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No, you don’t need to be a qualified teacher to be a tutor. Experience of working in education definitely helps though.

Not being a qualified teacher was one of my biggest concerns when I got started but a friend pointed out to me that: very often teachers are trained to teach something a specific way. If the learner doesn’t grasp that method it sometimes needs someone to come in with a new approach to explain it.

Many years ago when I was sitting my GCSE’s I couldn’t grasp solving equations in algebra. The teacher had gone over it several times and it still seemed like double Dutch. She was clearly feeling exasperated and I was feeling like a complete failure so I pretended I “got it”.

Fortunately my dad had the patience of a saint. That night he sat me down and explained that it was like having a set of scales which I had to keep balanced at all times. If I took something out of one side, I had to do the equivalent to the other side until I was left with nothing more than the value I was looking for.

It made perfect sense. A new perspective and it was as clear as daylight. I don’t know if he ever knew how grateful I was for the help he gave me but it is the technique I now use to explain it to the children I work with. That different explanation is still turning on lightbulbs for people today.

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