The National Tutoring Association has laid out an effective roadmap for how tutoring should work.
The National Tutoring Association has crafted a fine Code of Ethics for its members. While I am well aware that most tutors do not belong to a national organization such as the NTA, nonetheless the NTA's Code of Ethics present a set of guidelines by which you and I as parents can evaluate the tutors we hire for our children. For sake of this discussion I also include any teacher who primarily works on a 1 on 1 basis as a tutor. For example, piano, art and dance instructors, as well as the math and English tutors you will expect to encounter.
Using the NTA's Code of Ethics I have offered comments on each of their tenets. Use these comments to help you assess and evaluate any tutor you hire.
Code of Ethics
The National Tutoring Association is dedicated to providing its members with opportunities to achieve and maintain high professional standards for tutors and administrators of tutoring programs and services.
I understand that my role as a tutor is to enable students to do their own work using the best learning approach possible.
RK: The extra time and attention which a tutor affords his students makes it possible for them to understand the material presented. More importantly a tutor can take time to explain the variations and possibilities inherent in the original problem so that his student is able to recognize them when they do occur. Equipping students to do their own work is vital.
I will provide honest feedback in the form of positive praise and/or constructive suggestions to the student I serve in a manner that will be beneficial to their overall learning.
RK: Positive praise and/or constructive suggestions build confidence. After all, in many cases the reason why a child needs tutoring is that she understood the foundational materials to begin with. Often tutoring has to take things right back to square one. Making sure your student understands each step of the way is vital to her future success.
I will demonstrate faith in my student's learning abilities.
RK: Each student is unique. A good tutor will believe in his student's learning abilities. The result is a confident, capable young person who understands the material being presented.
I understand that my relationship to the student is professional and not personal.
RK: You cannot be their friend. You are their guide. Period. Yes, you can be a huge fan of your students. Of course, you can. But don't cross the line from professional to personal. When and if your students need something which you cannot provide, be frank with your employers.
I will show respect for my student's cultural background and personal value system.
RK: Students are unique in the way in which they learn as previously mentioned. Their cultural backgrounds and personal value systems deserve your respect. Make adjustments in your approach and style of teaching as needed to fit in.
I recognize that I may not have all the answers to student questions. In this event, I will seek assistance in finding answers to the student's questions and/or direct the student to an appropriate resource for the information.
RK: A good teacher knows that she does not have all the answers. Once again it is important to be a guide. Not knowing all the answers doesn't mean that you are incompetent or second-rate. It means that you are honest. Your clients will respect that honesty.
I will maintain accurate records of tutoring sessions as expected and required.
RK: Good record keeping is easy to do with all the apps and web based record keeping solutions available.
I will respect my student's personal dignity at all times.
RK: Particularly when you are working with teenagers, respecting their personal dignity builds confidence. A confident student feels as though she can tackle anything. That's what we want, isn't it?
I will be on time for tutoring appointments, not only out of courtesy, but to be a good example for my student to follow.
RK: Being on time sets a good example. "Do as I do not as I say." If you must be late a text or call is always appreciated, indeed expected.
I will keep information about the student whom I am assigned confidential.
RK: Think of yourself like any professional. Doctors, lawyers and accountants, for example, are bound by very strict confidentiality rules and regulations.
I understand that my ultimate goal is to assist my student in discovering how he or she best learns and to help my student develop the skills to achieve his or her best educational outcome.
RK: One size does not fit all. Early on in your tutoring sessions you need to find out what approach works best for your client. It just not be the approach and techniques which you have used successfully with other clients.
I will share any concerns I have with my supervisor.
RK: Communication is important in situations where you are working for a company. Assume nothing. Keep copies of every email and text message you send. Recap phone calls too. That way nobody can say you didn't let them know what was going on.
I expect to learn along with my student.
RK: Teachers never stop learning. Indeed I often say that I have learned more from my students than I was able to teach them. Remember that we teach our students important lessons in living as well as showing them how to solve an algebraic equation or write effectively.
I will keep current in both my subject area(s) and learning methodologies.
RK: In line with the previous statement we all need to keep abreast of new developments. Yes, your notes and understanding of your material are still valid. But the presentation of that material could well do with a refresh.
I will remain flexible to my approach to student learning, respectful of the various learning styles and preferences.
RK: Once again, one size does not fit all. Each student is unique. So are her learning styles and preferences. Adapt your presentation and approach to suit each individual client.
I will share techniques for improved study skills with my students.
RK: Essentially you want to be able to let them leave the nest. Equip your clients with study skills which will be useful in their adult lives.
The NTA has laid out a dynamic Code of Ethics which can equip every tutoring professional with the guidelines she needs to be successful.