During the period of time when I put my tutoring services on the open market, I noticed that there were two distinct groups of tutors offering their skills. One group offered multiple subjects up to a certain grade level, and another offered one or two subjects all the way to master's or doctoral competency.
Generalists and specialists both have their advantages, and it's important to know the situations each one fits best. Let's take a look at the details.
Advantages of multiple-subject tutoring
There are two particular situations in which a general tutor is clearly preferable to a specific one. Keep these in mind when making your decision:
- Student has difficulties in several subjects. Paying for a master's or doctoral level tutor for each of your student's difficulties could get pretty costly. General tutors tend to charge less per subject.
- Student needs help in foreign language and another subject. Most any general tutor who offers foreign language among their abilities can integrate it into the tutoring of another subject, enhancing both for the student.
Advantages of specialized tutoring
One-subject tutors tend to be advanced in their specialties. Even though it might cost more to hire one of these experts, there are times when it's the best option:
- Student poses difficult questions. Tutors with high-level knowledge can usually also field complex or murky questions from students. Fundamental misunderstandings have a good chance of being cleared up by a specialist.
- Student is studying advanced concepts. General tutors might attempt to guide students through thorny upper-division concepts, but specialists are better equipped to handle sophisticated subject matter.
Determining who to hire
General tutors and specialized tutors both have their strong suits. Make sure to assess the learning situation of your student -- along with your education budget -- before you pull the trigger to hire a tutor. Appropriate consideration can make all the difference.