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Online private tutoring advice

(15 Posts)
annby40 Wed 02-Oct-13 11:29:40

I'm an English teacher who's thinking about starting my own online tutoring business for secondary age pupils and want some advice. I'd set weekly work and give detailed personal feedback, as well as arranging access to online subscription packages usually only available in schools and colleges. Does this have legs, do you think? I've done my sums and reckon I could offer an annual package for well under £10 a week, which is obviously much cheaper than paying for a private tutor. Would parents go for it or do I need to go back to the drawing board?

yegodsandlittlefishes Wed 02-Oct-13 11:49:40

Interesting! Sounds promising and I want to know more!

I'd love something like this for DD if it would actually help her without detracting from other demanding subjects she wants to do for A level. ( I am not sure how helpful it would be to be set extra weekly work, although I can see that it could be difficult to be involved in their school work. Rather than give them extra work, would it be possible to look at the work they are already being set at school, or have that as part of it?)

Would it be a video link, or just emails? If Emails, how often/quickly would you respond and how much would you help them with the work they are set at school? How do they learn if they are just set worked and then have it marked - where is the teaching?

In other words, how would you help?

I think in terms of fees, it is a lot to expect parents to sign up for a yearly subscription at £40+ per month. Perhaps break it up into monthly blocks, or offer a one lesson free trial and then a range of different payment options.

SirChenjin Wed 02-Oct-13 11:54:36

Sounds brilliant. I've tried to find a reasonably priced tutor one of the DCs, and it's been impossible, so this would be very helpful. I don't really have anything to add to yegodsandlittlefishes excellent suggestions.

Good luck with the business venture!

annby40 Wed 02-Oct-13 12:45:39

That's encouraging - thanks.
Using existing school work rather than setting extra weekly work's a really good idea and I'll build it into my plans. I'm thinking emails with a quick turnaround (24 hours?) rather than video links, as they're time consuming and hard to do make work within the business model, though perhaps an initial/occasional Skype would give parents confidence and add credibility. The learning would be focused on English skills - spelling, punctuation, grammar, style, fluency - not content and would come through: 1) the online package, which generates a post-assessment personalised programme (most people who see it are impressed); and 2) feedback - my 20+ years of English teaching and examining have convinced me that, beyond a certain point, real progress comes from pupils being given and taking on board specific feedback on their work.
I'll probably leave college to focus on this and any further feedback will be gratefully received. Yikes - I'm going to have to take the plunge soon!

Kenlee Wed 02-Oct-13 13:39:52

I know that in Hong Kong there is a market...We all learn Pu Tong Hua with one to one conversation via the internet....

annby40 Wed 02-Oct-13 13:55:55

Thanks, Kenlee. I'm envisaging working initially with UK teenagers who want to hone their English skills so that they do better in their exams, and if that works (or if it doesn't....) looking at other groups, e.g. adults who aren't confident in their skills, ESOL/EFL learners and even businesses. Thanks too for the pricing advice yegodsandlittlefishes - what about a £25 trial (there's a cost attached to setting up the online package) fully deductible from the annual subscription? I'll look into the bank costs of monthly subscriptions too. Loving the nickname...

SirChenjin Wed 02-Oct-13 15:27:11

Will that be across the UK? How will you manage the different curricula?

yegodsandlittlefishes Wed 02-Oct-13 15:54:45

Yes, I was going to ask that too. How does what you do relate to the various examining boards. Also, what proportion of the marks are awarded for the points you will focus (grammar, spelling, punctuation etc) over content?

I think a £25 introduction would be advisable but I wouldn't sign up for a year. How about offering a discounted rate for those signing up at the beginning of Year 10 and a short 6 month crash course for those in year 11?

summerends Wed 02-Oct-13 16:20:18

Interesting idea. I agree with using school set written work as often in English classes with large numbers of pupils, time for the teacher to feedback in detail is lacking. Perhaps very short pieces of written work such as a paragraph might also be manageable. That could be linked in with another idea, a personalised one to one book club with reading suggestions tailored to what the teenager has enjoyed previously but also to stretch them. The teenager could write a short paragraph on one aspect of the book and, as well as feeding back on their writing, you could feedback a paragraph of your own so that they could learn from the example of your insights and style of writing.

annby40 Wed 02-Oct-13 16:44:20

I'll need to work on getting the skills not content message across. Working with pupils following different syllabi wouldn't matter as 5% of marks are awarded for accuracy of spelling, punctuation and grammar in various GCSEs, including geography, history and religious studies for all awarding bodies, which of course can make a difference between grade boundaries.
I like the crash course idea. There could be mileage in 1 month, 3 month and 6 month packages, not necessarily with specified start dates - some year 11s might want intensive Easter tuition, some year 10s a 3 month summer booster and so on.
I am hoping to go national - scary - though will focus extra publicity in my own area, the North West. Your feedback's brilliant - it's really making me think about the questions people are likely to have and what I need to clarify about the service.

annby40 Wed 02-Oct-13 16:59:01

Thanks, summerends, that's yet another good idea. I've been convinced for many years now that pupils develop English skills through frequent, high quality and specific personal feedback just as much as through teaching. As you say, teachers of large classes don't always have the time for this, so personal tutoring, traditional or online, really has the potential to make a difference.

Tere76 Sat 05-Oct-13 19:07:45

Hallo There!
I am new here, I have a google alert on online tutoring and that's how I got to this nice forum.
Annby, your idea is good and online tutoring is one of the fastest growing markets in education. you will find that there are a lot of companies already in this field. Mostly Indian companies catering to american children but there are a few that are based in the UK.
I own an online tutoring company in Spain, feel free to contact me if you want some advice.
Good luck!

breadandbutterfly Thu 10-Oct-13 09:13:16

Have sent you a PM, OP.

vini Tue 18-Feb-14 12:42:05

Annby40 have PMed you

jonnyappleseed Tue 18-Feb-14 14:42:44

There are uk online companies and its growing dramatically as a category of tutoring. My friend who is a teacher has signed up here

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