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Undergrads as tutors?

Discussion in 'Private tutors' started by Steph2002, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. Steph2002

    Steph2002 New commenter

    I notice some online agencies only employ you if you are CURRENTLY studying at uni!
    I have been teaching and examining A level for 20 years.
    Consider myself way more qualified than them to help students !!
    Do I have to do this self employed, without an agency?
  2. decj

    decj New commenter

    It's shocking how many people who don't have qualified teacher status are setting themselves up as tutors. I've seen adverts in which 'A' students are offering tuition from primary to GCSE level and even grammar school entry tests. A Tesco magazine some years ago had an article on how to make a few extra quid on the side. Yes, you've guessed it - they suggested becoming a tutor!
  3. doctoryes

    doctoryes Occasional commenter

    There are plenty of on-line websites that do differentiate between those with relevant degrees, teaching qualifications, those with examiner experience etc and students.
    Many parents have limited funds and choose undergrads on the basis of their hourly rate being cheaper. This strategy may be flawed as a good teacher should be able to identify problems and solve them in a shorter amount of time. But although some undergrads obtain work by undercutting prices, there are other charging the same amount as qualified teachers. The other difficulty is that changes in specifications may mean that some topics are unfamiliar to undergrads.
    The other area that I find annoying is that some of these students advertise on the basis that they have A*s at GCSE and A level, whereas these grades didn't exist a few years ago.
    Steph2002 likes this.
  4. Steph2002

    Steph2002 New commenter

    So how do we compete with them? What is the best place for qualified teachers with examiner experience to get work??
  5. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Just because some idiot parents think they can get a bargain by hiring Jenny Clever Clogs from the upper sixth to coach their son through English GCSE, does not mean all parents do this. Wise and savvy parents know that a fully trained, educated and experienced teacher might...you know...do a better job! I have several parents who had a few mistake tutors like this. Very few have the balls to charge an upfront block booking. Parents, thankfully, are monitoring the market. Sludge invariably sinks very quickly to the bottom of the glass. These kiddie tutors balk at the idea of tax and self assessment and don't last long. However, I'd much rather stay with the system we have, as I don't want the government in yet another quango agency snooping on me and monitoring how I work, setting me minimum and maximum criteria, or telling me what I can or cannot do. I gave up a high teaching salary and pension scheme in order to tutor and HAVE this freedom. So maybe it's best not to publicise this sort of issue too much. The tuition business has seen colosal growth this year. Cruddy ones are not rebooked, good ones are. You also can actually just about deliver a good service if you don't have the PGCE...not all tutors, but some can. Schools are taking on unqualifieds as a matter of course, so I don't object to the idea of a graduate tutor. But with twentybyears of experience, I've found that I am rarely out of work, because my PGCE taught me how to work with students, adapt, ask the right questions, mark to specifications, and assimilate new topics at pace. A level Jennykins might be able to coach basic literacy, but she will struggle with the complex GCSE and A level courses. By all mean state let her try...and let's hope she is fully insured for any legal claims made against her when she utterly stuffs up and non elf her students get int the desired grammar schools, secondary schools or universities. Top tutors have nothing to worry about here.
    doctoryes likes this.
  6. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    I remember watching a brilliant young lady (far better at maths than me) giving a lecture at an IMO training camp. She stumbled quite a few times, not because she didn't know her stuff, but because she simply didn't have the teaching experience.

    My point is that, as well as good subject knowledge, good teaching experience can make a real difference. But there are always idiots out there who think they have found themselves a bargain, and many parents aren't able to tell the difference between a really good tutor and a mediocre one.

    A few days ago my boiler was having its annual service. Me and the plumber got into talking about self-employment and rates. We had a good laugh over someone who had phoned him up to fix a boiler which he had had installed for the bargain rate of £150. Of course, it was a totally botched disaster: the plumber declined the job.

    However, many parents are conned into going for a bargain by the worthless reviews saying how good a tutor is. See my thread on solicited reviews.

    Now, what does amaze me are some of the others types who offer tuition. I've seen people in relatively well paid jobs, like accountancy, moonlighting. Then there are the school HODs, who one would think are also paid well enough, and should be far too busy, if they were doing their day job properly.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  7. gainly

    gainly Occasional commenter

    A couple of years ago I took over tutoring a boy for GCSE science and was rather shocked to discover that his previous tutor was one of my A level students. I had a look at what they had been doing and some of it wasn't even on the specification for his exam board.

    Of course another thing a "proper" tutor can provide is continuity. I once had a student who I first tutored for the 11 plus and continued with him through to A levels when he got a place at Oxford. I also taught his younger sister. An undergrad would quite likely give up after a few months when they found something better to do or needed to revise for their own exams.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  8. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    Gainly, continuity often doesn't happen even in the short term with some of these so-called tutors. The impression I get is that a lot of them don't give a second thought to cancelling tuition or even stopping completely if it causes them any inconvenience. To the best of my memory, I've only once cancelled a session (giving the student an option to reschedule) due to a hospital appointment.

    Mind you, a lot of today's students, and their parents, don't seem to appreciate when they have got a good tutor. Last night, after just one session, I got an SMS from a student saying she couldn't make today's 5 pm session because of school prize giving (needless to say I checked her school's calendar). I pointed out how extremely inconsiderate she was not to give more notice: and made her well aware of the consequences of such inconsiderate behaviour in the future.
    Mrsmumbles and doctoryes like this.
  9. doctoryes

    doctoryes Occasional commenter

    There is no such thing as the best place to get work. What works for one tutor may not work for another. There are some agencies that only take qualified tutors (you can search for these). There are others that have a symbol by your profile to indicate your highest qualification, PGCE, QTS, DBS etc so this is clear to parents. The only other tip that I have is to have the experience you have listed above (which is your main selling point) at the start of your profile on websites, as many clients may not read the whole thing (see thread started by David Getling).
    This week I have seen several parents on local Facebook group recommending their children, who are Y12 and only just started A levels as GCSE tutors on the basis that they obtained grade 9s last year. So I am aware that the scenario described by gainly does happen.
    I am aware of an undergrad who was doing so well with tutoring that they failed their second year and had to drop out of uni.
    There are parents out there who do want qualified, experienced tutors by the way, so keep going and don't give up.
  10. theluckycat

    theluckycat Occasional commenter

    Interesting debate, I imagine that tutoring is an attractive way for cash-strapped students to make some money. Myself, having been teacher-trained, I can’t imagine how a uni student would know the pedagogy of teaching. The progression of thinking from concrete to pictorial to abstract in maths, the SATs tests content, the importance of assessing and adapting teaching to student’s individual needs. It’s a luxury not having 30 children, but even 1 child, working properly, requires real expertise.
  11. thekizzaa

    thekizzaa New commenter

    Personally, I think good on these undergrads and A-Level students for getting their own students to tutor, and making some cash for themselves.

    Sure, they may not have the same teaching credentials as a qualified teacher, but if they are helping their tutees to do better in their subjects, usually at a price that parents can afford (lets not forget, not every student who needs a tutor has parents with lots of cash), then good on them.

    I do have to agree, though, that they probably wouldn't get the same level of expertise and pedagogy that you would get with an experienced, qualified teacher. And just because these students are getting more tutees than you would like, and therefore giving you a competition, doesn't mean they shouldn't be doing it.
  12. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Just to remind you, though, that the government probably wants to whip up this outrage for its own nefarious benefits. Look, it has booted out very good and fully trained teachers through capability push-outs since 2013. They are making the expected standards for teachers more and more ridiculously high each year. The DFE thinks it's criteria are superior to the PGCSE pass criteria of numerous university education departments between at least 1980-2010, including Oxbridge, Bristol, London and Cardiff. I know people from all these places who were kicked out. We all now tutor. On account of the New Crazy Tory Teaching Impssible Standards, we are technically - to the government- in the same camp as the A level kids doingbit
    yes...and don't forget all that juicy consultancy money for Heads! I think most of us can see what a racket teaching has become. By contrast, tuition by experienced former teachers is enjoying a bit of a renaissance. I have had numerous calls from parents.. I actually cannot keep pace with demand. I was pushed out when I reached ups 3...the woman who replaced me is frankly nit as good. I now tutor three of her current GCSE students. All anonymous, obviously, she hasn't a clue. Yep, my results are hidden in several academies and indie schools near me! I say 'my' results because in many cases they really are, the useless academies have excluded poorly or ADD kids utterkybjnfairly, so I effectively take on the Rejected Ones. Awful yet far more rewarding than what I used to do. The thing is, it took me ten years to master all the numerous interpersonal skills which make you an approachable and supportive tutor. I'm as much a referee, counsellor and SEN advisor nowadays. Someone has to help. It is shocking how much the so called academy and indie SLT experts get away with. Tutoring has really held a mirror up for me to the world of UK education. I feel vindicated but frustrated. And I have had to become far more ruthless in letting go of slacker parents and kids...and biting my tongue. Still better than being stuck a toxic school stress factory, though!
  13. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Nope. Sorry. Just no, no no. Kids should not do a professional job. Bad on them, not good on them. You would not believe the rubbish some of these el cheapo student tutors impart to their students, who then underperform and come to me to unravel the mess. You don't undercut a plumber, otherwise your boiler implodes. Yet some dumb parents don't seem to care if the same disaster happens to their kids' brains! Pay the professional rate, ask for a 10 hour block booking reduction....get faster results so save overall. There are NO short cuts in education. This is why so many academy bosses are so inept and sending their failing 'businesses' bankrupt. Guess it depends whether parent wants genuine academic nourishment or a packet of crisps, really.
    Steph2002 likes this.
  14. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    They don't know it, let down anxious kid/parents/themselves, then pass the buck on to people like me. I guess I should thank them really. Just because you be a degree does not mean you can teach, so without even that, with just A levels, you're not going to cut it. What shocks me is that parents are now so desperate, especially at eleven plus level, that they often end up being exploited by the Teenage Tutors. The safeguarding issue alone should put them off. Doubtless the DFE will try to monitor tutoring. I'd say that, at present, it self monitors. Parents and word of mouth works fine. Guess it can wreck a career too!
  15. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Snap for me, with English! They'd even got the wrong texts. Utter chancers. Should be illegal to work one to one tutoring kids without a PGCE and/or degree. What's next? Get the babysitter the same rights as a paediatric nurse?!
  16. David Getling

    David Getling Senior commenter

    I couldn't agree more. But think of all the explaining the government would then have to do about all those unqualified teachers it has allowed schools to put in front of classes.
    Steph2002 and Mrsmumbles like this.
  17. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Well, yes, quite! A PGCE student has emailed me this week asking for tuition help. Fair enough. I am here to serve!!
  18. frustum

    frustum Lead commenter

    It's not always initiated by those offering the tuition - I saw a parent asking on Facebook whether anyone knew a teenager who could tutor their child for KS2 English. Presumably they were hoping not to have to pay more than teenage babysitting rates.
  19. rec4

    rec4 New commenter

    Hi Steph, a few colleagues have signed up to myqualifiedteacher.co.uk if I don't move up the pay scale this month I will be too. I applied to a tutor one last year but they said they only wanted undergrads. it's nuts
    Steph2002 likes this.
  20. Steph2002

    Steph2002 New commenter

    Thanks for that!
    I.m wanting to only Tutor A level. (What I have mainly taught last 20 years )
    I.m an examiner. I know the exam techniques..this I hope will be a selling point.

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