Tutor because you care.
Tutoring is hard. It’s lonely, the work is unpredictable, and it’s difficult to know if you’re doing it right.
But tutoring as a job makes sense – the hours are flexible, you can work from home and it can pay well.
Of course, it can also be incredibly rewarding.Watching learning close-up is glorious. Sitting across the corner of my kitchen table, watching the cogs whirr as my student tackles a problem, staying quiet and letting them work it out – it’s as close to mind-reading as I’m ever likely to get. I’m not the best tutor. I don’t get many ‘aha’ moments, although we always have a lovely time together. Even though I’m a teacher and a school leader, I mostly feel like an imposter when I tutor. I freely admit it – tutoring well is hard.
You have to build a rapport with both the student and their parents. You have to know your subject and how to make it super-clear. You have to be sure you’re adding value every session, so that when you receive your payment you know you earned it. You have to organise your own taxes, insurance, police checks. You have to find, and keep, enough clients to pay your bills.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being a tutor is hard.
It’s also lonely. You never see other tutors. You don’t know whether they approach tutoring the same way as you or completely differently. You’re not even sure whether you should think of them as colleagues or competitors.You may not see any adults at all. Or you may be dealing with parents, agencies or schools who really make you sing for your supper. Writing reports that take as long as your planning. Defending your impact to people who aren’t educators themselves. Marketing yourself endlessly to get new students and keep the ones you have.
A tutor is a freelancer. And they’re vulnerable to all the pressures and whims of their employers. The parents, the agencies, even the students themselves will have opinions and preferences that need to be planned around. And they’ll differ for each client.
I know tutoring is hard. But it is worth it.
The relief in a parents’ smile, the bounce in a student’s arrival, the moments of earnest concentration, endless patience or downright silliness, the time flying by, the thank you notes months later – those are the things that keep us going.
We start tutoring because we can, but we love tutoring because we care.