Steven Davis: 5 Things to Look for in a Tutor


TutorThe decision to hire a tutor is not one to be taken lightly, notes high school teacher Steven Davis. Hiring the wrong tutor can actually be detrimental to a student’s success and learning. Davis recommends looking at at least five areas before making a hiring decision.

Hiring a tutor to help a student with a certain subject area or across all subject areas is becoming ever more common. A tutor is an ancillary figure who provides more in-depth assistance to allow a student to either catch up or pull ahead in a subject. Tutors aren’t meant to replace a student’s regular classroom learning. Steven Davis, who created the tutoring website Two Be, recommends screening every potential tutor carefully.

  1. Education. A tutor should have more education than your child. At the bare minimum, they should have graduated from high school. An ideal tutor will have a degree in the subject you’re asking him to teach or should be in college studying that subject. While teaching experience should be a requirement, your tutor doesn’t need to have teaching certification. A lot of people have worked as teachers in private schools or at colleges and don’t have a teaching certificate.
  2. Character. You want to hire a tutor who has a good character, as this person will be spending a good deal of time with your child. A tutor who is reliable, who shows up on time and who doesn’t cancel appointments is preferable. You also want to hire a tutor who values honesty and who will be able to work with your child patiently.
  3. Teaching methods. A tutor should have a specific teaching method and should be able to explain her methods to you. Since every child learns differently, you want to have an idea of how the tutor will approach the subject and present it to your student before you hire her.
  4. Flexible schedule. The preferred tutor will be available when you need her and will be willing to work with you to develop a schedule. Keep in mind, notes Steven Davis, that you need to be flexible as well. You can’t expect the tutor to rearrange her schedule each week to accommodate you.
  5. Clean Background. Run a background check on the tutor to make sure she doesn’t have a criminal record and that she is who she says she is.


Steven Davis teaches calculus and physics to high school students in Vermont. He’s the founder of Two Be, a website that brings together tutors and students in a variety of subject areas.


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