Tutoring - What it Takes to Start and Become Successful
Humans have been tutoring each other since the dawn of history--how else was the
making of fire learned and passed on? This need for face-to-face attention continues today:
People are hiring tutors in almost any area in which skills can be taught and
acquired: ranging from academic subjects and computer use, athletic skills to
hobbies. While most independent tutors have students come to their homes, some
go the clients' homes or may be able to use space at the students' schools, or
if they're helping students with a sport, they'll use the appropriate kind of
field or facility.
Academic tutoring has been in particular demand because of the increased
expectations placed on high school and even grade school students. As one tutor
told us, "What used to be taught in college in the old days is now taught in
high school." Crowded classrooms don't enable the individual attention many
students require, and parents are finding that their children are not
sufficiently prepared for college nor for the entrance examinations necessary
for admission. They realize their children often need more personalized
attention than they can get from classroom instruction.
Taught without the pressure of peers or authorities, many students learn through
tutoring what they don't absorb in a classroom. As a tutor, you'll customize
what you teach to the level and needs of each of your students. While tutors who
specialize in computer topics will need equipment for their students to use,
most tutoring requires little in terms of books or materials.
Beyond academics, you can also teach or tutor any skill someone wants to learn.
Music, the arts, and sports like baseball and tennis are a few such areas where
both children and adults need additional help. And remember, it's going to be
easier to sell yourself if you have teaching experience or are degreed in the
subjects you're tutoring.
Tutoring is a word-of-mouth business but to get to this point, you'll need to
take the initiative to develop a base of students. This is best done by calling
on teachers in the subject areas in which you specialize as well as talking to
school office personnel and counselors.
You should also spread the word among your neighbors and friends - it's likely
you'll find your first students among people you already know. Posting fliers on
community bulletin boards, writing articles for or buying ads in local
publications and having a Web site are other ways of generating business.
Becoming a tutor is as simple as saying: I'm a tutor. There are no state or
licensing requirements. Of course, parents usually won't pay much for a tutor
who has less than a four-year degree. And the more qualified you are to teach
your target group, the more successful you will be.
In making tutoring your at-home occupation, begin by creating a list of your
one-on-one, small group, or other teaching experience.