In some ways, tutoring is my livelihood, so one might wonder why I’m asking this seemingly rhetorical question. But bear with me and my answer may surprise you.


Before I get to a simple “yes” or “no”, let’s first understand a tutor’s role.

Best tutor ever right?

Not quite…

Private tutors offer expertise in a targeted area. Our job is not to babysit the student and complete their homework assignments, but to find the problem areas and fill in gaps that are preventing their long-term success. As you can imagine, this type of personalized service can cost a pretty penny.

I see most of my students once a week, often for an hour at a time. That still leaves many more hours in a week where they are completely on their own. How we use our hour together is up to the student, but that choice makes a world of difference when it comes to results.

In my experience, the students that reap the greatest benefits from tutoring are internally motivated to do well. They listen attentively in class, prepare a list of questions and problems they’d like to focus on, and are willing to put in the extra hours to practice the concepts we review. These students understand that knowledge builds upon itself, that they can’t just avoid difficult problems and hope to never see them again. In short, they are proactive rather than reactive.


Alternatively, students that are looking for a quick fix are sure to be disappointed. Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a grade boost or a last minute refresher before the big exam. If however, there’s a perpetual pattern of studying solely for the sake of exams, which is evident in their panic right before test day and lack of engagement at all other times, then we have a problem.Private tutors don’t have magic pills. We can’t take exams for our students. We provide the tools necessary for them to master a skill, but keeping those tools sharp requires continual effort on their part.

So do I believe you should pay for a private tutor? With my background in Consulting, it should come as no surprise that my answer is “it depends”. A student that is motivated to excel, but may not be equipped to do so due to poor teacher quality (an unfortunately common phenomenon), is an ideal candidate for private tutoring. For students that need a bit more push to see the value of education, tutoring may still be a good option, but it’s important to be realistic with your expectations.If you’re considering hiring a private tutor, be sure to talk to your student first so they understand the value of your investment. That way, they will come to the lessons equipped to maximize productivity.

Made the decision to hire a tutor? Read good tutor vs. great tutor and how to find the right one for you.

Should you pay for a private tutor?
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One thought on “Should you pay for a private tutor?

  • December 31, 2016 at 6:11 am
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