When a parent reaches out to me, they usually have one question on their mind: do I travel to students’ homes? I can’t tell you how many tutoring jobs I’ve lost because I don’t! It’s always sad for both me and the potential family when I say I can’t.
It usually leaves them quite confused when I say no. I mean, I’d get so many more jobs if I just turned up at their house, right? So why am I so set in my ways? Why is this a hill I’m determined to die on? Can’t I just make an exception for them?
Well, I’ve tried the whole travelling to students’ houses thing. I’ve been there and done that. Frankly, it just doesn’t work for me. There are many reasons why. It’s not great for me, my students or my tutoring style. So, I don’t do it anymore.
But I understand if you’re confused! You’re not the only one out there! So, let me explain to you what my reasons are. Of course, these reasons are unique to me! There are plenty of reasons why it might be a good idea to get a tutor to your house. However, I recommend you have a read. You might find yourself agreeing with me more than you thought you would!
Table of contents
- Travelling to Students’ Homes is Less Safe For Me
- Tutoring From My Home Helps Me to Set Boundaries With Students
- I’d Have to Up My Prices For Tutoring
- Online Tutoring is Flexible and Affordable
- I Am Preparing My Teaching Hub
- Tutoring At the Teaching Hub Means I Can Offer Exam Practice
- Bookings and Cancellations Would Have to Be Well in Advance
- Students Get More Distracted At Their Homes
- Working In My Own Space Helps With Behaviour Management
- Students Can’t Benefit From the Resources I Have at Home
Travelling to Students’ Homes is Less Safe For Me
Safety is something we’re all concerned about. As a young, short woman, I have to take extra precautions to make sure I stay safe. The world just isn’t the most secure place, and I want to be around for a long time to keep helping people!
With that in mind, going to students’ homes to tutor just isn’t a good idea. It’s fine once I get to know my student and their parents! However, when I’m new to tutoring you, how can I be sure it’s safe at your house? People can book a tutoring session right from this very website. So, it wouldn’t be too hard for someone with bad intentions to get me to come right to them.
I don’t want to make it sound like every person out there is a potential wrongdoer. It’s just better to be safe than sorry! Also, I don’t want to start picking out people I consider to be “safer” than others. That gets messy quickly.
I know lots of parents have the same concerns with sending their children to a tutor’s home. I understand that. That’s why I’m always happy to show you a copy of my DBS certificate, teaching license and valid ID before you leave your child in my care. In fact, the teaching license will be hanging up on the wall of my new teaching space very soon!
Not only that, but I live with a former childminder who also has a DBS certificate and is trained in first aid.
I can’t ask you for proof that you’re safe to travel to. After all, most people don’t have an up-to-date DBS on hand! However, you’re more than welcome to check my credentials, ask to see ID and leave reviews on my website or TrustPilot.
Tutoring From My Home Helps Me to Set Boundaries With Students
Back in the day, I used to go out to students’ homes from time to time. It surprised me how much their behaviour changed when I was in their space! I found that students felt more confident in sassing me. They didn’t work as hard or listen as well. It just didn’t work so well for me.
Looking back, it makes sense. I was in their space. I had to ask them where the bathroom was. They knew where to get another pen or a piece of paper when we needed it. If their parents were out and they insisted that they didn’t have any paper, I had to take their word for it. What else could I do?
I set down some rules for the tutoring session, but at the end of the day, their parents’ rules took precedence in this space. It was their parents’ house, after all. So if they said they were allowed to turn the TV on because they were usually allowed to when doing their homework, it was very hard to argue with that.
When I’m at my house, though, I owned the space. I would guide them to the teaching space and set out some rules much easier. Since this was my home, they had to follow my rules.
It’s a small, psychological way to set boundaries and generate respect from students. Teachers all over the country have said a very similar thing about going to a class’s bubble when we’d just come out of lockdown. Since the classroom had become their space and they were welcoming their teachers in, the authority that comes with owning a space went out the window.
Working from my own space means I can spend less time enforcing boundaries and more time tutoring.
I’d Have to Up My Prices For Tutoring
If I travel to students’ homes, I’ll have to up my prices. This is for a few main reasons:
- I’d be spending house going from house to house, so I can’t do as many tutoring sessions in one day.
- The time spent travelling would be time spent losing money on petrol, Uber or public transport.
- More time travelling also means less time spent on booking sessions, writing blog posts and making resources.
This would force me to reevaluate how much I charge. Like all of us, I have bills and student loans to pay. I need to make sure I’m compensated fairly for my time and skill. So, my prices would go up to make up for the time and cost it would take to travel to you.
Looking at my prices, you might argue that I’m not exactly the cheapest tutor out there as it is right now. However, I’m actually on the cheaper side of tutoring when you look at my qualifications and experience. I have a master’s degree, a TEFL qualification, a PGCE and over 7 years of tutoring to back it up.
I also have cheaper options out there! You can order a package of 10 tutoring sessions for an almost £50 discount. Plus, I also offer group sessions, which work out much cheaper:
- Pair tutoring for £20 per student.
- Groups of 3-4 students for £15 per student.
- Groups of 5-10 students for £10 per student.
- Online lectures and classes of 10+ students for £5 per student.
I can’t offer these great affordable services if I’m travelling to students! It doesn’t work out to be a good value for money for either of us.
Online Tutoring is Flexible and Affordable
For students who would like to get tutoring from the comfort of their homes, online tutoring is a great, flexible option.
I love online tutoring for loads of different reasons:
- Whiteboard and screen share functions mean that I can always provide students with useful resources.
- I can keep my tutoring prices cheaper because I don’t have to factor in travel costs.
- With big groups, I can use breakout room functions to get students to discuss important English topics.
- There is no limit to how big a tutoring session can be. So, for the webinars and lectures, I can keep prices low and offer my services to as many students as possible.
- Location isn’t a barrier. You can join a class no matter where you are in the world.
- Access to the recording of the tutoring session once it’s finished.
In the end, online tutoring works out to be one of the most convenient and affordable options out there if you don’t want to travel to a good tutor. You can do almost everything you can do when you’re in front of your tutor!
Of course, it does mean that you need to be able to discipline yourself. You need to find a space where you don’t get distracted and make sure your attention stays on the tutor. You won’t have them in front of you to make sure you’re staying focused. So, if you struggle with that kind of things, make sure there’s a parent nearby to keep an eye on you.
You don’t need to have a tutor come to you when they can be right there on your phone!
I Am Preparing My Teaching Hub
Tutoring at a dining table or small desk is great and all, but it’s not the same as sitting in a dedicated learning space. As a tutor, there’s so much more I can do in a learning space compared to when I tutor at students’ homes. It makes sense because the location lends itself well to teaching.
The environment is calm. There are fewer distractions. We are surrounded by resources that can help you to learn. If your pen runs out or you need more paper, I can have you covered.
That’s why I’m in the process of setting up the Teaching Hub with my mum, who runs the Nita McEvoy School of Advanced Beauty and Aesthetics. It is going to give us both an amazing place to teach people. We’ll have a whiteboard up on the wall to work with and plenty of resources to help you get the most out of tutoring.
For me, this is a much better solution than going to students’ homes to tutor. It allows me to have complete control over the environment so that I can give the students what they need. Plus, the Teaching Hub has been built in a very quiet place with its own toilet and water source. It’s got everything you need to thrive.
The Teaching Hub is located in a great place with some awesome transport links. It’s a 4-minute walk away from Edmonton County School, and a 20-minute walk from The Latymer School (my old school). The 192 bus stops just a minute away.
So why not come by? It’s a great place to work or get your homework done.
Tutoring At the Teaching Hub Means I Can Offer Exam Practice
On top of the advantages I already mentioned, the Teaching Hub is a great place to get some extra mock exams done.
It’s big enough for me to turn into an exam hall for up to 6 students. So I can invigilate some exam practice for a range of different subjects:
- GCSE English (language and literature)
- A-level English (language and literature)
- GCSE maths
- GCSE science
- GCSE French
- GCSE drama
- A-level drama
- GCSE history
- A-level history
- GCSE geography
Plus, others are available if you ask me about it!
I offer the full package of exams, invigilated in exam condition. Then, I (or one of my teacher friends) will mark them for you! That way, you get a good idea of how you’re doing and how you can improve.
The good thing about this service is it allows students to get used to exam conditions before they have to sit the real thing. That way, they know exactly what they need to do and how it will feel to sit the exam on the big day – in a low-stakes way.
This is a really important service that I offer because it helps with timing, filling out your exam paper properly and ensuring you don’t break any rules that could get you disqualified. I wouldn’t be able to offer this if I were tutoring from students’ homes!
Bookings and Cancellations Would Have to Be Well in Advance
Back when I was tutoring at students’ homes, a lot of time went into planning the perfect route to make sure I could get to as many students as possible. I had to make sure I booked in all the students from the same area on the same day. That way, I could get around to each and every one of them in time.
Plus, I needed to map out the best order to visit students. It wouldn’t make sense for me to go to someone’s house in Ponder’s End, then Palmer’s Green, just to go back to Edmonton Green afterwards. That meant that I couldn’t be very flexible with times. You’d have to take it or leave it.
This has a huge sway over when I can accept new bookings and how far in advance you have to cancel.
Think of it this way. If you’re a new client who wants to join me, I need to work out when it is possible for me to get to your house on time. That might require me to get back to other parents to see if they can swap their slots. I can’t just put you in at a time that is convenient for us both. Even if I’m free, I could be on the other side of North London at that point in the day!
It also means I have to have an even stricter cancellation policy than I do now. Right now, I ask for 24 hours in advance to get a full refund cancellation. That gives me enough time to find another student! If I also had to rearrange my whole route, 24 hours just isn’t going to cut it.
Working from my home or online solves these problems.
Students Get More Distracted At Their Homes
Back in the lockdown times, people would often discuss the mental health disadvantages of working from home in your own room. The big one was that it was hard to separate between your home life and your work life. You’d sleep where you work and work where you sleep. Talk about blurred lines!
So, it was hard for some people to switch off after a long day of work. They were focusing on their work all the time! For other people, they struggled to take work seriously because they were sitting where they would usually relax. The fun or nice things in their room would distract them way too much.
What you really need is a separation between the workspace and the living space. For some people, that’s as simple as having a home office or a desk as far away from their bed as possible. You might even find a way to change up the look of your room before you start work!
No matter what your solution was, everyone needs a way to switch from their work brain to their relaxing brain. That’s why it’s so useful to get up, get dressed and change your environment.
Of course, that’s easier said than done for most people. We don’t all have a spare room that we can convert into an office, or the space to change up our bedrooms. When that happens, our mental health can really suffer.
The same is true with students getting tutoring in their homes. I would often teach on dining tables, and kids wouldn’t know how to switch from home mode to school mode. Teaching outside the home helps with that.
Working In My Own Space Helps With Behaviour Management
It’s not just the student’s work drive that goes down when they work from their own home. It’s also the sense of respect that they give their tutor or teacher.
As I’ve before, my day job is as an A-level English teacher in a sixth-form college. Given the fact that I’m 5ft1 and look like I could still be in sixth form myself, I have to take great care to make sure I have the respect that I need to manage my classroom. Otherwise, it can be really hard to get a bunch of jaded 17 years olds to do what they need to.
So, I rely on three main things to get students to respect me:
- Showing the students that I know what I’m talking about and that they could learn a hell of a lot from me.
- Being positive and showing that I am always on their side, but also that I will hold them accountable for messing up.
- Owning my space.
My classroom is my room. When you come in, you follow my rules. That means I have a seating plan and a contract that I expect them to follow. If they aren’t capable of following my rules, then they can leave until they feel ready.
The same needs to apply for my tutoring. When I work at students’ home, that’s their space. I can’t lay down the law! So, I don’t get the respect I need.
Students Can’t Benefit From the Resources I Have at Home
Here at my house, I have so many resources aimed at helping students. I have great books, mini whiteboards, a photocopier, and so much more! All of these things help me to offer the best tutoring sessions I can. That’s because they allow me to be flexible and adapt in the middle of a tutoring session.
Of course, I plan my tutoring sessions in advance. I do a needs assessment with every new tutoring student and constantly check their progress to see what we need to work on. However, sometimes, something really important comes up in a lesson. When that happens, I need to stop what I’m doing and focus on the important thing. The lesson I planned can wait.
For example, I might have planned a lesson on analysing texts. Then, I notice that you’re struggling with the differences between a simile and a metaphor. Struggling with that is going to stop you from being able to do the lesson I planned properly. So, it’s much better for me to stop and change my session to teach you about similes and metaphors instead.
When I’m at home with all my resources, I can pivot much easier. I can grab a book or worksheet that I know will help you to reach the new goal.
The best tutors are the ones who can change their plans when a more important thing comes up. I can still do this well when working from students’ homes. However, the resources I have at my place make it much easier.
Plus, could you imagine me trying to lug around books and mini whiteboards to every session? Yikes!
Working from my own home allows me to give you a better experience for so many reasons. That makes it worth it for you, too!