How Can School Districts Find Quality Tutors?January 18, 2022
When it comes to recruiting quality math tutors, there are some key things to look for, and it’s not just knowledge of math. Tutors should have a strong belief that all students–especially these from underserved communities– deserve access to high-quality education. Building relationships with students and having representation is important. In addition, tutors need to be flexible and resilient and be able to connect with the students they serve, whether it’s online or in person.
So how do you find these tutors, and what are some of the questions you should be asking?
Recruit Inside the School
When it comes to recruiting potential tutors, sometimes you can find people already connected with the school. For example, paraprofessionals, volunteers, retired educators, and recent college graduates are all good candidates to be possible tutors.
Reaching out to local colleges and universities that have a strong math or education program and connecting with professional associations may be another way to find potential tutoring candidates.
Liz Peinado, Senior Director of Talent for Saga Education said that finding the right candidate to be a Saga Fellow is a “huge labor of love.” She and her team frequently use Handshake.com, a job platform that specializes in giving college students equal access to meaningful careers.
Questions to Consider
Peinado stressed that math skills are not the only thing to look for. “We’re looking for mission alignment,” she said. In other words, be sure that tutor applicants share the same values as the school or organization. She suggested that some of the questions consider include:
Do new recruits believe that all students deserve equal access to high-quality education?
Are these candidates able to work with a diverse population?
Can they make lessons engaging for students?
Are they able to collaborate with others?
It goes without saying that there needs to be a formal process for determining a prospective tutor’s knowledge of the subject matter. In addition, a complete background check is essential.
But while some new tutors may have a real command of the subject at hand—math, for example–they might have a hard time connecting with students. This is a crucial piece of the puzzle, since tutors must be able to connect with their students, and find a way to make learning come alive.
Peinado emphasized that the strategies for recruiting teachers are quite different from how schools should recruit tutors. “I urge districts not to use the same process to recruit teachers. This is meant to be a service year,” she said.
School district leaders may see this as an opportunity for tutors to learn more about possible careers in education. Schools can also stress the fact a service year is a way to directly impact the lives of students in underserved schools. This message may appeal to people who are looking for ways to give back to the community,
At the same time, it’s important to recognize and identify candidates who do not have a “savior mentality.” The ideal tutor is someone who fully understands that they are walking alongside students in a supportive partnership with their students, as they learn and grow from each other.
From Tutors to Teachers
Recruiting the right tutors can help develop a better tutor to teacher pipeline. In an article for Real Clear Education, Saga Education co-founders, Alan Safran and AJ Gutierrez, state, “As we emerge from the pandemic and begin to recover from one of the roughest periods in the history of modern education, we need every tool to bring teaching talent into schools. Creating a tutor-to-teacher pipeline is one of the best new ways to make that happen.”
Once the recruitment, interviews and candidate selection has taken place, it’s important to have a comprehensive orientation and an on-boarding process. But it shouldn’t end there. Tutors need to be supported throughout their time at school. Having a supervisor and mentor is crucial to the success of tutors. Another thing to promote is any potential benefits for tutors, such as professional development. When there is a clear support system in place, tutors are much more likely to succeed.
For more information about how to recruit qualified tutors, visit Saga Consult.