I'm a former classroom teacher and resource specialist. A resource specialist teaches learning disabled students (LD) in small groups or one-on-one. I also tutor students of all ages in all subjects. I once worked for a well-known tutoring center in California. All of this experience qualifies me to guide you in choosing the right tutoring center for your child.
How to Choose a Tutoring Center for Your Child
Your child struggles in school and you want to get her help at a tutoring center. Do your research before spending your hard-earned money.
The Best Tutoring Center
What to look for
I can't tell you what the best tutoring centers are for your child, but I can help you choose. If I revealed the name of the one I worked for, you'd probably recognize it. The company is everywhere. I'm going to show you some red flags to heed when shopping.
This learning center did not allow parents to observe their child being tutored--red flag. They hired credentialed teachers which is to their credit. Here's what went on behind closed doors:
- One teacher and four students sat at a horseshoe table
- The teacher handed the child a workbook to work out of
- Each table was a center and each session lasted for 20 minutes
- At the end of 20 minutes, a bell rang
- The students got up to change centers
- First they went to the toy box and chose a toy for doing their work
- Children had toy box privileges even if they sat at the table refusing to do their work
What's Wrong with this picture
Read Between the Lines
If a learning center tells you that you can't observe your child during tutoring, turn around and run out the door. Ask yourself, what is it they're hiding. This is what they are hiding:
- Teachers are not working one-on-one with your child in spite of all the money you're putting out.
- They are giving your child a workbook so they can work independently. Sure, the teachers are sitting there; doing nothing.
- Your child might be doing nothing also until she can collect her toy from the toy chest.
Here's what is wrong with this picture: If the child is struggling with academics, plugging him into a workbook is not going to do anything. That's what they're doing at school: Teaching from a generic curriculum designed for all students at a specific grade level. It obviously hasn't worked.
I sat with a child who refused to do any work for 20 minutes. I wouldn't let him get a toy out of the toy box. He ran into the directors office and told her. I got fired.
Why would a learning center reward a child for doing nothing? They want to keep your child happy so they can keep on collecting your money.
Reading Tutor Programs
What a Program Can't Do
I've successfully taught many struggling readers. One of my colleagues tells everyone that Brenda could teach a rock to read. I wouldn't go that far, but I can do what a reading program and computer can't do. I can diagnose exactly why a child is having difficulty reading. This is something a reading assessment can't do. A reading assessment can tell us that a child has trouble with phonics and comprehension, but it can't tell us why the child has trouble. It took me a few years of teaching learning disabled students to figure this out.
I'm sure there are learning centers with good reputations. I have heard good things about Kumon. I had a tutoring student in their math program. If you don't see improvement in your child after sending him to a learning center. Look for a qualified tutor. Hire a credentialed teacher. You'll pay more, but the money you spend will be well worth it.