When hiring a tutor, battles abound! Following your attendance at the skirmish of in-person tutoring vs. online tutoring, should in-person win your favour, yet another choice awaits: in your home, or at the library? As if that were insufficient to cloy your disdain for dilemma, now you must consider how much a tutor costs. If the latter is your chief concern, the struggle deepens. Who will be your champion: the trained professional, or the bright-eyed high school student? Hiring a high school student for tutoring will save you money, but can a penny pinched ensure a mind enriched?
We had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Carol Funk, math department head and teacher of pre-calculus 12 and calculus 12 at Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS) in school district 68, and she was kind enough to lend us her expert opinion on the topic.
The Pros of Hiring a High School Student for Tutoring
Many high school students would be happy to help your child with their studies, especially if you offer them payment. To this end, you can get away with offering them far less than their professional counterparts (and some might do it for free).
Help from a Familiar Generation
Some students feel more comfortable working with people closer to their own age. If this sounds like your child, hiring a high school student for tutoring can work quite well. They can use relevant generation-specific analogies and more easily build rapport through relatability. In some cases, the student you hire may have also had your child’s teacher when they were younger, so they might have some strategies in mind to help with that particular teacher.
Ms. Funk notes that some students have a lot to gain from peer tutoring. She mentions that peer tutors are “more current and have a student experience that is not as ‘old’, giving them a better understanding of challenges facing today’s students.” Since most professional tutors attended school during a different era, they might have a harder time relating to common issues faced by students in the modern classroom.
Great for Work Experience
If you reserve sympathy for young students in search of their first employment opportunities, giving them a tutoring job will help them immensely. Not only will they have something to put on their resumé, but students interested in a future career in education will earn valuable and relevant experience to help them achieve their goals.
The Cons of Hiring a High School Student for Tutoring (You Get What You Pay For)
Untrained and Unprofessional
High school students aren’t guaranteed to hold themselves to the same level of professionalism as a professional tutor. Most tutors are certified teachers, and even those who aren’t have plenty of experience in the education system. You’ll pay a premium for their knowledge and experience, but it’s well worth knowing that your child will be receiving high-quality help.
Ms. Funk agrees that training and experience are invaluable. She notes that professional tutors have a “better understanding of common areas of difficulty that students experience.” This can give them insight into why a student might be struggling with a particular concept, allowing them to approach it in a multitude of ways.
Good Students Are Not Always Good Teachers
Sure, a high school student might be able to ace all of their own tests, but can they help your child ace theirs? Just because someone has a solid understanding of a concept doesn’t necessarily mean they can share that knowledge in an easy-to-grasp way. Don’t get us wrong—some high school students make fantastic tutors! But professional tutors have a certain way of taking even the most confusing ideas and turning them into coherent lessons for students of any age.
Materials Make a Difference
Through no fault of their own, high school students are under-equipped. They simply can’t match the wide range of resources and materials professional tutors use to supercharge their lessons. Both in-person tutors as well as online tutors have access to impressive arrays of tools, pictures, games, worksheets, and textbooks—everything they need to appeal to learners of all stripes!
Special Education Students
If your child has any special education designations such as ADHD, dyslexia, or Asperger’s, you’ll want to avoid hiring a high school student for tutoring. Professional tutors are trained to work with students of all distinctions, and they can give your special education student the support they need.
High school students might have a preferred way of doing a particular task (such as math) and may find it difficult to teach another student if their teacher wants it done a different way. A professional tutor is capable of teaching in any number of ways, and they’ll even go so far as to appeal to different learning styles—it’s the best way to make a student’s brain happy!
While some high school students can make great tutors (and likely will once they obtain higher education), it’s almost always a better idea to hire a professional. There’s nothing wrong with getting a high school student to help your child with homework from time to time, but they won’t be able to provide the same experience you can expect from a professional tutor.
As Ms. Funk mentions, parents often consider hiring a tutor because their child is “experiencing difficulties achieving their goals”, and professional tutors are fantastic at homing in on exactly what their students are trying to achieve. When she knows that students in her class are working with a tutor outside of school, Funk notices that they have “more confidence and more motivation” in her classroom.
Ms. Funk has previously recommended, and continues to recommend, Tutoring…With a Twist* to her math students. She knows our twisted tutors make a huge difference in the lives of our students—she sees the results every day!
At Tutoring…With a Twist*, our professional tutors believe that all students are special. So, we make it our mission to provide a fully unique experience to each of our students. We understand that everyone learns differently, and that means everyone needs to be taught differently. By building rapport and appealing to the learning styles that best suit your child, our twisted tutors will help them find the success we know they’re capable of. If you’re ready to make a difference in your child’s education (and life besides), don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to hear from you!
Our tutors make use of the best materials available, and now you can get your hands on some of our favourites. Check out our list of educational resources to help your kids keep up or get ahead.
*Services provided by With a Twist Education Ltd.