You may have heard about private tutoring before, but how exactly do you define it? This guide is meant to provide a brief introduction into the world of private tutoring. Once we get a clear definition of private tutoring, we'll dive deeper into the private tutoring market, particularly in Canada.

The private tutoring market in Canada has grown significantly in recent years, as more and more students are faced with the challenges of a highly competitive university and career market. More and more students are marginalised by the national education system, which fails to account for differences in learning styles amongst different students. Private tutoring can be the solution to many of these problems.

There are so many different options available when considering private tutoring lessons, depending on your budget, availability, as well as the nature of the subject you wish to study.

One of the greatest advantages of private tutoring is that you can opt to have your lessons from the comfort of your own home. The location you choose to hold your lessons should be a mutual agreement between you and your tutor, to find a location that is convenient, accessible and safe to use.

Carry out lessons wherever suits you
There are so many different locations to hold your tutoring lessons. Source: Visualhunt

Alternatively, if you are interested in online lessons, then all you'll need is a desk set up with a computer and other necessary equipment such as a good quality webcam and microphone. It's always important to test your material ahead of time to make sure you are good to go before the lesson and make full use of your time.

You may also wish to hold your lessons somewhere else altogether. Private lessons outside of the home or the  classroom are usually conducted in a public space with good lighting and a quiet space to work but also to talk and discuss with your tutor. You may even feel more comfortable holding your lessons outside of the classroom.

Here are a couple of ideas for safe and comfortable locations to hold your private lessons with your tutor:

  • Public parks (weather permitted of course)
  • Cafés or co-working spaces
  • Libraries
  • Community centres
  • Private offices
  • University premises and schools

Depending on the subject that you're learning, you could also think outside the box for other interesting locations. For example, if you're studying history, you could visit a museum with your tutor and learn about historical monuments in an exciting and fun new environment.

For both students and tutors, it's important that you'll be able to attend your lessons, so choose a location that is convenient for both parties and will avoid any difficulties in the future. Note that some tutors may incorporate transportation fees into their hourly tutoring rates if they are coming to meet you at your home or in another location. It's important to discuss this with your tutor before making any commitments. This is another factor which should be taken into account when considering the money you can afford to put into it your tutor sessions.

Make sure that you know the route and form of transportation you'll be taking to get to your lessons, be it via bus, car or train. Always plan out your routes and check the schedule to ensure that you'll be on time for classes and make the most out of your time together.

Attending lessons at your private tutor's home

You may decide to hold your lessons at your tutor's home. This can be a convenient option as it allows you to work in a more relaxed environment and discuss things out loud without worrying about interrupting the people around you.

It's important to specify with your tutor during your first meeting or initial telephone conversation, whether they prefer to hold lessons in their home or in a different location, and whether or not they are willing to travel. This is also often specified in tutor's individual teaching ads.

Set up your work space at home!
Choose to hold your lessons at home, at your tutor's home or at another location. Source: Visualhunt

Before deciding to hold your lessons at a tutor's home, there are number of factors to consider to avoid any health and safety risks. Here are a couple of pointers:

  • Does the tutor have private insurance?
  • Has the tutor conducted heath and safety checks in the past 3 months?
  • Has the tutor carried out any risk assessments?
  • Does the tutor have a criminal record check?

Always be vigilant when attending someone's home for private lessons. The home should be clean, tidy and have adequate lighting. There should be no hazards that could result in injury of you or your tutor. For example, there should be no loose wires, open construction sites or water on the floor.

Although it is not mandatory to work as a private tutor in Canada, it's a good idea for tutors to opt for a private insurance to protect them against any damages that may incur while working with students in their home. This is something that you may wish to bring up with your tutor prior to your first lesson.

A Criminal Record Check can be carried out by your local police station, and consists of a background check for a criminal record. It can provide an added reassurance to potential clients, particularly when working with young students and children or other vulnerable people. Note that some tutoring agencies in Canada do require their tutors to get a background check.

A simple background check from your local police station can provide students and parents a peace of mind required to start tutoring lessons.

Private lessons in your own home 

For many students, holding lessons in the comfort of their home is their preferred option when it comes to private tutoring. This is often the best option for parents who are working under a busy schedule and who may not have the time to drive their students to and from lessons.

Holding lessons at their student's home is also generally preferred by most tutors, as it means that they won't have to worry about preparing their house for their students. Additionally tutors can incorporate the extra transportation fees into their hourly teaching rate.

This also means that tutors won't have to be concerned about conducting the necessary health and safety checks required if the student comes to their home. On the other hand, the same applies when the tutor is coming to your home. It's up to you to ensure that the work space is safe and clean for the tutoring sessions to begin.

It could still be a good idea to consider taking out a personal insurance if you'll be holding private tutoring lessons at your own home. This is true for working with anyone that you don't know very well, as accidents may always happen.

The best place to hold lessons in your home is in your office or study room or on the dining table, as long as it's a quiet and peaceful place to work and free from distractions.

Your very first priority when hiring a tutor should always be your child's safety when employing a tutor for home tuition or online tutoring.

Online Tutoring Sessions 

With the rapid growth of the internet and new digital media platforms, one of the most recent trends in the private tutoring market is the growth of online tutoring. With online tutoring, both the student and the tutor are able to work from the comfort of their own home. All you'll need is a good internet connection, your laptop and a webcam and microphone!

Online platforms such as Superprof are a great resource for connecting both students and tutors online and in your local area. As a student, it's up to you to select a tutor that best meets your needs and you can opt to meet them in person for face-to-face lessons or online via webcam. On Superprof, you'll be connected to our platform of tutors and students from all over the world.

All you need to do is enter the subject you are looking for lessons in and your location and you'll be shown a list of tutoring profiles. You'll be able to study each profile according to the rate they choose, their teaching methodology, experience and resumé and also find out whether they offer classes online or in person. It's very simple and easy to use!

The Superprof platform is free to use for tutors who wish to advertise their teaching services to students all over the world. This means that a guitar teacher in Mexico could be giving lessons online to a student in Japan. What a great way to share your love of learning with passionate students around the globe.

Set up your office wherever you like!
Online tutoring means you can work anywhere, any time! Source: Visualhunt

Private tutoring has become an increasingly popular option around the world, because of the flexibility it allows in terms of employment. A majority of tutors are also students or are in part-time employment, and tutoring allows them to earn extra income while sharing their passion and knowledge for their subject.

For more information about private tutoring, don't hesitate to check out our Tutoring FAQs post.

Whatever location and form of lesson you decide to take, always ensure that it's safe and fits with your personal lifestyle and learning needs. Remember that private tutoring can help you to guarantee long term success.

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Yvette is a freelance Canadian writer living in Paris. She spends her time between Toronto and Paris and likes to travel and learn. She's the proud mom of two strong minded women and enjoys her free time giving back to her communities.