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What To Look For in a Math Tutor - Qualifications, Traits, Red Flags, and More!

Are you looking for a qualified math tutor for your son or daughter? Then this is the perfect guide for you. Read on for more information on what to look for when searching for the right math tutor for you.
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What To Look For in a Math Tutor - Qualifications, Traits, Red Flags, and More!
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Math is one of the school subjects that many students have problems understanding. As children get older, math classes can become even more challenging for those who still don’t comprehend the basic concepts of the subject. If your son or daughter is struggling in math, they don’t have to. This guide will show you how to find the right math tutor for you and your family and what to look for when selecting the best one for your child and your wallet.

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At A Glance

  • What To Look for in a Math Tutor
    How a math tutor will work with your child, the benefits of getting a math tutor, and why taking the time to research the best tutor is crucial.
  • The Character Traits To Look For in a Math Tutor
    The top soft skills that the most effective math tutor must have.
  • The Skills and Experience To Look For in a Math Tutor
    The top hard skills and qualifications that the most effective and reliable math tutor must have.
  • Red Flags To Look Out For When Considering a Math Tutor
    The biggest red flags to look out for in math tutors that you should always stay away from.

What To Look For in a Math Tutor

Many students around the world need a math tutor at some point in their academic careers. From elementary school to high school, and even college, math tutors are available to assist students with coursework and math test prep in any grade level. Depending on the math tutor and their experience, math tutors work directly with students by using their coursework or homework to guide children through each math tutoring session. For older students, many tutors offer assistance with test prep by conducting practice SAT or ACTs in their sessions.

Working with a math tutor can help students feel more confident in themselves and their performance in the classroom. When children aren’t confident in their answers, they can become more reserved and less likely to participate in the classroom or during lessons. Additionally, some students may even be discouraged to do their homework or coursework since they can get frustrated with not understanding the concepts being taught. However, working with a math tutor can give this lost confidence back to students, as long as they put in the hard work and dedication. The best math tutors can work with your child to figure out what their learning style is, what specific math concepts they’re struggling with, and what skills the student will need to work on to ensure long-term success as they advance in math.

To ensure you and your child get the best results out of your math tutor, it’s crucial to take the time to conduct the proper research to find the right tutor that can meet your child’s needs and that will work with your financial situation. Knowing what you and your student are looking for, and what qualifications, traits, and red flags to look out for in tutors beforehand can help you find the best math tutor for your family.

The Character Traits To Look For in a Math Tutor

Soft skills are character traits that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Your math tutor must have the proper soft skills that will help them work well with your child. Below are the top character traits to look for in a great math tutor.

Clear Communication

Having great communication skills is a top character trait that every math tutor should have. A math tutor who can communicate clearly with others can help lots of students achieve their goals, even if a child doesn’t know what those goals are yet.

According to one review by Constance F, tutors for math at Learner have excellent communication skills. She said, “My son was matched with a tutor who understood his challenges with math. She communicated with him so well. His grades soared. He now feels confident that he understands the fundamentals and can continue to make progress. The flexibility of the program is great. He can request a session whenever he needs it and has been able to find time to meet with his tutor without having to miss other activities. I highly recommend Learner.”

Listening Skills

In addition to communication, math tutors also need to have effective active listening skills. To properly communicate with their students, a math tutor needs to be able to listen to students and parents as well so they know how each child feels about math, which learning method will work best for them, and in what areas the child is struggling in. Being able to fully understand each student is crucial for the success of a math tutor to effectively boost the confidence and knowledge of their students.

Time Management

Some families can only afford to have a limited amount of tutoring sessions for their students. Reliable math tutors need to have excellent time management abilities to ensure their students are learning as much as possible within their allotted sessions, before their next exam, etc.

One review by Stephanie states that math tutors at Learner are great with time management since their students show results after a few short sessions. She says, “My daughter wanted to take Algebra over the summer so she could test out of it and go directly into Geometry in 8th grade so we contacted Learner. The program and the tutor, Sanjay, she was assigned were remarkable. She was more than prepared to test out of it and she blew her Math teacher away with how much she had learned in just 20 lessons. The tutor was fantastic and made it challenging and fun for my daughter which is not always easy to do with an over-achiever, or virtually. He also provided other tips for PSAT testing and other academic links she could go to in her free time. He was always flexible with her busy athletic schedule and made time for lessons outside of normal business hours to accommodate her. I can't say enough great things about him or this program. The customer service was excellent and it's an overall great program. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to move ahead in a subject or if they just need extra help. A top-notch program!”

Constructive Feedback

Teaching and learning math can be a lengthy and at times, frustrating process for both students and tutors. However, math tutors need to be able to provide constructive feedback to their students. Knowing what they’re doing right and what they need to work on will help children grow and better understand what skills they need to focus more on to improve their math grades. A tutor who can provide the right feedback can greatly benefit any student’s performance.

Problem Solving

Math tutors need to be able to confidently and creatively problem solve. Many students may not know how to solve a certain math problem or what skills or concepts they are specifically struggling with. Therefore, a good math tutor needs to be able to solve these problems for their students, even if they don’t know what the cause is at first.

A review by Shana D proves that math tutors at Learner are great at problem-solving. She states, “Gerard is a great tutor, he is very easy to understand and helps break down problems step by step. He goes at a pace which is easy to learn from.”

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The Skills and Experience To Look For in a Math Tutor

Hard skills are specific abilities, or capabilities, that an individual can possess and demonstrate in a measured way. This can include having the proper experience that makes a person qualified for the position they’re in. For math tutors, this can be experience teaching, having a degree in math, etc. Below are the top hard skills and experience a math tutor should have.

Math Expertise and Knowledge

This skill may seem the most obvious, as you may expect every tutor to have the required qualifications. However, this is not always the case. Be sure that your tutor has the appropriate qualifications for the math subject to be tutored, such as being a certified math teacher. A high school diploma for primary and middle school tutoring and an undergraduate degree with an emphasis on mathematics, engineering, or science for high school and higher tutoring is standard.

A review by Colene proves that math tutors at Learner have lots of expertise and knowledge in their field. She says, “Level of expertise is off the charts. Knowledge and complexity of math were explained at a level to comprehend now and in the future.”

Past Experience

Learning how to tutor is a skill gained over time, so be sure your potential math tutor has experience in this area. With an experienced tutor, all of the tutoring time is spent tutoring, instead of having trouble communicating effectively with your child.

Passion For Math

While many tutors may know how to do math, not all are enthusiastic about the subject. Be sure to find one that is, so that some of the passion gets passed along to your child to enhance the learning experience.

Good Reputation

Looking into the reputation of a tutor is very important. While it is not a guaranteed proof of quality, it does help to eliminate the worst of them. Ask the tutor for references from the parents of current or past students, or other trustworthy social listings to see reviews.

Online math tutors at Learner have tons of excellent reviews. One by Aya T states, “I have been very pleased with learner.com! I have a 1st grader who would tell me that she was “bored” with the math done at school. I do two sessions per week with learner.com tutor Olivia, and this has helped my daughter continue to develop her math skills and continue to find math an engaging subject. The organization, and my tutor specifically, has been flexible, reliable, and very professional.”

Good with Technology

Many technologies exist as learning tools for tutoring. This includes visual presentation and communication with the students. Being good with technology also means being able to stay up to date with the latest knowledge and teaching methods as well.

Many reviews state that online math tutors at Learner are excellent at teaching virtually. Léana N says in her review, “For the first portion of the year I have been in online school and Austin has helped me work through the unclear instructions I was given for math. I am taking Geometry and he helped me learn everything I needed to understand Geometry once I went to school in person. Even though I moved schools over the winter break, Austin continued to help me online with anything I might have missed the previous semester when I was not attending in person. It has been great and these sessions taught me a lot!”

Red Flags To Look Out For When Considering a Math Tutor

While looking for the right character traits and qualifications are crucial, it’s also important to look for red flags when considering a math tutor for your son or daughter. Below are the biggest red flags to watch out for in potential math tutors.

No Qualifications or Report Cards to Present

While tutoring does not demand specific degrees, certifications, or qualifications, your tutor must have an academic background. They must have high school report cards or other certificates that prove their command of the subjects they talk about having. Be wary of tutors who make excuses in presenting their qualifications or showing proof of documents. Such an attitude is a red flag.

Only Practice, No Teaching

Keep an eye on when a tutor is teaching your child and note their teaching style or method. Not all tutors teach. Some just visit your child daily and help them complete their homework, read books, and watch them solve assessments or past papers. It’s called practicing or working, not teaching. Practicing does help, but it won’t enhance your child’s knowledge or boost their confidence or grades since tutoring also includes teaching, engaging, and helping students grow academically, emotionally, and mentally. Having a focus on practicing only is a warning sign of a bad tutor because there's no point in investing in a tutor who is too lazy to build your child’s interest in the subject and work on their knowledge.

Poor Response

Bad tutors either take too long to respond or don’t respond at all. If such behavior is constant, then discuss it with them. And if they repeat, after you raised the issue, then it’s a warning sign.

Also, don’t hire a tutor who is overcommitted. Their hectic workload often distracts them, and as a result, your child gets neglected. Poor responsiveness is one of those warning signs that you can’t compromise on.

Always Late or Cancels Sessions

One of the most common problems of tutors is that they either arrive late or take too many leaves a month. Before hiring a tutor, set your timings and leave rules. When a tutor comes late or leaves without informing them, the child’s routine gets disturbed, failing to complete their lessons on time. Tutors are not only supposed to help students with their school work; they are responsible for building or enhancing your child’s organizational, goal-setting, or time-management skills.

Tutee Doesn’t Like Tutor

This is possible in two ways: your child doesn’t want to study, or the tutor is not encouraging. Some students give tough times to their tutors purposely, and it’s not the tutor’s fault. At the same time, some tutors are so unprofessional or discouraging that your child starts disliking them. Make sure you hire a tutor who is good with words and knows how to motivate or encourage your child to do better and achieve desired goals.

Questions To Ask in a Potential Math Tutor

When connecting with a potential math tutor for your child, it’s important to ask them a list of questions before committing to their services. Here are a few sample questions you should ask your math tutor:

  • How long have you been tutoring?
  • What are your qualifications, certifications, or credentials?
  • Have you worked before with kids or adults who have trouble with the same skills as my child?
  • How will you get a sense of my child’s needs?
  • What strategies have you found to help most when you start to work with a child?
  • Can you tell me a little bit about your teaching philosophy?
  • What kind of results can I expect to see, and what happens if my child doesn’t make progress?
  • What might get in the way of achieving your tutoring goals?
  • How would you help my child deal with [specific challenge your child has had]?
  • What can I do to support the process?
  • How will you communicate with me, and how often?
  • How will you work and communicate with my child’s teachers?
  • How do you measure progress?
  • Do you have references I can speak to?
  • What’s your availability?
  • Where will the tutoring sessions take place?
  • How long is each tutoring session?
  • How much do you charge per session?
  • Are there other fees (for materials or assessments, for example)?
  • What’s your policy for cancellations and make-up sessions?

Asking the right questions can save you a lot of stress and trouble in the long run for your child and your budget.

What To Expect When Working With an Online Math Tutor at Learner

When you find an online math tutor with Learner, you can ensure that you’ll be matched with the best math tutor for you and your child. After answering questions on your child’s background and unique needs, you will then schedule a call with our Academic Advisor to identify learning goals and objectives. From there, we will custom-match the right tutor for your child and your first session is 100% free.

At Learner, we work hard to make sure your child has the best opportunity for success by matching them with the best tutor for them specifically. We provide an innovative learning environment that provides consistent feedback to your child to track their progress. Our team is made up of the best tutors online and we stand by that with our 100% risk-free satisfaction guarantee.

Ready to schedule that free session? Take the next step with our matching quiz!

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re still unsure about finding the right math tutor for you and your child, below are some frequently asked questions from students and parents about math tutors.

How much should I charge as a math tutor?

Depending on experience and qualifications, the price of a math tutor varies. The average hourly rate for a math tutor is about $40 per hour, but this can range from anywhere between $25 to $80 per hour.

How can I get a free math tutor?

Many tutoring services, such as Learner, can offer qualified tutors at a reasonable price. If you want a tutor that will work well with your child and provide proven results, you must be willing to invest in a tutor for your child’s education.

What do math tutors do?

A math tutor helps students with their math studies, either individually or in small groups. Math tutors' responsibilities and duties include assessing what mathematics material students have mastered, where they need assistance, and how they learn best.

What makes a good math tutor?

Tutors who showcase strong interpersonal skills are typically excellent math tutors. Math tutors need to have lots of patience, empathy, and positivity to keep students engaged in the subject.

Where can I get help with math?

You can find math tutors by conducting an online search for the top-rated ones in your area. However, if you want to avoid scams or stress, then using services such as Learner can save you lots of time and headaches.

Should I do math tutoring online or in person?

Math tutoring is essentially the same whether sessions are taken in person or online. Many parents may prefer online methods for convenience, while some students focus better on being in person or in a classroom setting. Overall, it depends on you and your child’s needs.

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About the author:

Mike developed his passion for education as a math instructor at Penn State University. He expanded his educational experience launching and running an Executive Education business - training over 100,000 students per year. As the CEO of Learner, Mike focuses on accelerating learning and unleashing the potential of students. 

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