Meet Stephen: His tutoring and teaching story

14 June 2024

Stephen has been inspired by the pupils he has taught and tutored. He wanted to make a difference, learn new skills before embracing teaching, and see a pupil say ‘I get it’. Through Now Teach and Action Tutoring, he’s done just that. Read on to find out more about how his tutoring experience has developed his confidence and passion for teaching.

My reasons for teaching

Like many, I was inspired by tutors and teachers during lockdown. My children’s teachers ran some amazing online sessions. They were so patient and enthusiastic. During a very difficult time for the kids, once teachers appeared, my children’s faces lit up.

In my school days, I had a very inspiring physics teacher. He encouraged me and introduced me to material well above the standard curriculum, which helped me in my career.

I’m always inspired by enthusiastic and energetic people I work with, including my PGCE leader. His lessons and, in particular, his classroom management are incredible. Throughout the last 2 years, I’ve aimed to recreate his lessons and develop the same enthusiasm and dynamism.

Pupil appreciation

It was also new and interesting to be called Sir.

Before teaching, I had minimal classroom experience. During COVID, classroom access was very limited. Now Teach then introduced me to Action Tutoring to get some experience and it’s nice to feel helpful. It’s even greater to tutor children who wanted and needed the help and today I still remember the pupils’ appreciation. While they didn’t find the subject easy, it was nice working with them. It was also new and interesting to be called Sir.

Lots of learning

Overall, I’ve learnt a lot. Through tutoring, it has been really great practice at listening, understanding pupils’ knowledge, and highlighting where we needed to focus. That was amazing and I now use many of the things I’ve learnt during tutoring.

Most vitally, it gave me something invaluable to share in my Initial Teacher Training (ITT) interview.

On the right path

Action Tutoring gave lots of amazing advice on lesson structure. We were well-connected with pupils and their teachers. This includes the school I tutored at having teachers that enabled the pupils to tutor. 

The kids behaved brilliantly too so I could focus on delivering maths sessions. Action Tutoring also provided many great resources including question sheets and question booklets.

Tutoring has helped me believe teaching is right for me. I really needed the experience and I’m grateful it has been really positive.

Now Teach’s support: Connection and much, much more

Be a magpie, collect things.

Now Teach has been hugely helpful. From updating me on the application process and presenting the different options, they showed me what would be tough and how to brace myself.

They introduced me to fellow trainees and it was great to be in WhatsApp groups with others making the career switch. The best part was connecting with other parents. About 10 of us had near identical experiences before teaching. We could share challenges and solve problems, which I would have been unable to do with anyone else. That network was amazing. Now Teach connected me to people who have written the book on being a teacher and a parent.

There was a person who gave me advice on collecting evidence throughout the postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE). It made it much easier. Be a magpie, collect things. It saved me so much stress compared to people who hadn’t had Now Teach’s advice.

There have also been fantastic lunch meet-ups where we compare notes. Through these, I sometimes feel like I’m constantly getting better. We meet older and newer cohorts and it is amazing to share words of encouragement to those joining the club.

Advice to those considering teaching or tutoring

Get as much experience as you can. Teaching is a completely different job from what you may have done. I love it though it isn’t for everyone. Try before you buy. Initial teacher training is a long time so make sure it is right for you. Teacher training is the hardest bit and knowing whether you like being with the pupils is important. If you can teach pupils something it gives you a great sense of satisfaction. The pupils really open your imagination. Do try teaching or tutoring, as it can be great.

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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