Guest post from Mark Hughes, co-founder of Tutora...
This week’s guest post comes from Mark Hughes, co-founder of new Yorkshire-based tutoring company Tutora.
Private tutoring is one of the oldest professions there is, but thanks to an ever-changing curriculum, new technologies, and a constant quest for better results, keeping up-to-date has never been harder. That's why we've compiled a handy list of ways to stay at the cutting edge of your industry.
1. Read the Curriculum
For any tutor, making sure you are teaching the right materials is vital. However, for those who don’t teach regularly in a school, finding out how curriculum changes affect you can be tough.
‘Keeping up to date with private tutoring has never been harder’
In the past year alone, there have been major changes to A-Levels and GCSEs, with further changes scheduled for 2016. The government does a reasonable job of recording major changes on their National Curriculum portal, but websites such as SchoolZone present these changes in a more easily digestible format.
2. Get Involved in Social Media
'Social media can be a great way to keep up with tutoring trends'
People use social media for a reason: it's a great way to stay informed about what people are talking about. You can follow Education thought leaders such as Mike Herrity on Twitter. If you have an existing tuition business, setting up a Facebook page lets you hear from your own clients and respond to their questions and feedback.
3. Follow Industry Blogs
The blogosphere contains a wealth of information on every topic imaginable, and tuition is no different. Following blogs such as TheTutorWebsite are of course a must, but smaller, less well known bloggers can often be a goldmine for useful information on more niche topics. If you need help getting started, try this helpful list of Education blogs from Vuelio.
4. Try out New Technologies
'The tutoring industry moves quickly and technology plays an important role'
The best way to stay current with new technologies is to try them out first hand. The two technologies making waves today are online tutoring and interactive resources.
Online tutoring can be a great way to teach students who may live too far away for you to travel to in person. And you can get started with little more than a Skype account. Similarly, there are dozens of free resources online that can complement one-to-one tuition. The Khan Academy allows tutors to set homework for their pupils and track their progress over time. Similarly, TES has an exhaustive list of resources for teachers and tutors, covering everything from creative exercises to practice exams.
5. Attend Events
For those who like to travel, going to tuition industry conferences and events can be a great way to hear from those at the cutting edge of the tutoring industry and they also gives you an opportunity to mingle with like-minded professionals. The National Tutoring Conference is the UK's premier tutoring event, with discusses topics such as "The Rise of Tuition Centres" and "The Internationalisation of the tutoring market".
6. Use Google Alerts
'Receive tutoring updates straight to your inbox as they happen.'
Scouring through dozens of blogs and online newspapers can be time consuming, especially if you're only interested in one or two topics. Instead, try out Google Alerts. This is a handy little tool that tells you every time certain keywords are mentioned in news articles or forums on the web. So if you're interested in "GCSE Maths Results", set up an alert for that term and Google will keep you informed of all the relevant articles that mention those terms.
7. Participate in Forums and Discussion Boards
What better way to keep up with what's going on than to hear it from parents directly. The forums on sites such as mumsnet and netmums regularly host discussions from parents. You can browse through as a guest, or if you have something to contribute, then you can get involved directly by becoming a member (usually for free).
How do you keep up with the latest trends in private tutoring? Do you know of any good websites or resources that our tutors should know about? Which of the methods above do you find most useful in keeping up to date with the industry? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
About the Author
Mark Hughes founded Tutora in 2015 with his longtime friend Scott. Tutora is a tutoring agency based in Yorkshire that enables parents and students to find and book tutors directly. All of Tutora’s tutors have profiles on their site and you can exchange messages with them directly before booking lessons.