Private tutoring is on the rise. This is largely because private tutors fill a niche that can’t be filled in today’s schools alone. Private tutors can work on specific obstacles to learning, they can teach vital study skills and they can tailor lessons to suite the child’s pace. With London having more than 40% of pupils using a private tutor at some point in time, more and more parents and educators are realising that tutoring gets to the heart of learning, personalising the meaning and instruction of the subject at hand.

So if you have a high level expertise in any particular field, becoming a private tutor may have been something you’ve considered. But being a successful tutor means more than just having a degree or two. Let’s take a look:


Whilst you want to develop a good personal relationship with your students and their parents, remember that above all you’re a professional. How else can you start to build the much needed rapport to support your students learning without the basic precepts of presentation, punctuality and honesty.

Knowledge, Confidence & Passion

As obvious as it sounds, the first steps to become a great tutor is having that expertise in the subject you want to teach.You’ll need to know the subject’s concepts, ideas and problems inside out. Whether this takes place in the form of a degree or a native foreign language doesn’t matter, so long as it’s demonstrable. You’ll also need to be confident about your subject as the student will see you as their guide and role model through the lessons. And you’ll need to have a passion for your subject. You need to have a love for what you teach, how you teach it, and those you teach it to. You want your students to feel that their success is important to you, and that what you’re teaching them is important.

Observance, Understanding & Communication

You’re not just there to read from a text book and mark questions.The student may have weaknesses in certain topics, they may feel insecure about answering you directly, sometimes they may have just had a bad day. It’s important to be sensitive to your students needs and to pick up on any cues they may verbally or non verbally communicate. Speak to them, encourage them, get to know how they learn best and play to those strengths. The same goes for the parents and teachers; keep an open dialogue with them. This helps let the parents know what you’re doing, and it can provide you with additional sources of information about how your student learns.

Organised, Adaptable & Patient 

What are the students goals? What is the time frame you have? What other resources do they have access to. Private tuition is typically used to supplement the students current learning, so get to know more about how and what they’re learning outside of your lessons and plan accordingly. The benefits of lesson plans cannot be overstated, and in general it’s even worth considering the long term structure of your tutoring sessions. That being said… ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry’. A student may request help to prepare for a surprise test, or need to cancel a week due a school trip. A private tutor survives on their patience and adaptability. Luckily, with your high level of expertise, an open communication with the parents and a stockpile of prepared lesson plans, you should rarely be caught off guard.