Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Rise of the Super Tutor League


Media hype:

(1) Recent media reports have mentioned that some "supertutors" earn as much as £300 per hour. Yes! that's per HOUR!

Reality check:

But private tutoring with an agency is not as lucrative as it might appear:

(2) "A competitive salary - £21,000per annum (£22,000pa within the M25) plus £2880pa bonus potential based on your centre's performance." [Explore Learning Job Advert]

The reality in most cases is that many tutors are undergraduates or recent postgraduates seeking to earn extra cash. Typically, they will be enthusiastic, well-informed and unqualified as teaching professionals. Rates of pay often range from £18 to £35 per hour, and that may include travel time and costs. In contrast to employing a trades person such as an electrician or a plumber on a standard £50 call out fee, it's quite poorly paid.

Alternatively, some poorly-paid early career teachers supplement their earnings by offering private teaching. In some cases highly experienced teachers also offer lessons because they find it 'rewarding'.

Is private tutoring really necessary and does it make a difference?

In the first instance I recommend seeking support and guidance from your school or college. Failing that it seems reasonable to seek support elsewhere. In some cases, a private tutor will spend time working with the parents who want to have a more participatory role, or want a clearer understanding of the learning process.

Teachers under pressure

Generally, you will find that most state teachers are well-trained and qualified, well-paid, and very experienced. Sadly, some teaching seemed to have a focus on the average/middle-range, while other teachers only work with the top/bottom students.

So there are sometimes disparities and inequalities in classes which are too big or too diverse for some teachers to cope with. In these cases the teacher may struggle to offer enough 1:1 tutoring.

The ideals of differentiated learning designed to fit each student's personal profile sometimes fails to materialise.

Bigger Picture

But it is also worth noting that there is far more to education than the teacher/student relationship in school. One should not underestimate

(1) the key roles of supportive parents / home environment;

(2) the creativity, aptitude and motivation of the child;

(3) the significance of informal learning and play outside school.

In other words, it's not all about academic exam success.

Personal Experience

In my experience the private tutor will help to develop skills and relationships across a wide learning domain. By visiting someone's home the tutor also has the opportunity to learn so much more about the broader context and issues that need to be addressed. Sometimes that means managing parental expectations as much as student performance goals.

Having worked recently as a private tutor I have found that it was a stimulating and enjoyable experience. Most of my students experienced a boost to their confidence, higher motivation and successful performance in exams.

But remember that results are not always short term or immediate and quite a lot of the success depends on the sustained effort of the student over a period of time.

Sometimes the tutor's intervention is based on a quick-fix of exam or writing skills; at other times, the focus will be broader, deeper, and more creative in approach.

While we may lament the rise of a private tutor 'super league' it does suggest that there are plenty of wealthy people who still place a high value on educational achievement rather than the conspicuous consumption of material possessions and ephemeral fashion items.

Media Resources

  1. Private tutors can earn thousands - Telegraph

    www.telegraph.co.uk › Education
    20 Jan 2012 - He's one of the most in-demand of the new breed of 'super tutors', ... I don't particularly like the term “super tutor”, which I hear used more and ...

  2. The rise of the super tutor - Education - News - The Independent

    www.independent.co.uk › NewsEducation
    8 Nov 2011 - What do you do when you have a first from Oxbridge, a thirst for travel, can speak 12 languages or solve complex algebraic sums in your sleep, ...

  3. Meet the super tutors: hired to teach five-year-olds Ancient Greek ...

    www.dailymail.co.uk/.../Meet-super-tutors-hired-teach-year-olds-Ancient...
    10 Jun 2011 - Personal trainers, motivational coaches, housekeepers, hairdressers, stylists and butlers used to be the fashion-conscious celebrity's status ...

  4. Why I can no longer face tutoring the progeny of the rich and ...

    www.theguardian.com/.../03/no-longer-tutor-progeny-rich-aspirational
    3 May 2013 - Amid terror tales of two-year-olds receiving elocution tutorials, and salacious reports of super tutors creaming £1,000 per hour, the method for ...

  5. The $1000-an-hour Super Tutor - Life & Style - London Evening ...

    www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/the-1000anhour-super-tutor-7304553.html
    5 Jan 2012 - London tutor Will Orr-Ewing meets his American counterparts who charge as much as lawyers and finds out how they are revolutionising the ...
  6. [PDF]

    SUPER-TUTOR TO THE RESCUE! 3 ' - British Tutors

    www.britishtutors.com/pages/tatler2.pdf
    TATLER ABOUT TOWN. SUPER-TUTOR TO THE RESCUE! 3 '. Ever wondered why the rich seem cleverer than the rest of us? Maybe it's because they can ...