Every parent has expectations of what tutoring constitutes and what it will achieve for their child. In this article, I want to provide some advice about how you can manage these expectations.
Before we look at the tips, however, I want to be clear that in three years of tutoring, I have found that most parents have reasonable expectations and understand the limitations of what you can achieve as a tutor. Only a small minority of parents have unrealistic expectations.
Understand expectations early
Every tutoring relationship is different. Every parent has a slightly (or sometimes wildly) different idea of what they want from the tutor they are employing. At the beginning of any new tutoring engagement, therefore, it is essential that you establish what the expectations of the parent are. As a guide I would suggest making sure that you are clear on the answers to all of the following questions:
- How often would you like sessions to occur?
- What do you expect your child to get out of tutoring?
- How much do you want to know about what we are doing in sessions?
- What specific goals (if any) do you have for your child’s improvement?
Don’t tie your performance to numeric goals
Some parents may want you to help their child achieve a specific numeric goal, 80% on a certain SAC for instance. As a tutor guaranteeing that you can help the student achieve this goal can be quite risky. Even if you are the world’s best tutor there are so many factors that are outside of your control so you can never be 100% sure that you can help the student achieve their goal. I would therefore strongly advise against guaranteeing that you can help any student achieve a specific numeric goal. If parents push you, try to focus on more intangible results such as confidence or else highlight any improvements the student has made.
Hope these tips were helpful! Happy tutoring!
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