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.