In these tough economic times, supplementing a teaching income is more important than ever. While a second job during the school year may be impossible, the summer brings with it a variety of opportunities besides working in retail. As a teacher, you have the ability to market yourself as a tutor* for students during the summer months.
How to Become a Private Tutor
Sometimes, all it takes is word of mouth advertising to attract tutoring clients and their parents. Let other teachers in your building know that you will be tutoring during the summer, so that if parents approach them about finding a tutor for their child, your name can be mentioned. Putting an ad in the local newspaper or on bulletin boards at grocery stores or churches is also a good option. Homeschool groups in your area can be another source for tutoring clients, as many parents like to get extra instruction for their children during the summer and throughout the school year. If you have an area of expertise, be sure to advertise that in your fliers or emails.
Finding Your Niche
You have sole discretion about who you will tutor, so you can establish your niche in the tutoring market. For example, if you only want to work with students entering middle school, you can limit your clientele to them. The transition summers between elementary and middle school, as well as middle school and high school are especially popular for students who need a bit more instruction. Reading and math are the two main areas where students tend to need extra assistance. If you feel comfortable with one of those areas, and you have graduate work or a degree in one of them, you may find that your niche establishes itself. The more open you are about accepting a wide range of clients, the more business you will have.
You may not feel comfortable inviting students and parents into your home, and you may not feel comfortable going to theirs. If you do, that is fine, but if you do not, there are other location options. A local library is ideal. Be sure to bypass the children’s section during the summer months, however, as there are usually children’s programs going on and it is not ideal for quiet instruction. A quiet study room or a table in the adult section of the library works much better. Depending on the student and his attention span, a picnic table at a local park might also work. Discuss the location with parents before agreeing to tutor their child, as it can play a huge factor in how effective the tutoring is.
The pay scale for tutors varies from state to state and even from area to area. A tutor in a rural area may not be paid as much as a tutor in a more affluent, suburban area, for example. Ask other tutors what they charge and establish a competitive rate from that information.
If private tutoring is not appealing to you, but you would still like to tutor, apply at tutoring centers in your area. There are many large, national tutoring chains that only hire teachers. The best advice? Do not wait until May or June to start looking for a tutoring job or tutoring clients, as there are many teachers in the same financial situation as you are.
* Always check state and local laws about having a tutoring business before you begin advertising. It is also a good idea to speak with your accountant or financial adviser to determine what type of business you should set-up for tax purposes.