At a glance
Start the process right by sharing your tutoring plans with the teacher ahead of time.
Focusing on what your child needs can help keep the tone positive.
It’s important to set clear expectations about communication between the teacher, the tutor and you.
Tutors can provide great support and help for kids with learning and thinking differences. And good communication between your child’s tutor and teacher is key to making your child’s tutoring experience a successful one.
Sharing information allows the tutor to support what your child is learning in the classroom. The tutor can make sure the methods she uses don’t confuse your child because they’re different from what’s being used at school.
Here are five ways to help your child’s tutor and his teachers communicate and work together.
1. Share your tutoring plans with the teacher.
Let the teacher know ahead of time what you’re planning and what to expect. That can help open clear lines of communication from the start.
Explain that your goal is for the tutor to work with the school to support your child’s success in the classroom. Let the teacher know you’d like the tutor to get insights into what’s happening at school and how best to coordinate efforts. Then ask the teacher how he’d prefer to communicate.
Be sure to tell the teacher that the tutor has your permission to talk with the school. Some schools may require proof of that in writing. Your child’s school may also need a release from you in order to communicate with the tutor without violating FERPA laws.
2. Keep the focus on your child.
Some teachers may feel defensive when a parent brings a tutor into the mix. It’s possible your child’s teacher may feel that you’re seeking outside help because you think he’s not doing a good job.
Focusing on your child’s specific needs can help keep the tone positive. It can also keep the tutor and teacher focused on the same goal as they work together to help your child succeed. Emphasize to the teacher that right now your child needs extra help outside the school day—and that he can provide useful information to make it as effective as possible.
3. Set clear expectations for the tutor.
Ask the tutor how she typically shares information (and what type of information) with classroom teachers. Tell her what you’d like her to share with your child’s teacher—and how often. For instance, you might ask that she contact the teacher every eight weeks to check on your child’s progress. Be sure to tell her if there’s information you don’t want her to share, too.
Talk about how you’d like to be kept in the loop. For instance, you can request that the tutor and teacher copy you on all email communications. Or maybe you just want the tutor to let you know whenever she communicates with the school.
It’s important to stay flexible, though. See how well your child responds to tutoring and how much progress he’s making at school. There may not need to be as much communication as the tutor gets to know your child and as she and the teacher have collaborated for a while.
4. Help work through differences in approach.
Some teachers object to a tutor using a different method than what they use in the classroom. But it’s not always a bad thing to use different methods.
That’s because there’s no single method that works for every child. Giving your child a different way to approach a challenge can be key in helping him work through his struggles.
Still, your child’s teacher may be concerned about this. If so, listen to his concerns, and encourage him to talk with the tutor about them. They can work together to create more overlap between the two settings. They can also agree to stay in touch with each other as your child progresses to monitor how things are going.
5. Keep the information flowing.
Your child’s teacher and tutor may be in touch, and on the same page. But you’re still the key link between them.
You get all types of important information about your child throughout the year. That includes report cards, testing results, progress reports and more. When you do, it’s important to share them with the tutor.
Each of those items will help her stay current on what’s happening in class. That allows her to adjust the approach based on your child’s performance. It also lets her know when it’s a good idea for her to reach out to the teacher for more information and insight.
How well your child’s teacher and tutor work together has a lot to do with how well you work with each of them. Get tips on what to look for in a tutor if your child has dyslexia or dyscalculia. See a list of questions to ask potential tutors. And try these conversation starters for discussing teaching approaches with teachers.
Open, positive communication between you, the teacher and the tutor will help your child get the most out of tutoring.
Establish clear expectations and lines of communication.
Remember to share information you receive from the tutor with the teacher, and share school reports with the tutor.
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About the author
About the author
Elizabeth Babbin, EdD is an instructional specialist at Lower Macungie Middle School in Macungie, Pennsylvania.