More than tuition

The subject of private tuition has been a thorny one for a variety of reasons for longer than I can remember. In recent times, extracurricular tuition has become commonplace, rather than the preserve of the few as it once was.

With more parents, taking their first steps in private tuition, I thought I’d put together some thoughts which may help you in your choice of private tutor.

I should add that what follows is in no way self-aggrandising or intended to be patronising. It’s simply my personal view after many years as a private tutor and hearing directly from parents and students about their experiences.

When I’m asked what I do for a living, I naturally respond that I’m a private tutor. However, I then find myself talking about what I actually do, which is more detailed than you may think. Simply put, my role encompasses considerably more than pure tuition.

As a parent considering private tuition for your child, it’s easy to find yourself on the large portals which spend huge sums in an attempt to dominate the search rankings. You’ll then see the hundreds of tutors engaged in a pricing race to the bottom in an effort to secure your business.

On the face of it, there are many highly qualified tutors ready to work with your child and available now. However, tuition is about more than a degree or qualification in the relevant subjects. Consistency is also important, so knowing your tutor is there for the long haul, and not simply gigging part-time or between jobs should be a vital part of the selection process.

Qualifications alone do not make one a great teacher. From a learning perspective, there is a huge difference in learning by rote or working logically through key topics, compared to an approach that brings the subject to life. A good tutor encourages independent thinking, problem solving and the challenging of boundaries in a safe environment.

In today’s world, we’ve become used to fast, cheap, use and replace. However, how many times have you purchased a cheap item, which is either unfit for purpose, breaks or wears out all too quickly? And how many times have you wished you’d invested just a little more or given that purchase a little more thought?

That isn’t to say there aren’t genuine bargains to be had in life. There are, although in my experience the general feedback from the universe has been that you get what you pay for.

In my case, a full-time tutor with well in excess of 10,000 hours of one to one tuition provided to my students, I’ve developed a style of tuition which is akin to coaching and mentoring a student. It isn’t simply about the subject matter for getting the best from my students.

I develop a deep rapport and trust with students which enables me to not only understand their academic challenges, but also the broader fears, uncertainties, doubts and of course, their aspirations! In many instances, these will be thoughts and concerns that would otherwise remain bottled-up with the potential to become larger issues in the future.

It is a privilege to be the confidant and mentor to my students, so many of whom go on to top schools and universities, having achieved outstanding exam results.

These words from a parent go a long way to summing up how I work and the results that can be achieved:

“It isn’t just about the maths skills – it’s the confidence you’ve given my son that has made the difference in all areas of his academic life.”

This confidence translates to sports and to the everyday life of the student for his or her future. That’s something that’s impossible to put a price on, in my opinion.

I hope this insight is helpful and if you have any questions, I’ll be more than happy to try to help.