January 5, 2021 / by ntweedle

What to look for in a private tutor

what to look for in a private tutor

What to look for in a private tutor


Due to COVID-19 the demand for online tuition has never been so high. But it really is a minefield knowing where to begin one’s search. Online tutors now range from tutors with very little experience, if any, who are charging a few £’s/hr, to those of us highly regarded with over 9,000 tutoring hours, working full-time, where some are charging up to £250/hr. In this article I share some tips on what to look for in a private tutor.


Key attributes in tutor:


1.Teaching experience

Many individuals have experienced very few hours teaching. Some tutors nowadays are A-level students themselves or individuals who have jumped on the bandwagon to make a quick buck during lockdown. Nothing can replace those hours of teaching both in and out of the classroom learning the necessary skills to relay complex biology techniques to students. I personally have over 20 years experience of teaching with the last 9 years solely tutoring A-level Biology full time.


2.Experience of teaching/examining your A-level Biology specification

Always ask a tutor what experience they have regarding your specific examination board-is it AQA, OCR, Edexcel, Salters-Nuffield, WJEC etc. Syllabi vary greatly in Biology and the exams themselves have very different approaches in their style of questions and the answers the examiners are wanting. Nothing beats a tutor with years of experience teaching/examining and knows your specifications mark schemes inside out. I would never take on an A-level Biology student studying a syllabus I wasn’t familiar with, regardless of how well I understand Biology concepts, because I am a perfectionist and want to be an expert at everything I deliver. 


3.Enthusiasm, passion and approachability

For a tutor to convey complex theory to students a real passion and enthusiasm for their subject is required. Has the tutor got the capacity to bring the subject alive, relate it to everyday life and simplify for students to begin their journey of understanding? An approachable tutor is vital. A student must feel comfortable with their tutor. They must feel they can stop and ask for clarification along the way. I believe I ooze enthusiasm and drive for Biology which rubs off onto my tutees within a few hours of tutoring. I believe I am an approachable individual who builds up a lovely rapport with all tutees and I certainly feel as if I live their academic journey in A-level Biology with them. August results day is as nerve wracking for me as it is for them!!!


4.Consistent top grades achieved by students and a wealth of superb testimonials

Results and testimonials speak for themselves. Always ask to view these or speak to past tutees before committing. My website contains a vast array of testimonials from recent tutees. Reading them really makes me proud of what I’ve achieved and the service I deliver to A-level Biologists. 


There is a lot to be said for finding an independent, private tutor rather than allowing an agency to take a cut of around 25% but it does take time and effort. Believe me there are many of us out there, it’s just a case of finding us and it is definitely worth pursuing. 


18/12/2020 Nicky Tweedle


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