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I'm hunting online to find a remote math tutor for my 9 and 11 year olds. I have hired tutors in the past ranging from high school students to experienced teachers and my luck has varied.

What are the specific questions that one should ask prospective tutors to determine if they are a good fit as a tutor for one's kids? i.e. what attributes would they have to make them appropriate remote math tutors?

This question is similar but addresses it from an Educators perspective. I'm coming at this from a naive parent's perspective and I don't have the expertise that the participants in that question have.

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    $\begingroup$ You seem to have had good and bad experiences with other tutors. What made them good or bad? That is a good starting point. $\endgroup$ – Amy B Aug 5 at 18:07
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps the best person to help you find a tutor is the classroom teacher who might know what is best for your child. Have you spoken to the teacher? $\endgroup$ – Amy B Aug 5 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ @AmyB I wouldn't necessarily trust the classroom teacher to give advice. They are usually hit or miss themselves when it comes to teaching math and they're generalists anyway because they have to teach kids many subjects. Math may or may not be something that they particularly like. $\endgroup$ – iYOA Aug 26 at 4:58
  • $\begingroup$ @iYOA What you say about teachers at this level is true for some teachers but not all. Even if the teacher doesn't like math or isn't strong in math - the teacher may be able to identify the child's weaknesses. For example, the teacher may notice that the student doesn't know math facts, can't do problems with fractions, or doesn't know how get started with word problems. That sort of identification can be useful. By approaching the teacher, a parent shows a desire to be a partner in the child's education and not an adversary of the teacher. $\endgroup$ – Amy B Aug 26 at 6:48
  • $\begingroup$ @AmyB it's a very nuanced topic, but I would say this is true for a very very large chunk of teachers. I don't mean it in a judgemental way. Elementary school teachers have to teach everything, and you can't expect them to be math people. I am not actually concerned with knowing details from a teacher like "tommy can't add big numbers". Yes, that's important but any good tutor should be able to identify more specifically than a teacher can. I'm more concerned with a well-intentioned teacher leading you to believe certain skills are more important than they actually are. $\endgroup$ – iYOA Aug 27 at 23:11
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To keep my answer specific, I'd probably say the biggest three factors in any personalized teacher would be (1) flexibility in the material (2) compatibility with students (3) inventiveness in the online classroom.

For 1) since the teaching will be personalized, the teacher would need to know the material well enough to interact with spontaneous questions, and being able to cater the pace to how quick or slow the student. For the age range, it seems like early "middle school" (and so I suppose beginning algebra? Like introduction to variables and equations and solving them?), so you'd also need to have a tutor who is experienced with handling those kind of questions.

(Speaking from my own experience, although I could do middle school math, I can't really teach it since I easily run out of ways to relate ideas to the student. So knowledge, as important as it is, is only as good as being able to communicate topics to someone new to it. So I'd probably look for experience in the math topics that you're looking for.)

For 2) you'd probably just have to get lucky with finding someone who works well with not only kids but also your kids. Teaching style might have something to do with it, but also just the general atmosphere when doing the class. Are the tutors primarily in it for the money? The work experience to get a different job? That they like kids and want to educate young minds?

(Again, for myself, when I've tutored, it's usually because I like communicating about problem solving with other people. I like how both student and teach and learn about the topic.)

For 3) since it's online, you'd need to somehow see how much set-up they have for online materials? Do they have pdfs of worksheets? Videos to watch? Tablet with pen to sketch or are they really good with a mouse and Paint? If they've ever had technical difficulties, then what happened?

Also, since you're looking online, would this person know your local school system so they know what kind of math will be happening in your children's school - or is the hiring for general mathematics knowledge, and so international tutors could be an option?

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