To tutor or not to tutor? That is the question

I never really believed in tutoring as I always thought my son was extremely intelligent. How wrong could I possibly be?!! I don’t refer here to my son’s intelligence, but to the importance of tutoring.

Media debate whether to tutor or not to tutor all the time and I have never thought of becoming an advocate for that myself.

I had to try it first to be able to understand the profound impact that a good tutor could make. And we only had a tutor for one session. 

It’s only now that my son is in year 4 that I have started considering it due to the fact that in my catchment area good secondary schools are limited and mostly oversubscribed.

Mark Maclaine, 18

Picture by Mark Maclaine,


I firstly checked entry tests‘ requirements from year 5 for children wanting to apply for secondary schools. I immediately realised that despite having a reasonably clever boy, I would have to fight (again!) to get a place in a decent school. So the fight for me starts now!

I also thought of tutoring him myself as I have a strong academic background. But that did not work well either as he clearly did not listen to me a great deal. As we know, children listen more to strangers than to their own parents.

Also my son’s weakest subject is English because he is bilingual (Italian/English) hence he has a more limited vocabulary in the English language due to the fact that we speak Italian at home. He is also very keen in scientific subjects and thinks literacy is boring. I won’t blame teachers because I very well know that they have too many children to take care of and they can’t please everyone or make them love all subjects in the same way.

Mark Maclaine, 9

Picture by Mark Maclaine,

Everybody has his own predispositions, talents and favourite topics. I thought that maths and science will take care for themselves (on top of the normal homework) but English would need an early intervention just to make sure my son feels more confident and passionate about literacy too.

At a time of pondering, Tutorfair contacted me and I was given the chance to choose tutors by watching their personal videos posted online. I researched and came across Erica, a very charming Californian girl with a strong literacy background and a bubbly personality who could be the right person for my son. 

The site is well structured and allows you to browse the tutors’ list by area, skills, child’s level, and price. What I love about Tutorfair is that it was founded with a social purpose: to offer an easier way to find and book the best tutors, while giving free tutoring to students who need it most. CEO Andrew was looking for a tutor to help his son. Frustrated at the lack of an easy and transparent way to find and book tutors online, an idea came to him. He called Edd, who was researching the e-learning market at the time, who shared Andrew’s vision for a website to let parents find and book the best tutors in London. But they didn’t stop there… They connected with Mark, a tutor with over a decade of tutoring experience and together they formed a mission to bring free tuition to the students who needed it most, and thus Tutorfair was born.

I prepared Diego for the big day of meeting Erica and working with her on literacy. At first he wasn’t too keen on that, but as soon as he met her he forgot that he was going to do some writing.

Mark Maclaine, 10

Picture by Mark Maclaine,

She made him talk about himself first and then write about the subjects he was so passionate about and then when he was warmed up to the challenge she played some games to learn how to express himself with more details by using a wide range of adjectives and adverbs. Then she went on building the basics for a new story.

I cannot believe how enthusiastic he was after the session. To the point that he actually asked to see Erica again.

To tutor or not to tutor? Well, the answer is clearly a big fat YES! Watch this space as I will be reporting on Diego’s progress in literacy following more sessions with Erica. 

If you want to try Tutorfair for yourself, click here and enter a competition to win 5 hours of FREE tutoring worth up to £250.

Facebook Comments