Which tutor is best: a university tutor or a trained teacher?

When looking for a tutor, you may be considering several factors in selecting your tutor. Let’s take a look at some of the important merits of each:




I’m sure this was your first choice. A teacher is, after all, trained to teach. The general view of a teacher is that of a professional, who has specialized in the subject they trained to teach.


Together with this concept, we assume a teacher has had more experience in their field.


An older teacher often has more respect from parents’ due to this assumption, that they had many years of experience.


I am not going to try and defeat any of these merits. However, as a recruiter of tutors, I would like to warn against potential pitfalls.


When you assume many qualities that are automatically associated with your concept of a teacher, you might be a little less diligent on screening your potential tutor.


I have received many applications from qualified teachers. Upon requesting and receiving their matric and university marks and transcripts, have been a little doubtful about their grasp of the subject.


I have seen shocking matric certificates riddled with D’s, E’s and F’s. Some are strewn with mostly F’s in the subjects they are now qualified to teach. Upon further inspection, that same candidate has also failed their teaching subjects at university once or more than once.


Therefore, I always recommend to not only ask for a qualification proof, but for the actual transcripts and high school marks your candidate obtained as a way of making double sure the candidate has a good understanding of the subject, itself.


This is not to say that all teachers received poor marks. There are many who have done brilliantly.


University tutors:


Here, I am referring to University students, fresh out of school, studying at University and looking for a job.


The merits are that the knowledge is still fresh in their minds; their schedules tend to be more flexible and their rates more obtainable. There are also plenty of students wanting a part-time job, so the selection of tutors available are greater.


There is a simple way to screen these tutors. I usually start, by requesting their matric certificate and looking at the marks they obtained. A tutor who mastered and understands the subject brilliantly, will be able to explain it correctly.


This assumption is especially applicable for complex subjects at high school. For simpler, primary and remedial work, I recommend a patient teacher more than a braniac.


The tutor may have to still get some experience and grow in tutoring. However, the potential is there. Someone who excelled is also good at learning and should learn and adjust quicker.


If the tutor and learner can build a good relationship, this will also help in the learning process.


Some parents are hesitant that the child will not take a young tutor as serious as an older teacher. However, the same can be said for the reverse. What’s more important, is the relationship that the tutor establishes with his or her learner.


Have you had a tutor before? What do you recommend? Please share your experiences with us.

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