From studying classics at university to training as a barrister, Adam discovered tutoring combines his academic knowledge with professional skills
How did you get into private tutoring?
A legal friend told me about tutoring classics. I contacted some online tutor directories and a couple of months later, parents of a Latin GCSE student contacted me. He had underperformed in mock exams, and within three months of receiving tutoring he achieved an A* in the final exam. I now tutor arts and humanities subjects, helping children prepare for entrance exams, often where Latin and Greek are taught.
How relevant is your degree to your job?
My classics degree is very relevant, using knowledge directly from what I learned studying the subject. My law degree has been useful in making children more aware of the world around them, helping them study independently, structure arguments in presentations or in their writing. Communication skills are immensely helpful, motivating students to be the best they can be.
What's a typical working day like?
I do online tuition in the morning to students in Asia, followed by busy afternoons and evenings providing sessions. I sometimes tutor at weekends, but half-term periods are very busy, often working abroad on residential placements with families.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
When I started there was no real set career path in tutoring. Since then, I've learned more about education and the importance of building rapport with others, especially parents. I'm now president of The Tutors' Association, which is the professional body for tutors and supplementary education sector. It has a membership reach of around 30,000 tutors, helping them engage with others in their profession, get professional support and develop themselves.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Flexibility, variety and seeing my students achieve goals they didn't think possible.
What are the most challenging parts?
Dealing with the different curricula of students in different subjects and levels, sometimes working with a student over a short period of time, can be challenging. Timings and travel logistics can be challenging too.
What are your top tips for choosing a Masters?
Think about why you want to do a Masters and what opportunities it can create for you. Do you really like the subject enough to take it further and have you considered the sheer amount of work involved?
What advice do you have for others wanting to get into this job?
- Get as much advice as possible, and talk to people who can help you.
- Choose a subject you're academically qualified to tutor in and ask yourself whether you're comfortable tutoring it.
- Develop soft skills like communication, because you will be dealing with a broad range of people, in a business, academic or social environment - sometimes all at once.