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Tutor/Learner Matching

How do we set up tutor/learner matches for success?

Start by making sure a potential match is compatible logistically:

  • schedule 
  • location 
  • allergies (smoking)
  • gender requests

After you determine potential pairs based on the above factors, look at:

  • interests and hobbies
  • personality and learning styles 
  • past experiences and background
  • other comments/requests listed on the tutor and learner intake forms


How do we support a tutor/learner pair once matched?

Be proactive.  Follow up with newly-matched tutors and learners:

  • right after the first 2 lessons 
  • then every other week for the first 2 months

Schedule times for new tutors to meet and share their experiences.

Often tutors and learners will wait to contact you until the match is unsalvageable.  Touch base early on, so you can help troubleshoot the growing pains of a new match.  Communication around lesson schedule, location or having to reschedule can be very challenging for a new match.


Resource:
"Boosting Retention by Ensuring the Tutor/Student Match" by Cathy Roth in Fieldnotes for ABLE Staff, 2004 Edition.


Should we allow tutors and learners to meet in their own homes?

No.  Meeting in a private home is never a good idea.  

Your organization should:

  • talk with a lawyer to answer questions about liability.
  • have a policy that requires pairs to meet in a public place.
  • include the policy in the agreements tutors and learners sign.  

Safety is the primary reason for this policy. 

  • Your screening process screens out some applicants, but is not foolproof.  
  • You don’t know anything about the other people living in or visiting tutor/learner homes.

Liability is another reason.

  • If there is an accident, the home owner (and your agency) may be liable.

Some learners have barriers that make it difficult, or even impossible, to meet outside of their home.  However, your Board of Directors must carefully review the risks and legal implications of allowing pairs to meet in private homes.  Most organizations decide that the benefits simply do not outweigh the risks.


What about transportation – can tutors and learners drive together?

There is a similar concern with transportation.  

For example, if a student rides in a car with a volunteer who does not have auto insurance, what happens if there is an accident?  

Your agency should:

  • talk with a lawyer to answer questions about liability.
  • have a policy about volunteers and learners driving together.  
  • include the policy in the agreements tutors and learners sign.