First private tutoring session lined up. Check. Lesson plan created. Check. What else should you do to set the tone for a good relationship between you, the pupil, and the parents?
Here are some questions to ask the parents that will get everyone on the same page.
Are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
Going to a pupil’s home comes with feeling out a new environment. And because your full attention should be on your pupil during the session, ask ahead of time whether there are safety issues you should know about.
According to this site, JR Reyna, “Owners and occupants are supposed to routinely inspect their properties to identify any hazards and warn visitors of their existence. In addition, they are supposed to take reasonable measures to address safety issues once they become aware of their existence.”
What are your expectations for these tutoring sessions?
Today’s parents are increasingly hiring private tutors to help kids pass milestone exams and get stellar grades. Or to help them over stumbling blocks in their learning. However, often what they expect and what is realistic to expect from a 10-year-old in a few short weeks are miles apart. But first, ask about expectations and listen carefully. Once they have stated what they hope you will achieve with their child, bring them gently to earth.
Discuss practical steps that you will take during each tutoring session. Mention the average rate children assimilate information and learn new concepts. Finetune their expectations to align with reality.
What is the child’s learning style?
Knowing beforehand what the child’s learning style is can help you craft a lesson plan that will keep his or her interest. Visual learners learn best with visual aids, such as pictures, charts, and diagrams. Auditory learners pick up information quickly through listening versus reading. Kinesthetic learners assimilate information through activities and moving their bodies. Activities and movement that reinforce topics are often the key to helping kinesthetic learners.
Most parents know what their child’s learning style is, so be sure to ask. If they are not sure, ask them about what the child’s hobbies or interests are, as that can help determine learning style, too.
Are there any physical concerns I should be aware of?
Is the child allergic to anything in particular? Does the child need a snack before study? And if he needs a snack, what is permissible for him or her to eat? Such questions should all be taken care of beforehand. In some circumstances, the parent will not be in the house during the tutoring session. So find out all you can about any hidden rules in advance.
How does your child cope with stress at school or when learning new concepts?
Learning new concepts can be a stressful event for people at any age. For children, who have yet to master coping mechanisms for stress, school can be particularly taxing.
Before jumping into tutoring sessions, knowing what the student’s stress triggers are can help you stay in the safe zone. Because children often do not verbalize when they are stressed out, it is up to the parent to notice when such patterns appear. Of course, there are times when the stress is obvious, such as the night before an assignment is due, or the first day back to school after summer break.
By asking the parents about how their child handles stress, you will be helping parents pay more attention to their child’s energy levels.
What are common stumbling blocks for the child?
With some parents, getting them to admit that there is anything less than perfect with their child is a tall order. With such families, anything that goes wrong is always due to others’ fault and never due to the child in question. It can be tricky dealing with parents who have their child on a high pedestal. A few well-placed questions can help shed some revealing light on the situation.
On a deep level, they know their child needs help, otherwise they would not have hired a tutor. Take it from there.
Ask about stumbling blocks. Or potential stumbling blocks to mastering concepts. Does the child have a short attention span? Is he or she always tired after school? Perhaps she hates anything to do with writing? Or he dislikes reading related assignments? Knowing the weak areas will help you tailor your lesson plans while still achieving objectives.