This year has thrust most parents (and, well, everyone) into unchartered waters, especially when it comes to school, childcare and tutoring services. Parents are having to make tough decisions about their children’s education and there is no easy answer. Most schools are operating on different schedules than most kids and parents are used to. There are so many options available and it can be difficult to decide what options are right for you or your child.
If you have decided that a pod teacher or tutor (to help facilitate online school or homeschool) is the best fit, there are several things that you should know and do to make sure you have the best setup of your family and that your kids are working with the most qualified professionals.
Decide What Works Best
During these times, there’s no one right answer. What works best for someone else may not be the best scenario for your family. So, it’s always important to consider your family’s unique needs. Some kids are in school, some kids are all virtual, some kids are in cohorts and attend school only a few days a week and others are homeschooled. Once you have established what works best, you can determine what you need to supplement that learning. If you’re doing all virtual, you might need a tutor to replace some of that face-to-face teaching or a pod teacher to help make sure your kids are keeping up. Still, others are doing homeschool, and parents might feel they want to bring in a professional to lead the charge on educating their kids or the group of kids they are working with.
Research and understand what the requirements are in your area / state for teaching licensure. If you are hiring a teacher, ensure that the teacher has the proper credentials. Every state is different. Decide if that is important to you – and know what the teacher holds. If hiring a tutor, you may not be looking for a teaching credential, but you might want to ask for a specific resume and list of certifications or verified background to know that this person is up the task. (i.e. a science tutor might have a degree, extensive experience in the field or documented expertise).
One thing to consider, aside from credentials is whether or not you want a background check. If you will be leaving your child/children alone with a pod teacher or tutor, you may feel better about a background check to truly be reassured of a person’s history and background. If you are in New Jersey, like me, you can rely on private investigators like Cowan Investigations to perform a background check. They specialize in all areas of investigation and particular specialities, like New Jersey computer forensics.
Image via: Cowan Investigations
Even with a background check, you’ll likely want to hear from others who have worked with the individual. A background check gives you peace of mind, but you want to know that the person is actually good at what they do. Have they worked with the age level of your child before? Have they been successful in teaching a particular subject? What do parents and kids say about this person?
Personality Fit & Teaching Style
Another thing to consider with tutors or teachers is a personality fit. For me, my kids are home from school virtually and have also done a cohort model where they are in school part-time and virtual part-time. I work full-time so having someone available that can help and assist with school work while I’m working is key. Not anyone will do – after making sure they are credentialed another thing to consider is if they have the teaching style that fits with my kids.
Consider if your kids need someone who is going to guide them through learning in a particular way. Do they need a more hands on approach or do they like to work more independently? Consider age and grade level of the child. A great tutor or teacher may be different for a high school student vs. a middle school student vs. a grade school student. Taking that into consideration will help create a better fit and result in better success.
Finally, consider rates. What are you willing to pay? Teachers and tutors with certifications and credentials are going to cost a bit more. Consider what is most important to you.
What model of learning is your child in? Have you hired a teacher or tutor to help with the educational process during the pandemic?