Case study

Private tutor — Sabine Kerssemakers

Sabine describes her career progression and offers advice on starting your own private tutoring business

How did you get into private tutoring?

Experience as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher put me in a good position to apply for roles within education. I supported young people at a higher education college, while offering some private tutoring on an ad hoc basis. I enjoyed the latter so much, I made the decision to start my own business, Study with Sabine.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

I graduated with a BA (Hons.) in education, followed by an MSc in Comparative and International Education. My degree encompassed education in the wider sense. It also explored different approaches to teaching and learning. These areas have all proved relevant in my job roles, including helping me to improve and develop my own learning skills.

What are your main work activities?

Tuition starts from 3.30pm, usually taking place at the client's home. If I'm working with a college or university student, online or home-schooled student, these hours can differ. The morning is spent completing administration including lesson planning, accounts, subject research and responding to enquiries.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

From tutoring for 11-plus tests, GCSE and A-level exams, I have progressed into degree-level dissertation editing and academic assignment advice. It has enabled me to develop my skills and knowledge and I am now focused on increasing my work with college, university and mature students.

What do you enjoy most about being a private tutor?

Seeing a client making an improvement, no matter how small. I also enjoy the satisfaction of building positive rapport, establishing mutual trust and seeing them progress academically and personally.

What are the most challenging parts?

You have to rely upon yourself to generate business and keep it. There's no sick pay or paid holiday. You need to chase late payments. You have to adapt to each client's learning styles and goals. It can be tiring, involves a lot of driving, late nights and can be intense.

What are your top tips for choosing a Masters?

Identify the right course first and university second. Find the best fit for you. It's important to have a clear focus on what you want to gain from it and why. Make sure you have a genuine interest in your chosen study area.

What's your advice for others wanting to become a private tutor?

Prepare your portfolio, complete with qualification certificates, DBS certificate, insurance details and client contract.

Research the demand for tutoring in your area, decide how far you can realistically travel, what hours you are prepared to work and ensure you're competent and comfortable to tutor your chosen subjects.

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