The digital era has dramatically changed the way we find information. With just a few clicks on a computer or smartphone, anyone can quickly get instant access to a wide variety of information.
The thing is, a simple Google search may not be enough. There are topics too technical that people need expert guidance to understand ideas and concepts better. These are the instances when tutoring comes in.
Private tuition is increasingly becoming popular, and while traditionally conducted in the classroom setting, the internet has thankfully created a more accessible platform for information sharing between tutors and students.
Whether you are a math expert, a chess guru, or speak different languages, there are hundreds of tutoring jobs out there.
Tutors are masters in their respective fields. Most tutors don't even feel like they're "working" as they impart knowledge about a subject very familiar to them. Because of this, some tutors look at tutoring as a hobby rather than a career obligation.
Being a tutor is one of the most flexible self-employed pathways these days and has many advantages. You have the freedom of being your own boss and choosing when and where you work. You can choose to work online tutoring late afternoons or opt for a midday meet up with your student at the library or your local Hungry Jack's.
Some embark on tutoring as an additional source of income, but most people choose to become a tutor because of the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment they get out of it.
Unleash the Tutor in You
If you have a day job, don’t be too quick to disregard the idea of tutoring just yet. A lot of tutors don't work full-time. Just like you, they also have their 9-to-5s that pay the bills, and tutoring becomes their after-office gig.
If you do not have a teaching degree, again, don't be too quick to brush off tutoring. Not all tutors have formal qualifications, and indeed, a lot of them aren’t necessarily teachers by profession.
Simply put, the only requirement for becoming a tutor is to teach something you are most passionate about. Chances are, there is something you love doing that you are extremely experienced at and know so much of. Tutoring jobs focus on using your expertise to help others succeed.
Have you ever seen the Irwin family in action? Although considered "celebrities”, you rarely see them in red-carpet events and instead, you see them most of the time knee-deep in mud playing with Australian wildlife and teaching us a thing or two about these fantastic creatures. Being far from the glitz and glamour of conventional stardom does not seem to bother them, but this comes as no surprise. Everyone knows they love what they do. Their passion will always be preserving and raising awareness about our wildlife.
Becoming a tutor entails the same passion. Regardless of how technical or complicated your subject matter may be, if you are incredibly enthusiastic about it, you naturally create a learning experience both you and your student will enjoy.
The Art of Teaching
When you look back on your primary and secondary school years, what do you remember? Those daunting 1000-word essays, public speaking exercises, or pop quizzes? Or do your school memories lean towards the brighter side, such as the teacher who saw your strengths more than your weaknesses?
What areas of learning did you struggle with as a student?
Was there anything you wished your teacher did differently that could have helped you learn better?
Was there something you think you could have done better?
Keep a mental note of your answers to the above questions. Now that you are on your way towards being self-employed and becoming a tutor, these answers may be extremely valuable towards your tutoring journey.
Use your experience as a student to help your students have a better learning experience. To help start you off, here are a few points to note when preparing for a new tutoring session:
- Adjust your vocabulary.Make sure that you start from the ground up. Never bombard the student with complex terms that will confuse them even more. It's best to start by going through the things your tutee already knows and go from there.
- Prepare a detailed plan. It doesn't have to look like a professional teacher's lesson plan. Just ensure that it includes your tutee’s learning objectives and the methods you plan to use to achieve them. Remember to include processes that utilise your tutee's strengths, and throw in some exercises that they can do to apply what they learned.
- Take advantage of your student's learning style. Focus on their interests and build your lessons upon that. Your tutee will be able to recall information faster, and they will be able to store that in their brain longer.
- Make it relevant. Make sure that it's on par with the student's experience and interests. If they can't relate, it'll be harder for you to introduce new information. For example, if you are a science tutor tackling electrical currents and voltages, start the lesson with a fun fact: an Australian doctor invented the electronic pacemaker that keeps millions of people's hearts beat properly. Inspire your tutee by demonstrating how a combination of the doctor's knowledge of anatomy and electrical currents and voltages ended up saving millions of lives worldwide.
The main goal of tutoring transcends beyond teaching the students figures and narratives. It is equipping them with the tools that they need to succeed not just academically, but also in real life. It is making them realise their strengths and helping them utilise these into full capacity. It is also making them aware of their weaknesses and ensuring these do not become hindrances to their success by teaching them coping strategies.
Helping Those Who Are Willing to Learn
A recent report published in 2019 revealed that Australian students are lagging over three years behind their Asian counterparts in maths, reading, and science. With these alarming statistics, child psychology experts have suggested taking learning outside of the classroom, and as a result, private tuition is a booming industry in Australia. Now, more than ever, is the best time to kickstart your tutoring career.
One thing to keep in mind is that tutoring is not restricted to academic subjects. There are hundreds of topics that can be taught.
Do you have remarkable piano skills? Why not work online and teach the piano? Online piano tutoring is now gaining traction and is even endorsed by seasoned piano instructors.
Have a knack for numbers or are incredibly skilled at reading comprehension? Help students achieve better NAPLAN scores by offering tailored maths or literacy tutoring sessions.
New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland have seen a steady rise in the number of international students enrolling at universities. Use your excellent English language skills and provide English as a second language tutoring sessions
Know a thing or two about video gaming and development? The Australian video game industry is forecasted to be worth $150 billion by 2020, so now is the best time to be self-employed, become a tutor, and start marketing your expertise.
The beauty of tutoring is you get tutees who are almost always eager to learn. That, and of course, parents who want their children to excel and get to the top universities, earn their degrees, and become successful in life.
A Second Chance for an Education
News about students failing because of the education system is nothing new.
Australia’s standardised achievement standards result in some students inevitably falling through the cracks. This realisation sadly guarantees that some gifted yet intellectually challenged learners never make it to the next level. Worse, the students are led to believe that they're dumb because they're having a hard time catching up.
What society fails to realise is that these types of learners may have learning disabilities which hold them back from achieving their true potentials. What they need is someone to focus on their abilities instead of their limitations. In such cases, having a private tutor is most of the time the best option.
A recent survey conducted on Australian parents who opted for private tuition for their children revealed that 26% of parents resorted to private tutoring because the schools weren’t able to give adequate attention to their children who were diagnosed or suspected of having learning difficulties, such as ADHD, dyslexia, or dysgraphia.
This study is an excellent example of how private tutoring not only gives some students "the edge" over their fellow students but more importantly, it helps bridge the gap between the struggling tutees and their peers.
When you decide to become a tutor, you don't just improve your tutee's academic foundation or strengthen their extracurricular skill sets. What is more fulfilling and life-changing is your role as a tutor in equipping your students with life skills, which they can use to thrive and succeed in the real world.
Just imagine the look on your student's face as their eyes spark with wonder and curiosity, and compare that to the look on their face once they triumph at overcoming their obstacles and challenges.
If you want to work online and become self-employed, there is a long list of tutoring jobs available out there. Become a tutor and start your journey towards changing people’s lives.
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