6 Surprisingly Common Mistakes Most New Private Tutors Make
These days, the market for London tutors is larger and more complex than it has ever been. The reason being that the advent of the Internet has made it possible for anyone wishing to do so to breathe life into a basic website, advertise themselves as private tutors and go into business to whatever extent they desire. Of course, there’s an enormous and important difference between genuinely dedicated private tutors and those simply looking to make money, but in all areas of the spectrum it’s technically never been easier to get started.
Ease of starting up can be a good thing, but at the same time has a tendency to lead so many newcomers to the industry into hot water. The simple fact of the matter is that when working as a private tutor in any capacity, reputation and customer feedback represent the two most important contributors of all when it comes to securing future jobs. Win their approval and you’re golden, attract criticism and you’re knee-deep in the unspeakable.
Suffice to say, therefore, it’s in the best interests of all industry newcomers to be aware of and ideally avoid the kinds of common mistakes that are simple to make, yet can have disastrous consequences.
Here’s a quick look at six examples to illustrate the point:
1 – Insufficient Preparation
First up comes the mistake of assuming that just because you are an expert in your given subject and have gone through the process of training to become a private tutor means you are fully prepared for what’s to come. In reality, formal education and training represent nothing more that the foundation upon which to build your skills as a professional private tutor – effective teaching methods, handling difficult situations, changing your approach in accordance with each student and so on and so forth all require equal attention and focus.
2 – Lack of Materials
Realistically, setting up as a private tutor represents one of the most affordable examples of a small business by way of initial start-up costs. There will of course be various bits and pieces you need, but compared to the vast majority of other types of small business, there’s very little expense to worry about. Nevertheless, this does not mean that you should cut corners in order to keep expenses to a minimum as to attempt to do your job without an abundance of the very best materials, tools and resources available to you is to steer yourself in the direction of failure. Covering the basics simply isn’t enough.
3 – Ignoring Mistakes
Getting used to the process of highlighting the mistakes your students make and bringing to their attention what they are doing wrong takes some time. Nevertheless, it is something that you absolutely must do from day one, regardless of how awkward it may feel at first. Highlighting, discussing and correcting mistakes represents the only realistic means by which progress can be made – so don’t ignore or overlook any.
4 – Poor Interpersonal Skills
One of the biggest obstacles that can stand in the way of a private tutor is a general lack of interpersonal skills or communication skills. This can be an extremely difficult problem to overcome as is exactly the kind of thing you don’t tend to be able to learn – you either have it or you don’t. It’s not as if you have to become the very best friend of all your students, but they at least need to find you 100% approachable and have the utmost respect for you.
5 – Fees too Low or High
While the arguments against setting your fees too high in the first instance are of course obvious, there’s also much to be said for ensuring you don’t set your fees too low. Suspiciously low fees not only have a habit of painting a picture of a private tutor that’s not exactly on the same level as others, it can also lead you into a situation where you build a base of clients who are only willing to pay the lowest prices and prevent you from increasing your fees. Be sensible and work toward a sensible average.
6 – Poor Punctuality
Last but not least, this is a classic example of an industry/profession where punctuality must be consistently flawless at all times. There really is no getting away with 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there and the odd cancellation now and then. The very moment any poor punctuality on your behalf rubs your clients up the wrong way, their opinion of you and ultimately their recommendation of your services will be diluted significantly, if not entirely washed away.