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Private tutoring

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by missmarm, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. Hi all,

    I'm looking for some advice. The parent of a pupil in a school near me has approached me about tutoring her daughter for gcse German. The school has decided not to run a gcse class due to insufficient numbers and this girl had her heart set on doing German, has even already researched uni courses! So I would be teaching and preparing this student for the full gcse, not just an extra hour a week to support what she's doing in normal lessons. There's a possibility a couple of other girls might join her.

    So, my questions are:
    1. What are the practicalities involved in terms of entering the students as 'private candidates'? I had a quick look at aqa and the main issue would be controlled assessment- this has to be completed (the final stage I think) in an exam centre. I teach in a school 40 minutes away and so it wouldn't be practical for the students to come to my school. I have asked the parent to talk to the school and see if they are willing to accommodate the completion of CA tasks, going on the arguments it's the least they could do after pulling plug unexpectedly on German.
    Has anyone on here experience of putting private candidates through a full Gcse? How did exam admin work? Is a one hour lesson a week over two years enough?

    2. What the heck do I charge?! I have tutored before and charged £20-25, less if more than one pupil. But there is obviously a lot more work/marking/responsibility involved in putting them through the full gcse, its not just an hour of extra support to complement what they already cover in normal classes. For those reasons, some would say I should charge more, but realistically, parents can't afford to pay out more than that, and I would feel very uncomfortable charging more, even though the work load and responsibility merit it. Aghhhhh... Dilemma!! Does anyone know what private colleges/companies charge to put someone through a gcse?

    I know this board is quieter during the summer but I need to make decisions soon, so I'm hoping my online mfl colleagues have lots of advice for me! :)

  2. Grrr my paragraphs have been lost! Apologies!
  3. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    We've had a pupil doing early GCSE German and she sat the edexcel IGCSE - a lot easier in terms of organisation as it's only terminal exams, no controlled assessments. It still needs to be assessed in an accredited centre, but in terms of the practicalities and lack of hassle for the school, it should be a win-win scenario.
    As for how much to charge, I don't have any answer to that! I'd try to get them to buy a textbook so that a lot of the work is done for you and they can work at their own pace. If they are highly motivated and you agree with parents how much time the girls need to be spending on their own then I think one hour tuition should do (with perhaps a bit more towards the end, to practise speaking skills).

  4. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Established commenter

    Missmarm: you said "....realistically, parents can't afford to pay out more than that, " i.e. £20 to £25 per hour.

    It's a shame that so many parents are unwilling to pay a MFL teacher much more than this; when their car breaks down, they will pay someone a comparative fortune to fix it, at an hourly rate which could eaily be £60 per hour, likewise plumbers, electricians, not to mention lawyers.
    Why are our skills so poorly valued? Anyway, good luck with your project: IGCSE seems an excellent suggestion compared to AQA GCSE and the controlled assessment element.
  5. I agree incommunicado, but in a country where we are supposed to get free education (and pay taxes for it), it's not fair that parents have to pay out £25 a lesson for something that should be available through school. And yes, I too believe our skills are worth more than that, it took me 5 years at uni and a heck of a large student loan to be qualified to do this job, but it's not really the same as a plumber, as its not a one off, but a weekly pay out of £25, which soon adds up.

    The only thing that puts me off Igcse is that I'd have limited access to past papers etc whereas I have all the resources I need to do aqa gcse.
  6. In my area parents are willing to pay around £25- £30 an hour for music lessons and sports coaching. I guess it depends on priorities. I don't think I would start the tutoring if the school has not agreed to administer the exam.
  7. templing

    templing Occasional commenter

    Language skills are appalingly undervalued, eg translation... I recently charged - a very wealthy person - £75 for a 15 page report (that took me in excess of 12 hours) and he baulked at the price! Two years ago, I went to see a solicitor (the cheapest in town, basic offices, cheap part of town, etc.). I talked to him for 30 minutes (free consulation) and he told me that a proper consultation would set me back £170/hour + VAT... I know we do not have the same overheards but still! The problem (or one of the problems) is in the perception of the general public towards languages: linguists and translators are terribly undervalued. Yet, without them, the world could not function. The same rich couple whom I charged £6/hour think absolutely nothing of spending £200/hour + for a solicitor. It's almost humiliating.
  8. Hi NEA and Templing,
    Yes the 3 students and I did decide to go ahead. We got written confirmation from the school that they will run all the CA admin and enter them for the exam, and the German teacher is happy to run the speaking exam for them, if need be. They've been really accomodating, and also managed to find a German native speaker to do a conversation class with them once a week.
    So we're starting on 1 hour and 15min classes per week, setting at least 1-1 1/2 hours homework at home. Just started last night, and it is full throttle ahead, but the girls (so far) are keen and pretty able. There are 3 of them, so I'm charging £15 each, and underlined the fact that attendance each week is compulsory, and even if they miss a week due to illness, they still have to pay £10 to cover me having to give them the notes and help them catch up. All parents were happy with that. I know some will say it's cheap, but it's what I'm comfortable charging.
    I'm sticking with AQA as it's what I know and have all the past papers for, and using Echo German, the GSCE book I use in school too. It has a CD rom version so the girls can do listenings at home and listen to vocab etc. This week for example, I have set a short writing piece, vocab learning of 40ish words and asked them to listen back at least once to one of the listenings we did together, and follow the transcript, just to keep their language contact time up. That's the one bit that worries me - not getting 2.5 hours contact time with the language in school.
  9. never_expect_anything

    never_expect_anything Occasional commenter

    Hi MissMarm
    Thanks for the update.
    Regarding fees, your rate of £15 each matches exactly what I would charge. The going rate in my area is £20 for GCSE, £25 for A Level. I do see some students & native speakers charging less, but those like me with experience and qualifications tend to charge the same rate, which I think is perfectly justifiable. I normally say, when asked about taking groups of students that I would reduce the fee by 25% for each pupil, which would make it £15, but to be honest no-one's ever taken me up on it - I think most parents value the guaranteed 1-to-1.
    I just met with mine last night too. The parents are going to approach the school and investigate exam entry. I hope the school agrees to administer CA, so we can stick with AQA, which I know best too, but I've told parents that I'm willing to do Edexcel Cert (which has final speaking & writing exam instead) (or other exam boards) if that's what they can get her entered for - as I'm not sure the school actually has a German speaking teacher. Based on what you said, I think I'll ask them to get it confirmed in writing from the school whatever they finally agree on.
    I like your idea of an additional native speaker session. My student is a near-beginner (very little KS3), so I might suggest the native speaker thing a little later on when she has some basic conversational skill & more vocab. I've said at least 1 hour homework per week, the same as you. I don't think the reduced contact time is a major issue, as we'll continue through school holidays, which takes guided learning up to almost 100 hours, and I anticipate increasing lesson length to an hour and a half or increasing to 2 lessons a week at some point. But keen and able students can always do plenty to increase exposure, like watching TV/films in the TL, and using online resources - do you know Busuu.com? It turns out my student has already started using it herself. And they are more likely to do that of their own accord if they are doing the subject as an additinal option, because the student and parents are acutely aware that they are not getting the same amount of exposure as they would on a normal school course.
    Anyway, good luck with it all!

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