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'A' Level students, do you tutor them and how do you find it?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by suzette, May 28, 2019.

  1. suzette

    suzette New commenter

    As a tutor who has mostly GCSE students, I'm at the stage where they have nearly finished their exams and their tutoring journey with me will end in a few weeks.

    I would therefore welcome your advice on a possible area I may go into now.

    I've not tutored 'A' level English Literature/Language students thus far. (Although I have tutored a couple of students successfully when they were doing their degrees), I have bypassed this subject, thinking there would be too much work involved. But having looked into it, I realised that some of the plays like A Streetcar Named Desire and Othello I studied when I was in drama college and having looked at some past papers, it seems like something I could do.

    My question is this; Before I get bombarded with a new cohort of GCSE students, should I pause a bit and consider taking on a few 'A' Level students? How do you find it tutoring them? Do you have a lot of issues with them handing in homework, tardiness or inertia? (I'm probably stereotyping, so apologies!!) Also, do you charge a different/slightly higher rate to your 11+ or GCSE students?

    I would love to know your views. :)
  2. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    Have a look at this thread if you haven't done so already.
    There seems to be something of an arts/science divide.

    As a maths, physics and chemistry tutor I prefer to do A level and most of the students have been good. Ideally I like to start in year 10 and go through to A level, if they want to continue. I charge the same for all levels, although I think it is quite common to charge a bit more for A level. I actually find A level easier to teach, as they usually know want they want to do, so I don't need to do any preparation. English would probably be different as there are many different books and plays which you may not always be familiar with.
  3. BG54

    BG54 New commenter

    As a Maths and Chemistry tutor I agree with @gainly that A-level tuition is generally easier and more enjoyable as the students tend to be more self-motivated and usually have a firm idea of what they want to cover in the lessons. I don't set homework to A-level tutees, they normally have enough to be going on with from school/college, although this may be different for students on the arts side.
    phlogiston likes this.
  4. suzette

    suzette New commenter

    Yes, I've read the thread and even commented on it, but I was generally wondering if this was one person's viewpoint or the 'norm.' I was more wondering about the homework side of things. How do you track progress if you don't set homework? I was thinking quizzes and short worksheets to demonstrate an understanding of work. It works well with my 'I don't want to do homework' GCSE students, but I have had to set HW at times because the English exams do involve a lot of writing and one needs to see how they write, what they write etc.
  5. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    I don't usually set homework for A level students either unless they or their parents request it. They should be getting plenty from school or college and be motivated enough to do extra work themselves if required. We do questions in the lessons so I can get a good idea of how they are progressing. I can see English would be different, you can't tell them to spend the lesson writing an essay!
    BG54 likes this.
  6. BG54

    BG54 New commenter

    Yes, questions are also a major part of my A-level lessons, added to which my students tend to get regular in-class test papers as well as homework and the students will routinely raise with me any problems arising from those tests. Perhaps I'm just lucky but my A-level students are very focused on their work and do a lot of the progress tracking themselves in terms of communicating any problems that arise.
  7. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    Tutoring A level is fantastic and I would highly recommend it. I charge the same whatever level I'm tutoring (an hour of my time doesn't suddenly become more valuable just because I'm teaching A level). I don't set homework, that is down to schools and colleges. I just roll up and help with difficult topics or concepts. The only difficult area is keeping on top of subject knowledge. If you have a love of your subject, A level provides more challenge and stops you becoming stale.
    phlogiston likes this.
  8. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Yes, I agree. In Maths, at least, you can't always prepare everything, particularly when they come in with an exam question they couldn't do and expect you to solve it on the spot. But that is something I find interesting. I am also happy to tutor GCSE as long as the student is motivated. I tutored one who is hoping to do IB Higher Maths next year. I hope she does and I get to do the tutoring - that will be even more interesting as I have not had anything to do with IB Higher for quite some time.
    suzette likes this.
  9. suzette

    suzette New commenter

    Thanks you've convinced me. Yes I'm going to do it and hopefully be ready to start in September. I think I'll play it by ear regarding homework. As I will be doing English lit, I think it might require a bit of HW. My daughter is about to sit her English lit 'A' level exam this week & she reckons some sort of writing tasks (as a tutor) will demonstrate whether the student is on the right track with regards to how to answer an exam question.
    briancant likes this.
  10. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I would echo the comments above. I have done some A level chemistry tutoring.
    It usually pops up in year 13 rather than year 12.
    Unless they want homework, I don't set it. I encourage them to set the agenda, as part of getting them to take responsibility and they are usually good at that.
    I guess the extended writing aspects on English Literature would need a different approach to the structured approach in chemistry and may well need advance preparation

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