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Confused at how some tutors manage to cover so many subjects.

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by joelivingstone, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. joelivingstone

    joelivingstone New commenter

    I'm a relatively specialised tutor, I only teach Religious Studies & Philosophy A levels and the Philosophy pre-u.

    I have a degree in Philosophy and I've been tutoring for 8 years but it's still a lot of work for me to be on top of the syllabus since there are 4 exam boards for religious studies and different schools teach different religions. Even just learning the Christianity stuff for the 4 exam boards is rough as they are all quite different.

    I look at other tutors who teach my subjects on the various websites and see that they tutor a few other subjects too, sometimes many other subjects.

    I am wondering... how do they manage that? When I turn up at a students house for the first lesson, sometimes they have an idea of what they want to cover, they mention the topic name and then look at me expectantly. It's taken me a lot of work to be ready for any such topic and I just don't get how someone could tutor multiple A levels and still deliver a really in-depth exam-orientated lesson on any topic.

    Am I missing something?
  2. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    No you're not. Some people aren't that conscientious, whether the tutees stick with them or not I don't know, but there are certainly plenty out there that just have a go at a number of subjects at any number of levels.
  3. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    I agree, some tutors are not very conscientious and think they can just offer lots of subjects to increase the number of students. I've certainly had a few students who have told me about "tutors" they have had who know less than they do, A tutor should be able to cover anything from the syllabus with no preparation, as you don't know which topic the student might need help with.
  4. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    Tutoring in this respect is more difficult than teaching. A teacher always knows what topic is coming up and can prepare.

    I tutor A level Maths but do also offer Physics. I taught A level Physics for about four years but I still find it hard to keep up to date and only tutor students on the understanding they inform me before the lesson what topics they want to cover.
  5. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    I'd prefer to have the problem of having to be able to cover any topic without preparation rather than dealing with the behaviour problems in a school.
  6. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    Agreed. We see the students whose education is being destroyed by the bad behaviour of a minority. Until it is sorted there is going to a big demand for private tutors.
    MathMan1 and gainly like this.
  7. jean_daligault

    jean_daligault New commenter

    I think it depends on whether students always come with their own material (it is the case for my students with their university tutorial sheets and lectures slides), in which case one can potentially tutor a wide breadth of topics, or expect you to ad lib (much harder). I only tutor CS, but I've found that I can take on a wider array of modules than I originally thought. "Explain the solution of exercise 6" is easier than "teach me this topic".
  8. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    There are plenty of there who see themselves as a jack of all trades.
    I teach 3 languages.
    Recently started to teach an elderly gentleman Italian to keep his mind active. A very knowledgeable gentleman. He'd done French at school many many years ago and found he kept slipping back to French.
    I turned up last week to find he wanted to swap to French . So we did. Because I could . Because I have the skills and knowledge. He's remembered loads from his younger days and we're doing conversation about anything and everything.
    I get plenty of adults who say they want 'just' conversation but there's no just about it! Topics of conversation can change within a few words.
    So for next week's lesson I don't know what we'll be talking about. I know they're having a big job done at home so it'll be around that but other than that it'll be off the cuff.. Because I can
  9. never_expect_anything

    never_expect_anything Occasional commenter

    I understand where you're all coming from, but I just wanted to clarify that some tutors are indeed qualified teachers with a wide range of experience that does enable us to offer a wide range of subjects. I am a linguist with an MA in translation, QTS and experience of teaching two languages to A Level (and a third to KS4), and am an instrumental musician; but I have also taught in a KS2-3 middle school, where I taught subjects in addition to my specialism, and have spent the last 6 years teaching multiple other subjects (including phonics & literacy) from KS2 to GCSE level in specialist provisions. For private tuition, I offer only the subjects and levels I am confident in being able to cater for (e.g. I don't take students preparing specifically for Y6 SATS, as I have no experience of preparing for those). I am honest with tutees and parents about my qualifications and experience, and I charge accordingly (i.e. I do not charge the 'going rate' for a music specialist, as I have no instrumental teaching qualifications). Please do not just assume that everyone offering a wide range of subjects is unconscientious.
    MissGeorgi and ellenlilymay like this.
  10. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    It sounds like the A levels you offer are very time consuming. I teach Maths and it doesn't differ between exam boards.. It could be that some tutors will only teach some exam boards or the topics don't vary that much. I have taught some KS3 science I don't offer it as a subject but if one of my Maths students needs help with science I do help them. I make it clear to the parents that I am not a science teacher. I mainly help with study skills, using formulae and go through practice questions (for which I have the answers). I helped one very bright girl and she now consistently gets grade 8s on her topic assessments.
  11. ellenlilymay

    ellenlilymay New commenter

    Hi I can see both sides: I have degrees in 2 very different areas (languages, business), but have taught Maths a great deal (having A Level) over the past 3 years in schools. However as a permanently employed A Level French teacher I had a student with a private tutor and found to my horror that the latter had been covering an irrelevant classical novel with her, instead of covering the A Level syllabus!! I ended up giving the student additional FOC support myself! You have to look at each case in its merits.
  12. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    I think RE in particular does vary a lot from exam board to exam board. Some subjects such as Sciences have regulated National Curriculum guidelines so there can be some variation, but not much, eg all Physics GCSEs will include equations of motion.

    I am a few years out of RE but huge variations in what could be included in RE GCSE. More uniformity now, but probably not to the same extent.

    Respect for finding tutees in RE, by the way.

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