For most of us, working part-time at university is a necessary evil. With a student’s lack of experience, more often than not the jobs we are left with involve long hours, less than adequate pay and not particularly useful skills. However, last year, I discovered a job which does not require long hours, provides good pay and offers an individual useful qualifications: tutoring.
Whilst a few tutoring agencies will require some form of experience, many only ask for good grades in your GCSEs and A-levels. With most companies, the hours are flexible, so work as many or as few as you want. As a private tutor, most students will want 1 hour of tuition a week, so you can pick up as many students as you feel you can cope with.
One of the best perks of being a private tutor is the pay: you can get anything from £10 up to £30 an hour, depending on your experience and the subject you teach. Some companies also give you the freedom to teach how and what you want, so whilst making lesson plans can be stressful, having flexibility in what you teach is handy.
As for the useful skills you learn, the list is endless. In just over a year, tutoring has improved my organisational, timekeeping, leadership, and communication skills. Indeed, you will discover things you didn’t know about your own course: I’ve clarified theories I’m studying at an undergraduate level by teaching them in a simplified way to GCSE students.
Above all, whilst it is a cliché, it has to be said that teaching is extremely rewarding. Private tutoring is particularly fulfilling, as you often have one-on-one sessions with students who actually want to be there, or at least understand that they need to be.
Despite the many benefits of tutoring, it does have its downfalls. As opposed to working in hospitality or retail, tutoring is a big responsibility. A lot of tutees need you to take them through to their exams in their final year, so, more often than not, when you begin teaching a student, you’re in it for the long haul. This means that whilst you’re stressing over your own deadlines and essays, you’ve got the added weight of your tutees work hanging over you as well.
Also, be careful about which agency you pick: look at reviews and also research where your agency is based. I’m registered with an agency based in East London and I quickly had to start refusing to tutor students as there were so many that required GCSE English tuition in the area. However, I also work for a company based in Camden and struggle to find students close enough to where I live to make it worthwhile.
Ultimately I have really benefited and enjoyed my job as a tutor. I would encourage others to pursue, or at least consider, a part-time job in tutoring.