Chantelle E is a primary tutor in Surbiton, Kingston upon Thames. She shares her knowledge on what it takes to transfer from a career in teaching, to a career in private tutoring.
Whether you are an ex-teacher or currently teaching, whether you are an early years, primary or secondary teacher; you’re already equipped with the skills that will make for a smooth transition to the world of tutoring. You have got the experience, knowledge and skills that will be advantageous to you (and your students) as you embark on your journey as a tutor.
1. Know your students and how they learn
Fundamentally, you already have knowledge about how students learn. With a background in teaching, you are experienced at interacting with students, and have an understanding about how they learn.
You are aware of maintaining a balance between helping students grasp curriculum learning objects, whilst making learning a fun, engaging and interactive experience. Some core values at the heart of your practice as a teacher, will inevitably come quite naturally to you as a tutor. Patience is a virtue – and an essential virtue for tutoring that will help your students thrive.
It’s important that they feel comfortable during the session and encourage them to take risks in their learning. You can build their self-confidence, encouraging them to adopt a ‘have a go’ attitude, rather than holding back out of fear of making mistakes.
And when mistakes are made, it’s about knowing how to make the most of errors to help students see for themselves where they are going wrong. This often leads to those “ah-ha” “lightbulb” moments, which are so rewarding for the student (and tutor!).
2. Know the content and how to teach it
You’re skilled at knowing where students need to get, and just as importantly, you know how to get them there! It is a great benefit to be familiar with the National Curriculum and core subject knowledge. It allows for a big picture understanding of how learning objectives are sequenced across year levels.
When tutoring students, an understanding of learning expectations for different year levels is important. Furthermore, having the skills for how to teach these learning objectives is crucial. This is often a reason why parents are hiring a tutor in the first place. How do they complete this question? Often parents will say it’s different to how they were taught at school.
This is where having a teaching qualification brings along useful skills. You have knowledge of efficient methods, and through explicit modelling, can utilise these when tutoring students.
Essentially, this knowledge and experience will be of great benefit when planning bespoke tutoring lessons for each unique student.
3. A toolbox of teaching strategies
It is all well and good having a wonderful lesson planned on paper (in theory), but when it comes time to executing the lesson, you’ve got the skills to deliver! As a teacher, you know that a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work.
No doubt you have had a class with mixed abilities and have had to cater for diversity a class brings. Fortunately, as a teacher, you’ve got the tools you need to teach in ways that will achieve success!
Your experience with explicit modelling of strategies will come in handy, as you provide clear instructions and explanations. You’re equipped with a repertoire of teaching strategies that you can choose from to suit the learning style of the student.
You are most likely in the habit of constantly making mental notes and formatively assess learning, being able to adjust the teaching pace when needed to suit the student.
4. Identifying learning gaps and misconceptions
Yes, of course looking at what a student gets correct is important. But you also know that looking deeply at what they get wrong is invaluable! When tutoring, you look at what they get wrong and use these mistakes to guide the lesson.
Finding the route of the problem is the key to overcoming learning barriers and can guide future learning. As a teacher, your skills to be able to detect learning gaps and misconceptions will be useful to inform future planning and ultimately enabling progress and success.
5. Providing feedback
Teaching experience means providing feedback to guide the learner is not a new skill for you! Effective feedback is explicit, practical, and given in a timely manner. Constructive feedback offered in a positive manner can foster an ‘I can do this’ attitude toward learning.
You can use the skill of providing constructive feedback to support progression and achievement. It is also important to keep parents in the loop with their child’s progress. This can be done in different ways, but the important thing to remember is to be honest with parents, whilst maintaining a balance between praise and criticism.
These are a few of the transferable skills that as a teacher, you are already equipped with when taking on the role as a tutor. You’ve got the knowledge and tools that will help with a smooth transition. And of course, this list is not exhaustive! Share your experience about transferable skills from teaching to tutoring!
Chantelle is a Primary tutor in Surbiton, Kingston upon Thames. She has nine years of teaching experience as a classroom and specialist intervention teacher. She is passionate about helping students grasp curriculum learning objects, whilst making learning a fun, engaging and rewarding experience.