Career

From tutor to teacher: The role of tutoring in education careers

14 February 2024

Is tutoring being overlooked as a pathway to great teachers? Here at Action Tutoring, we see first-hand the positive impact tutoring has on teacher recruitment. A remarkable number of our tutors transition from passionate volunteers to dedicated teachers. In fact, 38% of tutors who are currently supporting us, expressed an interest in teaching when they applied. Surprisingly, even with our diverse range of volunteer backgrounds, including retirees and corporate partners, this academic year alone saw an incredible 1,004 volunteer applicants indicating their interest in pursuing a teaching career. This accounts for 57% of all the applications we’ve received.

These statistics tell a powerful story. They showcase not only the passion and potential within our tutoring community but also the valuable experience Action Tutoring provides as a stepping stone to a teaching career.

Quote from Action Tutoring tutor to teacher Luke: "[Tutoring] was a fantastic gateway into teaching. I learnt I enjoyed the teaching element and wanted to take it to the next level with formal training to take a career change. I have no regrets. I am now a teacher and this journey all started with supporting Action Tutoring."
Luke was on a career break after 10 years working in the energy industry when he started volunteering with Action Tutoring. After a year volunteering with us it confirmed for him that teaching secondary school pupils was the career path that was right for him.

Why is tutoring such a powerful springboard for teachers?

Real-world experience: Tutors gain first-hand experience interacting with pupils from diverse backgrounds, with a range of learning styles. New teachers also expressed to us that they value the experience of refamiliarising themselves with the curriculum. This hands-on exposure allows them to hone their teaching skills and develop classroom management strategies. Most importantly though, it allows them to discover the joy of hearing, “I get it!”

Flexible stepping stone: Tutoring offers the perfect balance of gaining valuable experience whilst working around existing commitments. This flexibility is ideal for those exploring teaching or seeking a gradual transition.

Support and guidance: With training and guidance throughout their experience, tutors are offered invaluable insights and feedback. This supportive network also enables them to navigate through any potential difficulties with the experienced Action Tutoring team on hand every step of the way.

Shared passion: Action Tutoring works closely with schools and communities to ensure our tutors deliver high-quality, impactful learning experiences. This provides a fulfilling and purpose-driven foundation for aspiring teachers.

Quote from Action Tutoring tutor to teacher Katherine: "Life changing in all the best ways! The positive experiences I had with Action Tutoring confirmed that teaching was the career I wanted to pursue, particularly in the primary setting. My programme co-ordinator and other volunteers on the programme shared their own experiences of teaching with me and, as a result, I chose to apply to the PGCE course I am currently on."
Katherine was studying sociology at the University of Durham when she started volunteering with Action Tutoring. Tutoring helped Katherine affirm her beliefs that she would like to become a tutor. She is now studying for a PGCE at Cambridge University.

Discovering new passions

Our volunteer tutors sometimes start without an interest in teaching before discovering a new passion. One such story is Gemma, a journalist for ten years, who began tutoring with us in East London. After a few months, she found it so enjoyable that she decided to give up her journalism career and re-train. Or Patrick, a lawyer for eight years, who realised working with young people was much more meaningful. He re-trained as an English teacher with Teach First and is now an Assistant Head in Kent, following years in an inner-city London school.

What could this mean for the future?

A national initiative could seamlessly connect aspiring teachers with the diverse and enriching experiences they need to take the next steps. A well established collaboration, weaving together the expertise of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers and tutoring organisations could unlock unimaginable potential. ITT providers could encourage prospective applicants or those waiting to begin their training towards high quality tutoring organisations to increase their experience and in turn, these organisations can point those who’ve declared an interest in teaching in the direction of different teaching routes, alongside supporting them with feedback, training and ongoing development. 

One of our partnerships that is already bringing this to life is with Now Teach. Now Teach promote our volunteer opportunities as a way to experience the classroom environment before embarking on their teacher training. Every two months, we collaboratively host an information session for those interested in committing to a teacher training course. The result is a wealth of passionate, dedicated tutors volunteering on our programmes, as well as tangible classroom experience for career changers who might never have had the opportunity to work with children before. We also promote Now Teach as a route into teaching to our volunteers who have indicated an interest in this career route, in bi-yearly emails.

At Action Tutoring, we’re already seeing the huge potential of the tutors to teachers trajectory. Investment into structures that establish these pathways between ITT providers and tutoring organisations, could go a very long way to potentially thousands more passionate and talented individuals entering into the teaching profession each year, equipped with the practical skills, mentorship, and real-world understanding gained through tutoring.

Join the journey