The pros and cons of being a full-time tutor

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Lawrence

CEO of Owl Tutors

October 16th, 2019

The pros and cons of being a full-time tutor

For qualified teachers thinking about leaving the classroom, career options can feel limited. But, leaving the classroom doesn't mean you have to quit teaching altogether. In this blog, we set out the pros and cons of becoming a full-time, professional tutor. We believe this can offer a rewarding, flexible and lucrative option that allows qualified teachers to use their hard-earned skills and knowledge.


For the majority of teachers, the prospect of making a positive impact on the lives of their students’ was a major factor in choosing to go down that career path.  As a profession, teaching is well-respected and can be both challenging and highly rewarding.  However, with increasing pressure to improve exam results and climb to the top of league tables, the bureaucratic burden of teaching in a school can take much of the joy out of the profession and the focus away from the individual needs of each student.  Long hours and mountains of marking can leave many teachers feeling disillusioned with the profession and considering other career paths.  This is, understandably, a daunting prospect given the time, hard work and commitment it takes to qualify as a teacher.

Leaving the classroom doesn’t mean you have to quit teaching.    

We believe that working as a full-time tutor can offer a rewarding, flexible and far less stressful alternative to classroom teaching.  For those considering this career option, the pros and cons listed below may help you to make an informed decision:   

The Pros

Put your hard-earned skills and knowledge to use

You slogged your way through your PGCE or training programme and don’t want to see the skills you acquired and time you invested go to waste.  Tutoring can be a great alternative to being in the classroom, and allows you to go back to what you went into teaching for in the first place: teaching!    

Be your own boss

As a self-employed tutor, you will have complete control of when and where you work.  Tutoring can also allow exceptional teachers to flourish and become an authority in their chosen subject (with no Head of Department to report to!).  Creating resources for students and finding a good platform on which to share these and showcase your expertise can be all the marketing you need.    

Earn more, working fewer hours

Tutors will typically work two or three hours on a weekday evening, and as many hours as they wish to at the weekend.  With an hourly rate that reflects your skills and expertise (we pay our tutors at least £40 per hour), tutoring for around 20 hours per week can generate an income that matches or even exceeds what you were earning while working 5 full days in a school each week.  The more experience you gain and the better your reputation as a tutor, the more people will be willing to pay for your time.   

The industry is big and getting bigger

There is no shortage of parents looking to employ the services of a tutor for their child, and with mounting competition for school places (particularly within London), tutors are increasingly being called upon to prepare students for school entrance exams, including 7 Plus and 11 Plus.  Additionally, the growth of online tuition means that you can reach a growing pool of students, wherever they are in the world (and in whatever time zone).

Your Qualified Teacher Status will be greatly valued

The tuition industry is saturated with graduates who feel qualified to teach. In this context, your experience will set you apart and means you are already equipped to be a great tutor.  You know the syllabus and you were trained to teach it!  At Owl Tutors, we think only those who are qualified to teach should be given this responsibility.  

The Cons

Working hours can be antisocial

Given that tuition takes place when most people have clocked off (after school and at weekends), tuition can be seen as an anti-social profession.  A number of our full-time tutors work two or three hours after school on a Monday-Thursday and all day Sunday. They find these working hours plus taking Fridays and Saturdays off can create a good work-life balance.  Additionally, for tutors working with younger students, tuition will start and finish early and therefore not be too out of kilter with the more conventional working hours of family and friends.    

It’s a long game

Growing your client base and filling your timetable can take some time. It is vital that you plan for this, and line-up work to begin once you have left the classroom.  You could otherwise face an empty diary, and an empty bank account. As you must have told your students countless times: fail to prepare, prepare to fail.  Once you have made the decision to leave the classroom, we advise getting your name “out there” right away, so potential clients (and agencies) know that you will be available to tutor in the coming weeks or months.  

Lack of peers

The trials of working in a school can create a good sense of camaraderie between colleagues.  By comparison, the tutoring profession can be lonely unless you make an effort to find peers. Working closely with an agency can provide a good support network, and Owl Tutors maintains close contact with all our full-time tutors.

There will be admin

You will need to devote some time outside of lessons to admin.  As a self-employed tutor, this will be inescapable, unfortunately.  However, Owl Tutors can help shoulder much of the admin burden and manages invoicing, building your profile and brand and introducing you to new clients. We will also make sure you are paid on time each month and are not in the awkward position of having to chase clients for payment.  

If you are considering becoming a full-time, professional tutor, please get in touch and we can answer any questions you might have.


Lawrence's picture

More about Lawrence

Lawrence is CEO of Owl. Previously, he worked in the City and trained to teach through Teach First. When he isn't running Owl, he loves triathlons.