If you have spent many years homeschooling your children, and they are getting to the age where they move into further education; they want to go back into the educational system; or even go to get a job; you could find that the skills that you’ve honed throughout the years are now being made redundant to an extent. But, the great thing about being a teacher; regardless of what you have taught, is that these skills are with you for life, and should be used accordingly. Becoming a tutor is one of the most obvious options, but it can be a very lucrative and fulfilling role. With this in mind, how do you get into tutoring, and how can you make a success of it?
Determining Your Subject Matter
Once you determine the subject matter, you’ve got to whittle it down even further into the appropriate age groups and grades. You may find that you’ve discovered a passion for a specific subject as you’ve been homeschooling your child over the years; and as a result, you can very easily fall into this subject because you have a lot of expertise. Music is one of those good examples because it’s such a niche subject for many people that it becomes a very lucrative approach for that very reason. The fact of the matter is that as a teacher, you’ve got to be an expert in the subject that you teach. And if you are sufficiently skilled in a specific subject, it is common sense that you go down this avenue. The wider your skill set, the more people you will be able to tutor.
Discovering Your Teaching Style
We all have a specific process; when we’ve been homeschooling our children, we are used to our own children; but the manner in which we’ve taught them cannot necessarily be applied to other children. There are so many different factors at play; such as your relationship with the student, and your own teaching styles, as well as their ability to retain information in a certain way. For example, that old fashioned method of sitting down and reading information doesn’t lend itself well to retaining the facts and figures. It’s far better for you to have a diverse set of teaching styles to suit the child you are tutoring.
If you are tutoring younger children, the more studious methods won’t work, and so you’ve got to be more creative to help them learn. Playing games is one very good example, as well as songs or specific activities to make the learning experience fun. But if you’ve got older children, it could be very much a combination of methods; from facts and figures to technological implements like PowerPoint presentations; or numerous exercises or word drills, especially if you’re teaching a foreign language. The more fun you make it, the less is going to feel like hard work from their perspective; and it’s worth keeping this in mind. Take the pressure off of them, and they will learn better, and as a result, they will be more warm and receptive to your needs.
Turning It Into A Business
You could start out by tutoring people you know, so you can get a feel for the job, and also fine-tune your own teaching skills; when you’re comfortable, you can turn this into a business. It becomes a way for you to earn a lucrative income. It’s up to you what you charge; but it’s worth thinking about the subject matter and how niche it is in relation to the demand. It can be a very lucrative endeavor; but if you are going to take it seriously, you’ve got to treat yourself as a product or a commodity.
There are things you can do to market yourself; not just via social media, but you can promote positive word of mouth by speaking to other parents and get an idea of what is needed in terms of tutoring. It’s very likely there are many tutors out there already, and so you will have to compete with them. And so, it’s not just about the service you offer; especially if it’s already offered by someone else. This is where a promotion becomes the secret ingredient.
As you develop your own methods, you can turn it into a profitable business. After all, there are many tax deductions that you can take advantage of because you work for yourself, as well as there being financial support for tutors. You may want to think about joining a tutoring association so you can become a certified tutor. While this isn’t essential, it’s very much the equivalent of getting some credentials associated with your name.
By joining an organization like the National Tutoring Association (NTA); it may come with a registration fee; but once you join it, you will have access to many resources, such as job postings or webinars. This is a very simple way to improve your reputation as a local tutor; from there, you can find other ways to get support for your work. You could receive funding for classroom supplies, or join a local support network to ensure that your services are required and monetized accordingly. It’s not just about the teaching; but it’s ensuring that you are selling yourself appropriately.
Keeping Yourself Flexible
Tutoring is predominately done on evenings and weekends. As such, you will need to keep yourself available; but also, depending on the demand for your tutoring services, you will have to establish a working pattern that suits your life. After all, if you’ve got children, being away in the evenings could mean that you won’t see your loved ones as much. But with the fact that tutorials can be canceled at a moment’s notice, you’ve got to be adaptive to the student’s needs. And this is why it’s essential for you to have a lot more planning and preparation before you go into each individual session.
You can structure a lesson plan, but at the same time, you’ve got to be flexible. And this is where we will be tested on our mastery on a subject. While teaching a subject to a certain extent can mean that you can talk around the subject; when you’ve really got to find different ways to make subject matter stick with a child that’s struggling to retain it; you’ve got to have an abundance of tools in your mental toolbox. This means that it’s not just about the lesson plan, but about having backup plans, other resources like past exam papers, as well as having a mental idea of the lesson structure before you go in.
Establishing Efficient Communication
It’s easy to think that, in one respect, we see this child for an hour a week, and that’s it. But we’ve got to dig deeper to see what the specific issues are. This is why we need to liaise, not just with the parents, but the teachers as well. When we meet the students for the first time, it’s at this point that we need to establish their own specific issues; from there, we can create a lesson plan to fix their needs. Sometimes the problems are minute, and it’s a specific area of the subject; whereas other children need help across the entire subject.
And what’s important when we have such a vast undertaking that it’s an entire subject; we should ensure that we are communicating with the students as best as possible. We need to know if the information is going into their brains properly. Throughout an average tutoring session, it’s important to touch base with them; establish if they are retaining information or understanding it better. It’s always worth talking to the parents before a tutoring session, so you can establish if they are making any progress throughout the week. If not, it might be time to “double up” the sessions.
Doing it twice a week might be the trick to helping them. After all, if a child only sees you for an hour once a week; and in the meantime, they’ve got numerous other issues with other subjects, and problems in school; increasing the number of tutorials per week will very likely make the difference. And also, it’s not just about one to one tutoring in person, if money is an issue or time, Skype sessions could be a good balance.
Tutoring is a very dynamic job. It requires you to sell yourself as a master of a subject; but you’ve also got to find the right way for the information to stick in a student’s mind; as well as adapting yourself each and every time to different children. When you’re homeschooling a child, there can be a lot of lessons you’ve learned that you can carry into being a tutor. But being a parent tutoring a child is far different than being a professional tutor.
There are definitely some similarities; but if you have learned an abundance of skills that can be put to good use, tutoring can be a great use for what you’ve learned.