12 Reasons to become a tutor

Why become a tutor?

 

Out of all the jobs out there, why are you considering tutoring? I was asked why I did it and I think this is the best explanation I can give.

Everyone goes to work for a reason. For most of us it’s to earn the money to pay the bills, for others it’s nothing more than to get out the house, meet people and pass the time of day:

 

Good income

Why tutoring might suit you

  1. Good income: I admit, tutoring isn’t up there with the wages of a solicitor, doctor or rocket scientist, but a good tutor can expect to earn a reasonable wage. Although any good tutor will spend an element of time preparing for the lesson, the wage can still be considered by most to be a respectable income.

 

 

 

 

 

Flexibility

Tutoring offers flexibility

  1. Flexibility: Most jobs offer either a reasonable income but very little flexibility, or the flexibility but little more than the minimum wage. Yet tutoring does both. This means that tutoring as a second job in the evening or weekend, is perfect as that is when there is the highest demand. There are also an increasing number of children been home schooled who require additional support in certain subjects during the day. Your diary is yours to set, you can decide in advance the hours you wish to work and there is normally an element of give within this week by week.

 

 

The ability to work from homeAs a tutor you can work from home

  1. The flexibility continues with capability to work from home. Providing you have a table and a room where you can be left in peace to work, tutoring is the perfect job to carry out at home. You will reduce your travel costs and time, consequently increasing your over all income. It also means you have all your resources to hand, so if you have planned one thing but the student requires something different you can easily adapt. To be honest I’ve never worked from home, I like to get out and about. I enjoy driving through the fantastic British countryside and visiting new places. But that’s just my personal preference. I also believe that if the student is in their own familiar environment it will make them more relaxed which reinforces a state of mind which will encourage them to remember what they are taught. It also helps already busy parents fit the tutoring into their existing routine.

 

 

Every lesson is different

Every lesson is different

  1. I was asked the other day if always doing the same thing with people gets boring. Yet I very rarely do the same thing more than once or twice a week. I work with children from as young as 7 up to adult. The range of support needed is as you would imagine huge. I admit, I play a choice of games in most lessons, regardless of age (if you read my book: The Essential Guide to help Parents and Tutors; Supporting children with reading and spelling, the reasons why would become apparent) but in every other respect every lesson is different. Every one of us is an individual. Consequently every person we meet will be different. Some will be chatty, some will be quite. Some will want to go back to the very basics of something; others may have got an understanding of the basics, but can’t get their head around some of the more complex ideas of the subject. I have shared lessons with cats, dogs, chickens (I would have to draw the line at pet spiders). I’ve sat on the floor of a house as the family has moved out. I’ve sat in the conference room in a rather stately home. I use a range of resources, depending on the wishes and needs of the tutee. I love this variety and this brings me nicely onto point…

 

 

Creative

You get to be creative

  1. Jobs where you can be this creative on a daily basis in the world of education, are very limited. I can’t draw and I’m not artistic but this job has definitely allowed me to be more creative than I have ever been in any other job I’ve had. I think of games and activities we can do to keep the learning on track but in a varied manner.

 

 

 

Meet fantastic people

At work the people often make the job

  1. Over the past few years I have met some really fantastic people. I’ve met a whole range of people who need tutors for a remarkable range of reasons, but without fail they have all been really lovely people. In fact I would probably say that it has been the people, which have made the job as enjoyable as it is and you are never in any doubt that the effort you put in is completely appreciated.

 

 

 

Enhance the knowledge and understanding of another person

  1. Another key element about tutoring is that you are able to enhance the knowledge and understanding of another person in a subject. Very often people will find a tutor because they don’t understand a subject or an element of a subject; quite possibly they will have exams coming up or just need the support to get through everyday schooling or life. When they find that understanding there is definitely a sense of pride and achievement, that you have supported them in finding this understanding.

 

 

 

Boost enthusiasm

Why become a tutor? You will boost enthusiasm, knowledge and confidence

  1. I think it is also fair to say that if someone doesn’t understand something, they normally don’t enjoy it either. This is one of the reasons outlined in my book, why I use an element of games and various other activities. If you can start to break down that feeling of dislike and resentment towards something, you are probably more susceptible to learning and acquiring new knowledge. Like I say, this is discussed in greater depth in the book, so I won’t dwell on it here. But seeing a new enthusiasm for something that they previously loathed and couldn’t see any point behind is I think a great feeling for both tutor and tutee.

 

 

The support can be life changing

The support you provide can be life changing

  1. Some people need a tutor’s support to get them through an exam. For some, this qualification could change their lives. It could give them the access onto a university degree course to qualify for the job that they dream of, take promotion, continue with their education or just keep up with their peers. Whatever the reason, for many people this support can be life changing. I once worked with a lady who wanted to return to University to undertake the training that she needed for a new job. Her first step was to go to the local college and sit a maths test to get her onto the access course. She failed and was told she wasn’t likely to pass. She got in touch and she asked for help. I’ve never seen anyone work as hard as she did that summer. At the end of the summer she retook the exam and passed. I have great admiration for her and what she achieved in those few weeks.

 

Improve your own knowledge

  1. I have found over the last few years that people will get in touch and ask if you do the “chunking method”, “partitioning” or the “grid method”. This was all completely new terminology to me when I started. I have found that my own knowledge has increased significantly over the past few years of tutoring in other subjects as well. Children will often say they need to write a report in another subject, can I help them. This then becomes an issue when you realise they have no knowledge on the subject, so between you it is necessary to find something to write. My history, geography and science have all improved dramatically.

 

 

You don’t need to be a qualified teacher

You do need a DBS check as a tutor but you don't need to be a qualified teacher

  1. When I first looked into doing a childcare and education qualification carrying out a full time teacher training course wasn’t a realistic proposition. I had three young children under 5 years old. But to be a tutor you don’t need to have Qualified Teacher Status although a background in education is beneficial. As long as you have good subject knowledge and are able to support others in gaining this knowledge, you have the basic qualifications. (Obviously a DBS check is paramount to ensure people are allowing suitable people into their home. Especially when working with children).

 

 

No bureaucracy

  1. Many teachers love their role in supporting someone’s learning, often for similar reasons to some of those I have mentioned above. But in schools there is an increasing amount of bureaucracy and paper work which detracts from time you can spend preparing and supporting the children with their education. At the time of writing this there is no such bureaucracy in the UK for tutors.

 

 

 

 

There you go. My own personal twelve reasons: Why I became a tutor. Everyone would probably have different reasons. I would be lying if I didn’t say there were days when it’s cold and dark and you just think “I can’t be bothered” but isn’t that the same in most jobs? Hand on heart I can genuinely say I love my job. It has given my kids and I some great holidays and experiences through the money I earn as a tutor. I like the flexibility of my days and the fact that no two days are the same. I love the people I meet and the fact that I feel the work I do is genuinely appreciated and making a difference to someone’s life.

 

If you have read this far you are clearly giving tutoring serious consideration!

 

If you need a hand to get going or maybe you have started tutoring and you are lacking inspiration and motivation, why not check out “The Tutor’s Tutor”.

 

The Tutor’s Tutor is a place where you will receive a new training bundle each month to help you to grow your tutoring business.

There are annual awards to be won which will prove to the world what a great job you do. It will inspire you and also others to be tutored by you.

 

It is a place where like minded people can join, share ideas, inspiration and motivation.

 

A place to grow and find the support you need in creating the business of your dreams.

 

For more information: click here

 

I look forward to meeting you there

 

 

 

To pay or not to pay? That shouldn’t be an option!

To pay or not to pay? That seems to be the question!

 

Sadly, getting people to pay for the tutoring they have received can be like getting blood out of a stone.

When I started tutoring I was naive and presumed if I did the work, especially if I put my heart and sole into it, people would pay me what I was owed. (I have said on many occasions I had no business knowledge or experience when I started tutoring).

Now I have contracts in place which are given to new starters. These clearly outline what we charge and when/how we expect to be paid. We also have a clear cancellation policy.

The “Payment Policy” is available for you to use or adapt for yourself in the Starr Tutoring Association Membership Group. They don’t need to be long and formal. Maybe they’re better if they’re not. They just need to clearly get the message across.

You can download the “Cancellation Policy” here:

 

Cancellation Policy

 

Is it a sign of disrespect when parents don’t pay?

I think it is. It may not be personal but you wouldn’t expect any other service to be provided for free or to pay for it as and when you feel like it without some sort of consequence being applied.

 

When I first started tutoring I went to a family who paid cash.

It is quite amazing how many excuses one person can have for not having any cash on them:

I haven’t had chance to go the cash point

I left my purse in my boyfriend’s car

The dog has been poorly so I didn’t go out.

These were 3 of her most common excuses not to pay.

 

Recently I’ve been in discussion with a family over the payment terms. They started before the policies were created. She felt a month was a satisfactory length of time to pay. The invoices say 5 days.

 

These days I believe we are better off without families who don’t pay when asked the amount asked.

If you are struggling with people who don’t pay, fire them!

It’s actually quite therapeutic, even if terrifying!

At first the fear of the reduction in your income is difficult to overcome. However, they’re not paying you anyway so you have nothing to lose. It also means you can replace that family with another family who does pay you the amount asked and on time.

It took me along time to gain this attitude, but without it any company will drown.

 

Many tutors ask for payment up front. They may offer a discount if a group of lessons is paid for in advance. This is a great option as the family feel they are getting a bargain. You are not having to play catch up with payments each time/ week/ month.

 

Don’t let the question “To pay, or not to pay?” be the option for the families you work with.

Get policies in place from the start.  It’s never too late to start if you haven’t. If you don’t families with this sort of mentality will destroy your company and all the hard work you have put into it.

 

If you want help growing your tutoring company why not join us in our Facebook group “The Tutor’s Group” where you will find myself and other tutors to chat to. You will find motivation and support.

 

 

Don’t let a lack of confidence stop you

The importance of confidence

Life throws a lot of things at you and it will either boost or knock your confidence.

Too often we stop ourselves from trying things because we don’t have the confidence.

But this can stop us from doing so many things that will help us to grow great businesses.

The more our business grows, it means the more people we can help.

I have never exuded confidence like some people seem to. I am quiet and often feel very socially awkward.

Yet sometimes it is worth taking a step book and looking at yourself as an outsider and you will realise that you actually have many reasons to be proud.

My maiden name was Starr and I was always proud to be associated with my mum, dad, brother. That’s why the company is now called Starr Tutoring. Associating myself with that gave me confidence. (It also helps that star is associated with greatness and success, but in all honesty at the time of Starr Tutoring that wasn’t even a consideration).

 

When I started tutoring I tried very hard to keep it to myself because I didn’t want people to judge me. That is not the way to grow a business!

 

I kept my prices very low. I didn’t have the confidence to ask for more, I didn’t think I was worthy.

That was counter-productive. People presume they largely get what they pay for. You pay peanuts, you get peanuts. Recognition of this forced me to put my prices up.

 

When I started the Starr Tutoring Association I procrastinated about if for over a year.

 

Was I really worthy of supporting others in growing a tutoring business?

 

I had had a book published

I had presented workshops

Starr Tutoring had been started from nothing and now I had more work than I could cope with.

We boosted the knowledge and confidence of a lot of people. We had made a genuine difference to their lives.

I had given advise to others informally on starting / growing their tutoring business

I had a team of tutors working for me.

For years I had read, learned and implemented what I had learned from others not just about growing a business but also about learning styles and techniques.

I had made mistakes but I had learned from them.

 

I had achieved a lot! Maybe I could?

 

If I gave it a go what was the worse thing that could happen?

I would waste some time (and money) but I would continue to learn along the way.

If I didn’t give it a go what was the worse thing that could happen?

People that needed support in growing and expanding a tutoring business would never get the support that I could offer them.

Maybe not trying to help was selfish?

 

I had to get my own ego out of the way.

Any lack of confidence that was holding me back had to put a side.

You only live once and whilst I am on this earth I want to make a difference. I want that difference to be positive and to effect as many people as possible.

 

Each question I answer, each blog I write, each resource bundle I create, will hopefully offer someone somewhere a nugget of information that will inspire them and help them to succeed.

 

Grow your dream tutoring business

If you want more information on “The Starr Tutoring Association” CLICK HERE

 

Don’t let your confidence get in your way of starting and growing your tutoring business. Have a go, you might enjoy it and you will no doubt benefit others in the process.

 

Get started as a tutor

It takes so much time to get things started.

 

When you start something (ie. Tutoring), you are keen for it to get started; for many reasons:

It’s a new adventure and enthusiasm is high

You are starting the business because you need the money

By tutoring you hope to genuinely make a difference to the lives of the people you encounter

 

I started Starr Tutoring in 2012 and now it is a business that goes far beyond what I ever expected it to be.

I am hesitant about posting this blog as I don’t want people to think I am sitting on my pity cushion, but instead to show you that it can be done. So, don’t give up!

Within the next few lines, I hope you will find some inspiration that will help you move your business forward as well.

 

In 2012 I was a single mum of 3 children. My oldest had moved back in with her dad (long story) and I was in a job I hated. We were still trying to finalise the divorce and I was at an all time low.

Previously, I had been an NVQ assessor and although I loved the job, it was impractical. I would often find myself several miles away at 3 o’clock assessing someone when I should have been walking up the school path to collect my own children from school.

One afternoon, on impulse I contacted the local college and asked about doing the PTLLS course so that I could do a similar role but based in a classroom.

 

That day changed my life.

 

Whilst on that course I made friends with a lady who was tutoring. She suggested I gave it a go. After several weeks of deliberation and advise from another friend I submitted.

One afternoon whilst my kids were at their dad’s I put my profile onto the first tutors’ website. It was very basic and I don’t think I promoted myself that well as I had such a low opinion of myself at that time.

But it was a start.

I had no business knowledge what so ever, so everything I did was on instinct. I would have loved a guiding hand at this point.

 

Another friend and I brainstormed ideas about what we would expect from a tutor if we had one for our own children. This was my building block for the business. I wasn’t thinking about profits and margins, I was thinking about what a parent would expect from me.

I genuinely think this is why things started to move so quickly. Unknowingly, I was thinking like my ideal customer.

 

I was relating to their wants and desires. Their fears and frustrations.

 

The next Sunday the children went to their dad’s for the afternoon I sat down and looked at how to create a website.

It had to be cheap because money was an issue. It also had to be very simple to create as I had no knowledge or experience in anything like this. The only experience I had was when I used Microsoft word for my previous jobs (even my degree, although a correspondence degree was predominately paper based). Other than  the only IT experience I had playing Tetris on my brother’s Sinclair Spectrum as a child.

 

By the time they came home that evening I had put together a very basic website on Vistaprint. (The very basic website I have recently put together is on WordPress as it has more features. But it still costs me very little as I try to do as much of it as I can myself).

Not a cost-effective use of my time?

I know, but I enjoy it and when I’m doing it, I feel as if I am being proactive in moving the business forward. Whilst I am moving forward I know I am making progress towards my goal.

 

Quickly, I realised that having my own website was a huge asset. I was able to say much more about myself, my teaching style and what I offered. It also meant that people could get hold of me for a proper chat for free.

 

My brother gave me advise on making the site more SEO friendly and getting it listed on as many free sites as possible.

This all started to generate momentum.

 

I then started creating fliers (these were very basic and I think the ones I produce these days are far more professional) which again helped people become aware of me.

Everything I did had to be cheap. I didn’t have the money to get things done professionally. In my naivety I hadn’t realised there were companies out there that helped with such things!

 

I bought magnets and stuck them on the side of the car so that everywhere I went I was telling people about Starr Tutoring.

 

Whilst in my day job I would use the quiet moments to sit and think how I could help the children I had started to tutor. This meant everything was tailor made and it helped to get the word spread about what I was doing. This wasn’t a one style suits all business that I had created.

 

I also created a Facebook page, initially it was just my own page but later I created a business one. I didn’t know what to put but it was there, it was a start. (Over the past few years this page has been invaluable for getting work. Facebook is a fantastic place for people to ask for recommendations. Once recommended the enquirer can have a quick stalk before deciding whether to contact you or not).

If you do nothing else, create your own business page. It’s free and I honestly believe that it could make a huge difference to your business.

 

I have recently discovered Canva (the basic package is free) which means you can add images to your posts making it look more professional. You might want to give it a try?

 

Building the business is a steady burn. Sadly, nothing happens overnight. I am now blogging more. Some of it is probably just regarded as noise but hopefully you will find snippets of useful information to help you grow your business. By doing this, you are also keeping the content of your website fresh so it is more likely to appear higher in the Google search engines.

It also shows that you know what you are talking about and gives people the opportunity to get to know you.

They can decide before they get in touch if they think you are going to work well together.

 

In the last few months I have also started the Starr Tutoring Association. It is a membership group for those who are starting tutoring or hoping to grow their tutoring business to find ideas. The ideas won’t be hugely expensive ones, they will be simple and cheap and achievable by all.

Grow your dream tutoring business

Like I said when I started tutoring, I would have loved someone there to hold my hand and guide me through the journey ahead.

The aim of the group is also so I can be that person for you.

If you want more information click here.

 

Good luck in your journey and whether you decide to join or not, if you want any help, please do ask.

 

Best wishes

 

 

 

 

Choosing my top 10 resources

I’ve spent the last few days creating a resource bundle for the Starr Tutoring Association.

Going through the different resources I use made me realise what I huge library I had put together over the past 6 years.

I explain why I think using a range of resources is important in the “Learning needs to be fun to be effective” blog if you want to read it.

Because there were so many to choose from I’ve picked my top 10 resources that I use for language and spellings.

 

The first I chose was “The 5 Minute Challenge”.

 

The page is divided into 4 columns and approximately 10 to 12 rows.
In the first column of each row you place a heading such as: synonyms for happy or words ending in ed.
To play the game you have a copy of the sheet each.
Against the clock you both try to fill as many of the boxes as you can.

When the time’s up, pens go down and you compare answers.

This game is great for getting children used to working against the clock and thinking of three different words that would suit each category.

 

Another game I chose was “Funny Pictures”

 

You start with a blank strip of paper.
The first person starts by drawing a head on the top third and bending the piece of paper over so that the other person can’t see what has been drawn.
They then attach a body to the bottom of the neck, fold the piece of paper and hand it back to the first person.
The first person the draws the legs and feet.
When the paper is opened out you are left with a fairly “wacky” picture of a person.

The task now is to think of as many ways as you can to describe the image.
(You can’t alter the image once it has been opened out).
Although drawing is a major feature of this game, it doesn’t need to be a excessive skill.

 

Making and solving word searches are other great games for practicing spellings.

 

When I first started tutoring I was told not to use word searches with dyslexic children by one of the leaders of a course I was doing.
To be fair, I have found that many dyslexic children enjoy doing word searches and are better than most at them. Maybe that’s just a coincidence, but like everything else, as long as it is tailored to the needs of the child, I don’t think anyone should be excluded.

 

The Board Game

Another game I have recently started using (but isn’t mentioned in the bundle as I had already agreed the target of 10 that I had set myself before I thought this would be worth mentioning) is what I call the board game.

Start with a blank A4 (or bigger) piece of paper and choose 3 different coloured pens.
Using each colour draw 6 shapes (or pictures which are relevant to the interests of the child) around the page:

Then think of 6 fairly simple forfeits:

  • miss a go,
  • have another go, etc and write them down on the board.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION (with forfeits) TO USE YOURSELF

To play the game you both choose a colour.
Using my example, I will be green, you can be gold.
You can start wherever you like on the board.
The first person rolls the dice and moves that number of squares in any direction. You can’t change direction half way through a roll: you can’t turn around and come back on your-self.
If you land on a green, I will need to take a word from the pile and spell it, answer another question, read another page, etc.
If you land on gold you would have to spell another word, read another page, answer another question…
Should you land on a forfeit (in this instance the yellow star), roll the dice again.
The number you roll dictates the forfeit you have to do.

 

I’ve enjoyed creating this bundle and I look forward to creating one which better associates with maths games. Though every game in this bundle I’m sure can be easily adapted. Just ask me if you want some inspiration on how.

I’ve loved making the images. I’m not artistic. I can draw a stick person and be asked what it is. I’m learning to be creative.

If you want to download the “Resource Bundle” it can be accessed through the Starr Tutoring Association.

This is something I have recently started to help you and others grow and expand successful tutoring businesses, using what I have learned at Starr Tutoring to help you.
I have made many mistakes over the years, but every time I have learned from them. That’s what I hope is important. No one is perfect but if I can improve just 1% every day, by the end of the year I will be 356% better than I was at the start of the previous year.

I want to become the best tutor that there is and I want to take you with me.

 

Work together to be the best tutors

 

  • A new training bundle will be uploaded every month, which has videos as well as notes and often downloads to help you to implement the various things into your business.

 

  • You will also have access to special needs and safeguarding experts should you ever need their support in your work.

 

  • You can also join our growing community of tutors to support and guide each other. By supporting each other we can make sure that when people are looking for tutors, they come across someone like you who is committed to doing a fantastic job in helping them gain the knowledge they need.

 

The membership group is just £27/month.

I have kept the price low, not because I question the value I think you will receive from it, but because I want it to be available to as many people as possible.

To join, just simply click on the link below (you can leave at any time there is no minimum stay contract) and I hope you find loads of value from the resources that you find there.

See you there soon.