On many occasions I have been asked ‘What do you do for a living?’ and of course I reply I am a full time tutor. I certainly do it for a ‘living,’ and often people do not realise that it is my only career since I left full time teaching in a school. Many tutors do it as a supplementary income, but for me it is my main income. It is so much more than ‘a living’ though.

Teaching and tutoring are vocations, so often I first reply, ‘I help people,’ because that is what I do. Not only do I have a real passion for my subject, but I really do invest a lot of behind-the-scenes work so that what I do is absolutely tailored to every individual.

Sometimes schools are very suspicious of tutors, as if we are criticising what they do, or just out to make money. But the tutors I speak to online and in person are not like that. It is a shame that schools don’t take the opportunity of working in tandem with private tutors. I am qualified and very experienced and I teach every single syllabus, and pretty much any text a student is studying. I am also an examiner. When I get student grades boosted up, it helps the schools’ results too -sometimes I get heads of department who are really happy about that and are really happy to recommend me. That is a good school- tutor relationship which can only be beneficial.

Which leads me to another subject: the fees. I have never encountered this, but many tutors are challenged about their fees, asked for discount, and told that other tutors (possibly on the NTP) charge less. Some tutors worry about charging too much for their services. But ask yourselves this: do you question your plumber, solicitor, repair-person- no! You pay the bill. So why not put the same value on the expertise and the incredible amount of time and energy given to a child’s education, which will set them up in the future?

I absolutely love my subject, so for me it is not only ‘tutoring for a living,’ but I am lucky enough to do a job which too me is thoroughly fun and enjoyable. It is exhausting – I do need to have those breaks in half term- but it is rather like doing a hobby for a job.

Schools are often very exam driven, and so am I of course, but one-to-one also offers time to enrich and develop a wider knowledge, sometimes a real passion for the subject and other linked subjects to english, such as history, philosophy, science- necessary for the context and a greater understanding of the texts. Even the most reluctant student can find something they enjoy, or learn something they haven’t been taught at school because there simply isn’t time to go into the depth.

I recently visited my old school, and I discovered the things I don’t miss – paperwork, sheets recording marking every week, reports, meetings, training days, (these latter two always went on far too long about very little IMHO) – this takes up too much time which could be spent on the subject and the students, and creates so much paperwork and stress for staff. I don’t have a fancy smart board; I don’t have tablets and regular mark sheets – although I absolutely record progress and I feedback in person to parents and students- and at the moment I am 98% teaching on line, but my students regularly raise their grades. Their grades often go up from 3 to 6, or even 5 up to a 7 or 9 ! I’m not stressed and they seem to enjoy it. My students seem to ask to have tuition – none of them seem pushed into it and even get up at 8 am on a Saturday to do their lessons! So hopefully I am doing something right and making a difference. AND a living.

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