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Becoming a private tutor- all questions here

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Boost Your Income
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  • So I've just started private tutoring, through a rather circular route.

    I have a Biology Degree from Oxbridge. My (preferred) job is only available part-time (3 days per week) and so I have started teaching in an international school for the other 2 days. My hours at school are going down for a couple of months, so I checked a local information website, someone was looking for Biology tuition, I answered, I start next week. It also turns out someone who graduated with me has just got a hectic job and is looking to get rid of his tutee, so I'm going to be picking up two keen A-level retake beans.

    Now it might just be that I still live in (prestigious) university town, but private tutoring is rife here. My general tips on secondary tuition would be:

    For any subject _except_ maths, you'll need a degree in the subject. Maths seems to be a special case as so many people need tuition, so people seem to get away without a degree but with lots of experience.

    Remember things have changed since you were at school. Make sure you check exam board websites for specifications that show exactly what each student needs to know (different exam boards are like different brands of GCSE, just like ketchup, they're subtly different. Hence the suggestion to stick with one school where possible -they'll all be on the same brand) and splash out on some new text books to make sure you're teaching modern methods/knowledge.

    One student comes to my house (on a night when my boyfriend is out, makes me clean up!) I go to the other students house - unless you have a preference you can negotiate this with each student.

    Any decent parent will ask for a CRB check/references. If you don't have any teaching experience, a good piece of knowledge is that _volunteers_ get free CRB checks. Might their be a program near you that needs volunteers (help with reading, science and engineering ambassadors, holiday clubs)? You'll get experience, references and a CRB check, they'll get your lovely time.

    Take any new students on a 4-lesson trial and see how it works out, that way both of you have a get out if you don't have a good working relationship (some you'll love, so you actually won't be able to stand, even at £20!).

    Expect to do at least 30mins prep for each 1hr lesson

    Parents and kids LOVE doing past exam papers, and the really good thing about being a tutor is that they do the questions, you get the mark schemes and just go through with them step by step pointing out how they could improve in a way a regular class teacher can't. No lesson planning headaches or the like.

    I charge £20 to my new student, £27 to the one I've inherited because that's what they were paying before. I had a friend who tutored latin at £30 an hour because private schools were charging £46! If you really don't know what to charge, try being a parent interested in tuition and ring round a few tutors for info on their experience, location and rates.

    As for advertising, I used that website but there are lots of cards in windows and local papers around here. If you've got a good social network it might be good to try with personal referrals first to see how you go.

    Not really sure if there's anything else useful to add, but I'm happy to answer any questions!

    [Edit: Whoops, sorry, didn't realise it was going to be quite that long!]
  • anniestaranniestar Forumite
    2.6K posts
    I have been tutoring for almost 7 years since DH became seriously ill. I started off with a couple of teaching agencies and from there got lots of private repeat work. As we live in a LEA that still has the 11+ so there is plenty of work. It drops off sharply in Oct(after the exam) but there are lots of entrance exams that generate work. After that I seem to pick up quite a bit of work from an adjoining LEA area with SATS stuff. As to what I charge well new clients are charged £15 for the initial assment then £22.50 for each hour lesson(I often overrun though!) BUT....I get loads of repeat business and for them I charge lower fees. Word of mouth is worth its weight in gold. DH also tutors although much less as he is back in school and a KS3 examminer also a senior examminer for GCSE. (he will be doing A levels next year as well:j :j ) Re the CRB I registered with a supply agency(be careful though loads require you to pay for them although if you do a set number of days you do get it refunded) Reed Education didn't charge although i don't know if that is still the case. I enjoy the work, I do buy a lot of work books, and do keep up with the current educational issues.Additionaly I sometimes do some supply work to keep my hand in so to speak. I haven't read all the thread so sorry if I have missed or repeated something. Hope this is of some use.
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  • mouchemouche Forumite
    902 posts
    Hullo everyone...I've been reading this board with interest and I wonder if anyone could give me some guidance.I am from India and moved to London just over a year ago. I have an MA in English Literature from one of India's top liberal arts colleges and I was quite good at maths and science in school. In India, I tutored a family friend through the national exam everyone gives at 15 - so I guess roughly equivalent to GCSE. I taught him for 2 years.

    That is my total experience in teaching. I was wondering if there was any scope for me to tutor in the UK? And if I wanted to do it, what would I need to do? Since I don't know anything about syllabuses or standards in the UK, is there somewhere I can go to find this out? And assuming, I felt confident enough to teach, would anyone be interested in hiring me or would I need to get some kind of certification first? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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  • Just a quick update: I got in touch with a local agency who've sent me an application form. They charge a flat commission of £3 per session and they suggest charging £20 for GCSE, £25 for A-level. I'd be self-employed so I'd have to sort out my own tax and NI. They have over 100 tutors on their books apparently so hopefully they're doing well.

    I had a quick look at some of the revision guides over the weekend and I noticed a few concepts that I never covered at GCSE or A-levels. Everything else came flooding back quite nicely though.
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  • flossy_splodgeflossy_splodge Forumite
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    This past year I also signed up to do GCSE invigilation as it gave me the chance to a) network and b) read through current exam papers across the levels and thus keep up to date AND I got paid for doing so albeit not a lot!:T
    ;)
    "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
    ― John Wooden
  • I got my CRB check form through today. Two questions:

    1. Can I use another form of ID in place of my birth certificate? I have my passport and driving licence.

    2. How do I get a replacement birth certificate?
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  • flossy_splodgeflossy_splodge Forumite
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    If you know where you were born you simply write to the registrar in that area and ask for a copy. I believe they cost around £7.00 per copy but that may be a bit out of date now.:o
    ;)
    "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
    ― John Wooden
  • PaulxoPaulxo Forumite
    454 posts
    I've been tutoring for 7 seven years.

    I've established quite a reputation for success and I now do it as one of my major breadwinners.

    But most of all, for me, I love it. It's great fun explaining stuff to kids, or really, getting them to a point where they understand and see it themselves.

    I recommend doing it if you get a kick out of it. I tutor maths mostly. My pupils usually do very well, I think because I don't teach like schools do... I make them see that it's pretty easy. Usually they go... 'Oh, it's so easy!' after years of banging their heads against a brick wall.

    Charges wise, I don't know for sure, but I think I'm the most expensive in the area (North East England) at £30 an hour. I think it's great value myself, as most of my pupils have no hope of getting a GCSE or A level when I meet them (I mean, that's why they call me) and getting that grade makes a huge difference in your life. Especially understanding maths too. When I started I charged £9 an hour as I was inexperienced...I would suggest all newbies start low...and build up in price.

    Re the CRB check, yes, tricky one! I used to be a supply teacher, so I got one then. But when it ran out, one of my clients was a headteacher at a primary school, and she asked me to run a maths club in school. I didn't fancy that so I suggested a chess club....but of course I need a CRB for that eh? I do it for 30mins every week and get to spend some time with the most energetic and intelligent kids in the school -ace.

    I tutor at home. This is inconvenient for my family, they're not fans. however it means I can earn about £150 a day as i don't have to drive anywhere in between lessons....it can go 4-5pm, 5-6pm, 7-8pm and so on. Busy times are Feb onwards as those exams loom, and then I do intensive courses...

    Oh yes, 3 days, 6 hours a day, in 18 hours we cover a GCSE in maths. How? Because of the way I teach and the fact that really there isn't that much in there you can't learn in 3 days... most of my pupils who do this usually move up 2 or 3 grades. My best was from a U to an A!

    Anyway usually do those in hols/study period and I charge £450.

    The important thing I think would be NOT TO TEACH like they do at school... develop your own style that you enjoy and that works. Elicitation is very important...don't talk for an hour then leave. Shutting up is important too. Which is probably what I should do now....

    Feel free to PM me for advice etc.
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  • suzie_wongsuzie_wong Forumite
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    Paulxo wrote: »
    I recommend doing it if you get a kick out of it. I tutor maths mostly. My pupils usually do very well, I think because I don't teach like schools do... I make them see that it's pretty easy. Usually they go... 'Oh, it's so easy!' after years of banging their heads against a brick wall.

    The important thing I think would be NOT TO TEACH like they do at school... develop your own style that you enjoy and that works.

    I agree entirely. I am all for doing maths the easy way, and usually there IS an easy way, although it isn't the way it is taught in schools generally. I tried to teach this way when I was a classroom teacher, and was very successful at it. Now I apply the same methods in my tuition, and as long as the child has a positive attitude, it works.

    I definitely get a kick out of seeing how quickly a child can improve. Just as important for me is the change in their attitude to maths. When one of my newest pupils recently told her mum that she no longer felt sick when she went into her school maths lessons, that was a great feeling.
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  • To those of you already tutoring: do any of you have any indemnity insurance or any personal liability insurance? Are they the same thing?
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