Are you teaching in a school and contemplating a shift from the traditional classroom setting to the world of tutoring? Whether it’s a desire for a change of pace or more personalised learning, transitioning to full-time tutoring can be a fulfilling journey. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of tutoring, compare online and face-to-face approaches, discuss how to find students, and provide valuable tips for a successful switch.

Pros and cons of tutoring

Why should you become a private tutor?

Tutoring 1-2-1 allows you to provide targeted support for each student. Instead of the one-size-fits-all approach to classroom teaching, you can tailor the content of sessions to the student in front of you. You will witness faster student progress and experience that feel-good teaching moment more frequently, which is highly rewarding. You’ll also build a stronger rapport with your students than is possible in a large group setting and won’t have to deal with the challenges of classroom management.

Being a full-time tutor means being your own boss. You can enjoy the freedom of setting your own schedule and bid farewell to navigating school politics.

Furthermore, your expertise is valued in the tutoring world, allowing you to command a higher hourly rate. Depending on your current pay scale, you can earn more being a private tutor than teaching in a school while working fewer hours.

Online tuition session.

What are the disadvantages of being a private tutor?

Unfortunately, there are negatives to tutoring which shouldn’t be overlooked. If you intend to tutor a high number of hours each week you need to be prepared for a shift to anti-social working hours as the most demand for tutoring is after school and on weekends.

Another important thing to note is that your income won’t be consistent all year round, it will vary with the fluctuations in student demand throughout the year. During busy times like exam season, you may need to work more hours to compensate for quieter periods, such as the summer months. It’s therefore essential to be good at money management; you’ll need to save money during the busy periods for use during the quieter ones.

If you stop working at a school, you will no longer be paid through PAYE and will be classed as self-employed. You will have to handle additional administrative tasks like filling out annual tax returns. You will also need to organise a private pension for yourself. It’s essential to keep in mind that by leaving your job, you will no longer be entitled to the benefits of being employed, such as paid holidays, sick pay, and paid maternity/paternity leave.

Classroom teacher to full-time tutor: Testimonial

My experience of teaching in a secondary school was overwhelmingly positive, but there were aspects of my job which were less enjoyable and rewarding; I am sure any teacher reading would not struggle to list a fair few of these themselves.

Making a move to full-time tutoring is daunting, and is not without its own unique set of challenges. It is not a decision I took lightly or rushed – an income which can wildly fluctuate with the seasons, and no pension is not everyone’s cup of tea. Since becoming a full-time tutor some years ago, there has been a fundamental change in the structure of my working day, with busy evenings and weekends (and school holiday periods), and no staffroom camaraderie or daily contact with departmental colleagues; self-discipline and organisation are essential without the coordination of an educational institution. As full-time tutors we may also find ourselves under significant pressure due to the expectations of both tutee and parents, who have invested both time and money in order for the student to achieve the grades they require for further education or employment.

Nevertheless, in my current position as a full-time tutor, I get to work with wonderful, engaged students from all around the world, and I’m able to comfortably tailor my teaching according to each individual student’s needs during lessons. Through more personalised teaching, I have found that content can be taught to a greater depth, while errors and misconceptions that students hold are more efficiently unearthed and resolved than they are in a busy classroom. This immediacy is one of the many facets of tutoring which is motivating and rewarding to both student and tutor, and which, in turn, affirms the choice I made years ago to leave teaching in a school behind me.

I am also able to choose the hours I work, a portion of which is regularly dedicated to my own professional development: reading up on pedagogy, keeping on top of various syllabus changes and exam board guidance, and ensuring subject knowledge is as thorough as possible. The onus is on us as tutors to provide the best possible teaching for each student and the best possible service to their parents, who have entrusted us with this responsibility.

If one does decide to go down the full-time tutoring route, I would advise regular communication with parents, and honesty about the importance of independent study and the reality of predicted grades and exams. Communication is key.

Pete M.

Online vs face-to-face tutoring

Face-to-face tutoring used to be the norm, but since Covid, there has been a rapid increase in demand for online tuition. Parents and students prefer online tuition for various reasons, including being able to pick from a wider pool of high-quality tutors, competitive hourly rates, and scheduling flexibility. Many tutors also prefer online tuition; they don’t have to travel, saving commuting costs, and can tutor more sessions each day.

Tuition session with male tutor and female student.

What are the benefits of being an online tutor?

Online tuition offers numerous benefits, such as the ability to reach a broader student base. This is particularly advantageous if you live in a more remote or rural location.

Many believe that the technology available for online learning makes it more engaging and interactive. Tutors can easily utilise a wide range of teaching resources with online tools, including multimedia presentations and collaborative whiteboards.

However there are some drawbacks to online tuition. Building a rapport with a student can be more challenging through a screen. You will also need to invest in equipment like a computer, tablet, and headphones/microphone, and work out an online set-up.

What are the benefits of being a face-to-face tutor?

In contrast to online tutoring, face-to-face tutoring offers the advantage of building a quicker rapport through in-person interaction. Additionally, it is easier to converse with your students’ parents. You can share specific feedback about their child’s progress, highlighting areas of improvement and celebrating achievements. You can also offer suggestions on how parents can support their child’s learning. This direct communication allows for an improved understanding of the student’s needs and creates a supportive partnership between you, the student, and their parents.

Yet, face-to-face tutoring comes with its own challenges, mainly transport costs and the time spent travelling between students. Moreover, depending on where you live, your hourly rate could be limited by the local market.

How much should you charge for private tuition?

When you are just starting out as a tutor, it can be challenging to determine how much to charge on an hourly basis. In fact, many teachers tend to initially undervalue themselves. On our tuition platform, qualified teachers charge £40 per hour upwards. If you have years of classroom teaching experience, additional skills such as experience working with students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) or experience as an examiner, you can charge far more than this.

A good way to determine your tutoring rate is by researching what other teachers with similar qualifications and experience are charging. Then, set an hourly rate you’re comfortable with and see how it goes. If you receive a lot of inquiries and students, then it means your rate is competitive or slightly low. However, if you don’t receive many inquiries or students, it may indicate that your rate is too high and you should consider lowering it.

Online tutor talking and wearing headphones and a microphone.

How to find students

Finding students is the biggest hurdle for tutors, especially when starting out. However, over time, as you establish your reputation and client base, this will become easier.

There are various ways to ‘get yourself out there’ and increase your visibility. When first starting out, it is advisable to experiment with different techniques to determine what works best for you. By strategically combining the following approaches, you can establish a robust foundation for attracting students and steadily grow your tutoring business.

Join a tuition platform

Consider joining a tuition platform to get immediate access to a large pool of potential students. These platforms generally offer online tools so you don’t have to worry about organising your own online setup. For example, our tuition platform provides an online whiteboard, LessonSpace, for virtual lessons and specially designed classrooms to help you stay organised and share resources with ease.

What are the benefits of joining an online tuition platform?

If you offer online tuition, being on a platform can be highly beneficial as you can set your hourly rate based on your experience rather than local market trends.

Another major advantage of using a platform is that it takes care of scheduling, booking and payments. This makes it easier to keep on top of scheduling and means you won’t have to chase parents for payment or risk a parent not paying. Our tutors are guaranteed payment and benefit from a reliable 48-hour cancellation policy.

However, it’s essential to understand the drawbacks of joining a tuition platform, such as competing with a wide range of tutors. Crafting an impressive profile will help you stand out amongst the competition. Additionally, you must be mindful of tuition platform fees, as some charge exorbitant commissions. Before you choose a platform, do thorough research to ensure you know what your take-home pay will be. Our platform boasts one of the lowest commission rates, at only 18%.

View of laptop during online tutoring session.

Advertise Locally

Use local platforms like Nextdoor and Facebook groups to promote your tutoring services, especially if you offer face-to-face sessions. These platforms can be effective channels for reaching potential students in your community.


Mention to friends and family that you’re starting to tutor. They may want you to tutor their child or have friends looking for tutors – the school gates are where many tutor recommendations take place!

If you’re thinking of offering private tuition alongside teaching, ensure you check your school’s policy about tutoring students; some don’t allow you to tutor students at your own school.

Tips for making the switch between classroom teaching and online tutoring

If you’re keen to make the switch to being a private tutor, you should consider making a gradual transition and avoid an abrupt career change. Start tutoring part-time with a few hours per week alongside your classroom teaching to build up your reputation and student base. As time progresses, you could cut down to part-time at school and then, if your finances are looking good, make the full switch to tutoring.

Classroom teacher to full-time tutor: Testimonial

In 2016, an opportunity arose in my college for voluntary redundancy due to a restructuring. I’d reached the end of a series of big projects, and my mental health had been suffering, so it seemed a good time to make a change.

I had a transition job for two years, teaching part-time online to students who couldn’t access the in-person classroom while I tried tutoring to see if it would be a viable alternative for me. In the first year, I had five students, nearly all from the college I’d just left, who would pop around in their free lessons. By the time my contract ended for the part-time teaching, I was up to double and confident that tutoring could work as a full-time job. When schools were closed and exams were cancelled during Covid, I had 16 students, which was the limit I had set for myself. When exams started up again, and students realised their teacher grades may determine more than just their predictions, work picked up quickly and shifted to entirely online.

This change has suited me so well. We’ve packed up and moved to the countryside – something I would never have been able to do with in-person teaching. The demand is huge. I’ve had to hide my tutoring profile to stop myself from taking on more work.

For me, the shift to tutoring is about lifestyle more than money. I work fewer hours by choice. To make up for the summer drop, I do exam marking. I manage a decent salary while still having time to do the things I never had the energy for while teaching. I still get all the things I loved from the classroom – building student confidence, thinking creatively, and getting excited about my subject – but without any of the external grinds – no meetings, paperwork and stress.

In the last year, all of my students have been from either personal recommendations from previous tutees or from PMT Education. The PMT tuition platform has made it much easier than any other method to communicate, teach, and get paid, and it’s the only platform I’ll be using from here on in.

Teresa B.

Transitioning from a classroom teacher to a full-time tutor involves the careful consideration of a number of different factors. With the right approach and strategic planning, you can embark on a rewarding journey, enjoying the benefits of personalised teaching and the potential for a strong income. Remember, a gradual transition and informed decision-making are key to a successful shift into the world of tutoring!

If you’re interested in exploring tutoring as an option, you can read about our tuition platform and how it works.

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Michelle Wright

With a background as a full-time tutor, Michelle's journey at PMT Education began when she was recruited to organise their revision courses. In her capacity as Head of Operations, she not only manages the day-to-day aspects but also takes the lead in running the tuition platform and holds a crucial role in tutor recruitment.