There’s no other way to put it: Tutoring works.
It’s simply one of the most effective interventions available for struggling students, which makes sense. Whether one-on-one or with a very small group, tutors are able to cater their teaching style to each student, giving them the personal attention they need to succeed.
That’s excellent news—assuming you have a stable of experienced tutors on standby, ready and willing to mold young minds. But what if the need is greater than your current abilities to meet it?
Let’s cover the best places to look to recruit and hire effective tutors so your district can meet each and every student where they’re at.
Where to Find Tutors
Potential tutors are everywhere. Here are some of the best places to look.
1. Teachers in Your District
We’ll start with the most obvious. Your teachers know the material and the students, and you’ve already got a working relationship. The parents in your district already trust the teachers, so there’s a good chance they’ll feel comfortable with their tutoring services.
Pros: It will come as no surprise that teachers often make very effective tutors. They’re already experts with your district’s curriculum—in fact, they may have helped develop it! Since they’re already familiar with the students, they have a head start on discovering their best learning styles.
Cons: Certified teachers can be a pricier option. And you don’t want to run the risk of burning out your teachers, even if they could use the extra money. If some students are struggling because they don’t learn well from a certain teacher’s style, that teacher might not be an effective tutor for them.
2. Teachers in Other Districts
What can we say? Teachers tend to tutor well. So if all the teachers at your schools are overburdened and not looking to take on more, reaching out to other districts may be a good option. You can stick to neighboring communities, but online tutoring through a platform like TutorKit can widen your net to almost anywhere.
Pros: Again, teachers are the experts. They make a great option whether they’re based in your district or not. And while these educators may not come prepared with inside knowledge about your students, they’ve doubtless had experience with learners at all levels.
Cons: You might find more variation in price by throwing a wider net, but this will still be one of the more expensive tutoring solutions. Some parents and students may not warm up as readily to teachers they don’t already have a relationship with.
School districts are no stranger to budget issues, and the appeal of free tutors can’t be denied. There are plenty of people out there who are willing to donate their time to help kids in need, and online tutoring can help mitigate safety concerns and make it easier for a professional to check in from time to time to supervise the sessions.
Pros: Volunteers are free! And unless they need the community service hours, they’re stepping up with a genuine desire to help. Students who struggle with authority or have had challenging encounters with teachers may be more receptive to a kind volunteer.
Cons: You know this already, but quality control can be more difficult with volunteers. They might require more training than experienced educators, and a generous heart doesn’t necessarily translate to tutoring ability. And this option isn’t truly free—for one thing, background checks are absolutely essential.
4. Retired Teachers
We promise this is our last time recommending teachers, but this is a potential source for tutors that can’t be ignored. Retired teachers have the skills, the availability, and the experience. They may even welcome the opportunity to be useful and to fill up their days.
Pros: Some retired teachers might be willing to volunteer their time; in any case, they’ll almost certainly be more affordable than current teachers. Retired teachers in your district may even have taught the parents of the kids currently attending school.
Cons: Certain subjects and lesson plans may have changed more than others. Teachers for some classes may have some catching up to do. Whether a particular teacher has trouble connecting with modern students depends a lot on the personality of any tutor, but the risk of disconnect might be greater with this group.
5. Tutoring Services
With the need for tutors so great in some areas, it’s not surprising that a number of businesses have sprung up to fill that void. Many companies are more than willing to facilitate every aspect of a local tutoring program, including providing tutors. All it takes is money.
Pros: This is one of the easiest options available. You’re essentially outsourcing your entire tutor program to one of these services. It’s taken off your hands.
Cons: First, can these services provide the same level of education as your dedicated tutors? Is it reasonable to expect these tutors to master your district’s curriculum, especially when they may be expected to do the same for multiple districts?
Even if the quality is good enough, can you afford it? Commercial tutoring services are expensive. Of course, if you’re still allocating COVID-related funds, you may have the money on hand to outsource your tutoring—right now. But many districts are heading toward a fiscal cliff as those extra funds dissipate. Even if commercial services meet your needs right now, you need a plan to tutor struggling students in 2024 and beyond.
6. College Students
Availability? Check. Required education? Check. Ability to build a rapport with the students? Check. Aspiring teachers in particular make great tutoring options—and they’ll appreciate the boost for their resumes—but college students in all areas of study may be a great fit.
Pros: You know their grades were good enough to pursue higher education, and college students make a more affordable option than certified teachers or commercial tutoring services. Their schedules tend to be conducive to after-school availability, too. And let’s face it: A lot of your students probably think college-aged kids are pretty cool, so they may be more inclined to be receptive to their help.
Cons: Honestly, there aren’t many. Of course, not every college student has the skills required to be a great tutor. You’ll need to run background checks and have some training in place, but that’s not unique to this group.
With paraprofessionals in your schools, you get a lot of the same benefits that you do when working with teachers in your district. They’re not licensed teachers, but they work in educational environments, have experience cultivating relationships with kids, and likely picked up a few skills while spending so much time with professional educators.
Pros: Paraprofessionals are a great choice because of their experience in school environments and working with kids. There’s also a great chance that they’re already at least somewhat familiar with your curriculum. If the paraprofessionals work in your district, you’ll already have background checks taken care of.
Cons: While any parapro may make a great tutor, they’re not licensed teachers. They may require more training than professional educators for that reason. Depending on how they help out around the school, their experience may or may not have much direct application to tutoring.
Whether you’re looking at high schoolers tutoring other high schoolers—cue the teen movie cliche about the jock falling for the pretty, bespectacled tutor who helps him with his geometry grade so he can stay on the team—or older students tutoring younger ones, there’s a lot to be said for peers helping peers.
Pros: This is going to be one of the most affordable options. Students might be able to participate for school credit. If you offer tutoring as a part-time job to older students, it’s still going to be an economical option. And kids are often very receptive to their peers, sometimes more so than a helpful adult.
Cons: Some groups may have a hard time keeping their tutoring sessions on track, which is an issue less prevalent when adults are involved. Peer-to-peer tutoring can benefit both the tutor and the one they’re helping, but it will probably be fairly limited. Even the best students aren’t going to be as knowledgeable as educated adults.
Connect Your Tutors and Your Students with TutorKit
Great tutors can come from a variety of sources, but regardless of where you find yours, they can only do so much without the infrastructure to back them up. TutorKit is an affordable, innovative, online tutoring management solution that makes it easy to design, schedule, deliver, and monitor your district’s tutoring programs.
You won’t believe how easy online tutoring can be. Contact us today at Agilix Labs to find out what TutorKit can do for your schools.