Prologue from our new book (more information coming soon).
In 2009, I was a qualified teacher; I had managed an Early Years setting, leading it from an Ofsted ‘Inadequate’ to a ‘Good’; I had tutored at least 30 students, clocking more than 250 hours tutoring – and yet I suffered from acute Imposter Syndrome as a tutor.
‘Am I doing this right?’ Was always the question.
‘The children are happy and the parents seem pleased’, was the best I could reassure myself with.
I hadn’t read Hattie on the problem of learning being invisible. I didn’t have the EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit to show me what I was doing right.
Crucially, I didn’t have any other tutors to compare notes with.
Teaching is hard, really hard, but it’s also really social. You’re constantly bouncing ideas off other teachers around the school – whether you mean to or not. How the Year 2 teacher lines her class up; how the Year 6 teacher pulled that field trip together.
So many moments of inspiration, encouragement and sheer delight happen every day working alongside other teachers.
But tutoring is lonely.
I tutored through all my maternity leaves (there were 5 of them) until eventually I had more experience as a tutor than as a teacher.
Fast forward to 2019 and my father passed away. I was Deputy Head in an orthodox Jewish girls’ primary school and had just completed an NPQH (qualification in headship – which I highly recommend). I specialised in ‘improving student outcomes by developing teachers’.
Our eldest son needed a Modern Hebrew tutor. I didn’t want to pay the local premium, so I started to explore online tutoring sites. It was so easy to find tutors in Modern Hebrew online. It was too easy – I honestly didn’t know how to choose.
Well, actually I did – because I interview teachers for a living (and Josh turned out to be fantastic!) but I started thinking about all the parents who wouldn’t know where to start, and all the tutors who were more than capable, but not getting the jobs.
I thought about regulation: how do we know these tutors are safe?
And quality assurance: how do we know these tutors are good?
But then I remembered my own beginnings in tutoring and realised: what tutors need is training, is community, is a quality mark to set themselves apart. Tutors don’t need to be shut down, regulated, restricted; they need to be nurtured, encouraged, enabled.
And so Qualified Tutor was born.
The big QT vision is this:
The more, and better qualified, tutors we have, the more our students will benefit: tutoring will become cheaper and more accessible and at the same time tutors will have a steady supply of students.
It’s time to democratise tutoring.
It’s time to develop our tutors.
It’s time to professionalise tutoring.
Who’s with me?
Powerful mission, Julia. I’m with you!