When you write your ad, include all specific information. Give the age/grade level of the learner, the subject(s) in which you need tutoring, and details regarding your needs. The details should include information about overall learning (such as is the learner doing well in all other areas and just struggling in this/these area(s) or does the learner struggle in all areas), how long the learner has been struggling (the learner has been doing well until this year, the learner has been struggling for a number of years), the degree of difficulty (the learner is able to keep up grades but spends four hours every night doing homework, the learner does hours of homework but can't pass any test, the learner can't understand any of the in-class work), the learner's general attitutde toward school, and any other specific information (the learner has been diagnosed with ADHD). The more information you give at the beginning, the more information you should expect in your first dialogue with the tutor and the more time you'll be able to cut-out of your search.
A response from a prospective tutor should address everything you included in your first ad or e-mail. Look for those tutors that took the time to fully read about your needs and tell you what they would do. Narrow your list down to the top two or three. These would be the tutors that responded appropriately, you felt a connection with, have teaching techniques that match the learner's style of learning, are prompt with their responses, are friendly, and match as closely as possible the list you created before you began. Ask the tutors to meet with you (do not choose a tutor based solely on e-mails!)
Our next installment of this series will help you through the interviews with tutors. Join us tomorrow for Choosing a Tutor...Decision, Decisions! Part Four - Interviewing Prospective Tutors.