If you’re considering a learning pod to replace or supplement your child’s education this fall, you will want a private teacher who will understand your child’s learning style and motivate them even though they are in a non-traditional educational environment.
Here are nine qualities to look for in a teacher for your learning pod.
1. Communication skills
A good private teacher will talk with everyone involved in the learning pod before starting their first lesson. They should gain insights on goals and expectations, student abilities and challenges, how they like to learn, and anything else that may impact the learning environment. If your learning pod is in addition to traditional schooling, your teacher may also want to talk with your children’s educators at school to ensure they are covering appropriate material and structuring their lessons accordingly.
2. Organizational skills
After speaking with you, your children, and their teachers (if necessary), your learning pod teacher should develop a lesson plan. They may already have an established plan, which they can adjust to the expectations and needs of your children. As the school year progresses, they should continue to invest time and commitment to preparing lessons. A learning pod teacher should have a day’s activities planned ahead of time and adjust as needed. They just can’t “wing it.”
Hiring a private teacher is different than having a nanny care for your children. While they both should possess the soft skills to work with children, a teacher will have more extensive experience in a classroom or as a tutor. They should know how to develop lesson plans, teach children with different learning styles, and understand how to achieve your educational goals.
4. Relationship building
Your teacher will need to connect with each of the children in your learning pod. It will be a much more personal setting – in someone’s home with just a few or several children – rather than a traditional school classroom with many more students.
They should be able to listen to their students and build rapport with them. If your children respect and trust their learning pod teacher, the chances of a successful relationship skyrocket.
5. Listening and patience
These two qualities go hand-in-hand when teaching young children. Your learning pod teacher should be listening to your child’s needs and asking them questions. This shows the teacher is there to support your child and is providing a safe learning environment where they are valued.
Listening leads to patience. Your learning pod teacher should be attuned to your child’s learning style and understand when they need more help comprehending lesson materials. They need to make sure your child has grasped the concepts being presented before moving on to the next lesson.
Staying calm – even if feeling frustrated – will help your children feel more relaxed. An advantage to a learning pod is that lessons can be paced to the abilities of the children rather than a set schedule that needs to be followed in a traditional school.
Listening and patience also show a commitment to your child’s education. Lessons are not being rushed and learning goals can be achieved. And with that confidence, your children will be more engaged and feel less stressed about learning at home.
6. Empathetic and respectful
A learning pod teacher should understand that every child learns differently, and some may face challenges in understanding concepts. A teacher should be empathetic towards your children and help them feel confident even if they are struggling. They also should not make judgments or assumptions about children based on their personal backgrounds or circumstances. All children should be treated with respect and with the desire to learn.
Learning isn’t “one-size-fits-all.” If your learning pod teacher has talked with you ahead of time and gotten to know your children before lessons begin, they should be able to tailor their plans to a child’s individual learning style. For example, some children may prefer a hands-on approach. Others could be more visual learners. A good learning pod teacher should be able to assess which approaches to take and adjust if needed.
8. Passion and enthusiasm
It could be difficult for your children to learn in a home environment. They are home (or in someone else’s home) and there could be a lot of distractions. Or it just does not feel like school. Your learning pod teacher needs to be a motivator and get children enthused about education at home. They need to show that they are excited to be there and not just doing their job for a paycheck. If they have built a relationship with your child, then this positivity should be easier to spread. Your child will be more motivated and encouraged to learn.
Your teacher should show a desire to make a difference in your child’s life and get satisfaction in seeing them succeed.
9. Subject expertise
If your learning pod is more of a microschool for older children or you have hired a teacher for a specific subject, then your educator needs to be an expert on that topic and have the skills to teach it. A deep understanding of a subject helps a teacher explain concepts in ways a student can understand them and leads to more engaging projects and assignments for students.
Did you know a private teacher could be your employee?
A teacher hired independently or through a placement agency is likely your employee, which makes you a household employer. That means tax, payroll, compliance, and insurance responsibilities. But don’t worry about the administrative aspects of employing a learning pod teacher. GTM works with many families who have formed learning pods, microschools, and nanny shares and help make sure they are compliant with tax, wage, and labor laws.