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Desperately need advice

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by ellenlilymay, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. ellenlilymay

    ellenlilymay New commenter

    Dear all

    I've read some of the posts on the Private Tutors page and am hoping very very much indeed that you may be able to advise me.

    I was made redundant from post-16 A Level French teaching three years ago in my late 50s, prior to which, until some 10 years ago, I taught aspects of Business at an FE college. I also have a TESOL qualification which I haven't used much. I have had the occasional private tutee in French on a face-to-face basis, charging around £25 an hour (we don't live near London) and have also taught adults (evening classes for the local adult ed).

    Since being made redundant I've been doing occasional supply work at secondary level (covering most subjects). However unfortunately I utterly loathe supply teaching (the waiting for a call, the very poor behaviour). I'm not afraid of hard work (that's what teaching is often about!) and have thought of doing private tutoring as I can't afford to retire and am increasingly fed up with dealing with agencies.

    1. Could I ask you if you could give me some advice on where to start to build up a private tutoring business? I am registered with 2 tutoring agencies but get very little work from them for French. My English and Maths (although not a teacher of this as such) are solid - could I and I have TESOL which I could pick up again - could I risk offering any of these?
    2. I am also, I admit, a little nervous about going into strangers' homes to teach - or do you generally teach from your own homes?
    3. Where could I go to offer my tutoring skills online and does anyone have any experience of setting this up?

    If you could help with these queries I would be very grateful as I am getting very despondent over my situation. I have DBS, QTLS and degrees in Business and French.

    Many many thanks in anticipation as I'm desperate!

  2. suzette

    suzette New commenter

    Hi Ellen,
    There are quite a few posts regarding newbies needing help/advice to set up as a tutor. Have a scroll down on this community/posts for them, as they give a lot of info, rather than me repeating what has already been said.

    Generally, you have to work out what type of tutor you want to be. (Eg: Online-Non contact or Offline). If it is the latter and you want to be a face to face tutor, you again need to think if you don't want to go to people's houses, do you have the space/or know somewhere to tutor? This will be a big issue if you don't have space at home, as you'll need to go to a local library, or elsewhere.

    As a tutor, I do a bit of everything! Once a week I go and tutor at a student's house, I also tutor at a prison (in a classroom situation) and most of the tutoring I do is in my house, as I have a purpose built studio for this. I personally prefer one to one tutoring at home.

    Think about how much you will offer your services for as well, how are you going to print stuff off, publicity and what subjects? Eg: Are you going to specialise in a particular subject? These things will all have to be considered and will have a bearing as to how much you charge per student/per hour etc.

    As for work, tutoring goes through phases. Sometimes you will get some seriously quiet times, so what will you do to earn during this time? I think it depends on the individual as to what they do at this time.

    Good luck with it all! :)
    ellenlilymay likes this.
  3. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    Good advice from @suzette. There are many threads on this forum with suggestions of ways to get started and how to advertise.

    For tutoring French I think you should aim to tutor adults as well as school pupils. One of my relations tutors Italian and all his students are adults.

    I tutor mainly maths (up to A level) and that is certainly the subject for which there is most demand. I don't know what level of maths you would be comfortable with.

    I mainly travel to the student's homes. I think if you are willing to do that it will be easier to get students. I have been tutoring for twenty years and tutored several hundred students and never had a problem.

    There are now numerous websites where tutors can advertise. TES doesn't like us mentioning names. Search online for what something like "French tutor (where you live)" and then look at the websites which come up and decide which you'd like to be on.

    Don't be discouraged if you don't get many students at first. It takes a while to get established. Once you do you should get more students by personal recommendations.
    ellenlilymay likes this.
  4. doctoryes

    doctoryes Occasional commenter

    There is considerable demand for English tutors as well as Maths. I would have thought that offering English would seem better to parents as you have a language degree.
    I would agree with offering French to adults as there may be demand for holidays. people considering moving there and business French. This would also provide work potentially in school holidays so mean you have an all year round income.
    My understanding is that fewer pupils are now taking French at GCSE and A level, so this could limit the market for tutees. Nearly all pupils take English and Maths at GCSE though.
    For most of my students I travel to their houses. My main rule for young people is to make sure that I am not alone in the house with the pupil.
    ellenlilymay likes this.
  5. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    There's a boom around here in French classes for toddlers/preschoolers! Depending on whether you like kids or not, it could be something to consider.
    ellenlilymay likes this.
  6. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    All advise above is very good. When you start out I would try and offer anything and everything set yourself up on some tuition sites. I tutor maths. I first started working I was with a well known tuition company TD. When I started out working for myself I was very flexible for example offering fortnightly tuition. Traveling further to students house e.c.t. I think this is necessary to build up a client base. Offer tuition to adults, primary children, ESOL. Then see what takes off. Maybe A level or university conversation classes. It does take a while to build up. So if you can bare to do it try and stick with a little bit of supply in the short term. Best of luck.
    ellenlilymay likes this.
  7. gainly

    gainly Lead commenter

    I would agree with the above except don't take "try to offer anything and everything" too literally.

    Don't offer anything you are not confident about. Remember as a tutor you could potentially be asked about anything on the syllabus without any preparation. I know some maths tutors now only tutor foundation GCSE as they don't feel confident with the new, more difficult higher tier. If you get a bright, inquisitive student you might be asked about things outside the syllabus, but at least it would then be acceptable to say you don't know.

    I sometimes see tutors on tuition websites offering tuition in 5, 6 or even more unrelated subjects. I think most sensible people would be suspicious of them.
    ellenlilymay likes this.
  8. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    Not literally. I more meant different age groups/ different times of day/ different courses within the same subject to see what there is demand for.
    ellenlilymay likes this.
  9. parseltongue

    parseltongue New commenter

    Have you thought about 11+ tuition if there's a grammar school near you? Great idea re toddlers/infants - can you hire a hall and organise weekly introductory French classes with bilingual stories and songs? Then an evening class for 'holiday French'?
    ellenlilymay likes this.
  10. ellenlilymay

    ellenlilymay New commenter

    Hi everyone - thank you so much for these extremely useful ideas. They are really helpful and thanks for your encouragement with this as the future of supply teaching (which I dislike intensely anyway, and life is going past) is bleak as well as schools are employing graduates without any school or teaching experience to do supply 'teaching' instead of qualified professional teachers so the writing is on the wall. I'll certainly harness the things you've all suggested and thank you very much again for this.

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