Madeleine shares her experience and advice on private tutoring where she uses her passion for French with her students
How did you get into private tutoring?
I worked for a year as a teaching assistant at the University of Nancy, which was partnered with my home university. During this time I learned skills and knowledge needed for professional teaching and applied this to teaching French upon my return to the UK.
How relevant is your degree to your job?
My degree gave me the language skills I needed to work using French, but it also gave me skills in translation, interpreting and intercultural communication, all of which I apply in my role as a tutor.
What's a typical working day like?
I organise my upcoming lessons and file previous notes so that I have an ongoing record of each student's progress and achievements. I clarify lesson times with students, prepare materials and respond to new client enquiries. I meet all students at a city centre location where my private lessons take place, for between one to two hours, depending upon the student’s needs.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?
I started out supporting GCSE students preparing for exams, but now also teach French for beginners and to people who are relocating to France for work or retirement. I am carrying out research at a university on the subject of language and identity and my career ambitions are to continue tutoring and work with schools, universities and teaching institutions to improve the way languages are taught in the UK.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love being able to share my passion for language learning and finding ways to help students progress with their linguistic ability and confidence. I approach tutoring on an individual basis, so every lesson is different and I love the variety this brings to my working day.
What are the most challenging parts?
You are your own boss, and must stay on top of managing communication with every student, as well as organising your materials and finances. I use a combination of paper files and IT software to ensure I stay on top of all the aspects of my work.
What are your top tips for choosing a Masters?
Research whether the course content can give you professional skills for your career. I received specialised training in language software and lots of opportunities to meet other professionals working with languages.
What advice do you have for others wanting to get into this job?
- Speak to other tutors about how they manage their work schedules.
- Have a full understanding of your subject to give your students the best possible learning experience.
- Contact subject departments at educational institutions to ask for advice and possible work experience.