With computer technology becoming a bigger and bigger part of our everyday lives, it’s hardly surprising that more and more jobs that make use of the computer as a productivity tool and everyone should at least learn some basic computer skills like using Microsoft Office or improving their typing.
A lot of people want to learn more about computers and improve their digital literacy but don't want to take group computer classes.
Are you an IT technician, programmer, student, or instructor? Would you like to give IT or computing classes?
Whether it’s to earn a little extra money each month or as your main job, deciding to teach computer basics or advanced computer training can leave you asking yourself a lot of fundamental questions about teaching.
To help you in this endeavour, here are some of the things you should keep in mind when starting out on private IT tutor jobs and teaching computer courses.
How Can You Find Students for Computer Science Classes?
If you want to teach computer tutorials, the first thing you need to do is start searching for students. You’ll need to let people know that you’re a private tutor and start networking.
There’s a lot of demand for tutors since IT tools are everywhere nowadays and children in the UK learn to use computer hardware as part of the national curriculum. Make sure your computer skills are up to the challenge.
You’ll quickly find your first students. From students to seniors and amateurs to professionals, there are plenty of people who want to learn how to use computers and, since computers are constantly evolving, there’s constantly demand.
To find your first students, there are a few options for you:
Word of mouth: this is an easy solution that’s often very effective. Speak to your friends, family, and work colleagues. They can give your details to people in their network and tell them that you’re giving private IT tutorials. Later on, your own students will recommend you to their friends and family. It’s important to make sure that they’re happy with their tutorials and that you offer quality tutorials.
Advertise in local businesses: this is another way to make people aware that you’re offering tutorials, place adverts in local businesses and on noticeboards. What are the advantages? You’ll find students who live near you or are easy to travel to. You should make clear and readable adverts with important information such as what you do and how you can be contacted.
Sites dedicated to private tutorials like Superprof: in just a few clicks, you can create your profile and let the internet know that you’re ready to teach. You'll benefit from increased visibility and you can reach a large audience of potential students. You can also choose your rates and the content of your tutorials. On Superprof, for example, there’s no fees for contacting students.
Specialist organisations for private tutorials: you don’t have to look for your students. These organisations will ask for you when they need a tutor to give private IT tutorials. On the other hand, they often take commission on your private tutorials.
Make your own website: Is making websites also what you teach? You could create a site dedicated to your work as a private tutor on WordPress. Either a web page or a blog could help you attract potential customers.
As you can see, there are plenty of different ways to find new students.
Don’t forget that you can choose more than one method at the same time to increase your chances of finding students.
What Price Should You Charge for IT Lessons?
The second thing you need to do when starting as a private IT tutor is work out your rates.
This is an important criterion when students choose a tutor. However, it’s certainly not the only one. When they start looking for a tutor, they’ll compare several different tutors before they end up making their choice. When there are several identical offerings, they’ll often use the price to determine which one they’ll choose.
Before you decide upon your rates, you should look at your competition to see what the going rates for private IT tutorials are for those with your experience and in your area. A good price doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s low. You want to look credible to your future students.
So what are the criteria that you should consider when setting the rates for your private IT tutorials?
The type of tutorials: beginners classes, browsing the internet, studying for exams, programming languages, app development, cyber security, or office IT skills like creating an Excel spreadsheet or making Microsoft Powerpoint presentations, etc. The type of classes you’re offering will determine your rates as they don’t all require the same amount of experience or preparation.
The competition: as we said before, you need to be competitive. You should look at the other tutors your customers will look at when choosing you and make sure that your rates are competitive.
Place: maybe you’re going to give an introduction to computers over the internet or help those new to desktop computers a face-to-face tutorial. It's important to make sure that your rates are reflective of the cost of living and comparable to the rates of other tutors in the area.
The students: you can’t ask for the same rates from a senior citizen learning how to use a computer as you would for someone learning complex programming languages.
Your CV: your rates will vary depending on your qualifications and your experience in the field. The more qualified and experienced you are, the more you can ask for. You wouldn't pay the same for self-taught tutor teaching you how to use your computer as you would an IT technician with all the relevant qualifications and years of experience.
Before you fix the rates for your tutorials, have a look around and do a bit of research on sites like Superprof. You’ll quickly see what the average rates are and you’ll be able to find a fair rate for your tutorials.
You should also keep in mind your expenses when providing private tutorials (materials, travel, etc.). Remember that in order to make sure your tutorials last, your rates need to be profitable as well as affordable for your customers.
Do You Need Qualifications to Teach IT Courses?
You don’t need a formal qualification to give private IT tutorials. At least not legally speaking. However, not having a certification will make it harder to prove to potential customers that you have the skills you say you do when you first introduce yourself.
Of course, tutorials on computer basics require fewer qualifications than advanced computer training and you probably won't even need a degree in IT to teach certain basic skills and computer literacy to beginners. Professional experience can help, though. You need to reassure your future students that you’re capable of teaching a personal computer class effectively.
Don’t forget that your professional experience can affect how much you can charge for tutorials, too. It’s therefore important that if you want to teach private IT tutorials as your main job, you should probably have official proof that you can do just that:
This doesn’t mean that you need to do a degree. There are other qualifications available.
You should consider teaching qualifications, too. It’s pretty pointless having plenty of experience in IT but not the skills to transfer all this knowledge. A good tutor needs to be a good educator. There are private tutorials available in teacher training if you need to improve your teaching skills.
If you don’t have a qualification, there’s nothing stopping you getting a job as a tutor. There are training centres and academic support organisations that hire a wide range of different employees. You’ll have to prove yourself, but if you have the experience, it’s definitely a route you should consider going down. You could even open your own training centre. Of course, before you do anything, you should make sure you do your research.
How to Prepare your IT Classes?
Before you give your first private tutorials, you’ll need to prepare them. Not only do you need to have a good understanding of your student’s level, their expectations, and their needs, but you also need to make sure that they have the equipment required.
It’s important that your students get the most out of every hour they spend with you.
Here is what you need to think about when preparing your IT tutorials:
The IT materials: a computer as well as specific programmes related to the tutorials you’re teaching (spreadsheets, word processing, database management, etc.) You should offer to help your students install the programmes they’ll need.
The content of the tutorials: organise your tutorials so that they focus on a given point and consolidate it before moving on to other topics.
The resources needed: make sure you prepare resources that will help your student remember what you’re teaching them so that you won’t have to go back over it during their next lesson.
Practical exercises: in IT, it’s very easy to learn by doing. This is the best way to learn, in fact. Prepare exercises that will have your student putting what they learn into practice.
When you prepare your private tutorials, you should also look for teaching resources that you can download. You can integrate these into your tutorials so that your student gets the most out of their lessons. Preparing lessons takes a lot of time in comparison to group lessons but that’s why students pick private tutorials, because they’re tailored to them.
If you want to give private tutorials online over Skype, for example, you should also invest in a quality dedicated webcam and microphone. The webcam built into your laptop probably won't cut it.
Online tutorials over webcam are a useful solution for those who can’t travel very far or who’d like to reach students across a wider area.
By following this advice, you’ll quickly become a trusted and quality private tutor: you just need to choose the types of courses you want to provide and find your first students. You should consider offering free computer instruction for the first hour so that you and the learner can get to know each other.
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