- How Do I Get Started as a Math Tutor?
- What is the History of Math Teaching?
- Which Math Tutor Qualifications Will I Need?
- What is it Like Being an Online Math Tutor Canada?
- What is the Best Way to Find Math Students to Tutor?
- How Much to Charge for Math Tutoring?
- What About Becoming a Math Teacher?
- Why Should I Take Math Tutor Jobs?
Math is part of our everyday lives, and humans have learned how to use math in sophisticated ways since ancient times. Math trains our minds to think logically, and to problem solve using one or a combination of calculations and strategies.
Indeed, there are a number of jobs that require math, showing how significant it is to our modern society: accounting, statistics, medicine, carpentry, education, and business are just a handful of areas where math skills are key. Because jobs that involve math and math degree jobs are among those that offer the best pay, parents are eager to ensure that their child’s math skills are strong.
Despite the importance of math skills, the subject remains one of the most challenging and elusive for many Canadian students. Why is this? Math teaching has changed a lot from past to present, making it hard for parents to help kids with their homework.
Modern math pedagogy often focuses on enabling students to ‘discover’ solutions and mathematical concepts, with less emphasis on drills and straightforward algorithms. Math teaching strategies will also vary from one teacher to another, leaving many students confused year after year. As a result, they enter the older grades without a strong foundation.
With so many Canadians struggling in math or wanting competitive math skills so they can gain entry into programs like accounting and medicine, there are tons of opportunities for those who are strong in math to make income tutoring.
This article focuses on everything you need to know about becoming a math tutor or teacher in Canada. We will explore everything from identifying your qualifications to recruiting clients and figuring how much to charge for your services. We will even delve into a bit of math history!
Want to know what math teachers earn in Canada? Learn the math salaries for teachers in every province.
How Do I Get Started as a Math Tutor?
Before committing to the work of a math tutor or teacher, you should take some questions into consideration.
- Do you enjoy teaching in front of a large group and managing a whole class, or do you like the idea of one-to-one instruction? Would you do both?
- Do you prefer working with young children or teens and adults? Which groups would suit your level of mastery?
- What is your comfort zone in math? Could you guide an undergraduate learning trigonometry?
- Are you looking for an additional stream of income, or do you want a full time job in education?
By asking yourself these initial questions, you can start to determine what kinds of math instruction you will offer and what kind of goals you will set for yourself as an educator. While schools in Canada generally require an undergraduate degree in a teachable subject plus a degree in Education, tutoring is largely unregulated.
A rule of thumb to keep in mind is that you should be one to two years more advanced than your pupils. So if you are in college or university or already in the workforce, you can start tutoring kids right away. The main qualities you will need are an ability to teach math and a desire to help others. You will also want to be patient, especially if you work with small kids or students with math anxiety, and a calm and gentle vibe that will make students feel comfortable around you.
Thinking of getting into math tutoring and not sure what to charge your clients? Learn our tips for determining your math tutoring rates.
Empathy is also an important trait in a math teacher: you will want to be able to see things from the perspective of your students so you can understand why they are experiencing the math issues they are having. Of course, enthusiasm and a sense of humour will go a long way when tutoring. When your students have fun, they will come back for more help.
Finally, you will want to be hardworking with an impulse for preparation. Great math lessons do not happen spontaneously - learning should be scaffolded and intentional, based on what was learned in the previous lesson. Know your students and document the knowledge they bring and acquire while you work for them. Take time before each tutoring lesson to gather the resources and materials you will need to have a great session.
Now that we’ve established a basic overview of math tutoring, we can start going a bit deeper into teaching math. Let’s take a quick look at the history of math teaching so we can get a sense of where we are today.
What is the History of Math Teaching?
Teaching math has changed over the last centuries. However, in both ancient times and the present, math tutors have been there to help.
During the time of Ancient Greece, elementary education started at home. Kids matriculated at schools around the age of 12 to learn Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. Arithmetic and Geometry were regarded as ways to sharpen your mental strengths. Plato and his followers advocated that math only be taught for a decade, as a way to train the brain’s logical thinking patterns.
Math teaching was often accepted and developed for people who worked as merchants or in business. Math teachers focused on drilling equations and rote learning, and a student’s understanding of the underlying concepts was not seen as a priority.
As the Roman Catholic Church gained power, they controlled and determined math instruction. Math regained prominence in many Western societies during the 5th century, when the Pope found mathematics work authored by Boethius and made it an essential part of schools, which were mainly for boys.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that math and science gained a strong foothold in academia. Education leaders advocated for basic arithmetic to be taught to children when they started school, and to study the dimensions of physical objects. Math was also seen as important as it was crucial to the study of navigation as so much trade happened overseas.
At the University of London, Augustus De Morgan revolutionized math teaching by holding the belief that students must grasp underlying math concepts first. He would survey his students to see what they didn’t understand, and address it in the next lesson. In Canada, this style of math teaching has certainly been carried on into modern schools, where kids are encouraged to understand the ‘why’ of math as much as the ‘how’.
To be a successful math tutor, you must have some basic knowledge of how to teach math. Now we can take a look at the qualifications and background math tutors need.
What are the qualifications you need to be a math tutor? Find out what if you have what it takes.
Which Math Tutor Qualifications Will I Need?
Teaching math in a publicly funded school in Canada will require, at a minimum, an undergraduate degree and a Bachelor of Education. To be a math tutor, you don’t need to have a university education completed (though it wouldn’t hurt) - it simply requires a strong work ethic, customer service skills, and proficiency in mathematics, some knowledge in how to teach math, and a desire to learn instructional strategies.
You can prepare to be a good tutor by finding new and creative ways to approach topics your students are having a hard time with. How can you make the learning comprehensible and fun? If you have someone you can practice with, like a sibling or cousin who is learning math, you will be better equipped to undertake tutoring new clients.
Take the time to check your students’ understanding of new concepts after every session. You can try finding an online test, or provide them with a mini pen and paper assessment. This will enable you to see whether your work has been successful. Younger kids will prefer a game or something more engaging like flash cards.
These are some math topics you will want to be confident and highly proficient in if you become a math tutor. If you are planning to tutor kids in high school or older, you will likely need a more complex set of math skills.
|Beginner Math||Intermediate Math||Advanced Math|
|Multiplication||Order of Operations||Calculus|
|Division||Volume||Using a Scientific Calculator|
|Shapes||Area and Perimeter||Sine, Cosine, and Tangent|
|Patterns||Algebra||Complex applied math for Finance, Engineering and Accounting|
|Problem Solving||Square Roots|
Remember that there are so many ways to solve any given math problem and to show math occurring in real life, from cooking to measuring a room. Use all of your options, and if you aren’t sure, check the internet! It is full of amazing videos that show problems being solved in different ways. Khan Academy is a great resource with written and video explanations.
Let your students’ needs determine the trajectory of your lessons, and focus primarily on pain points they have. Don’t waste time on things they already know well - they will return as your clients if they remember how productive their time with you was. Results are only possible when you are responsive, competent, and know when a change of approach is necessary. Prove your abilities with each client and build a portfolio of positive reviews and teaching strategies. As you tutor longer, you’ll develop methods and styles that will become your signature technique.
While you won’t need to register at a college of teachers to tutor in Canada, one thing families of young kids might ask for is a criminal record check, which you can get at your local police station.
How much do you know about the history of Math instruction? Learn the history of Math teaching.
What is it Like Being an Online Math Tutor Canada?
Online math tutor jobs are one of the best math jobs for generating an additional source of or revenue. Tutoring math, as we have mentioned, has become increasingly popular among Canadian families as math scores have declined. The pandemic made everyone accustomed to online communication, making now one of the best times to be tutoring math online.
Online tutoring is far from easy, and can be much more challenging than teaching math in person as you will have to deal with the obstacles of using a screen. When you master this platform, however, you will have a great skill for life that can continue to be a source of revenue.
Figure out how to use the platforms your students already use: Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom are the most popular in Canada. Figure out how you can add on a virtual whiteboard, and have interactive activities on a separate screen so you can always see your students no matter what. Seek out the best virtual tools you can send your students, or screen share from your end. Virtual quizzes are great, and remember that low-tech options like a mirror camera can be just as effective as anything high tech.
While working online can mean that you can literally work with anyone anywhere in the world, you will need to know the local curriculum and requirements for math teaching imposed by the country. In Canada, the main difference is that math curricula will vary slightly from province to province.
Online math teaching is a popular job for people with math degrees. Learn why it is one of the best math jobs.
Online, you can also build your own courses using learning management systems like Brightspace or Google Class. You might have to invest in an account, but imagine the power of creating personalized courses for every student.
Working virtually will also require you to communicate differently through a screen or camera. Be personable and engaging, take your expression up a notch, and use physical gestures as much as you can. You may need to talk slowly when explaining new concepts, and support your lessons with lots of visuals to keep students focused. Maintain a strong relationship with the family, as they will ultimately be the one managing the child’s behaviour at home.
Another great advantage is you can record your session so students can watch it again later, and pause and play.
What is the Best Way to Find Math Students to Tutor?
Promoting your tutoring services doesn’t take much: thanks to social media, we can easily find our audience at any given time. There is, however, a lot of competition out there, so you will need to make your own services stand out.
Of course, we recommend Superprof as a great virtual platform to promote your services. You can easily build a profile, post a picture of yourself, and share your rates with prospective clients. You’ll be able to see what other tutors are charging in your area, and the kinds of experiences they bring as well. Highlight your capabilities and any relevant teaching experience and learning you have had. Your clients can rate your services and post feedback on your profile. Share a link of your profile on parent community groups on sites like Facebook, and you’ll hopefully see some interest trickle in.
You don’t have to be solely dedicated to the internet. In fact, ‘old-school’ methods like flyers and word of mouth are incredibly effective. Do you have a community centre in your area with a notice board? A cafe with a cork board that other locals use? Gas stations, grocery stores, and libraries are great places to post a flyer.
Neighbours are one of the best places to get your first clients. Ask around, especially families you know and that you might have babysat for in the past. Offer a free first math tutor or free online math tutor session so they can test out the waters. Your community will likely be excited to support you on your newest venture.
If you want to teach older students in high school or university, use social media platforms that they use and make an account to promote your services. Post flyers on campus, or on light poles near the school where they walk, get lunch, or congregate.
Find out how to get more math tutoring clients.
How Much to Charge for Math Tutoring?
Now that you know what traits and skills you need to be a good math tutor, and how to get new clients, you might be wondering - how much should I charge? Your rates will be determined by a number of factors, listed below.
- Level of math expertise
- Teaching experience
- What type of services you offer (tutoring, test prep, exam prep)
- The grade level or post-secondary level you teach
- Cost of living in your country or province
- In-person or virtual service
- Demand for tutors in your area
In cities like Toronto and Vancouver, there are larger markets and generally people will have higher incomes. If you are a good tutor with lots of credentials and high reviews, you can charge $30-$50 an hour.
Smaller communities where your audience is primarily younger students will probably be able to handle paying between $15-$20 an hour, but you might want to see what other tutors with a similar background are charging. Whatever you charge, you will want to add a lot of value to keep your clients coming back, so always go the extra mile. You might charge less and raise your rates as you become more experienced.
Check the minimum wage in your province - it’s a good rule of thumb for having a baseline amount to charge. If you charge too much, you will know as you will probably not get a lot of interest in your services; that being said, if you have a great reputation and your students get the results they want, you can probably charge a high fee.
If you are not convinced you have enough experience to feel confident about setting a high rate, consider offering your services as a free online math tutor or a free math tutor to build your skill level. That time that you invest can be counted as volunteer hours for high school if you are a teen. You can also get that experience volunteering at a local school or Big Brothers or Sisters. While you won’t make any money, you could get some great reviews and start developing techniques for math instruction.
Another way to determine your rate as a math tutor is to check the Superprof.ca site. This site has listings for tutors all over Canada, and quite likely in your region or city. Superprof tutors share their rates, qualifications, and profile pictures in one convenient location so you don't have to scour a classified ads site or a general Google search. You may even want to take some time to post your own profile and rates on Superprof, as it's the best platform for clients to find their next private instructor or tutor. Users love its colourful and easy-to-navigate interface, and the vast range of services you can find.
What About Becoming a Math Teacher?
Are you getting into tutoring because you see yourself as an educator in the future? Tutoring can be a great stepping stone to getting into teaching, or function as a great side gig for earning extra cash.
Math teachers in Canada are well compensated compared to other countries and often receive a fantastic package of health benefits and vacation. While many Math and Science jobs offer more money, you’ll likely never get the same amount of time off in a year as a teacher. Teachers get a long summer break, a spring break, and a 2 week winter break. You can use that time to make more money, spend time with your kids, or simply relax.
In most provinces, teachers start at a lower salary and move up a grid until they have had 10 years of full time experience in a public school board. In provinces like Ontario, the top end will leave you at about $98,000, and in remote areas you can make well over that amount. While you will work hard in the classroom with large groups, you will end work earlier than most people and have some freedom with your time.
Private schools operate differently, but can be a great place to get teaching experience as public school positions are highly desirable. It’s not uncommon to spend years substitute teaching before getting a permanent contract.
How do you become a math tutor in Canada? Learn what kind of background you need to have to be a math tutor.
Why Should I Take Math Tutor Jobs?
Teaching is a calling and most educators are not in it for a high salary. You receive a stable income, a rewarding job where you help your community every day, and opportunities to build meaningful relationships with your peers and students.
The art of math teaching has evolved over a millennia and as a math tutor today you are following the footsteps that started in ancient times. Tutors today can truly work anywhere and everywhere thanks to so many technological innovation in communication and education.
Why delay if math teaching is your goal? Get your new career in education started today.
The platform that connects tutors and students