Before discovering Keystone, I had recently graduated from Exeter University, where I read English, and was working as a marketing executive.
Having greatly enjoyed my time studying at school and university, I was interested in returning to education from the other side. I felt excited about being able to motivate and support young people on a daily basis, while maintaining a flexible timetable.
Professional tutoring has greatly exceeded my expectations. It truly is so gratifying when, week by week, you are able to watch children’s confidence flourish.
I love the balance of structure and flexibility that the role offers; in September I will be beginning a diploma course in Naturopathic Nutrition, which I will pursue alongside my teaching. I can’t think of many other jobs that would allow such autonomy and adaptability.
Besides internships and ad-hoc jobs, professional tutoring was my first foray into the work-place – I came to the role after reading for a degree in History and Politics at Christ Church, Oxford.
Professional tutoring offered three attractions. First, it allowed me relative autonomy over my short- and long-term diary; second, it facilitated a high level of client contact, thus allowing me to apply and develop my inter-personal skills; third, it offered me the opportunity to develop a more organic and self-determined career path, but within the framework of a friendly and well-organised organization, committed to training and with a bedrock of resources and experience.
Professional tutoring has met all of my expectations; and surpassed many of them. It has allowed me to experience a productive - and fulfilling - first eighteen months in the workplace. I have enjoyed the high-levels of client-contact and have been reassured and encouraged by the professional development and administrative support provided from Keystone’s office team.
I would highly recommend it to those looking to pursue alternatives to conventional career paths.
I had recently finished a PhD in English Literature at the University of Cambridge. Before that, I had worked in communications for a think-tank.
I had started teaching undergraduates while at Cambridge and found that I not only enjoyed it, but seemed to be offering perspectives and skills that their other teachers weren’t. I had completed a teaching training programme with the Higher Education Academy and was eager to continue teaching after the end of my doctorate.
Tutoring seemed like a way for me to do this while also maintaining the autonomy and flexibility that I’d enjoyed about doctoral research. Keystone has a good balance between training its tutors on an ongoing basis and also trusting them to develop their own approaches and teaching methods independently. Professional tutoring adds further advantages, since I can rely on a steady income and pension payments even when I am not teaching at full capacity.
While I love teaching, I am grateful for the way tutoring allows me time to do other things. It’s possible to organise my week so that it leaves time for writing and research projects; tutoring also gives me the chance to work intensively if I want, and take time off later in the year once exams have finished.
Professional tutoring has met and exceeded expectations. I have enjoyed building relationships with clients and students on a long-term basis, in some cases seeing them through multiple sets of exams and stages of education. It’s a rewarding job both in terms of the variety of content I get to work on – from Shakespearean tragedy to arguments about free will and ethics to creative writing all in the space of a few hours – and in terms of the positive and demonstrable influence you can have on a student’s academic progress, self-esteem, and intellectual horizons. It’s also job in which you keep learning every day: about yourself, your teaching practice, and the subject.
Before working at Keystone, I was a primary school teacher working in London. Prior to that I had studied English Literature at the University of London and completed a Masters in Shakespeare studies.
As a mother, I appreciate the flexibility that tutoring has afforded around having a young child. I am able to continue working in the field that I love without having to sacrifice watching my child grow up. I can schedule tutoring lessons in and around my week so that I can also spend time with my daughter. I also appreciate the support and training that Keystone offers which has meant that I can further my career and feel professionally fulfilled whilst also balancing my other commitments.
Professional tutoring has exceeded my expectations. I have the opportunity to help and support the learning of children around the world and feel that I can really make a difference to the confidence and success that these children achieve. I am also able to work in a field that I love without experiencing the sometimes rigid constraints that classroom teaching can bring. Professional tutoring has meant that I can be there for my daughter as well as continuing to develop my own career. I feel that I have a happy and healthy balance between work and family life and I cannot recommend tutoring as a career path highly enough.
I have tutored with Keystone for almost ten years now and I have really enjoyed the good-natured contact between tutors and the team at Keystone HQ. You do have the feeling that you're not left out on a limb, as can often happen with some tutor agencies. The professional support and guidance really helped, especially when I was just starting out as a tutor. From the beginning I felt that I was working with real professionals who took education seriously with a friendly, caring approach to their tutors. The fact that Keystone now has offices abroad has also contributed to the variety of students I meet, many of whom are now based overseas. The more mundane aspect of a tutor's life (billing, logging of hours) are also simplified to make the administrative side a lot easier, which is really appreciated at those busy times.
As a self-employed tutor, I have been able to do as much (or as little) tutoring as I wish. It has gradually become my main activity because I have enjoyed it immensely and have had the freedom to pursue it as a full-time profession. When I started out, I combined it with translating which worked perfectly, as translation can be quite a solitary profession - the day-to-day contact with students proved a very welcome contrast. Nowadays with a young family, I find I have a lot more flexibility. As a former secondary school teacher, I really appreciate this freedom to plan my days. I can effectively be as busy as I wish, but also choose to scale down hours if I need to dedicate more time to family or sporting commitments, something which I struggled to do as a full-time teacher. Overall, I have made it fit perfectly into my lifestyle, which has changed over the years.
Tutoring has allowed me to do two main things; to continue to work with my subject and to meet a wide range of people. Being able to improve my own understanding of my subject while working with others has made it far more than just another job. For those who truly love their chosen specialism, I think that tutoring is ideal to maintain that enthusiasm.
The students and their families are, for the most part, fantastic. Sometimes my work with a family is short-lived but it usually lasts for several years, especially when tutoring different siblings. As a result, you often build up a good relationship with a family, which makes the whole process so enjoyable.
I really enjoy working with a variety of students and adapting to each students needs, finding different ways to challenge them. I love it when I come across a mathematical problem that challenges me too, its great to be using my mind in this way again so long after having completed my formal education.
I also love finding the unusual jobs that call on my professional experience in addition to my subject knowledge, it makes me realise that my previous career is still relevant.
I have two small children and a dog. The flexibility of tutoring enables me to be around to pick my children up from school and spend quality time with them as well as fitting in dog walks and time for myself such as going for a bike ride into my day to day life.
For me, seeing big improvements in the confidence of many students I work with makes my job seem worthwhile and rewarding. Especially when they tell you that they now enjoy a subject they previously didn’t. It’s also goes without saying that you always feel tremendous pride for your students when you hear their success stories such as grade achievements and school entrance offers.
I love a lot of aspects of working with Keystone. First and foremost, the team are excellent. The client managers work tirelessly to engage and understand clients so that they can prepare me to do the best job possible in each scenario. They are always on hand to help with any queries or concerns and are extremely supportive in every sense. I have found that the insight and knowledge they have given me over the years has helped me to grow and develop as a tutor, but equally I feel I am always still learning and improving my process.
Tutoring fits very well into my lifestyle. I am also a musician on the side of tutoring and I spend a lot of time planning and organising with clients to ensure that my students get the time they need, whilst also enabling me to practice and write music outside of my tutoring hours. I also spend time playing chess competitively, as well as practising yoga regularly and travelling. The flexibility that tutoring affords me means that I am able to spend time enjoying culture, broadening my horizons and enriching my knowledge and interests. This in turn feeds back into the tutoring - I pride myself on delivering not only the academic aspect of tutoring, but also inspiring my students in a variety of ways and piquing their interest in culture and knowledge where appropriate.
This is a tough question as there are a lot of rewarding elements to tutoring! I would say the most exciting and fulfilling aspect is when students find their confidence. Often this is the key to unlocking knowledge, particularly in maths, which I teach a lot of. When a student finally begins to realise their own potential, this is really when the magic happens!
Two of my favourite aspects of tutoring through Keystone are the flexibility I have with regards to choosing clients to work with, and the sheer variety of students and families I get to meet and teach. Over the years, I have been able to choose jobs that work with my schedule and Keystone Tutors have been supportive in helping me work with clients to the best of my ability, often with good advice and a great guidance system. The clients I have met are fantastic and I still maintain good relationships with some of them years later.
I work independently and I am currently studying at postgraduate level. The demands on my time are therefore really intense and I have a lot of commitments. Being able to fit in tutoring at odd times and hours (mornings for example, when working with international students, and evenings for local students) allows me to fit in postgraduate study and independent educational consultancy with tutoring.
I love working with students on a one-to-one basis. I have always been keen on working with students with SEND needs to help them build confidence and see their own progress. Being able to interact with them on an individual basis makes it a lot easier to tailor my lessons and build a personal connection with each of my students. Building that connection with a student and their family and being part of their journey, especially as I get to support them (often for several years) is a really fulfilling aspect of my job and probably my favourite part of it all!