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Tutoring information for South East Kent

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by clairey27, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. Hi Anna thanks for your reply.
    I am glad that you don't regret it.
    Do you tutor in the south east area? Does there seem to be a lot of work here? I teach English, not up to A level unfortunately.
    What time do you work till in the evening and weekends?
    So considering no sick pay etc... I would need to put some money away each week, to pay for that and any period where I am not working?
    What do you do for your pension? Have you got a private one, or is it government?
    Thanks for your tip about the agency.
    Thank you for your help it is much appreciated.


  2. Hi,

    I live in Kent and teach French in Kent and London.

    I make a much better living teaching privately than I ever did in a school and it's so much more enjoyable. I had so much work I started to delegate some in 2007 and as a result, I set up my own agency a few years ago. At least, now, my hard work is paying off, which wasn't the case when I was teaching French in East London!

    Yes, agencies take a commission, to get paid for the hard work they do, because I spend hours working to find more work, the admin, the marketing (+ advertising costs etc).

    But don't go into it if you're not ready to put the hours doing marketing/self-promotion. Some months will be tough, you need to save for these months when there's hardly anything, and you never know when that's going to happen (usually summer, but December 11 wasn't great for eg). No holiday pay, so a lot less holiday than before, weird working hours, most of the teaching takes place at lunch and evenings for me, so almost no social life possible in the evening except at weekends (although it's a bit better in summer, pfew!). It's only after 10 years of private tuition that I stopped teaching on Monday evenings and now go to yoga (to keep my sanity). I also taught 1 or 2 hours on Saturdays for many years and don't do this anymore. I still work at weekends and late at night on my agency work, but then it's a lot less busy in the summer.

    You have to be in good health as if you're sick, there's no money coming in. Touch wood, I've got great health. But snow is a killer. I lost a few days' work if not 2 weeks last year and will do next week if it snows. Snow's bad for business. 99% of my clients refuse to have lessons on Skype. Some clients will also stop lessons very suddenly if they lose their jobs, get sick, break a leg, have money problems, so you can easily lose 2/3 clients in a month. So I'd say, take on as many as you can, because by experience, I know there's always someone who's going to stop. I lost 2 in November, one because of health, the other one because of unemployment.

    I start my lessons late (between 10am and 12) and my evenings lessons finish at 9.30pm on Tuesday, 8 on Wed, 8.30 on Thursday, none of Friday nights. All my lessons are an hour long but sometimes, they can be longer. I charge more than I use to, because I know I'm worth it and petrol/train costs have really gone up. Remember to keep all receipts for your expenses/taxes.

    I don't have any pension, health insurance and no one to support me at the moment but I've been fine for the last 12 years being freelance. I used to do translation too, stopped that, but it's still an option. Always have savings for tough months, usually July/August, but I've had nice surprises some summers.

    Agencies are not all bad, they can find you work and some (like me) even care for their teachers, giving them all kinds of tips and advice, that I wish agencies had given me. I worked for 8 of them at least in the past. So I know where I stand in terms of how I treat people. And seriously, I also thought agencies's commission was a joke when I was working for them..until I realized why becoming one. You've got no idea how much publicity costs and the number of hard work needed, as well as headaches you have to deal with.

    The advantage is you go away when you want, I often go away for long weekends Fri-Sun longer in summer sometimes, and you can start late if you want to and can afford to select the clients you take on. If you're a good tutor, clients will stay with you for years and you will get to teach the siblings if applicable. Then there's word of mouth, but this can take a while. Also, you need to be good at negociating. It's tough at the moment but don't under sell yourself just to work. This happens to a lot of teachers working for really low rates. It's not motivating and puts rates down. Who wants to go out for £15/hour? No.

    I now teach 8/15 hours/week but used to teach 15/25 hours/week before I was an agency too. Take into consideration all the travelling, because it will take quite a lot of time, as our lessons are rarely 5 minutes away from home. I don't travel for more than 50 minutes anymore/ or more than 12km if I drive (Petts Wood is my furthest).

    I hope it helps and good luck! You will meet so many amazing people and houses! The only thing I miss is the great atmosphere in the staff room that I loved in that school I spent lots of years in in E10.
  3. Hi alguedemer thank you so much for your detailed reply, it was most kind of you and very helpful. It has certainly give me a lot to think about.I teach English, being a core subject there should be more work avaialable, but given the recession, I thought that is not a guarantee?
    How will you manage without a pension, just the government one?
    I am okay healthwise, I have a lot of stress ailments, but these are maintainable. I hope.
    I am currently in a difficult decision, you know what schools are like, politics. When and if this situation ever gets resolved, I certainly have (so far) got a good idea and what career change I need to take next if need be, and should I want to also. I just wanted to make sure I had all the relevant information at my fingertips, so I can make the best decision for myself.You have certainly give me the tools to do that. Thank you.
    Does your agency do other subjects, like English? And if with an agency how much of a percentage does an agency take of your hourly rate?
    I am glad that you have managed to get more time for yourself, I know what that is like, trying to get some sort of balance. I really admire what you have achieved since coming out of your previous employment, it certainly gives me hope.
    I hope you have a good weekend.
    Thanks again for your help.

    Clairey xx


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