Setting Expectations with Your Child’s Tutor

All teachers know that it’s important to set expectations with students. This is something most tutors do within the first session or two with a new student. Did you know it’s also important for you (and sometimes even your child) to set expectations for the tutor, too? After all, you are the client! And while tutors will have the skills and the know-how to be able to support your child in any and all of her academic needs, they aren’t mind-readers! If you have specific expectations, desires, or hopes for your child’s tutoring sessions, it’s important that you communicate those to your child’s tutor before sessions begin.

Using the Time

The first expectation to make clear to any tutor is how you envision the time with your child being spent. Is it important to you that your child tackle school assignments independently, and therefore work on something else during sessions? Or does your child specifically need help with executing and completing school assignments? Maybe you’re leaving that up to your child or making it as-needed. If you have a specific vision for what your child works on, be sure to let his or her tutor know.


Do you want to be involved in sessions? Do you want that time to be strictly hands-off for you? Most tutors have their own preferences and style. Still, it’s a matter of communicating with each other so that both of you are pleased with how sessions go. We don’t recommend unplanned interruptions during sessions, as those can often be distracting to students. However, if checking in during the session is important to you, make sure you let the tutor know that.

Your Communication Style

Let your child’s tutor know how often you plan on checking in. Do you want regular phone calls? Do you want to touch base via e-mail as needed? Most tutors are amenable to your desired frequency of communication, but keep in mind that their time, like yours, is limited, and they probably have many other clients. If you plan on communicating at length and regularly, you might want to set up a system where you incorporate that check-in time into sessions. A five minute update after every session is not too much to ask. A half hour call every week will start to add up. At that point, you may want to either reframe your expectations or compensate the tutor for the time he or she takes to speak with you.

What Type of Learner is Your Child?

Does your child respond well to silliness or is he better with a no-nonsense teaching style? Let his tutor know your expectations for how sessions are conducted. Again, tutors will have their own teaching style but it will help them and your child if you let them know how your child best responds to the teachers in his life.

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