Full-Time Tutor, Part 2
Since my first part of describing full-time tutoring was written when I had been a full-time tutor for about a month, I have decided it is time to do an update. Many things have not changed, but I figured a condensed list of things to know that may come up as a full-time tutor would be helpful to some of you reading this.
1. First and foremost, to be a full-time tutor, one must have a passion for tutoring. There is no substitute for passion (and patience), and it is needed not only to tutor better but also to survive the career.
2. Know that tutoring is unlike any other career that I know of. No two weeks will ever be the same. I'm not just talking about different sections of math books either (although that does change of course). In my experience, my schedule is only a rough estimate of the week ahead. Students will cancel, new students will come in, someone will want additional time to help for a test, etc.
3. Learn to love to drive. It is possible to get students to come to you, but more likely than not, you will be going to them or to another location (such as the college library or a cafe). Reliable transportation and ability to deal with directions is a must... unless you get a GPS for your car (which is a good idea anyways for changes while driving).
4. Be prepared to do paperwork. If you are reading this, I assume you are familiar with the write-ups that WyzAnt wants, but also be sure to keep track of each student's payments as there will be someone who needs to remember what was paid when. Also, it helps to keep track of expenses for tax season (and don't forget the quarterly payments either).
5. Do not be afraid of phone calls nor emails. This is not generally a good business choice for someone who is shy about calls or waits too long to reply to emails. A lot of students (and parents) expect quick responses. Some of mine expect instantaneous responses sometimes...
6. Be prepared for a tough climb at the start. I highly advise tutoring part-time before changing to full-time. It allows you to test yourself to see how well you do and starts to build up your business. The first month or so can be difficult to not only adjust to tutoring full-time but also to develop a strong enough client base to support yourself financially.
7. Learn how to say "no." The truth of the matter is that there are only 24 hours in a day. Once you start to develop your career, it is likely you will have students contact you who you cannot accommodate. I strongly advise figuring out a backup plan for these situations. For example, with a lot of students who approach me from my private business who I cannot help, I suggest trying to find someone on WyzAnt.
8. Figure out a time when you will NOT be tutoring. This will often be Fridays, the least selected day by students. Weekends are generally in high demand, especially Saturday, so expect to work then. It can take some time to get accustomed to working until night and having mornings open, but that will likely be the case when one's schedule starts to fill up.
9. Remember your families as well. One of my biggest daily challenges is to balance my students' needs with my needs and my family's needs. Ask your family to be patient as you find how to balance all the aspects of your life since becoming a full-time tutor will likely screw up your schedules and plans. Take the time to find the balance.
There is a lot more I can say, but I don't want to scare you away from reading a huge blog. After some more time, I will probably return with an update and expand more ideas, such as how to deal with summer as a full-time tutor (something I will be learning about myself in a few months...)
As always, I do respond to any comments you leave, so please let me know your thoughts and opinions. :)