- Applying for Tutoring Jobs: Things to Consider
- Academic to Vocational Subjects and Hobbies: Tutoring Jobs are Everywhere
- A Tutor’s Personal Qualities Will Determine Their Success…or Failure
- How do we Teach? How do we Learn?
- Does a Lack of Qualifications Mean You Can’t Become a Tutor?
- Is Teaching Experience Necessary to Become a Tutor?
- Tutoring Jobs in Non-Academic Subjects
- Hints to Help Your Business Grow
- Being a Tutor with Superprof
In Australia, anyone can apply for tutoring jobs. Legally, you do not need a qualification, either in teaching or in your specific field. In order to become a private tutor, you simply need a passion for the subject, some experience and the ability to build rapport with others.
Now we have the qualification question out of the way, what else do you need to know about whether or not you are suited for tutoring jobs?
A tutor does much more than simply drum in knowledge, provide revision and encourage students to regurgitate facts for exams.
While we have said you do not require specific qualifications to become a tutor, there are other skills you must possess – amongst these lie the people skills and intellectual abilities required to become a good tutor.
Would you like to become a tutor?
Do you already tutor, or have a tutoring business, and want to expand?
What does it take to become a top-level tutor?
Superprof will explore these questions – considering basic human resources and qualities, and how these attributes can contribute to your role as a tutor and help you earn income in this field.
Applying for Tutoring Jobs: Things to Consider
In most circumstances, for specific academic subjects, a tutor will have experience or qualifications in their field – often a degree or equivalent certification.
While a degree is not compulsory, it will go a long way towards helping you obtain tutoring jobs in Brisbane and elsewhere in Australia – and it will make it easier for you to provide a great service.
Above all, to become a successful tutor, you need a sound, fundamental knowledge of your subject and you must be confident in your delivery; this can only come from a thorough understanding of your area of expertise.
A tutor who is not confidently operating at a higher level than the tutee cannot expect to be successful.
This does not mean you have to be at a significantly higher level than your student. First-year university undergraduates may undertake tutoring jobs with Year 12 students studying for their end-of-year exams. Year 12 students may tutor younger grade levels in specific subjects or general study skills.
There is no reason why teenagers cannot tutor their younger peers, although, you will need to consider the legal minimum age for part-time work. This age, and the allowed amount of work time, differs between Australian states but is generally between 13 and 15 years of age, and parent permission may be required in some states.
If you are considering a career in tutoring, you may wish to gain work with an existing tutoring agency as a first step.
Working with an agency will allow you to build a portfolio of student testimonials, which are an essential promotion tool when you start out in your own tutoring business.
The majority of tutoring agencies insist on their employees having a university degree – not necessarily in education, but a degree in or related to your chosen subject.
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First-hand, practical experience in skills-based subjects, such as languages and ICT, is also often required by tutoring agencies.
Tutoring, particularly in specialised fields, is one of the most logical jobs for teachers – particularly those who are after extra income or a career shift. Although not essential, certain fields do prefer the high-level knowledge and teaching experience afforded by former teachers.
Parents and carers will often look for tutors who have an academic qualification related to the subject(s) in which their child needs assistance. For example, if you are a first-year university student studying Business, your Year 12 certificate results should provide enough evidence you have the knowledge to tutor students up to Year 12.
In addition to subject knowledge, recent Year 12 graduates will also have more recent experience with specific curriculum content, assessment expectations and exam preparation techniques.
Equally, if you are tutoring a university-level subject, a related academic degree, showing a sound understanding of the content, will be of significant benefit to both parties.
There is more to learning than curriculum content.
Critical thinking and a questioning mind are things you should encourage in your students as part of your tutoring role. Moving beyond the curriculum and providing a broader view of the subject being studied helps students gain deeper understandings and motivates them continue in their pursuit of knowledge.
A large part of the tutor’s role is to facilitate the development of independent and critical thinking which, in turn, leads students to understand and utilise their individual learning styles, and ultimately achieve their goals.
A truly natural teacher has the innate ability to teach, whether or not they have a piece of paper stating they possess a degree.
Although higher education qualifications are often sought by people wanting a tutor, not all subjects involve academic knowledge. Such subjects include: drawing, sewing, yoga and singing.
Academic to Vocational Subjects and Hobbies: Tutoring Jobs are Everywhere
Maybe you love jamming with your band or you play the piano like Mozart. You don’t need to have attained Level 3 in your piano exams or be an expert in music theory to tutor – all you need is skill and some teaching strategies.
On the other hand, if your student is working towards taking an exam, you will obviously need to have experience and knowledge of the exam expectations and content.
The odds are, though, if you have undertaken tutoring jobs in the field of music, you will have earned several ABRSM certificates (or similar) and will be able to assist your student with the process.
Curriculum content is under constant change in Australia, and often differs between states and schools, so it’s imperative to keep up-to-date with the current curriculum in your students’ subject areas.
Tutoring is not only provided to children or teenagers. Adults often access private tutoring for a number of purposes, including skill development for work, further education, or to pursue a new hobby simply for leisure.
Tutoring jobs are available in a wide range of areas. Tutors are often sought for business-related skills, for example, computer skills such as software and coding, and many tutors specialise in particular types of art, music, language, or marketing and business.
To become a tutor in a subject with highly specialised skills, such as ICT or media-based skills, you are more likely to need extensive academic and/or practical experience.
As stated at the beginning of this article, specific qualifications are not required to become a tutor. However, we don’t need to point out that students are likely to prefer tutors with experience in their subject of study. In addition, it is often preferable for tutors to have industry-specific experience and knowledge.
Alternatively, reviews or testimonials are usually more important than formal qualifications when it comes to vocational subjects, such as cooking or painting.
Put simply – there’s a need for all types of tutors to work with different students in different subjects, and who possess different skills and teaching strategies.
If you want to become a tutor – and you want to stand out – the best thing to do is start advertising. Promoting your skills and teaching style will attract students who have similar goals and learning styles.
Knowing where and how to advertise can be difficult, particularly for tutors of non-academic or vocational subjects.
Fortunately, Superprof has all areas covered – catering for all subjects and the requirements of both tutors and students. As a tutor, you have the opportunity to join a community of tutors and, at the same time, build your online presence and source new clients.
A Tutor’s Personal Qualities Will Determine Their Success…or Failure
Loving a particular subject does not necessarily make you a good tutor – there is a level of skill and expertise required. As such, it is important to ensure you promote your credentials accurately and really think about your ability to tutor effectively in your chosen subject.
Above all, experience and human qualities are the key characteristics of a great tutor.
Before you start pursuing those personal tutoring jobs, ask yourself which of these qualities and skills you possess:
- Perseverance, passion and panache
- Enduring patience, empathy, instinct and insight
- Creativity in lesson design
- Effective and flexible teaching strategies
- Enthusiasm and skill in your subject
- A desire to teach and help people learn at different levels.
Everyone has struggled through courses with unengaging teachers who themselves appear to be disinterested in the subject at hand.
A teacher’s personal level of engagement and passion has a direct effect on his or her students’ motivation to learn.
Sometimes, the job of reigniting a student’s thirst for knowledge is left to the tutor. It is, therefore, our responsibility to employ our most engaging resources and strategies to ensure positive outcomes.
A tutor’s greatest assets are instinct, insight, patience and empathy.
Instinct and insight are required to realise there are root causes for your tutees’ need for assistance. Patience is needed to identify those causes. Empathy will help you connect with your student, so you are better able to help him/her overcome the obstacles.
Does your student suffer from a learning disability? Statistics show that over half a million Australians live with a learning disability. These disabilities range from mild to severe – and noticeable to ‘invisible’.
Peer bullying is often experienced by socially or economically disadvantaged students or those with a learning disability. The ongoing effects of bullying often contribute to slower progress or lack of academic success.
- In 2018 there were 4.4 million Australians with a disability, 17.7% of the population, down from 18.3% in 2015.
- The prevalence of disability increased with age - one in nine (11.6%) people aged 0-64 years and one in two (49.6%) people aged 65 years and over had disability.
- Disability prevalence was similar for males (17.6%) and females (17.8%).
- 7% of all Australians had a profound or severe disability.
- Almost one-quarter (23.2%) of all people with disability reported a mental or behavioural disorder as their main condition, up from 21.5% in 2015.
Students rarely speak of being bullied. They won’t say to you, ‘Hi, I’m ___ and I’m a victim of bullying.’
Identifying your students’ needs and problems is one thing; having them confide in you and then knowing how to help them through their challenges is next level. You cannot learn how to do this in a classroom but developing these skills is vital if you wish to grow your tutoring business.
If your students see your enthusiasm, if they feel you have a positive attitude, and are empathetic and understanding, they will let the world know and this will push your tutoring business forward.
How do we Teach? How do we Learn?
Different students learn in different ways: they watch, they listen, they experience, they think and reason. Great tutors recognise this and work to create individualised teaching and learning activities, which cater specifically for each student.
Developing a rapport your students is essential. The first time you meet a new client, your intake interview, should be all about discovering his/her likes, dislikes and interests – both personally and about the subject.
If you don’t do this – if you go straight into exercises and activities – you can guarantee you won’t build any rapport or connections with your student. In turn, this ensures you’ll receive poor feedback.
Poor feedback is easily avoided – and not taking the time to develop positive relationships with your students could well mean the end of your business!
Paying attention to the small details when you’re with your students will give you vital insights into their preferred methods of learning.
You can also discuss learning styles with your students. However, it’s important to remember that even if a student is a ‘visual learner’, they will likely also benefit from, and enjoy the variety of, other learning styles.
A great tutor tries different strategies to find the best ones for their students.
What do you notice about your student before you start? Is s/he nervous? Distressed? Keen? Gauging your student’s emotional temperature at the beginning of each lesson allows you to adapt your strategies and develop activities to suit.
A tutor cannot always teach in his/her own preferred learning style. An ability to adapt and modify your style to fit the needs of your student is crucial.
It’s not all about merely identifying the best teaching methods for your student. You also need to be able to implement them in creative and engaging ways, maximising your student’s opportunities to learn.
These qualities, along with the knowledge required to help students achieve their outcomes while maintaining a supportive, positive learning environment, paves the way to becoming an effective in-home tutor.
Does a Lack of Qualifications Mean You Can’t Become a Tutor?
As mentioned previously, there are no legal requirements for one to one tutors to have professional qualifications, although they do help.
Not having to attain qualifications means becoming a tutor and sourcing tutoring jobs can be simple. However, it also presents certain problems.
Proving yourself to be efficient and effective as a tutor can be difficult without official qualifications or professional training.
If you’re not a qualified teacher, it can be difficult to show you are competent in what you offer and can deliver an outstanding supplemental instruction service.
However, determining your suitability to teach something you are passionate about only requires a little common sense.
Teaching the guitar when you know nothing about chord progression makes no sense. However, if you can show you have mastery of the guitar, and personal experience in playing, this might satisfy some potential clients.
How would you respond to these questions from a client?
- Why are you suitable to be a private tutor?
- What experience do you have in _____? Have you taught it before?
- What is the highest level you would be confident to teach?
If you understand and are honest about, your level of expertise, and if you can succinctly explain why you are suitable, you will be able to market your skills more effectively.
It’s important to be aware of the concerns and needs of your potential clients. If you can address these issues within your advertising leaflets, in your online tutor profile on Superprof (see below for instructions) or when you’re discussing your tutoring services in person, people will be encouraged to try your services.
Bear in mind, you will likely be scrutinised and ‘tested’ for longer than more experienced, or more qualified tutors, even once you’ve been employed.
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Is Teaching Experience Necessary to Become a Tutor?
Qualified teachers are highly sought-after as private tutors by school students and are often preferred to tutors who have no formal teaching experience as a registered teacher.
This does not mean you cannot become a tutor or run a successful tutoring business.
Many students respond more positively to tutors with different experiences and skills than what a traditional teacher can offer. Basically, a teaching qualification is not always necessary, and may sometimes even be a deterrent.
In fact, it is not always true that qualified teachers, despite their knowledge and skills, will be able to boost a student’s outcomes. Sometimes, a different approach or a non-teaching perspective is required to help students understand and progress.
The one-size-fits-all teaching approach does not ‘fit all’.
Multiple studies over the years assert that will fail a large proportion of students because of its lack of focus on individual needs. An individualised teaching approach would be expensive to implement and would require massive changes in curriculum and pedagogy.
Tutors of all types may be the solution to the education issues we face.
Students require tutors to not only help them understand the content being taught at school but to support them to build connections between ideas and understandings. Tutoring is not about regurgitating the same content in the same way. An effective tutor will identify issues in the student’s understanding and application of knowledge and find ways to help the student further this knowledge in real life.
Tutors who are not qualified teachers often provide a different approach to learning which is appreciated by students and their parents/carers.
A tutor without teaching credentials, but with industry-specific, practical experience and work-based knowledge may have an approach that resonates more with a student. For example, students who require one on one tutoring in Maths may experience more success with a tutor who works in accounting or economics.
University undergraduates can also gain tutoring jobs in conjunction with their study when students require a more theoretical understanding of academic subjects.
Many younger students, particularly those in secondary school, prefer a tutor who is closer to their own age and who they feel will have a better understanding of their learning styles or at least have similar interests. As such, completing your degree is not a prerequisite for starting a tutoring business.
Tutors who are undergraduates can also provide useful insights into exam technique and test preparation, because of their recent experiences with curriculum expectations, assessment conditions and mental preparation for testing to determine their ATAR.
Many students find it difficult to demonstrate the extent of their knowledge on paper. This alone makes test and assignment questions a nightmare for some.
An undergraduate in almost any field, or someone else whose work involves a lot of writing, can become a tutor in writing, assisting students to organise their ideas and communicate their knowledge as effectively as possible. Enhanced writing skills, and confidence, can be the difference between a pass and a fail for many students.
Depending on an individual student’s needs, there are advantages to having a tutor who has teaching experience, but there are also significant advantages to hiring tutors who have never taught in a classroom.
Tutoring Jobs in Non-Academic Subjects
Academic tutoring is considered the bread and butter of the tutoring industry, which is why this article’s main focus has been on tutoring in school subjects.
However, man cannot live by bread alone – even if does have butter on it.
These days, however, there is also rising demand for tutoring in non-academic fields. A desire for work-life balance and life-enrichment has led people to seek tutoring in a diverse range of areas. Playing an instrument, baking, languages, fitness activities, and wellbeing and mindfulness are just a few of the non-academic skills being sought.
As with academic tutoring, no diplomas or extended education is needed to become a tutor in most of these fields; the lone exception is if you wish to work as a personal trainer.
It should be noted that, in Australia, all personal trainers, must hold, as a minimum, a Cert IV in Fitness, or a Diploma of Fitness.
Tutors in other fitness-related areas, including yoga and boxing for fitness, do not have specific certification requirements.
With the exception of personal training, the main thing you require to show your ability in tutoring the area of your choice is testimonials from former students.
Testimonials and reviews provide useful feedback, allowing you to see where you can improve your methodology, and they are often effective tools to advertise your tutoring business.
How to Protect Yourself and Increase Your Tutoring Clientele.
When they first commence working, independent tutors are often placed under intense scrutiny. Protecting yourself with personal and professional indemnity insurance is important, particularly if you have minimal or no credentials.
To build legitimacy, and protect yourself legally as a tutor, take the following official steps:
- Submit to a background check: although not required by law if you are only working with adults, it is a way of proving there is nothing illicit in your past
- If you will be working with children under 16, or with vulnerable adults, you may need to apply for a Working with Vulnerable People card
- Apply for an ABN if you are running a tutoring business. This is a requirement of Australian law. Seek advice if you are only tutoring casually, or through an agency
- Professional indemnity insurance will protect you against legal liability owing to perceived professional malpractice or misconduct. For example, if a client tries to sue you because of your teaching, your legal fees and compensation will be covered
- Advertise! Ensure all the information you provide, and the skills or qualifications you advertise, are honest and correct. You may be asked to provide proof of your qualifications at any time. Making false claims in advertising is illegal in Australia.
Once the legalities are sorted, you should advertise your business. Maximum exposure is key, and advertising should be tailored to your subject material.
If you tutor in academic subjects, you should place advertisements at venues where students and their caregivers are likely to congregate or have access to, such as libraries, school reception areas, parent newsletters, university student centres, residences and cafeterias.
If you wish to tutor in the more artistic pursuits, such as music or dancing, you might post your advertisements in pubs, restaurants, and cafés. These locations are also suitable for academic tutoring advertisements.
In all cases, you could also advertise in your local community centre, newsagent, supermarket and even the petrol station. Posting fliers on community noticeboards, handing them out, or placing them in letterboxes often also results in the new business being gained.
An advertisement in your local paper can also be useful – even in the digital age.
However you choose to advertise, potential clients will be searching for a combination of value and quality. So, ensure your tutoring business offers exactly that.
Advertise everywhere! Don’t forget social media, Linked In, SEEK and Gumtree too.
Last but not least, talk yourself up. Tell your friends, family, neighbours and acquaintances about your tutoring business. They will be happy to help you spread the word by simply talking about you and your fabulous service to everyone in their circle.
Tools to Help You Become an Effective Tutor
Successful, innovative tutors use much more than their students’ textbooks and workbooks every session.
The Internet is an instant source of relevant and interesting videos, podcasts and other teaching tools. The best tutors incorporate a wide variety of these tools into their lessons. Some brilliant ones are:
- The LanguagePod series – offering short, fun podcasts in several languages
- Music instruction is available in multiple forms online and includes everything from piano instruction, to guitar, drums and saxophone…and everything in between.
- Khan Academy contains instructional videos focusing on key academic subjects as well as university-level material
- Quizlet has free flashcards, games and learning tools for every subject imaginable. (And if they don’t, you can build your own study sets.)
There’s an ever-increasing array of teaching resources, activities, and ideas which are easily accessible and allow you to teach from the comfort of your home. You can find books, downloadable worksheets, online blogs and videos – everywhere you look, you will find something to help you provide engaging and informative tutoring sessions.
As a tutor, you should keep detailed anecdotal records on each student you work with. The notes can include strong and weak concepts, learning preferences, goals and, of course, weekly progress. You should also note down the supplemental online materials you use in each session.
Online, you will find sample templates of lesson and program plans, or teaching journals, available for free, or you may design your own.
Journals are a great way to keep track of appointments and payments as well!
Hints to Help Your Business Grow
Before long, you will have everything covered and your business will be running like clockwork. Your teaching materials will be bookmarked or printed out. Detailed records of each student, along with their progress, will be up to date.
Your planner will ensure you are keeping to schedule and not double-booking your lessons.
Once you have tried one on one tutoring and find you really enjoy it – your next step could be to expand and start small group tuition by way of casual groups, workshops, and seminars in your subject.
Branching out beyond one to one tutoring is not only enriching for you as a tutor, but it introduces your teaching style and expertise to a wider audience.
For example, if you host a workshop or seminar in the weeks leading up to a science exam, you will be able to target a specific area of knowledge to a limited group of participants. The end result will hopefully be improved exam performance.
Alternatively, you might facilitate a weekly ‘meet-up’ or ‘focus group’ in your area of expertise, be it guitar playing, poetry writing or sewing. Participants could then be provided with a mini-lesson after which you would invite their questions and comments.
‘Meet-ups’ or ‘focus groups’, where like-minded people gather on a weekly basis, are especially effective for hands-on learning, critical reflections, advice, sharing, and review.
‘Meet-ups’ can be held at your local community centre or library, often free of charge. Initially, you could charge no fees, at least until you have built up a reasonable gathering.
If people see you volunteering your time and skills, they may be encouraged to look into your fee-paying programmes and services.
While it may seem poor practice to give away your services for free, it is actually an effective marketing strategy that alerts potential customers to try your business.
Most Superprof tutors provide the first one hour lesson for free.
Being a Tutor with Superprof
Jumping headfirst into any business is daunting. Tips and advice are coming thick and fast, there are legal issues to consider, and ‘best practice’ sometimes seems unachievable.
Superprof makes becoming a tutor almost seem effortless!
Each Superprof tutor is provided with an online profile page that is used to connect students to the tutors they need.
Your profile page should have all the answers to client questions – from your teaching methodology and experience, through to your rates and the levels you cover.
You may also indicate where the tutoring will take place – in the student’s home, in yours, online or any other mutually agreed location.
You can upload any of your qualifications to Superprof and have them verified by our team. Once checked, you can advertise your qualifications and experience on your profile page to help attract potential clients.
As mentioned above, you may also choose to offer your first hour for free!
Webpages and advertisements are useful ways to promote your business, but they can be hard work. Superprof gives you both, with support, and there is also space for your students to post public testimonials.
We hope you are inspired to start tutoring and sharing your knowledge with others. If you have been, give some consideration to getting started as a tutor. Read up on the legalities of giving 1 to 1 tuition. How to report your income as a home-tutor and whether you should obtain a DBS check.
Tutoring Exam-specific Subjects
When tutoring exam-specific course subjects, for Year 12 leaving certificates or International Baccalaureate courses, having sound knowledge of how they work is essential. If you spend time familiarising yourself with the course structure, content and assessment, you will be better prepared to assist your students to get great academic results and achieve success.
Owning the main course texts for your subject, particularly if you tend to tutor a specific academic level, is a good idea as it enables you to increase your familiarity with the syllabus and assessment structure, and you can use these to help plan your lessons. If you do, you increase your student’s chances of improvement. This translates into tangible results and positive tutor reviews for you.
You should also be familiar with different courses that are available. For example, the difference between Year 12 and International Baccalaureate courses can be huge. The curriculum and exams may focus on totally different aspects of the same subject. Awareness of the assessment criteria of the curriculum, and targeting your lessons to suit these, lessens the risk you will teach anything your student isn’t required to know and avoid causing confusion for the student.
As a science tutor, you might work with students who are taking an ASbA course or similar, which can be completely different to standard Year 12 studies. You don’t need to know everything about these courses, but you should be familiar enough to quickly adjust your teaching to suit certain courses.
Previous assessment papers and marking schemes for exams can also be useful to help you gain familiarity with assessment structures. In addition, you will be able to provide assistance that is exam-focused and relevant to their specific curriculum focus.
Knowledge of how students learn in the classroom and the resources they use provides you with information about what is required of you as a home tutor to help them succeed.
If you use this knowledge, along with any direct experience you have, your student will gain the most from your skills and expertise – something they may not always have access to in their school classroom alone.
Creating your own resources means you can adapt them to suit the needs of your students. You can use these can introduce creativity and fun into your tutoring sessions, which often prompts new understandings in students.
Often having no standard teacher training allows you to approach teaching in a different way and may better suit how your students learn.
Students choose to take private lessons after school for a number of reasons. They may be falling behind; they may understand the content but have difficulty applying their knowledge; or they may feel they need more challenge, or support, to achieve their full potential.
Regardless of the reasons, it’s the tutor’s job to empathise with your students, find out what’s holding them back and determine the most suitable approach forward. Talk to your students and caregivers, discover the things that motivate them, become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses, and, above all, ensure you provide feedback on their progress.
Seeing students improve makes everyone feel great – it’s a victory for all.
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