Thinking of Leaving Teaching?
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What Else Can You Do? – Tutoring

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Tutoring is obviously something that teachers are very well qualified to do. However, the thought of moving from full-time teaching to a job as a full-time tutor scares a lot of people. Their main fears are usually income and the lack of job security.

With some confidence, good scheduling & a willingness to be flexible, you can quite easily earn around £25-30K a year

Comment from a member of the Thinking of Leaving Teaching? Group regarding tutor income

Members of the Thinking of Leaving Teaching? Group have said that there is demand for tutors who will teach home education students and that courses for GCSES are in particularly high demand, especially for Maths, Science and English tutoring.

The hours can be tough for some (after school/evenings), but it’s a great trade off if you enjoy working with kids but don’t want to be in the classroom!

Comment from a member of the Thinking of Leaving Teaching? Group

Some people have said that the hours make being a tutor hard to do full time, due to children being at school, but one way that people can earn money is through the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). This provides primary and secondary schools with funding to spend on targeted academic support, and this is delivered by trained and experienced tutors and mentors.

Hours in schools really help. Around £35 an hour running into private work in the evening can make a reasonable wage.

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Tutoring Options

Here is some advice about the options available from Sophie of Tutor In A Box, who also mentions NTP work:

1) You can do NTP work (generally for children in school, during the day and government funded ‘catch up’ tuition) or private work.

2) You can do small group tuition (eg in groups of 3) or you can do 1 to 1.

3) You can do online tuition or work from home. Working from home is becoming more and more commonplace (and personally I LOVE it as I get to wear odd socks with no one noticing!).

4) Work for an agency/organisation or work for yourself! Generally daytime NTP work is through an agency and can be immediate but the evening work can be found yourself but takes longer to build up but the pay can be better.

5) Do primary or secondary or both. We have lots of teachers who started doing one and then transitioned to the other one for variety/hours/pay/enjoyment etc.

So many options – Good luck!

Advice from Sophie of Tutor In A Box

Online Tutoring

When I first started writing about online tutoring back in 2019, it was already a rapidly growing area. Tutors were able to work from home, with no travel time and it allowed students to learn when and where they wanted.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, online tutoring has proven to be vital in delivering education. Many home tutors adapted quickly, using communication platforms such as Zoom, and now offer online tutoring in addition to home tutoring. Many teachers have become tutors and, as well as allowing them to continue doing what they enjoy, it puts them in control. It allows them to set their own work hours and choose how many students they teach.

How to become an Online Tutor

An online tutor in the Thinking of Leaving Teaching Group commented on an article she had seen called ‘How To Become An Online Tutor’. She agreed there were lots of interesting and useful hints for someone looking at going into online tutoring. However, she took issue with one of the points, which was that online tutors genuinely charge less that face-to-face.

Her experience and that of other online tutors she has communicated with through online groups is that the planning for online tuition takes just as long, if not longer than that for face-to-face, so they charge the same rate. Her advice, after reading the article was:

“Don’t sell yourself short if you’re starting a business now! (Especially with the figures quoted in the article, suggesting a reduction from £35 to £25 / hour – that’s a massive and ridiculous reduction!)”

You will also find jobs for Online Tutors on job sites such as Indeed, and others mention in the Job Hunting section.

This National Careers Service link gives information about the following:

  • Entry requirements
  • Skills required
  • What you’ll do
  • Salary
  • Working hours, patterns and environment
  • Career path and progression

Building a Client Base

If you are thinking of starting as a tutor, one important thing to consider is, “How are people going to find you?” Members in the Thinking of Leaving Teaching? Group have talked about the importance of building up a client base. Some people gain tutees through recommendation, and some pay for advertisements. I have received leaflets through the door advertising tuition and there are plenty of apps to advertise to private clients.

You should think about creating a place where parents/clients can find out about you and your services. Some people swear by setting up a Facebook page to advertise it, inviting all their friends to share it, and then promoting it in local area community Facebook groups. However, this will not happen overnight. You will need to build trust by engaging with the group rather than simply putting out, “Buy my stuff!” style adverts. You can do this by answering questions that people might have about education, for example GCSE options and advice about subjects to take at university.

It has been suggested that a quicker way is to start with a tutoring agency. There are loads of tutoring agencies which offer plenty of hours and people have commented that they have found it much easier to let agencies find clients for them. They will take a big cut but you will get clients immediately.

I work weekends but take Mon tues off which fits with my husband 🙂 I teach online Wed-Fri 4-8.15 and 6 or 7 face to face at weekends. I have been fully booked ever since 2 months after I left school 15 months ago 🙂

I started with a base of about 6. By end sept I had 10, by end Nov it was 25 – all after school and weekend slots full. My max is 28 with 3 in the daytime during the week…

Comment from a member of the Thinking of Leaving Teaching? Group

It takes a lot of work and time to build up a client base and reputation but it does work. Some people advise considering supply teaching and/or working at weekends to fill the gaps early on.

All in all, I feel like a different person – so much happier and healthier. Yes, supply is slow but I am in demand for tutoring. I only need 10 days supply each month, added to the tutoring (2 pupils per evening between 4-6pm Mon-Thurs), and I will be earning what I was as a senior leader/class teacher on a very good TLR. Am also looking at working from home, admin jobs to pad out my income. After 6pm, my evenings and weekends are totally free. I have space to do things I love… swimming, gardening, cooking, seeing friends. As for head space – wow! Just feeling so relaxed and… normal.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Put yourself first and find some happy! 😉🤗❤

Comment from a member of the Thinking of Leaving Teaching? Group
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When and Where Will You Tutor?

You will need to decide when and where you will tutor. Some tutors tutor from their own homes, some travel and others have set up their own centres to maximise possibilities and get around the impossibility of being in more than one place at the same time.

I’d think about what hours/days you want to work and stick to them if you can, what price you’ll charge and if you’re going to travel to them or they come to you

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How Much Should You Charge?

This varies depending on the tutor’s experience, the subject, and the level being taught. Nevertheless, if you want to replace your teacher income then you’ll need to value your time. Generally, qualified teachers and experienced tutors charge up to £35 per hour. One tip is to set your price confidently with tutoring agencies as they will take a big cut. Eventually, you’ll gain enough clients to replace your teacher income.

£25-35 an hour, depending if they were friends! It really depends on your area & what other tutors are charging.

I got my 17 year old nephew a tutoring job for £15 an hour but I would expect a qualified teacher to get £25/£30 an hour.”

“I charge £33 per hour.”

It’s about £30 per hour.”

I charge £32 an hour online or in my home, and £35 an hour if I go to their home.

Responses from members of the Thinking of Leaving Teaching? Group in 2023

You need to decide how much you want to earn, making sure that you add in tax, etc. Once you’ve decided how much you are going to charge per hour, then you will need to do the maths to work out how many hours you need to work to make what you want up earn.

Regarding the level that you can teach at, this advice was given to a primary school teacher who was looking at becoming a tutor:

Don’t limit yourself to Primary, depending on your confidence you will be likely capable of teaching English and Maths at secondary level to low ability as they often get left behind due to secondary methods not suiting their learning style. Primary style teaching can work well at all levels.

Advice from a member of the Thinking of Leaving Teaching? Group
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Comments and Tips about Tutoring

Questions asked have been, “Does your school DBS count for private tutoring?” and “If you register as a Sole Trader, can you get VAT off equipment, etc., for your tutoring business?” Here are some responses:

DBS I pay £13 a year to ensure its transferable (as one in school is usually linked just to your school)

I do my tax returns and you can claim lots of VAT off tax including heating etc (I pay an accountant to do this!)

I pay for specific home insurance £13 a month to cover me tutoring at home.

I only met students in their homes (not mine) & took out an inexpensive public liability insurance to cover that. You can claim 45p a mile on your tax return (up to a certain amount of miles)… that’s good! But remember you will pay 20% tax plus NI (an accountant would sort that for you)

Always take payment in advance and online for your own students and make sure you’ve got clear Terms and conditions!

If you decide to take on a pupil set out the dates you cannot commit to and any service conditions that you want to agree to. EG. Last minute cancellations are either paid for or a free session is offered. Set up a payment system.

“I’ve done supply on and off for a while now. I love the flexibility that I have but what I hate is no work in the holidays unless I agree to nursery work, no sick pay and no pension. What I do have back is my life and my mental health as I was at all time low. Now I tutor online/fave to face and supply. Tutoring is growing slowly and I really enjoy it. I charge £30 but I’m thinking from September to put it up to £35 an hour as it is representative of the area that I live in.”

“I have started my own tutoring business, tutoring children from the school I have just left. I am also doing supply in a few schools near to me.
All in all, I feel like a different person – so much happier and healthier. Yes, supply is slow but I am in demand for tutoring. I only need 10 days supply each month, added to the tutoring (2 pupils per evening between 4-6pm Mon-Thurs), and I will be earning what I was as a senior leader/class teacher on a very good TLR. Am also looking at working from home, admin jobs to pad out my income. After 6pm, my evenings and weekends are totally free. I have space to do things I love… swimming, gardening, cooking, seeing friends. As for head space – wow! Just feeling so relaxed and… normal.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Put yourself first and find some happy! 😉🤗❤”

“With the tutoring, I started by getting the word out. Got a business card with my contact details and gave it to everbody in my world. When doing catch up phone calls with my class during Covid, I mentioned to the parents that I would be tutoring from October – that got me most of my clients. If I hadn’t got this, I would have set up a Facebook page.
You’ll need to get your own DBS, insurance (Policybee were really great), register as a small business with the government: https://www.gov.uk/set-up-sole-trader, and draw up your own Code of Conduct/Covid guidelines to share with parents. Decide how you want to be paid (I do bank transfer or Paypal) – insist on the first session being paid before you arrive. Most of mine have set up weekly direct debits. Be clear about expectations if children, or you, are ill or they need to cancel a session. Join The Tutors Association: https://thetutorsassociation.org.uk/ , they are really helpful and will keep you up-to-date/ give helpful advice. Finally, keep a careful record of all in-goings and out-goings. Keep all your receipts and copies of receipts that you give to parents; you will need these when doing your tax forms (you can get an accountant to do this for £200-300 per year). Hope this helps and good luck! 😊”

“Last year one of my friends asked if I had heard of online English teaching. I hadn’t and she sent me the details. I was very interested in what I heard, I completed the TEFL qualification over the summer holidays last year and started tutoring in October 2018. At first I was still doing supply as I gained confidence (mainly with the technology). However, I found I really enjoyed it and took the plunge in February to go self-employed and now work online pretty much full time.

There are many other companies out there that employ online English teachers. Some teachers work for several but I prefer to stick with the one. (I was the same as a supply teacher to be honest). I got the position through a recruiter.

You will need a Bachelor’s Degree and a TEFL qualification. I did not do an expensive qualification. I think I paid about £30 for it. It was an online course, I found it pretty interesting and not at all difficult. The company accepted it without issue. I believe there are other places you can use to gain this qualification as well. I am not going to be commenting further on this. I hope I have covered everything. I am very happy doing this job, I enjoy teaching Asian children, I don’t mind the fact there is a time difference (they are 8 or 7 hours ahead depending on our clocks!). The flexibility, the fact there is no commute, and the ability to work 7 days a week, all year round if you should wish to do so (I don’t!) makes up for it.”

“I have been asked by this page to explain a little further about my job as an online tutor due to the amount of interest in it. Firstly, please understand this is my own experience, I am not a salesperson and just commented to help someone who was asking for suggestions! After leaving full time teaching in 2013, I chose to be a supply teacher. I did this until early this year. I did mainly emergency cover because I found once I took on longer contracts it was straight back to all the planning/assessing/parent’s evenings etc.

“Last year one of my friends asked if I had heard of online English teaching. I hadn’t and she sent me the details. I was very interested in what I heard, I completed the TEFL qualification over the summer holidays last year and started tutoring in October 2018. At first I was still doing supply as I gained confidence (mainly with the technology). However, I found I really enjoyed it and took the plunge in February to go self-employed and now work online pretty much full time.

There are many other companies out there that employ online English teachers. Some teachers work for several but I prefer to stick with the one. (I was the same as a supply teacher to be honest). I got the position through a recruiter.

You will need a Bachelor’s Degree and a TEFL qualification. I did not do an expensive qualification. I think I paid about £30 for it. It was an online course, I found it pretty interesting and not at all difficult. The company accepted it without issue. I believe there are other places you can use to gain this qualification as well. I am not going to be commenting further on this. I hope I have covered everything. I am very happy doing this job, I enjoy teaching Asian children, I don’t mind the fact there is a time difference (they are 8 or 7 hours ahead depending on our clocks!). The flexibility, the fact there is no commute, and the ability to work 7 days a week, all year round if you should wish to do so (I don’t!) makes up for it.”

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Further information:

If you’re thinking of leaving teaching then the Thinking of Leaving Teaching Group might be a good place to get some ideas. It is a safe place for people to ask for help and advice, discuss topics and share opinions about jobs you can do if you leave teaching.

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