For students who love numbers and analysing statistics, it makes great sense to study economics in senior high school or undertake an economics degree at university — leading to a career built around economic policy and principles.
How you choose to apply your knowledge of economics and the economy is up to you — perhaps you'll use your skills in a teaching capacity or apply your experience in a company setting?
Alternatively, if you are truly passionate about the subject, you may even decide to turn to academic research ... there is no limit to the level you can reach. How does the Nobel Prize in Economics sound?
No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.
~ Adam Smith ~
Maybe you just want to help make a difference in the world? Or perhaps your mission is to encourage more females into the study of economics.
The world of finance and figures is both fascinating and frustrating in equal measure — for some students, the former makes their studies easier, for others, the latter can cause stress and self-doubt that they are on the right path.
We can assume that you, reading this article, sit comfortably in the 'fascinating' camp and that you are looking to share your skills, experience and passion with current students as an economics tutor.
In Australia, tutoring is a multi-million dollar industry and growing. In the past, as a tutor, you would have students banging down your door to obtain your help. These days, however, there is a lot of competition with so much information available online for free, and an ever-expanding number of online tutoring platforms with hundreds of tutors offering help with subjects, such as mathematics, English, physics, chemistry, business studies ... and economics.
It is easy to understand, too, that with so many options available, students are going to shop around for the best economics tutoring they can find — and, by best, this often means tuition fees they can afford on their student budgets.
According to Gregory Mankiw, people need an incentive to buy or respond — so, in this article, we are aiming to help you with your unique selling point.
What steps do you need to take if you want to become an economics tutor of repute?
Points to Consider When Setting Your Tutoring Fees
English idioms involving money abound.
While your student might be thinking that a penny saved is a penny earned, in your mind (as an economics tutor who needs to earn what you're worth) time is money.
You're both right, although the student may be more concerned about whether they want to forego the economics tutoring that will help them pass their HSC exam, increase their ATAR or achieve a university degree, or join the great night out with mates that will help keep them sane.
When it comes to pricing, you need to understand business principles and the tutoring market. Quite simply, if you price your tuition too high, you'll be lacking in students. However, if you offer insanely low rates, students will wonder about your ability as a teacher and knowledge of your subject.
As an economics tutor, your prowess with applying finance principles and market knowledge is on display from the outset.
There are a few questions you should have clear answers to as you set your fees:
- Do you want the income from your tutoring to be equivalent to a living wage?
- Will you tutor full-time, or will you offer tutoring part-time with your main employment being a salaried position?
- To reach your personal finance goals, how many hours do you need to tutor each week?
Other factors to consider when you're setting your prices include:
- designing your curriculum and preparing teaching resources versus using student textbooks — time is money
- travelling to the home of your student versus having students come to you — travel costs versus cost of utilities
- tutoring in a small group versus one-on-one lessons — more cost-effective for the students
- online tutoring versus in-person tutoring — lower rates but less in overheads.
There is much to think about before you start advertising your economics tutoring services.
Start your career with great online tutoring jobs.
Tuition Fees and Location
Living expenses in larger cities are higher than in more remote regions. Contrast this to the fact there are likely to be fewer tutors in more isolated areas. The first is a recipe for lower-priced tutoring, while the latter means no competition, meaning higher-priced private lessons.
Check this table of the average charge in Australia for an hour-long lesson with a tutor.
|Location||Average fee: maths tutoring||Average fee: English||Average fee: economics|
Note there is often a difference between fees for different subjects and the level of the students.
Take, for example, Sydney tutors who, on average, charge more than any other state capital tutor, except Darwin. Why Darwin? Probably because there are fewer tutors so, by association, a high demand. It's also interesting to note the differences between tutoring rates for maths, English and economics, not only in Sydney but in each state and in Australia in general.
The higher the demand, the more potential there is for earning.
Moral — check the market and set your prices accordingly.
Finally, remember the boundary-free possibilities when you're offering private tutoring lessons online.
Where to Find Students Who Want Economics Tutoring
Once you've settled on a price for your economics lessons, you'll want to find students.
There are a number of ways to do this.
Keep an eye on sites like Gumtree, or on social media community platforms where people often post requests to help them find tutors for a variety of subjects, particularly the more academic ones, like mathematics, physics, chemistry, statistics and economics. You can even advertise your tuition services on these platforms.
Enquire at your local university or high school
The Department of Economics at the university, or the school business and economics teacher staff may have a register of tutors they could add your name to. Make sure you have evidence of your teaching experience or the level of your skills. A CV and a flyer are good. Ask if you can put up your flyers around the school as well.
Your local community centre or public library may welcome you volunteering to run occasional lessons or general Q&A sessions on a subject of public interest. There are also a number of community outreach centres that offer free or subsidised tutoring to refugees or disadvantaged students. This is a great way to build up experience and create 'word-of-mouth' advertising and referrals, leading to paid work.
Think outside the box
Don't just limit yourself to high school and university students who are studying economics. How about students who are:
- public servants looking to upskill or prepare for an exam or interview
- senior citizens who want to broaden their education for little more than their own interest
- homeowners and parents wanting information about investments, the share market or their mortgage policy
- armchair travellers and lifelong learners who have a thirst for knowledge about finance and the economy in Australia or globally.
Create a tutor profile on the Superprof platform
Tutors of all subjects can create a profile with Superprof for free. Here, you can provide potential students information about your teaching experience, education background, specialisations, type of tutoring you offer (in-person, group or online), your fees and anything else you'd like to share.
Lesson Planning as a Tutor of Economics
If you take your time and are strategic about your pricing and advertising, you will soon have a full schedule of students booked into your private online or face-to-face lessons.
Once you have built confidence in your teaching skills, you may want to expand your services (and your reach) by offering a course or workshop series for groups, focusing on specific subjects within economics — perhaps economic history, public finance or education economics.
Whether the majority of your teaching is through private lessons, online group sessions or workshops, you still need to understand how to organise your teaching and prepare engaging lesson plans to help your students achieve their goals.
The lesson ended up being much more fun and interactive than the one I'd planned. I learned the valuable lesson that a teacher needs to be flexible.
~ Danielle Boissoneau ~
Planning your lessons is important but so is knowing when to change course. Economics can be seen as dry; part of your role as a tutor is to engage your students, share your passion and help them love the subject as much as you do.
However, this comes with a caveat warning: don't allow your students to steer you off-topic. It's easy to do and many students are masters at taking over the driving seat from their teacher.
One way to help prevent this is to have a lesson structure and to be mindful of sticking to it.
For example, an hour-long private economics lesson may follow the following format:
- Review and warm-up — student questions from the previous lesson; a quick recap of the key learning (5 mins)
- Introduction of new information (10 mins)
- Practical application of new learning (30 mins)
- Discussion led by the student (10 mins)
- Lesson review — teacher ties everything together, recaps main learning and previews the following lesson (5 mins)
Online, you will find numerous templates of lesson plans. Test a few until you find one that works for your teaching style.
Tutoring and teaching are rewarding careers, and becoming an economics tutor is no different. If you have the skills and the passion, why not give it a go?
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