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Leaving teaching and tutoring full time... help!

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by SJRose23, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. SJRose23

    SJRose23 New commenter

    Hi there,

    I'm so totally and utterly fed up of of classroom teaching. I cannot stand the 7.30 start and the 5.30/6 finish. Not to mention the 8.30pm finishes when it's parents eve or school plays etc. I can't stand the marking at home, the weekend preparation so I've decided to look into tutoring. I have tutored a little before and a family member of mine tutors too.

    My ideal would be to fill 3 slots per evening with either 1:1 or 2:1 tutoring from my own home as I am currently in the middle of converting my spare room into a more usable space so adding a table and chairs and a couple of pencil pots would be easy. I've already had interest from 6 potential students, all willing to travel to me.

    My questions are.... do I build this up with a view to going part time then eventually completely leaving the classroom?

    Will tutoring and marking exam papers earn me enough money to live or will I inevitably fall behind on my mortgage payments and starve?

    I have ideas to build a website and already own and I already direct my own theatre company in my spare time so I'm well equipped to spread the word and build a Facebook page etc. I have ideas to hold revision sessions for up to 5 students in the Easter holidays, and I know that to make it work I would have to work hard to find clients.

    Can I do this or should I just forget tutoring exists and stay in my classroom?! Thank you in advance :)
  2. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    You are asking a question that is virtually impossible for anyone else to answer. Will you get a regular income? Not impossible, but equally unlikely. Plus with many leaving teaching the competition is likely to become larger.
  3. cwilson1983

    cwilson1983 Occasional commenter

    Firstly, I'm sorry to hear you feel you have to leave teaching for the reasons you state and, secondly, the best of luck with tuition.

    It's something I'm considering myself in the next 3-5 years (have to pay off debts, childcare costs and want to see if my current demand holds up).

    Leaving a job with a regular, certain income is daunting and there are no guarantees of financial security in going self employed. However, there are many things you can do to boost your income:

    -Have some savings set aside in case of quiet periods (if possible)
    -Calculate your budget over 12 months (outgoings) and work out what you need to earn during term time to at least break even
    -Also look at the things you must pay (mortgage, food) and the things you could feasibly cut (a second car, TV/internet package)
    -Perhaps go part time whilst you establish yourself or do supply one or two days per week
    -Definitely sign up for exam marking since many students may finish their tuition by the time exam season starts
    -Look into how to claim back expenses from HMRC
    -Definitely offer holiday revision classes and be prepared to work longer hours near exams (this can help offset quiet periods)
    -Consider day time work with homeschooled or excluded students (I often receive emails from a supply agency offering such work)
    -Consider working Saturday mornings as there are only so many hours in an evening
    -Consider offering online tuition or a second subject to broaden your target audience
    -Get a profile on all the tuition websites, Facebook, Gumtree, a card in local newsagents, do a flyer drop in a targeted neighbourhood etc

    Hope that helps. I might have even convinced myself to give it a go full time :)
    bevdex, SonaHerr and tsarina like this.
  4. SJRose23

    SJRose23 New commenter

    Thank you,
    I've set up a website and Facebook page, going to see how it goes from here and get to know the market etc.
  5. tsarina

    tsarina Occasional commenter

    It can be done...but it depends on you subject and location. If you try and tutor at the same time you are teaching its going to be really hard for a while. If you are tutoring full time you have to charge a lot and therefore put in the prep time and really teach with enthusiasm and energy to justify that cost. I would not have found that possible after a full days teaching.

    I left teaching and built up the business over 9 months. I left in april and by february i was fully booked and had a waiting list. However the main period of interest was in september. April to august was fairly thin for new clients. So you might be better off waiting till the end of the academic year. I now have loads of year 10 students to take me through the year and will be able to pay all my bills including the mortgage (although my holiday this year looks like being camber sands pontins off peak). It cost me a total of about 9 grand in lost earnings before i got to this point. (But most of that was the april to august period).

    However....it is amazing the amount of life you get back...i am basically a lady of leisure, i feel happy and full of energy, i have time and inclination to go for long walks, do hobbies, eat more healthily. I do a bit of volunteering and have joined the local community groups. I totally recommend it. I had no idea how easy life could be on the outside.
    Good luck and please keep us posted.
    frangipani123 likes this.
  6. Georginalouise

    Georginalouise New commenter

    I tutor full time, usually averaging between 20 and 25 hours a week. I am lucky as mine is the second income in the house. Don't forget to take into consideration that tuition is seasonal. While £1500 a week is fantastic for three or four weeks before the summer exams, it stops abruptly and there is then nothing for a couple of months.
    frangipani123 likes this.
  7. cwilson1983

    cwilson1983 Occasional commenter

    "While £1500 a week is fantastic"

    What? £60-75 an hour? I should raise my prices ;)
  8. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter


    I left full time teaching in 2014 and for the first 2 academic years I did private tuition alongside supply teaching, examining and working in a skin care business. The skin care business has now become a very substantial part of my income and I've dropped the supply teaching, instead working 3 days per week teaching apprentices.

    I tutor 7 students per week and can make up to £800ish per month from tutoring, depending on how many days are in the month. In addition to the £1000-£1200 from my skin care business (happy to provide details) and my part time teaching salary I'm now making a really good wage and am definitely NOT stressed or working all the hours God sends.

    So it's all possible. I've found tutoring to be reliable now that I've issued cancellation and payment policies. I've worked hard on building my other business. The first two years were HARD, but it's been worth it and I always managed to scrape by. Now I'm comfortable and really happy.
  9. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    It depends how many students are being tutored for that session. Maybe the poster is tutoring a group for a fixed rate. I tutor a small group on some evenings and make a great hourly rate whilst actually being a very low rate for each student.
  10. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Tutoring is a fickle business with so many variables, nearly all of them beyond your control. How many students you get, and how much their parents will pay can vary according to the socio-economic make up of where you live, and how much competition there is for the work. Here, in NW London there are sizeable pockets of well-t-do parents but too many tutors are trying to get in on the act, depressing prices. Look at Tutor Hunt, for example, and you will see students offering lessons for £10 p.h. Few parents, then, are prepared to pay what they see as being 'over the odds' for a professional job.

    The work is episodic according to the time of the school year, and you can go from 'feast to famine' in the course of a week. At the moment, I have quite a few students so I can make about £150 per week, while before Christmas I was lucky to scrape £40.
  11. Zenfone3

    Zenfone3 New commenter

    Yeh as if any tutor on a normal hourly rate can earn 1500 a week. If I tried to charge more than 25quid an hour, no one would phone up for a lesson. Still maybe you have a demanding subject or live in Surrey where you can charge 100 pounds an hour. I thnk houses there cost like a minimum of 400k + though.

    I would say don't do it to the OP because you have a mortgage. If you did not have a mortgage, I would say do it. TH is rubbish. I have never got anyone off there. I teach online now and make 16 dollars an hour for an ESL company. I made 1100 pounds in January. OK you can make more doing your own rates and finding your own students but they do all the advertising for you and all you need is a computer or laptop. You don't need to travel to students or anything. I am abroad anyway and have a full time job but I teach online evenings and weekends to make an extra 500-750 pounds a month (the 1100 pounds was before I had a full time job. I was between jobs and could teach online full time from 9am up to 11pm at nnight).
  12. Apple101

    Apple101 Occasional commenter

    It can be done, I have been doing it longer than I was teaching now. It's much easier.

    I pretty much just teach the same thing to all my students because they tend to be doing the same thing at that time of the year. So it's easy in terms of resources as well.

    I think it depends on your subject as well as what the demand is for it. The area is also important you must live in an affluent area I think in order to be successful.

    You also must have a good way of going from student to student. I think generally it is better if they come to you from a full time perspective as you will save an awful lot of time which can be used to teach more students.
  13. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Sorry, but there are a whole load of negative noras here being rather too cynical.

    There is LOTS of demand for private tuition out there. I live in a socially deprived area but obviously I am willing and able to travel if needs be. I travel up to 15 miles one way to tutor but I adjust my prices accordingly. Ever area has pockets of people who can afford tuition.

    Every week, I tutor 7 hours worth of lessons. I seldom have cancellations due to systems I've put in place, and my parents pay me up front. I pay my mortgage, and have done since leaving full time teaching two years ago. It's doable with determination, BUT you will need several income streams to support you: supply teaching, a part-time business (such as what I do, which makes me an extra £500-£1000 each month), examining...it all adds up to a whole.

    It's not easy at first, but it can and does work. And it's worth it if you are miserable.

    I charge between £25 and £30 per hour and no-one has ever had a problem with that fee. If I'm tutoring a group I generally charge £15 per hour per student, but insist on no less than 3 in a group. So an hourly rate of at least £45 for me, and groups always have longer sessions too.

    This month, I have already banked £800 from private tuition, and a further amount from my online courses (video tutorials that students can watch, complete the attached work and return to me for feedback). I made £1100 from my side-hustle business that I work for 1 night per week, and I did a bit of teaching 3 days per week in a non-school environment.

    Altogether, I've earned far more than I did in full time teaching and I've worked 34 hours per week instead of 60+
    Do not under estimate what ex-teachers can do if they put their minds to it.
  14. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I really enjoy tutoring but at the moment it's a sideline. I had one year when I had loads of students but I normally just have two or three now.

    Its something I knew I would enjoy and I do.
  15. Georginalouise

    Georginalouise New commenter

    Perhaps I should clarify......

    £1500 a week is possible. For about three weeks of the year. Between the year 11 and 13s going on study leave and starting exams. In that timeframe I work long hours for seven days a week. In June, the exams end abruptly and so does my income. I earn virtually nothing between the end of June and the start of September. Termtime I work ten hours a week (seeing children one to one) in a specialist education unit. I see private clients in my home as well, somewhere between ten and fifteen children on a regular, weekly basis with half a dozen more that dip in and out as they need to.

    I see that as an average, over the year, of between 20 to 25 hours a week. My average income is nowhere near £78k per year as has been suggested.

    I do not teach maths! Apologies if my use of the word average is inappropriate.
  16. Historytut

    Historytut New commenter

    Which theatre company?
    Telvis likes this.
  17. tsarina

    tsarina Occasional commenter

    I will also clarify, I have 14 students a week (science, years 8-11 KS3 & GCSE) who all seem very happy paying £40 an hour in NW london/SW herts. I go to them and work from about 4pm - 8pm Mon-Fri. Unless they have physically gone away almost all continue lessons during the holidays as they understand that i am running a business. I have people whom i can't yet accommodate asking to be put on a waiting list. They are not getting tutoring in preparation for an exam, but in order to supplement their school lessons. Apart from three year 11 students i anticipate keeping them all over the summer.

    There is a fair bit of paperwork and accounts stuff to do every month to keep me organised but i don't need to do anything else to pay the mortgage and general bills. I checked out 2 other local advertisements to see how much they were charging - £35 and £45 so i am about right for the area. Several of my tutees have multiple tutors for different subjects (maths, french etc) so I must be competitive.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  18. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    @tsarina: I tutor science in the same area as you, NW London/SW Herts, and I have not come across any parents who are prepared to pay £40 per hour: many baulk at £25.I have had a couple of students whom I teach long-term but most of my work is around this time of year. At the moment, I have six students but for the rest of the year I am lucky to have two.

    I used to do home tuition for excluded students but, frankly, I found it a mugs' game. I would go to houses, schools and libraries, only to find that the student was not there, earning me nothing for me efforts.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  19. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    I'm similar to you just further into London. It's booming! A little scary with job security, but I tell myself this is what supply was probably like twenty years ago...rapid changes and unpredictable hours but pays well.
    tsarina likes this.
  20. Grace100

    Grace100 New commenter

    It's really nice to see that some of you have left teaching completely and are doing other things. I am a Maths teacher who left at the beginning of 2016. After a good rest, I took on a few students whose parents were asking about tuition whilst I was teaching full-time. I have around 20 students that I work with now and I know will have lots more joining in September. You certainly need to save as you wait for your numbers to grow. I have been into schools to do some supply, but I really don't think that I'll be in supply teaching for long, as my main aim is to come out completely. As soon as my business is at the level that will sustain me monthly, I'll be out of the classroom. Good luck to all who are looking to get out of this stressful profession. It really is a shame; will be so enjoyable and stress-free if all that paperwork is taken away.
    Aisha633 and tsarina like this.

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