“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” - Dalai Lama XIV

Adults are just like children and teenagers, sometimes they need to be trained to get better at a given subject or discipline or just become better at what they do.

In recent years, the private tutoring market in the UK has continued to grow. An increasing number of adults are employing private tutors to teach them new skills, discover new hobbies, or improve their job prospects. In fact, adult education and professional training are some of the most common reasons for adults to hire a private tutor.

As you’ll see, there are a number of different ways in which you can become a private tutor who teaches adult students. One of the best ways to get into private tutoring is to go freelance.

In our second article on tutoring adults, we're looking at the reasons to do it, the role experience plays in teaching adults, how you can find students, and the pros and cons of teaching adults as a freelance private tutor.

Why Teach Adults as a Freelance Private Tutor

Teaching adults as a freelance private tutor is a rich and rewarding vocation. While enthusiasm for teaching, a knowledge of teaching approaches, and professional experience are all important, you need to understand what really draws people into adult learning.

What are the benefits of studying as an adult?
Adults are often more focused than children, allowing their tutor to teach them more. (Source: Pexels)

Since freelancing doesn’t provide as much job security, you have to be motivated and have a good knowledge of teaching resources.

In fact, motivation plays a key role in the success of private tutors. Wanting to share knowledge and skills is what really counts when you decide to do this job. This type of teaching, after all, is all about effectively providing adult learners with knowledge, new professional skills, and the passion to learn more!

You’ll also need to be confident, both in and out of the classroom and make sure that you provide instruction in a good learning environment. Confident tutors teach classes in their own styleand it takes a certain type of person to work for themselves and strive to deliver the best classes they possibly can.

So how can you become a private tutor for adults?

Like all freelancers, you need to create and find your own work, which means you don’t have to belong to another organisation.

However, to ensure your business lasts, you need to be a credible tutor with a good knowledge of your subject and how to teach it. You can’t make it up as you go along. Your lessons need to be instructional and provide a learning experience that makes adults happy they're continuing their learning.

You need to encourage adults as they work on tasks and make sure you take the different learning styles into account. The ways you plan your lessons are going to be different for adults who are continuing education since you're providing guidance to students who've developed problem-solving skills, understand why they're being taught, and have a lot of life experience that they can use in the learning process.

Additionally, the instructor needs to create their own curriculum in some cases. If an adult student isn't studying for a particular exam, the learning activities can be more informal, drawing on the student's life experiences. Designing these kinds of activities and applying them to the student's own life is also incredibly rewarding and transformative for both the tutor and the student and can be done for both the arts and sciences.

Teaching Adults: Experience

We can’t stress this enough, you need to be motivated in order to become a freelance private tutor. Teaching adults is no exception.

However, it also requires a lot of experience as it’s likely that you’ll be teaching professionals about a subject that they’re already well-versed in.

Which teaching approaches should you use with adults?
You shouldn't lecture adults. In fact, you should make your lessons fun and engaging. (Source: Pexels)

This is a job that requires a lot of experience. Once you have the experience, there’s nothing stopping you from teaching adults freelance.

Learning with a private tutor for adults is a great way for them to improve, get training in skills they’re interested in, or learn new professional skills. Getting training for a new project is an interesting endeavour and you could be the tutor in charge of it.

In short, being a freelance private tutor for adults is to be a trained teacher with the experience to get the most out of enthusiastic students wanting to learn new skills. However, you need to keep in mind that being a freelancer isn’t all fun and games and certainly isn’t a lifelong holiday! While you’re freer in some ways, you’re more constrained in others.

Being a Freelance Private Tutor for Adults

While becoming a freelance private tutor for adults is a great way to start teaching others, there are advantages to doing so and disadvantages too, so you need to know exactly what you’re in for before you take the plunge. As we said, it’s not all fun and games!

What are the most effective teaching strategies to use with adults?
When you teach adults, you need to adapt your approaches to what works for them. (Source: eldewsio)

The Advantages

Being a freelancer comes with a lot of freedom and allows a tutor to manage their own timetable as they please and rest on their financial laurels if they so wish. If you want to take a holiday or do something else, you can. This is probably why freelancing is becoming so popular in many different lines of work.

Similarly, while there are plenty of professional qualifications, you don’t actually need any particular qualification in order to teach adults. In fact, you can create your own profession and prove its validity with the quality of your work. Those posing as tutors and offering inferior classes are quickly found out and unmasked.

Furthermore, you can set up your schedule as you see fit and choose what kind of work you want to do. If you want to teach part-time, you can. If you want to adapt your teaching to recently-graduated students, you can do that too! Managing your timetable is at the heart of being a freelancer.

Find more about jobs in education.

The Disadvantages

Every job has its advantages and disadvantages and tutoring is no exception. In fact, while the advantages make freelance tutoring look like a dream job, there are certainly some drawbacks that need to be carefully considered.

What are the disadvantages of teaching adults?
The goal of a tutor is to provide their students with the tools to teach themselves. (Source: stux)

Financially speaking, you won’t have as much job security or a regular salary, something which can be a great source of stress for freelancers. Of course, while you can manage your time as you see fit, you’re not always guaranteed to have work to freely schedule.

As a freelancer, you’re completely independent, you don’t work for a particular company or individual and, as a result, do not have any obligations to anyone other than yourself. Of course, this is also true in reverse which means you’re not always guaranteed customers or students.

Furthermore, if you’re teaching adults, you really need to know what you’re talking about because it’s very likely that you’ll be teaching people at a high level who already know quite a lot about the subject you cover. In fact, adults seem to know more than teenagers and are just as likely to talk back to you if you get something wrong so make sure you’re you’re on top of things!

While teaching adults as a freelance private tutor can be liberating, there are also a lot of constraints. Nevertheless, teaching adults is a rewarding profession with each day bringing its own challenges and rewards.

So, as you can see, private tutoring isn’t just for children. In fact, as a freelancer, you get to choose what you teach, who you teach, where you teach, and where you teach!

If you want to teach an adult learner, you'll need to consider researching adult learning theory, employing self-directed learning strategies, and how vocational learning can help adults in the workplace.

As an educator, it's your job to be au fait with the different learning theories and strategies and the principles of adult learning in order to help older students looking to learn something new.

It might be worthwhile researching Malcolm Knowles and the theory of andragogy and its six assumptions: Need to know, Foundation, Self-concept, Readiness, Orientation, and Motivation.

If you're ready to go, you just need to create your profile on Superprof and start offering tutorials to potential students. You can either teach individual private tutorials, online tutorials via webcam, or group tutorials to multiple students at once.

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