As a Physics teacher myself, I have worked with many other Physics teachers and tuition centres, all of different stripes and colours. Some were naturally better than others, for various reasons such as being more experienced, or being able to target weaknesses, but there were definitely some traits that they all shared that made them successful.
1. They get to know your child and their needs.
Every child has their strengths and weaknesses.
When your child first comes to the tuition centre, it’s a good sign if the tutor takes a few minutes to learn about them and their goal for coming to tuition, just before they start any kind of lesson with them. It’s an unfortunately common mistake for a tutor to start lessons quickly in the interests of time, without targeting the right kind of weakness. Hence, the child just ends up frustrated as their concerns are not being addressed, and they are made to learn strategies for things that they have no trouble with, which is a waste of time and money.
2. They provide a welcoming classroom environment for all their students.
There are multiple opportunities for asking questions.
One of the biggest reasons students go for tuition is because they feel like they aren’t able to get the extra attention they need in class for their weaknesses, due to a large class size and possibly overwhelmed teacher. In comparison, good tuition centres tend to have smaller class sizes, and are able to devote more attention to each individual student. However, if there is a stifling atmosphere in the tuition classroom, students will feel too intimidated or scared to ask questions, which defeats the purpose of a smaller class size.
Hence, a good Physics tuition teacher will purposefully create a welcoming classroom environment by encouraging discussion, and allowing times to ask questions. If your child comes home complaining that they lack an opening to ask the tutor questions or feel “rushed along” in class. this may not be the best Physics tutor, as Physics is a very content-heavy subject that may cause a lot of confusion and misunderstanding.
3. They are willing to hold extra classes just before big exams.
Extra classes fill gaps in knowledge.
Not all tutors or tuition centres will have these, but definitely keep a look out for them, especially if your child is extremely weak in knowledge and needs a quick boost just before an exam. These “crash courses” are usually intensive, few hours/session long, and focus on key Physics concepts and formulas. It’s best to send your child for one in the days just before the exam, so that they will be more likely to retain knowledge, especially if they have trouble with remembering information for a long time.
Even if the tutor does not offer such “crash course” services, you can still ask if they do additional classes for their existing students. For example, if a tutor finds that his students aren’t performing very well, he might offer optional, extra classes for those students who are really interested in catching up to their school syllabus, at a reduced fee or even for free. This shows that the tutor is willing to spend extra time with his students, because he has a strong interest in helping them actually do well, instead of being purely “for profit”.
There are definitely traits tutors show that mean that they would be a good fit for your child, and be able to work well with them. These signs include things like a genuine interest in teaching the subject, being willing to hold additional classes, and getting to know your child and their targeted score or goal in Physics. While there are definitely other signs that a tutor is a good one, I have found that these three signs are very indicative of good tutors who have a true passion in the subject and will teach your child well. Being able to “spot” these signs will definitely be very helpful to you in your search for a good Physics tutor for your child.