anyone making a living from private tuition?(9 Posts)
Just idly considering my options in case the job keeps on getting harder really. I teach a core subject (and have done for over 20 years). I live rurally but very near a small city. With private tuition and exam marking, has anyone made a reasonable amount of money? I have no mortgage, but would need enough for all the other living expenses.
What subject? I know a maths teacher who makes a living with tuition, exam marking and Y11 intervention in secondary schools.
I've been an examiner and been a private tutor, though I did them while I was working. My friends teach Maths - A level and GCSE and can do two or three hours a night if they want to in private tuition. They both mark, too, but hate it. One friend marks very fast (but she's done it for years and years) and she can earn a couple of thousand quite easily - the other earns a few hundred. Private lessons are around £30 - £35 per hour, I think.
The trouble is you can only teach between September and May, because everything stops then for exams, so you'd be relying on marking money for the summer. As the students are in school all day, you'd be working evenings every day. Lots of students work at the weekend, so don't want tuition then.
It's so unreliable as an income. You can be in the middle of marking and your allocation stops because someone else is working faster.
Is there anything else you could do instead?
There are 11+ tutors around who make a bit of a living but the ones I know (who started tutoring because they started to hate the way teaching was going) are fed up with it now.
It can be good money but fits in really badly with having your own children as you're tutoring from 4-7 weekdays and then all day Saturday. Obviously you can't work during school hours as the children are at school!
They charge about £25 an hour but it's only good money if you manage to have lots of children back to back and the preparation can be very time-consuming as it seems individualised as well.
English noble. Thanks for all the responses. I think it's probably unrealistic to expect a decent steady income from tutoring, from what you've all said.. Like I said, I'M still happy teaching at the moment, but the direction of travel in education obviously worries me, as I'm sure it does most of us - so I'm just thinking about where I might be in a couple more years really.
I know a maths/11+ tutor who does OK in early-retirement from teaching (he's early 50's). He charges £40 per hour but he runs it as a proper business, so it's not just an hourly rate in his pocket.
He does Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year and adds in a couple of mid-week full days during school holidays, i.e. Summer and Easter. He also does late afternoon and early evening on some school days (2/3 per week).
Summer holidays are reserved for 11+ tuition. Easter/Christmas holidays are reserved for GCSE and A level Maths tuition. Mid week are a mix of 11+ and Maths GCSE/A level according to who he's got on his books.
He is highly organised. To avoid time wastage and travel costs, he hires a room in a church hall so he sets up his "classroom" and then sees one pupil after another so very little "downtime". He has a fairly strict, old school, style, with quite formal lessons and then a couple of hours worth of homework/practice after each lesson. There's no friendly chit-chat with him - he's right down to business so you really get a good hours' worth of one-to-one tuition. He doesn't take prisoners, he's more than willing to drop a pupil if they don't do the homework and he's quite honest (abrupt) if he doesn't think a pupil is up to the standard needed to get a high enough mark in the test.
For your £40, he provides the materials, mostly photocopied worksheets etc. but he also uses some proper text books and workbooks, and also marks the homework he sets, between lessons, so probably another 15 minutes on top of each one-hour tutoring session. So really, it's 1.25 hours of his time, plus a hour of room rental for your £40!
He also does group mock exams for GCSE, A level and 11+ where he hires a church hall, sets it up with exam desks, and does a proper mock under exam conditions, then marks it and has an hours' feedback/review lesson afterwards.
Despite his fees being on the high side and despite some people who may not like his old-school style, his books are nearly always full and he never advertises - all his business is recommendations/referrals.
You might like to ask the same question on The Tutor Pages group on Linkedin where lots of private tutors discuss their experience: www.linkedin.com/groups/3301297
We tried for a while. As others have said, tuition is 4-7pm week days and all day Sat / Sun. The way to boost income is to either open a tuition centre and hire teachers (as well as teaching yourself), or to tutor in schools in the day time (1-1, intervention groups etc). With a mix of approaches, and ideally tutoring from home as opposed to hiring a premises, you can make a living - but you probably won't get rich!
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