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Referees when you are a tutor

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by humbug, Jun 16, 2020.

  1. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    I've asked this on a couple of other forum areas but received no reply. As my main work has been private tutoring, for over a decade, I thought the question may resonate with someone here.

    I left my school teaching post many years ago. I had done my NQT year there and then became Second in Dept. Since then I have been tutoring from home privately and also marking GCSEs each summer.

    Now I've decided to apply to a local adult community college to boost my hours as the private tutoring is not going so well.

    But I'm not sure who would be the best referees for this. One key teacher at my school back then has died. Another is not replying to my request, but she does still work there.

    Then for the exam marking there is the Head of subject, but also perhaps a team leader would be good, to show I have been out of the house, liaising with adult groups.

    It's further complicated as I taught languages and need to apply on separate forms to teach both languages. I only do exam marking for one language.

    Would it be appropriate to ask a parent of tutees? There is one quite important, educated and very honest and fair local parent who might help here. I taught his son A Level and now younger son GCSE.

    If any of you tutors have found your way round this kind of problem, or know what might impress an adult community college, please let me know your thoughts. I almost feel ready to fall at the first hurdle, but on the other hand, with sound subject knowledge plus the people and organisational skills of running my own tutoring, I feel I'd be good for the post, and am anxious not to sell myself short.
  2. Elde

    Elde New commenter

    I teach languages to adults in a community college and have sat in on interviews. We didn’t pay much attention to the candidates’ references. HR contacted them after we made a decision, although the application form had a checkbox about taking references before interview. It may be different at the place where you’re applying, but it is quite common to have people with wildly different experiences applying, and HR will most likely just want to check you worked where you said you did, not much more. Especially with Languages as some applicants may only have qualifications or references from overseas.

    You would probably need to have the Head of the school where you worked as a reference, though - it doesn’t matter if it’s a different person now. Someone from the exam board would be fine too.

    I don’t think a parent would be appropriate as a reference for an adult education job. Do you teach adults privately at all? If you don’t, you will need to evidence that you’ve thought about the differences and what it is like to teach languages to adults. Your experience sounds extensive and you will be able to emphasise your subject knowledge - you just need to make it clear to them that you can apply it in an adult education context. I’m assuming those classes would be non-accredited courses? You can still mention the exam marking in relation to assessing the level of your learners - again, showing how you have thought about the differences.

    Good luck with your application! You definitely shouldn't sell yourself short :)
  3. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    Thank you so much. Very useful and encouraging. I feel a bit better about it all now. It was getting so frustrating.
  4. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    I would agree, the knowledge of teaching adults and the complex learning issues they will have, i.e. many having failed and school, so there may be SEND issues, having problems fitting in the time to do the work required, as they have other commitments, larger proportion having English as a second language etc. Some AE establishment will not take on anyone without a qualification in teaching adults because of this, so I would indicate on your application that you have looked into these issues and would be willing to do additional training, so hopefully the college will train you in this skill.

    Good luck with your application, and do as much as you can to ensure you know what challenges you are up against. In my local AE establishments, there are no foreign language courses. They stopped them years back. All that is on offer are the usual English and Maths courses up to GCSE, plus recreational and vocational courses.
  5. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    Thank you too @catbefriender

    Again, that's very helpful. The school I worked in ages ago was very diverse, with many students arriving with no English, so it will be useful to highlight that. Reading both the posts has also reminded me that I taught English in Turkey for a while, and this involved teaching adults too. So I will mention that.

    I have a question about my supporting statement too, which may be more suitable to this thread, so I will try here first...

    So I understand that I need to tailor my statement to their requirements, but can I make it a sort of consecutive account of my experience? For example maybe start off mentioning teaching adults abroad, and the skills/insights, then onto bigger, more detailed chunk on teaching in a school and how my duties and experience relate to the post... later my private tutoring and how that also involves marketing (which they want me to be aware of) etc.

    Seems more sensible that way than putting their bullet points and then saying I did this at x and y and that at j,k and y and ....... whcih could become a bit tedious.

    I still haven't made much progress with the referees but I think I know what I am aiming for now.

    Thanks again
  6. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    I would direct your query to the jobseekers forums as you will get, hopefully, a wider and more experienced audience.

    Good luck with the application :)
    humbug likes this.
  7. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    Sorry, one more question for @Elde too.

    I haven't heard back from the referee I had hoped for at my school from ages ago. If I give the head teacher's details, as you suggest, it would be a new teacher and they would only be able to vouch for the dates I worked there, position, probably the fact there were no disciplinaries etc. They wouldn't be able to say anything about my teaching I assume. Do I need to let the college I am applying for know this?

    Without this school and with parents of tutees not looking good -I do understand why - I'm not too sure who to give who can comment on my teaching. I emailed the college for some guidance and they did say they were particularly after referees who knew I could teach. Before i received their email, I was wondering if I could give a contact from a children's organisation (a bit like Scouts) where I volunteered for a while when my son was there.

    Any thoughts appreciated again.
  8. bramblesarah

    bramblesarah Occasional commenter

    Good luck with your application. I have had a similar problem before, I tutor Maths. I also work with agencies who normally require a reference two agencies I registered with did accept my clients as a reference. They had to use there work email address e.g. JaneDoe@Tesco.com I guess this was to make sure I wasn't filling in the form myself.
  9. humbug

    humbug New commenter

    Thank you @bramblesarah

    Yes, for my exam marking, the admin for my subject suggested I ask my team leader for a reference. She was fine with this, but now I realise it is just her private home details. It would have looked better to have put my overall subject leader. In fact I did contact him early this morning when I thought my TL wasn't replying. But then she replied and I apologised and said it all seemed sorted.

    Hmm, and now it's nearly Saturday and i have to send the form off by Sunday night.

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