Credit: By Tulane Public Relations (Tutoring Center Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Math tutors can truly help someone to better understand and appreciate mathematics. For this reason, it is important for those looking to become a tutor and for those looking to hire a personal teacher for themselves or their child to identify those skills that make the best math tutors stand out. 

Should you become a Math tutor?

Simply put – do you like Math? If the answer is a flat out NO!, then tutoring in Math is probably not for you. If your response is positive, then this might be something to consider.

While you might LOVE Math, you still might not be a great tutor. It is important to understand that tutoring is a type of teaching, and unfortunately, not everyone succeeds at relaying information to another person in a way he or she easily comprehends. In addition, most tutors teach children to adolescents. Are you good with that age range? Can you make the concepts relevant?  These are all things to consider when debating starting to tutor. 

Tutoring group
Credit: By Tulane Public Relations (The Tutoring Center Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Ok, math tutoring sounds interesting. What skills do I need

While you have the desire to teach and the enthusiasm for math, you still need more. You need to completely understand the concepts that you will be teaching someone else[1]. If you can’t do fractions in your head, you might not be the best person to teach others fractions. A complete understanding of the specific math concept at hand is required. Your level of tutoring ability will greatly depend on how well you know the subject. 

What to look for when hiring a Math tutor?

  • Location – This may be very important to you. Are you willing to travel far to meet for a tutoring session? Can you do your math tutoring over the internet via skype or another platform. Location will vary greatly based on your needs and flexibility but definitely something to consider when choosing a math tutor. Having a tutor in a location nearby will also save you money in travel expenses.
  • Availability – Does the math tutor you are looking to hire have a flexible schedule? Will you be able to work out a regular time when both of you are available for a session. While you may find what seems to be the perfect math tutor, you need to make sure that your schedules work together.
  • Amount of Education - Someone helping out your child may only need to be high school educated. However, if you are looking for help in high school or even college. Someone with an undergraduate degree may be more suited for your needs. It would be extremely beneficial if your math tutor had a focus on mathematics.
  • Number of students – Does the math tutor teach only on a one-to-one basis or are there multiple students at a time? You may be looking for individualized support. If it is more of a group setting you won’t be getting the same attention as a private tutoring session. Think about the way or whoever you are hiring the tutor for learns best. Also, consider if the topic is good for a group setting. For example, if you are looking for additional SAT or ACT math tutoring, a group setting may be acceptable. However, if you or a child is failing a class, you may be looking for some more attention to really help you find focus in and try to understand the material better. Considering class size when choosing a mentor should be part of your checklist.
  • Additional work and practice tests – Does the math tutor only help you with the material you bring him or her? If this is true and the reason for hiring the math tutor, this may be fine. But to go back to my earlier example of a SAT or ACT math tutor, you may want additional work, examples, and even practice tests. A good math tutor would probably have the additional information no matter the situation.
  • Pricing – This factor will vary greatly based on the situation, and what you can afford. Make sure that you are paying for what you want and need. If you are looking for a private math tutor, this will more likely be more expensive. In addition, those extra practice tests, and other assignments while not itemized on your bill may also garner a higher paid math tutor. Just make sure you keep your budget for a math tutor reasonable based on the level of skill, size of classroom, and any additional features. [1]

A great math tutor can really help anyone struggle with mathematics from grade school to college.