If you like helping people and enjoy working with children, then tutoring may be the perfect job for you. It is also a good part-time job for university students who don’t have time for a full-time job or for mothers whose kids are usually in school all day. While some tutors work face-to-face with children, others work online and can set their own schedules.
Qualifications for Tutors
Approximately one in four students in the UK currently gets help from private tutors, so you should be able to find work once you’re ready to start tutoring. Private tutors are not regulated, so there are no certification requirements to become a tutor. However, the companies who hire people to tutor students will have their own recruitment process and may require certain levels of education and/or experience in teaching.
It is recommended by some agencies that potential tutors have a DBS, or Disclosure and Barring Service, certificate, which acts as a background check and helps employers make good recruiting decisions. A DBS is required when doing volunteer work and for many jobs, especially those in healthcare or jobs that involve working with children. To get a DBS certificate, you have to apply through an employer, recruiting agency, or a company that hires private tutors.
Tutors can either work on their own or through an agency who will assign them to students. Within three months of working as a private tutor, you will need to register as self-employed with HMRC and obtain a URC, which is a unique tax reference number. You will also need to keep your own financial records, which include your earnings and your overhead expenses. At the end of the tax year, you will also need to fill out a self-assessment tax return, so the ability to keep track of your records will be very important.
Working as a Tutor
When you’re ready to seek employment as a tutor, you can either advertise your availability or go to work for a service that works with people who need tutors. You won’t necessarily work with children as some tutors also help adults who dropped out of school or who want to learn specialised skills like computer programming. If you do decide to find work yourself and you have more business than you can, or want, to handle, you can then hire tutors to work for you.
If you decide to work face-to-face with students, you can opt to work out of your home but you will usually either go to the student’s house or meet him or her in a neutral location, such as a coffee shop or library. For the safety of their child, most parents will probably prefer having you come to their home or meet in a neutral location until they get to know you. If you’re working with an adult then you may meet him or her in his or her place of business or home, but the arrangements are up to you and your client.
Another alternative for you is to tutor students online. Online opportunities are steadily increasing as more people feel comfortable communicating online. In addition, there are many online schools for both children and adults that you may work with to help tutor students who need extra help in a subject in which you may be well-versed.
Benefits of Tutoring
There are many benefits you will enjoy from becoming a tutor, especially if you love to learn, help others, and/or do research.
Mastering Your Subject
No matter what subject you’re teaching, you will need to have a thorough knowledge of it in order to be a tutor. This may mean relearning material you’ve forgotten or reading about new topics and concepts so that you can teach them to your students. You should know your subject inside and out in order to break down difficult concepts so they can be understood by your clients.
Coping with Different Personalities
You will also learn quite a bit by being a tutor because you will have to learn to cope with different personalities on a daily basis. While one student may be shy, another may be outspoken and another disruptive. You will have to learn how to handle these personalities in a caring but firm manner in order to help them learn the subject you’re teaching.
Providing a Noble Service
As a tutor, you will help prepare students to be successful not only academically, but also in life as well. Having a good education is necessary to be successful and fulfilled in life and by teaching students as a private tutor, you have a hand in preparing them for the rest of their lives. Being a private tutor is as much a noble profession as teaching full-time in a school.
Enhances Communication Skills
As you’re helping students, you will also enhance your own skills, especially your communication skills. You will learn how to verbally communicate concepts better so they are easily understood. Your writing skills will also improve because you will need to communicate with your students’ teachers, parents, and, if you work through an agency, with them as well.
When you head off for your first session as a tutor, you need to make sure you’re prepared to teach your student. You will need to bring supplies like pens, pencils, paper, and any tests or worksheets for your students. It is also a good idea to take notecards with you so you can use them to communicate with your students’ regular teachers.
Make sure to bring a copy of the lesson plan with you, a calendar, and any textbooks you will be using for the lessons. Before the first session, you should ask which textbook the student is using and try to find a copy in order to help him or her with his or her lessons, if that is why you were hired as a tutor. If not, you should bring a copy of the book or other materials you’re using to teach your subject. Being a tutor can be a good way to make a living part-time.