How To Become A Tutor: A Guide On Starting A Tuition Business

Tutoring Lesson Advice and Planning

Our guide so far has given advice on how to deliver sessions which are a part of more long-term relationships. Many students, however, will be seeking individual lessons or a short burst of lessons in the lead up to their exams. These lessons will require a different approach.

Communicating before the sessions

1. Make sure that you know the exact specification the student is sitting.
2. Find out their target grade and the aim for the sessions.
3. Ask the student to decide the topics they wish to cover in their lessons.
4. If they do not know, ask them to complete a past paper prior to the first session (you can send them this as they are easily found online) or retrieve a previous assessment they have completed recently from their classroom teacher.
5. If the lesson is for impending coursework, ask the title of the questions and make sure that you are familiar with the material. You may ask them to send over the paper itself, once the lesson is booked (don’t work on this prior to a booking is confirmed otherwise it might be in vein).
6. Find out when their deadline is or their exam takes place.

Your first tutoring session

1. Introduce yourself quickly and reconfirm the targets for the session(s) (five mins max).
2. Begin teaching content straight away! This can be by going through their practise test paper and covering the subjects they have got wrong or diving straight into the content of the subject they have selected.
3. Be calm and don’t rush your explanations - just because there is limited time, doesn’t mean that you should abandon the rules of good teaching: be calm, explain clearly, allow the student time to ask questions and test their understanding.
4. Build the student’s confidence! Often students are seeking additional help in the lead up to exams because they are unconfident. This can lead them to panic in the exam and do poorly, so be calm and build their confidence as much as their skills.
5. Leave focussed home learning or crib sheets for last minute revision - if necessary email these through after the lesson (but do so as soon as possible). This will help you plan for your next lesson. 
6. If necessary, highlight other areas they may wish to work on and confirm your next session together.

Following sessions

1. Keep ticking off the areas of difficulty and remember to offer lots of praise.
2. Continue to use exam questions from the exact specification being studied as the focus of sessions.
3. If you are having a short burst of lessons, ask the student to complete whole papers under timed conditions, so they can practise in the same setting they will face on the day. This will also force them to recall the right skills, rather than merely applying rules you have just covered together.
4. You may wish to offer online sessions at more flexible times, if the student is fast approaching the day of their exams - this can be billed at the usual rate and booked as usual.

Tutoring lessons for coursework or written assessments

You may receive enquiries from students who are seeking help with their written work. This is absolutely fine, but DO NOT DO THEIR WORK FOR THEM. Be sure that you outline this to students immediately when messaging by setting out clear parameters for your help. 

Clearly agree how you will charge for the session, i.e. whether you will read and mark the essay before the lesson, and if this will be charged for, or whether you will read and mark the essay together. As long as you are clear about the service you are willing to offer, and the charges associated, these can be really enjoyable and productive sessions.

Scott Woodley, Co-founder of Tutorful.

Scott is a fully qualified primary school teacher who left teaching to set up Tutorful, a site which helps parents and learners find the right tutor for them.

If you are looking to become a tutor, you can easily create a profile with Tutorful. You can set your own price, offer online or face-to-face tuition and begin building your rewarding career in no time.