking time out to start a family. She has since returned to her first love of writing and enjoys contributing articles to a range of publications on the topics that matter to her.

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