How To Become A Private Tutor
For those with an aptitude for academia and a passion for knowledge, a career in private tutoring might be just the role for you! While teaching in an English classroom requires a PGCE qualification, a tutor working privately is held to no specific standard beyond skill in their task, which makes the role accessible to students, lecturers and professionals, as well as teachers wishing to move out of the school environment or add an additional source of income alongside their day job.
Many families will seek help from private tutors for students who are experiencing difficulty in certain subjects, struggling with exam pressure, or finding aspects such as memorising data or constructing arguments particularly hard. Some families may seek a private tutor for the purpose of home education or when the family travels, lending consistency to the progress of their child’s development. Ultimately, those seeking a tutor are looking for results in the grades and educational experience of their child, so constructing a well-planned strategy before taking on this position of trust is key.
What Makes You Perfect For The Role
An excellent private tutor must possess outstanding communication skills, allowing them to transmit concepts and ideas to their students, coordinate their schedule, and maintain the confidence of the parents that hire them. The experience that may qualify you for this role could be comprised of a clear understanding of education developed during your own studies, experience in training and development of others in a different field, or an already cultivated career in teaching. Whatever your background, the specific nature of working as a private tutor makes it essential that you can work one-to-one; inspiring, guiding and pushing a young individual to success. Honing your own time management skills will allow you to set a perfect example as you teach your student how to develop their own time management capabilities too. A strong set of IT skills will also be necessary as you source teaching material online, email your students and use documents and spreadsheets to manage your lesson plans, scheduling and accounts.
Factors To Focus On
While a keen interest in broader learning is a fantastic quality for a personal tutor to cultivate in their students, the young people in your charge will need to be steered towards achieving the best possible results in exams, with in-depth and encompassing knowledge of their current syllabus. Your student will most likely be unaware of certain gaps in their understanding, and so it will be your responsibility to maintain an up to date knowledge of their current curriculum, and work through it strategically to ensure success.
Staying abreast of the latest tips and techniques for exam preparation will allow you to support your students as effectively as possible. Make ongoing research a part of your own timetable, looking at types of revision planning and techniques such as mind maps. You can teach tools such as breathing exercises and active breaks for maximum focus and identify the learning style of your students. We are all considered to have one of four learning styles: visual, auditory, reading/writing or kinaesthetic. Each style will dictate increased value in a different learning approach.
Develop Your Strategy
Before beginning to market yourself, working out all the details of your pitch will allow you to step forward with a professional stride. Decisions to make at this point include what age groups you are most interested in teaching, and whether you intend to teach in the home of students, in your own home, or at another location such as a cafe or library. Consider what materials you will have to provide, such as stationary or printed worksheets, and what you will ask your employer to provide, such as pens, highlighters or reading material. If you are planning on fitting private tutoring around your own studies, another job, or other scheduled commitments, draw up a clear plan of the hours you will be able to allocate to tutoring so that you can be clear with potential clients about what you can accommodate.
Cover The Practical Elements
For any professional that will be working with children under the age of 18, arranging a Disclosure and Barring Service, (DBS) check is advised, and it is probable that employers recruiting a tutor will ask for one. A DBS check is a background check that will disclose any criminal record. You can request a basic check for yourself, or an employer or agency can request a more advanced check on your behalf should they deem it appropriate. These types of checks are standard practice for anyone working with young people and are relatively straight forward to obtain.
Getting organised ahead of time, and preparing your CV and references from previous employers or students for your prospective clients will speed along the recruitment process, helping to foster trust as you enter into a private arrangement with a family. Be prepared to discuss when and how you will be paid if you are acting as a self-employed tutor, and agree on terms on lessons cancellations and holidays so that everyone knows where they stand at the beginning of your professional relationship. Also get informed about declaring your earnings if you will be operating as a freelance professional, as in undertaking this nature of work it is your legal responsibility to declare your earnings and pay appropriate taxes.
Get Yourself Out There
Now that you are ready to begin your journey as a private tutor, there are two different routes to consider towards developing your client base.
Seeking work through an agency can be a fantastic route to a steady and consistent client base. Agencies working with private tutors will connect you with students, take payment from clients and pay your wages into your bank account. Some agencies may seek specific qualifications or levels of experience and may have certain needs in terms of your hours or the age ranges you will accommodate, but you will be able to take advantage of the established reputation of the agency, and they will do the leg-work of finding clients for you.
Acting as a self-employed private tutor will mean finding clients for yourself, but can offer autonomy in terms of choosing your own schedule, the age of your students, and setting your own prices. Rates charged by tutors in the UK vary wildly depending on experience, background, specific academic expertise and training for special needs, so research your local market before concluding the value of your services. To begin your search for students, effective platforms may be advertising online, posting in local venues or newspapers, and via word of mouth, which can become particularly useful as you begin to develop a reputation for fantastic results.
Think carefully about how you present yourself, the formality of your appearance, the accuracy of your advertising and the effectiveness of your communication with potential clients. As a freelance private tutor, you have the luxury of defining your own role, all while keeping a constant focus on your goal of creating happy clients and successful students. In this way, becoming a private tutor can become a hugely rewarding endeavour.