Ah, historic Bristol, with her city-centre docks having been redeveloped as beacons of heritage and culture! Progressive Bristol, her economy built on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industries! Diverse Bristol, wherein thrives a variety of artistic and sporting organizations!
Oh, Bristolian: can you see yourself becoming a tutor? Let this article be your guide to becoming one!
Do you, like others in your town, seek independence? Perhaps you yearn to establish a business for yourself. Doing so is not as hard as it seems. For one, it is not necessary to have a degree or any type of certification or licensing to tutor in the UK.
As owner-operator of a private instruction business, you set your work hours and methods to suit yourself. You can dedicate a space in your home to be your 'clinic', where you can welcome students or conduct lessons online. You can venture out to clients' homes or meet them in town, at the library or in a café.
You can restrict yourself to being an online presence, if that is your fancy.
Known as one of six English 'Science cities', naturally you would benefit if you had any skill or talent in physics, maths, chemistry or biology in Bristol. If calculus is child's play to you, you could surely ease your tutee's anxiety or discomfort of the subject.
All of this sounds motivating, but how to go about getting set up?
Online Tutoring Jobs
A simple web search reveals numerous hits for independent tutor sites. At Superprof, for example, you can build an individualized profile to include your qualifications, what subjects you wish to offer help with, how much experience you have and what your rates are, complete with photo and space for customer feedback.
Tips for Successful Web Recruiting
- Make your profile outstanding! How are you different/better than every other tutor? Can you help with LSAT or SAT prep? Do you specialize in college tutoring? To attract clients, you should put forth qualities and abilities that are sought in Bristol, or otherwise not commonly found.
- Be responsive! In these times of instant communication, if someone makes an inquiry on the web, they expect a quick answer. Don't let potential clients get away: give them what they expect.
- Manage feedback! If a student or parent leaves a comment on your page, you should respond.
Another way to go live online is to take out an ad. Several websites such as Gumtree, Indeed and, more in tune with your city, Bristol Freeads present you with the chance of reaching even more potential clients. While most online sites offer free ads, some demand a fee for premium ad placement.
Finding Students in Bristol
After a section of North London, Bristol has the second highest number of independent school places. This is good news for your future career because statistics show that private school parents are more likely to pay for private tutoring, and you don't necessarily have to be online for potential clients to find you.
Indeed, technology makes for a powerful business tool, but perhaps you prefer the down-to-earth approach: canvassing your neighborhood and establishing a network of close contacts. Here are some ways you can accomplish that.
- Go door to door in your neighborhood. People living close to you might already know you; why shouldn't you offer your services to them? This is an especially good idea if you live in a community with a lot of school-aged children or higher education students.
- Visit local schools. In fact, school administrations in the Bristol area may well keep a list of qualified tutors on hand to recommend to parents seeking extra help for their children. And if they don't, you can request/suggest that they do!
- Print handbills. Give them out at shopping centers, bus stations, the subway. You can also visit any of the city's college campuses and hand flyers out in student centers.
- Post on bulletin boards. Supermarkets, libraries, even your local community centers all have bulletin boards for service announcements. Make sure your ad is visible – not crowded out by other posts. Of course, it helps if you design an eye-catching and professional-looking announcement.
- Talk yourself up. Word of mouth is a powerful and useful advertisement medium. Do you visit a certain cafe or pub regularly? Shop at the same neighborhood grocery every time? Maybe the staff there could help get word out that you are in business.
A factor to consider with regard to potential future income: Bristol's GDP per capita is 65% above the Uk average. Clearly you have ample prospects at earning well in Bristol!
Tuition rates in Bristol average £19.70 per hour. Naturally, that estimate is commensurate with tutors' education level, experience and the subject matter being taught, as well as students' levels. Should you host a small group – as opposed to one-on-one teaching, you could earn even more.
Volunteering as a Home-Tutor
We'd not accuse anyone of sitting back, waiting for business to come to them but we will be honest, there is a chance calls won't flood in the minute you post your ad or create your Superprof profile.
If you have the opportunity, and would like to gain some experience in mentoring, how about volunteering your time?
People who volunteer gain confidence, learn new skills and develop a real sense of belonging to their communities whilst helping to improve the quality of life for local people. Organisations benefit from the skills, enthusiasm and time of a diverse volunteer workforce.
Partaking of volunteer assignments is a great way to get in touch with community organizations who know what Bristolians really need in the way of educational assistance. Volunteer groups could possibly provide you with networking opportunities. Maybe you could find a volunteer organization within your community?
Working Through a Tutoring Agency
Perhaps the thought of striking out on your own seems daunting and uncertain. Maybe you have commitments and you simply can't afford to plunge into the void between starting a business and bringing money in.
Working with learners though a tutoring agency might be the right route for you to make inroads into the private education market.
Giving supplemental instruction through an agency offers certain benefits. You don't have to find clients on your own; the firm matches your skills with tutees needing your particular brand of guidance. You can have (more or less) steady employment, even through school holidays.
Generally agencies work with their best tutors on scheduling and course load and, should you have to miss a session with a client, for whatever reason, that student will still receive individualized help.
With that in mind, we offer three tutoring services offices located in Bristol, with no expressed preference and in no particular order.
- Axis Supplementary Schools, located at The Vassal Centre, Gill Avenue, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 2QQ strive to ensure student attainment in English and Maths. They offer innovative teaching and learning resources, aimed at students' particular needs. NOTE: this center only operates on Saturdays.
- Explore Learning helps students prepare for entrance exams by polishing up and reinforcing English and Maths skills. They also coach for 11+. You can find work through them seven days a week, at 42 Welsford Road, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1BP
- Bristol Tuition covers English, Maths and Sciences, sending teachers to clients' homes every Monday through Friday afternoon/evening. You can find them at 42 Welsford Road, Stapleton, Bristol BS16 1BP
There are two caveats about tutoring through an agency, the first one being that you might not earn as much as you would working independently because teaching companies draw their profit from commission.
The second is that agencies will most likely require you to have a college degree, even though UK law does not require any special licensing, certification or degree to start tutor jobs. Agencies, like any other employer, are seeking the best talent, to be demonstrated through higher education achievements.
Summary: Success as a Tutor
There is nothing like seeing the lights turn on in your pupils' eyes as you turn complex subject material into easy-to-understand, digestible bites.
If you work independently of any agency you can set your own hours and rates, working as much or as little as you wish. You can set up an office in your home to welcome students, or you can work with them in their home or dorm. You can choose to operate strictly as an online presence, thereby reaching all of Bristol and beyond, to learners who need you.
No matter which method you choose, which age group you teach and what skills set you have, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping to ensure the success of your charges. Maybe you can even help them win the Flying Start Challenge!
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