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Advice for a beginner tutor?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by jasminzt, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. jasminzt

    jasminzt New commenter

    I got a job at a small tutoring company to tutor a year 11 student in GCSE science. When I started I was given two other students in year 9 to also tutor in GCSE science. I am a student myself currently studying A levels and have no previous tutoring experience, let alone group tutoring. I only tutor 2 hours a week but I need some urgent advice on what to do with my students and how to tutor because I am not confident in myself or my tutoring and am currently struggling. Much appreciated.
  2. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Why on earth did you apply for the job if
    a) you don't have a clue how to tutor
    b) you don't have a clue what to teach!
  3. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    The best advice you will get, @jasminzt, is to quit this job. You don't need the stress. It's safe to say that this company will not do right by you just as it is not going to do right by its clients by fielding school students as professional tutors.

    Concentrate on your own studies and ace the exams. Your future is more important than a few quid in your pocket now.
  4. doctoryes

    doctoryes Occasional commenter

    You shouldn't be tutoring these students at the same time as they are at such different stages in their courses. GCSEs are changing and the exams that will be taken by current Y9s and completely different to those current Y11s are taking for group tutoring you should only tutor students in the same year group (and ideally the same syllabus).
    Unless the agency provide you with preset work for GCSEs I wouldn't continue. As an A level student you aren't really qualified to tutor GCSE until you have completed your A levels (and that's an absolute minimum).
    As parent to a child in Y11, I would be very shocked to find out that I was paying for an unqualified tutor.
  5. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Sorry but you shouldn't be doing this.

    A reputable tutoring agancy would insist you have a DBS clearance which I suspect you haven't got.

    Since they haven't then they are on dodgy ground....stop.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  6. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    The DBS nonsense isn't important. There's far too much paranoia in the UK about Pedos lurking behind every bush.

    However, much as you might like the money, you shouldn't be offering to do a job you are not up to. If you needed tutoring for your A-level you would expect the tutor to know what they are doing.

    Having said this, there's a large element of people in glass houses on this forum. A good percentage of posters on this forum who pontificate about tutoring are not qualified teachers and also have no business tutoring. And the tutoring websites are stuffed to the gills with people who are mediocre at the subjects they offer to help others with, and equally unqualified.
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

  8. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Having said this, there's a large element of people in glass houses on this forum. A good percentage of posters on this forum who pontificate about tutoring are not qualified teachers and also have no business tutoring.

    Very true - but I have several higher degrees in my subject as well as a number of years teaching experience which come in sort of handy when you start tutoring
    David Getling and Vince_Ulam like this.
  9. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    No, it is important.

    I agree that there are some right old hammer-bags out there touting as tutors but QTS is not necessary to be an effective tutor. Maths was taught effectively for thousands of years before QTS was inflicted upon the profession. Everyone knows that there are plenty of hammer-bags with QTS, too.
  10. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Very true! I'm constantly being horrified by the stories related to me by my A-level students about some of their maths, physics and chemistry teachers: especially as often they are employed at the supposedly better schools around here. Of course, part of the reason for this state of affairs is that most heads' main recruitment criteria are that the teacher should be cheap and subservient. With my philosophy of don't kiss it, kick it I wouldn't get a job in most schools even if I had a Fields medal or Nobel prize.
  11. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    It's an admirable philosophy which adoption many people spend years avoiding and which far fewer are capable of implementing. It really takes something of a kicking to get most people to stand up on their own two feet and walk away to better things.
  12. Skillsheets

    Skillsheets Occasional commenter

    I have a degree in my subject but no teaching qualification. My students don't seem to mind. They have been arriving recently saying 'I have had a whole lesson on xxxx and I didn't understand a word of it, can you explain it please' or 'He stands there and it's all blah blah blah then I come here and you explain it all'. This pair of quotes came from students at one of the city's top private schools.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  13. never_expect_anything

    never_expect_anything Occasional commenter

    Sorry, jasmizt, but I agree with those other posters who said you really are not suitable for this role. Whilst I admire your ambition, your admission that you are not confident in yourself or your tutoring says it all... You shouldn't be expected to tutor these students, and it's no wonder you are struggling! And trying to do so is not going to help your confidence.

    Having said that, it is the agency that is in the wrong here, not you for wanting to tutor. There's nothing to say you should not tutor (there are no formal qualifications or requirements), but it is generally accepted that a tutor should have qualifications 2 levels above those of their tutees (i.e. if your highest qualification is GCSE/AS, you should certainly not be tutoring GCSE students). You should be offering 'homework help' or tuition at primary / early KS3 level, where you have sufficient subject knowledge, without the experience or exam specification knowledge required for GCSE tuition. If the agency cannot offer you this, advertise privately (just as you would for babysitting, for example).

    On the DBS note, teaching and tutoring are different scenarios. A teacher is in sole charge of a class, acting in loco parentis, so DBS is necessary. A tutor can work in many different settings.To be honest, it depends on this agency's setting; if the OP is in a room with other tutors and are not 'in sole charge' of the tutees, then DBS may not be necessary.

    Nevertheless, jasminzt, I'd also recommend, if you do tutor privately, that you request parents are at home while you tutor. (I am a qualified teacher with lots of experience and a CRB, and I run my own tuition business, visiting tutees in their own home. I still make this request for tutees under the age of 14/16, as I am not there to babysit or act in loco parentis as I do in my day job; I do not want to have to deal with first aid if a child has an injury, such as slipping over in the bathroom whilst I am there to tutor them. It's just a sensible precaution.)
  14. owltutors1

    owltutors1 Occasional commenter

    I'm constantly surprised at how many tuition agencies recruit individuals who are not qualified or confident to teach their chosen subject. I am so sorry you have found yourself in this position.

    If children are receiving a free education, the tuition they pay for should be delivered by exceptional teachers with a vast amount of experience and knowledge.
  15. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Why so surprised that agencies employ unqualified teachers to tutor? Sixth form colleges have done it for years, and supply agencies do the same now in the blink of an eye. Sadly, those parents who have an eye for a bargain (e.g. finding a tutor who only charges £10 per hour) prefer to blind themselves to the fact that they will be getting a sub-standard service simply because it's cheaper. A false economy in my opinion.

    Tutor GCSE takes a particular skill and knowledge set. Exam preparation requires a detailed knowledge of the mark schemes that students are simply not furnished with just because they've recently sat the exam themselves. Any tutor without a specialism and classroom experience/examiner experience who think they are making a huge difference is likely being mislead as to the effectiveness of the classroom teacher the student is seeing for 3-5 hours per week.

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