A+ Resources For Tutors
In the following series, Philip White, a Maths tutor for over 15 years, offers tips on how to start and run a successful private tutoring practice.
|7.1||Duration of lessons|
|7.3||Tutorial record sheets|
7.1 Duration of lessons
The vast majority of pupils I have questioned on this topic agree that one hour is about right. Only two pupils have said that they would have liked longer lessons. Very young pupils have a shorter attention span, so you may like to consider half-an-hour, or three quarters of an hour tutorials.
7.2 Lesson times
One of the disadvantages of tutoring is that evening/Saturday work is unavoidable.
It is nice if you can schedule lessons during the day, for example if you are tutoring sixthformers who have both their own transport, and free time during the day. However, on weekdays, most of your lessons are likely to be scheduled between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.
I always like to arrange my lessons in blocks of at least two hours, but no more than five hours duration.
Five consecutive hours tuition is not easy, but you will find that you get used to it. I do not schedule breaks between lessons because there is usually insufficient time to relax before the next lesson. Four 15 minute breaks add up to one hour of lost tuition time.
Of course, if you are only planning a few hours tuition a week, you will not need to get too involved in scheduling.
However, I once spoke to a fellow tutor who said that she felt that one hour's tuition seemed to take up the entire evening. I smiled, thinking of the occasions when I have actually tutored for six consecutive hours or more.
7.3 Tutorial record sheets
I always keep a record of all my lessons on a record sheet. I list the lesson number, date, main topics covered, exam questions completed, and homework set.
Such records are essential if you are going to produce Progress Reports. It also useful to be able to refer back to what you have done in previous lessons, as well as conveying a professional image to your pupils and parents.
7.4 Dress considerations
If you are tutoring from home, you may feel tempted to tutor in whatever you happen to be wearing. Do not.
Always try and maintain a professional image. You would not wear your jogging trousers to the office. Why wear them during your lessons?
The manner of your dress can have important psychological implications. If you dress sloppily, your pupils, and perhaps more important their parents. will perceive your tuition as being sloppy.
You will need access to the books being used by your pupils. It may be more convenient to buy them, in which case you will be able to claim the cost as a legitimate business expense.
Keep your eye on the ads in your local paper for pupils who have finished with their books, and who are looking to sell them secondhand. If you do buy any books secondhand, make sure you get a receipt.
Remember that you can reserve a book at your local library.
When forecasting your tuition income, remember to take into account the school holidays, when your income will be considerably reduced.