At first glance, private tutoring is an ideal job. With the flexibility to choose your own hours, not to mention the competitive pay and lack of stifling dress code, it’s a perfect alternative to slaving away in the City. It’s the go-to graduate job nowadays, making the employment margin for this field incredibly slim.
You’ve sent off your application, your degree is enviable and your academic record flawless. There’s no way they can reject such an impressive candidate, right? Wrong. With little to no experience you’re no better than the average applicant, so don’t rest your laurels on that starred First you graduated with. There’s more to tutoring than just being an expert in your subject, and agencies will want to know that you have put you skills into practice. So how can you gain more experience and be a better candidate next time round?
The process is simple: you need to put your teaching skills to the test at every moment possible. Got a younger sibling who’s struggling with their GCSE revision? Offer up your services and help them out. Or maybe a neighbour who needs guidance with their personal statement? There’s no doubt they’ll appreciate a helping hand from someone who has been through the process themselves. This will help you get a feel for the subject and level you want to teach.
Once you have put your skills to the test with your family and friends, branch out! Your local community centres and youth clubs are always looking for volunteer teachers, and this will force you out of your comfort zone as you learn to interact with strangers in an academic setting. You never know how a client will react to your teaching style, so learning to adapt and be creative is the most useful lesson a tutor can learn.
While everyone else might praise you for being an all-rounder, an individual who delivers in specific academic areas will stand out the most so make sure you identify your skills before you apply to become a tutor. More importantly, the school system is always changing and a successful tutor will know their exam boards back to front. The key to good grades is exam technique, and distinguishing your AQA from your OCR really makes all the difference. Keep up to date with changes in the specifications and recognise what each board looks for by reading through any relevant examiner’s reports.
A smart individual with a great personality makes the best tutor, so don’t be afraid to relax and be yourself. While it’s important to work hard and deliver, a tutoring session should not be formal, and your student will need to feel at ease. They also need to be interested, so make sure you’re not sending anyone to sleep during your explanations. Yes, there’s a limit to how fun quadratic equations can really be, but try to think outside the box. If parents are going crazy for your services, we want to know! Always ask for a reference, so that we can be sure that you’re a reliable applicant who won’t let us down.
Being a good tutor is not innate. While talent and intelligence plays an important part, practice and experience goes a long way. We already know you’re a brainiac, so that’s the hard part out of the way. Put yourself out there and come back an even better candidate.