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  • Mary

Why become a private tutor?

Stepping out of a traditional classroom setting and embarking on a career in private tutoring can be daunting for a whole host of reasons. Often, people say, "Well, I can only teach. What else is there for me to do?" Undoubtedly, I was one of those people. I am biased, but teaching is one of the best jobs in the world and ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher. It is true what they say, it really is a vocation! We don't teach for the money but for the love of educating young people and seeing them succeed. Those light bulb moments in a classroom really do make a difference especially when you are snowed under with a never-ending pile of paperwork, an overflowing inbox and a staff meeting until six that evening.

From experience, many colleagues wonder how they would manage leaving a full-time teaching position in a classroom to becoming a private tutor. Naturally, there are common concerns around the stability of income, entitlement to holiday and sick pay, pension contributions, and transitioning from a PAYE system to self-employment and being responsible for your own tax. For each educator, their circumstances will be different. Of course, as with anything new, there will be challenging aspects and there will be changes and hurdles to jump.

With all this said, if you are not entirely sure you are ready for such a leap, perhaps start off small. Add a few hours a week of private tutoring and build up your reputation in your local area. Establishing yourself is usually one of the greatest challenges. However, by starting off with a fusion of both a permanent income from your regular teaching position and your income from tutoring, this will provide you with the best of both worlds.

While I loved the teaching side and really enjoyed being in a classroom, I haven't looked back and I wish I had done it sooner. Life is always unpredictable and you have to carve out a path that is right for you. Now, I am fortunate that I can use my skills and experience to specifically pinpoint areas of development and make a difference by teaching one-to-one. Private tutoring gives you those light bulb moments without the constraints and challenges often experienced in a classroom.

If you are reading this, the chances are that you are curious to learn more about life as a private tutor. It is not an exhaustive list, but these are the things I considered when I began.


  • Freedom and flexibility

  • Instant and accelerated progress

  • Job satisfaction

  • Set your own fees

  • No external pressures

  • Effective use of time for planning and preparation

Aspects to consider:

  • Income can vary each month

  • No holiday pay or sick pay

  • Responsibility for self-assessment with HMRC

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