How do I become a tutor?
The help I want to give you here is from my experience of building Clara James Tutoring from scratch over the past 9 years.
I’m going to make a presumption here.
Either, you have no knowledge of working in education.
You have worked in educational environments but have no knowledge of growing a business.
You have no knowledge of either.
Over the following paragraphs I will give you an overview of some of the key points that I have encountered over the years. If you want more support, I have put together a £7 mini course that will cover each point in more detail.
Who do I want to tutor?
Unexpectedly this is probably one of the most important questions you will ask as you start your business.
Imagine you are booked in for an operation on your brain. Who would you rather do it; a specialist brain surgeon or your GP who does an occasional operation when he has a quiet day?
This is an extreme example, but I think it gets the point over.
If you are a parent of a 6-year-old would you want your child to be supported by someone who regularly supports KS1 children in maths and has a sound knowledge of how they learn and the curriculum. Or a general tutor – a jack of all trades, master of none.
As you start out, trying to create resources for a broad range of people will be a never-ending chore. Keep it niche and you will save yourself a lot of time, even if you have tweak resources for individuals you will be required to create from scratch a lot less.
The more precise you can be in knowing who you want to tutor, the easier it is to direct your marketing to people that it is relevant to.
How much should I charge?
This is such a difficult question to answer. Charge too little and people will think you’re not worthy and they will look past you to someone whom they predict has more experience or better knowledge (even if this is not the case).
Charge too much and people won’t be able to afford you.
What I suggest is that you consider how you are going to present your lessons, resources, etc and then look to see what others are charging. Then use that as a guide as to where you fit in.
Where do I market my business?
The question you need to ask here is “where can the parent of my ideal student be found?”
Whilst we a living in a virtual world, I will keep this predominately relevant to the online world.
I’ve found that having a Facebook Business Page has been extremely important. We get so many recommendations through Facebook and it gives parents somewhere to find out more about us before they get in touch.
You may think it’s better for people to get in touch so you’re not losing out on work. But if someone is looking for a maths tutor for their 7-year-old son, and you support A’ level history students you’re not going to be compatible. So, it will save time for both of you if only relevant families get in touch.
Google My Business is a free service offered by Google and is well worth taking the time to implement. This is what people will come across below the adverts when they type “English tutors in my area”. It will pick up testimonials, your opening hours, videos, images, etc.
You may decide to create a website. If you get it made by a website developer, you are looking at (in my experience) a minimum of £700-800. Once created it is like a living entity that needs to be constantly fed (tweaked, have blogs added, etc). I’ve written a blog about this that you can find HERE.
If anyone gets in touch with you about tutoring keep in touch with them. Don’t spam them, but you never know when circumstances change, and you might become their perfect fit.
Planning a lesson
I suggest you plan your lessons in advance. By tailor making every lesson you can guarantee to be supporting that child’s needs very specifically.
Once planned, I suggest you send the lesson plans to the parents in advance so that the parents can ask for it changing if necessary. It also allows us to provide the parents with a written record of how the child is progressing and keep the parents aware of the work we are doing.
You have 2 options here:
Create your own, we create many of ours so that we can be more adaptable to the needs of the child.
Scour the internet for websites which provide resources for educators. I often use Teachit (maths, English or primary), Tes, maths4everyone or Corbett math.
We combine both options, but you may choose to just create your own, or just use pre-prepared resources depending on the teaching style you choose to adapt in your lessons.
Carrying out the lesson
This will be very dependent on your teaching style and where you choose to carry out your lessons as we come out of lockdown. For now, it is probably fair to presume most of your lessons (or potentially all) will take place online.
However, in time you may decide to work in a tutoring centre, in your home or in the student’s home.
There is one thing I would like to mention that we do. Each time we go to a student’s home for the first time, we take with us a starter pack. Its’ just a small pack containing the stationery the child will need during the sessions with us.
Because very often it is not the child who wants the tutor. The parents have made that decision for them. Giving them a small gift helps to knock down the walls of resistance. Furthermore, as a tutor it makes you appear both professional and organised.
Getting Referrals and testimonials
As you get started this is sometimes tricky. It is the chicken and egg situation. You need referrals for people to trust you. But you can’t get referrals until you get the work. You get the work once you get the referrals…!
Set up systems to help you achieve this. Referrals make such a huge difference and are so important in helping you to grow your business.
I hope this has given you a brief overview. Like I mentioned earlier, if you would like access to the £7 “Getting started as tutor mini course” let me know and I will let you know as soon as it is available