I don’t know about you, but…

I don’t know about you, but when I was first tutoring, I often felt unsure if I was doing the right thing with my pupils. I had a very high level of built-in chronic self-doubt. Much of this came, certainly for me anyway, from being an ex-teacher. 

A woman worried she is doing the right thing. I don't know about you but...

As a class teacher turned private tutor, I was used to being constantly evaluated and criticised by school leaders for my actions, which led to a feeling of never being good enough. 

Being a class teacher turned private tutor, we are so used to and are pretty much brainwashed and institutionalised into having to justify every single thing we do and be criticised and pulled up by SLT for a multitude of real or imaginary minor/major misdemeanours. 

Why have you done that!

That feeling that we can never be good enough, however hard we try, and try so hard to please and jump through all the hoops that it impacts our well-being. 

…They haven’t made ‘enough’ progress… You’ve not stuck to (another) new initiative (which doesn’t match your pupils’ needs anyway)…Not filling in another load of paperwork correctly. Blamed for lack of pupil engagement…

Not ticking the boxes, all fails

You name it; you have probably been criticised for doing, or not doing, pretty much everything under the sun. Some might have been just about justified, and other things so far out of your control that you shouldn’t be being emotionally forced into ‘taking the blame’. Some things are just plainly not true! 

Yes, we should take responsibility for our actions, but reaching a stage where we feel responsible for everyone and everything isn’t healthy. It may be contributing to poor mental well-being and this feeling of chronic self-doubt. 

It is good not to be easily satisfied with each lesson you teach and have the need to evaluate and reflect on what else you could do to improve. But, when you reach the point that you are on edge all the time about your performance and ability as a teacher, this is not good, and something needs to change! 

There are some great schools with fantastic leadership who genuinely support their staff and have effective communication and feedback systems. But sadly, it is the exception rather than the rule. There are some toxic working environments out there. You may well have found yourself in one, and indeed that may have even contributed to you feeling the need to leave the classroom and start tutoring instead. 

One of the first issues many teachers find when they transition out of the classroom and into tuition, especially if they are working for themselves rather than tuition agencies, is this in-built fear that leaves us constantly on edge and looking over our shoulders, anticipating that we are about to be told off. It is a way of living that is hard and slow to shake off. 

feeling alone and not supported

Over a decade ago, I was the only tutor I knew when I first ventured into tuition. I had zero support system around me. I was cast adrift from everything I knew. Totally isolated. I started to get my first pupils. I worked so damn hard. I spent excessive time planning in minute detail for every lesson and then writing up extremely detailed reports after each lesson. It felt like I was in a perpetual ‘OFSTED lesson inspection’. Someone would be checking to make sure I was doing this tuition properly. I had a big case of Imposter Syndrome that I was going through the motions but would be found out at some point…

Due to being completely alone as a tutor, I lived my life like that for several years. It was absolutely exhausting, and I felt under so much pressure all the time. I still felt like I wasn’t much good at what I did. Not as overwhelming as when in school, but still not at a healthy level.  

Stop, no!

I don’t operate in that way anymore and haven’t done for a long time. 

It took me a while to realise that I didn’t need to put so much pressure on myself. I gradually learned to trust my abilities again and not constantly doubt my decisions. This helped me be more confident in my teaching methods and not feel so uncertain about my tutoring ability. 

Another important thing I learned was the importance of setting boundaries. Being a private tutor means you are working for yourself and have control over your schedule and how you work. It’s essential to establish clear boundaries and not overwork yourself.

Tutoring can be a very rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. It’s important to be aware of the challenges that come with it and to be prepared for them. It’s also important to be kind to yourself and not put too much pressure on yourself. 

With time, patience, and self-awareness, you will find your way to be a great tutor and overcome any doubts and insecurities.

Do you know what has made the most significant difference to my critical inner monologue?
👉COMMUNITY. A supportive online tuition community. 👈

Joining a supportive online tutoring community has provided me with an outlet to validate my methods and ease my worries. The virtual staffrooms, consisting of experienced and kind tutors, have been a constant source of support and guidance. Additionally, access to quality professional development and training in both subject knowledge and business has been invaluable. 

In 2023, new tutors will have access to an abundance of resources and organisations to support them in their journey, both formal and informal. 

Some notable examples include The Qualified Tutor community https://qualifiedtutor.org/, Tutors Learning Network https://www.facebook.com/groups/911562942712660, and The Tutors Association https://thetutorsassociation.org.uk/, each offering unique perspectives and assistance. Furthermore, there are now numerous Facebook groups specifically for ex-teachers or those looking to transition out of the classroom or start a tutoring business. 

The amount of help and support available has never been better!

So, what can I do to help support you?

If you’re looking for ways to support yourself as a new tutor and navigate a smoother transition, I offer a range of New Tutor Coaching Packages.

4 month coaching package

These packages provide guidance and support to improve your skills as an independent online maths tutor and take control of your tutoring business. 

My goal is to empower you to achieve success!

One of the key components of my coaching packages is the supply of workbooks I have developed to help you refine your ideas and approach to your tutoring business. These workbooks provide clarity and guide you in making the right decisions and implementing the right strategies for your business. 

Additionally, we will have live 1-2-1 coaching sessions where we can discuss any issues you may have, and you will receive a follow-up report afterwards.

All coaching packages come with a lifetime membership to the Jackpot Maths – Teacher and Tutor Training LinkedIn group, where you can become part of the Jackpot Maths community and continue to ask questions from not just me but the rest of the educators in our community.

To learn more about my coaching packages and take the first step towards realising your tutoring aspirations, please visit www.jackpotmaths.com/coaching

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