Let’s face it, the jobs that most teens get are usually the bottom-of-the-barrel that no one else wants to do…
Teenagers are normally found in boring service jobs like at fast-food joints or behind concession stands. Menial labor like shoveling snow and cutting lawns, or just cleaning up messes. None of this is glamorous or pretty, nor does it pay well.
But thanks to online connections, things are changing. In the past, employers thought of teens as unskilled and inexperienced. But that isn’t necessarily true at all. Teenagers can actually be the sharpest, most up-to-date people around and often learn about new technologies months or years ahead of everyone else.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to take advantage of the skills and experience you do have and how to become a teenage tutor.
What Does A Tutor Do?
First off, if you’re here because you’re researching a history paper on 16th-century England, you’ve spelled it wrong. That’s “Tudor”!
Right, now that that’s out of the way, we can talk about what a tutor does. And I’m sure you already have a very good idea, but let’s get this concept defined. Basically, a tutor does two main things. Namely helping students with their homework and assignments. Or helping them to wrap their heads around important yet tricky concepts.
So basically, as a tutor, your job isn’t to teach students something new – that’s what the teacher is for.
Help them understand…
Your job is to help them understand and use what they have been taught in practical applications. For many people, a tutor is a great help in re-explaining ideas and re-framing them in a way that makes more sense than what their teachers taught.
Other students have trouble finding the self-discipline to get their work done without a bit of coaching. In any case, a tutor has to know what the student has been learning at school and be prepared to help them understand it better. Simple!
How To Get Paid To Tutor?
Whether you’re a teen tutor, or tutoring teens, or both. Tutoring can be a dependable source of income. There are two main ways to get involved in working as a teenage tutor.
1 Join An Online Tutoring Service
The first way is to sign up for a tutoring service website. There are a ton of websites out there offering tutoring jobs of all types. Most follow two different formats at once.
Customers can take out a monthly subscription for hours of tutoring services which they can then book as learning sessions. The other format involves immediate tutoring call-ups, and clients usually pay by the minute for service on demand.
Regardless of your age, but…
There are many online tutoring websites out there now, and some will hire you regardless of your age. However, you will need to prove that you know your subject area. Either by showing a qualification or by passing one of their in-house tests.
Some examples include TeachMe2, SuperSaas, TutorMe, Skooli, and Chegg, to name a few.
These websites have their own booking systems and proprietary video conferencing technology. They often have teaching materials to supplement your lessons, too. They handle appointments, subscriptions, and payments, and of course, take a fee for their services as well.
2 Go Freelance
Freelance tutoring has its disadvantages, but it also has a lot of advantages, especially for teenage tutors. Let’s look at the disadvantages first.
It’s tough to find clients and to build your reputation when you’re a freelancer. Sure, you may be able to pick up a bit of business through students at your school, but this might not be enough to keep you busy (and paid!).
You also have to do all your own scheduling, which you’ll find soon enough is a tedious and frustrating task. And of course, all the money matters will be left up to you. You’ll have to set your own pricing and make sure that clients pay what they should when they should.
This can all be a lot of extra work…
You’ll also have to use Zoom of Google Hangouts or another public video-conferencing service. These present their challenges as they may restrict your usage for free accounts, and anytime they’re unreliable, it can make you look unprofessional.
On the other hand, you get all the money. Rather than paying a stiff premium to an online service, everything that you take in goes into your pocket (minus taxes, of course, but that’s a whole other topic). So you may have to do a lot more work, but you also get more money for it.
As a freelancer, you can also set your policies and design your business the way you want to. You can make your hours and be your boss.
Tricky as a teenager…
And probably the biggest argument for working as a freelancer is that, as a teenager, it’s hard to get hired. Online services can be picky, looking for tutors who hold degrees and professional experience in their subject areas. But as your own employer, you can hire yourself based on your skills and not your age.
Online Tutoring Websites
Like most online services, the first thing you need to do is to register and set up an account with them. You need to create your tutor profile which is basically an online resume.
Once you have an account, you most likely have to focus on your skill areas. In other words, what can you teach? You will need to not only indicate the areas you’re comfortable tutoring in but also prove that you can do it. It is necessary to show certificates or other proof of your skills. Or take tests to show your abilities directly.
There is no interview – these sites are busy and have more automated review processes.
First lesson is usually a demo…
Once you’re approved for your areas of expertise, the next step is probably working for free. These websites generally attract clients by offering a first or second lesson for free. They also assess your abilities by making you teach a few free lessons before hiring you. So they quite sneakily combine the two. You’ll review your students, and they’ll review you.
If you pass the student review stage, you’ll be a full tutor on that site, but the job is only beginning. Building up clientele is important, and review systems are the way to do it, meaning you have to keep your students happy and impressed.
Pre-booked or on-call…
As for tutoring hours, you’ll usually work 30-minute or 1-hour sessions at pre-booked times, often with repeat students. But you can also simply be on call. If a student needs help with homework or an assignment NOW, the system will see who is online and what sort of tutoring the client needs, then match up an appropriate tutor.
This can be both exciting and challenging as you may find yourself getting connected to multiple students in a short time, each with a different area they’re struggling in.
Thinking of Becoming A Full-Time Teacher?
So, you’ve tried tutoring and found it’s something you thoroughly enjoy? Well, that’s great news!
Let’s begin with your different teaching positions and what they entail with my Childcare Teacher Job Description, Teacher Assistant Job Description, Pre K Teacher Job Description, and even my Special Education Teacher Interview Questions to help you decide where your niche lies.
Well, if you’re going in the Childcare direction, then check out the Developing and Administering a Child Care and Education Program, The CDA Prep Guide: The Complete Review Manual for the Child Development Associate Credential, All About Child Care and Early Education: A Comprehensive Resource for Child Care Professionals and the Palliative Care for Infants, Children, and Adolescents: A Practical Handbook available online in 2023.
Or how about Preschool…
Next, let’s go a little older with preschool teaching. For that, we found a superb selection such as Unpacking the Pyramid Model: A Practical Guide for Preschool Teachers, the Training Teachers: A Harvest of Theory and Practice, Skills for Preschool Teachers, Making Preschool Inclusion Work: Strategies for Supporting Children, Teachers, and Programs, and of course the PRAXIS 5691 Special Education Preschool/Early.
Lastly, for great insights into teaching with a difference in modern schools today, we recommend reading Hacking School Discipline: 9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice, or how about Motivating Students Who Don’t Care: Proven Strategies to Engage All Learners, Second Edition (Proven Strategies to Motivate Struggling Students and Spark an Enthusiasm for, and my favorite the 101 Answers for New Teachers and Their Mentors: Effective Teaching Tips for Daily Classroom Use also available online today.
In general, to be a great tutor, you need to be able to re-explain concepts and provide countless examples or sample problems to help your students work through. You need to be patient and encouraging.
You also need to know your stuff and can’t get stuck on problems – know your subject area in and out to inspire the students’ confidence and ensure that what you’re telling them is absolutely right.
But it can pay off. Being a teenage tutor can pay anywhere from $8-$20 per hour. The better you do, the more repeat clients you can build up. Some people will keep coming back to you for years.
So now that you know how to become a tutor, what’s stopping you from getting started.
All the very best with your Tutoring!