In the previous blog post, we reviewed the concept of shadow education and the advantages and disadvantages of using a franchise tutoring agency to tutor your child.
As you may recall, shadow education is a term used to describe the supplementary education i.e. tutoring, that a growing number of parents are purchasing for their children in order to improve their GCSE or A-level grades with the expectation that they will get into a better 6th form college or be accepted into the university of their choice.
And a franchise tutoring agency is a company that has a business location, hires teachers to tutor children and uses a pre-programmed method of instruction.
The conclusions from the previous blog post were that enrolling your child in a franchise tutoring agency would probably increase their grade in their GCSE and A-level exams.
However, the pre-programmed one size fits all approach to tutoring is not a good fit for all children, taking your child to and from the tutoring centre is inconvenient for the parent and the cost of tutoring at a tutoring centre is a rather expensive option.
Is hiring a tutor directly and cutting out the middle man possible? Is doing this a possible alternative to the franchise tutoring companies?
The answer is yes! The first alternative to be considered is hiring a tutor directly through a tutoring website. If you Google private tutors in a given subject a lot of the search results besides the franchise tutoring company advertisements are for tutor websites that allow tutors to advertise their services to prospective clients.
Is learning about a more economical approach to tutoring your child something that you are interested in?
The Five Advantages To Directly Hiring A Teacher
There are five distinct advantages to hiring a tutor directly through a tutor referral website.
First, is that all of the teachers that have created a profile on the website have had their background checked and their credentials verified by the company that owns the website. Therefore, you can feel more at ease allowing the tutor to work with your child in your home.
Second, is that you get to choose who you want your child to work with which is a distinct advantage over working with the franchise tutoring companies who assign your child to work in a small group with a tutor or assign your child to work individually with a tutor. You can book an individual lesson with your chosen tutor and at the end of the lesson, you can decide if you want to book another lesson with the same tutor or try another one. As a parent, this gives you ownership of the situation and allows you to try different tutors until you find the perfect match for your child.
Third, is that the parents can post reviews regarding their experience working with the tutor or the tutor can ask the parents to post a referral to the website. This free exchange of review of the parent's experience of the tutor working with their child either at the parents initiative or at the tutor's request means that the quality tutors get hired more and rise to the top of the search results on the website and the poorer quality tutors get filtered out because they aren't hired by parents to tutor their child. As a parent, this means that you have the option of choosing between several tutors with good reviews from the website and reading the honest reviews of parents of the child with whom the tutor has worked with previously.
Fourth, is that it is a lot cheaper to work with tutors directly rather than working with a franchise tutoring company. Depending on the qualifications and teaching experience of the tutor, the qualification and subject matter being taught and where you are located, you can hire a tutor for between £20 - £60 per hour without having to purchase a package of lessons like you would have to if you worked with a tutoring agency. A lot of parents choose this option because they get similar results to working with a tutoring agency at a fraction of the cost.
Fifth, is that the teachers who offer their services as a tutor on tutor referral websites often rely on the extra income in order to meet their financial obligations. Therefore, they work hard to help their tutees improve their grades and then ask their tutee's parents for a recommendation letter.
The Five Disadvantages To Directly Hiring A Teacher
Although there are a lot of advantages to hiring a tutor directly through a tutoring website there are also several disadvantages.
First is that the tutor will be making a home visit in order to tutor your child which means that you will have to prepare your home for a visitor and tidy up the common areas of your home. Most homes tend to be busy homes in the evening times during the week with the evening meal being prepared in the kitchen, family members watching television in the living room and various conversations taking place throughout the home. So you will have to take time out of your busy schedule at the end of the day to tidy up your home, clear off the dining room table and make the room a quiet zone for an hour when the tutor teaches your child.
Second, you need to pay the tutor when they are leaving your home after they have taught your child. Most tutors who make home visits operate on a cash-only basis so this means that you need to remember to stop at the ATM machine on the way home from work and take out cash to pay the tutor. This is another task that you need to add to a long list of tasks that you need to accomplish during the week.
Third, is although the tutor may have an interest in seeing your child be successful in their studies most of the teachers on the tutor referral websites tutor on a part-time basis with an ulterior motive. They are tutoring in order to bring in some extra cash to smooth out the monthly cash flow, pay for the nicer things in life, pay off a financial obligation such as an outstanding bill or a credit card or save up for a vacation or a downpayment on a home. Once they have met their financial objective they stop tutoring until they need to meet another financial objective. As a parent, you need to consider whether you want to hire a tutor who is only a tutor for a short duration of time or do you want to hire a tutor who will work with your child throughout the duration of the course.
Fourth is that you need to consider the quality of the tutoring that you are receiving from the tutor. Although the franchise tutoring companies use a worksheet based approach to tutoring the advantage they have is that they do have all of their resources planned out in advance for each module of the course. When hiring a tutor directly through a tutoring website you need to make sure that they are not just turning up to your home to provide homework help with your child but that they also have a long term approach to tutoring and have a plan and resources planned out for each module of the course.
Fifth, you need to consider the mindset and professionalism of the tutor. Most teachers tend to act professionally in their dealings with students and do uphold themselves to a high level of professional conduct. However, if a teacher is tutoring on the side in order to make extra money throughout the school year even if they have their own resources and a plan for tutoring your child are they as fully committed to the process as a tutoring franchise owner is who has made considerable financial investment and needs to see his franchise be successful?
Looking For Tutors: Is Hiring A Tutor Directly From A Tutoring Website A Good Idea?
There are advantages and disadvantages to hiring a tutor directly through a tutoring website. As a parent, you get to work with a tutor that you have chosen in the comfort of your own home and a time of your choosing at a fraction of the cost of working with a franchise tutoring company. However, the tutor may not have a long term plan of action for tutoring your child or the resources for each module of the course prepared in advance. And their mindset may be meeting a short term financial obligation such as paying off a personal financial obligation rather than a long term plan of seeing your child earn the best grade that they can in the course.
According to the BBC news, the supplemental education service is a £17.5 billion a year business. In the supplemental education service there are a wide range of tutors from high school students to super tutors. It's an area that is definitely worth investigating before you make a decision.
However, before you make the decision to hire a tutor directly through a tutoring website you may want to consider working with a teacher who is running a tutoring company themselves which will be discussed in the next blog post "Find A Tutor: Should I Hire A Tutor From A Sole Proprietor Website."