Truly international tuition
I have been tutoring on international placements since being approached to tutor in Shanghai over the summer of 2012. It was a role that seemed tailor-made for me. A Classics and Law graduate, tutoring Latin and Greek to an Eton scholarship candidate and his older brother a short introduction to Law. What an experience! Being invited to China to tutor! This led to similar opportunities which I am forever grateful for. It gave me the confidence to approach others in the tutoring sector and help make something I very much enjoyed into my profession.
The sort of clients looking for this tuition are families. They live abroad and look to transition their children to UK independent school private education from international schools. Therefore, the tutor acts as a bridge. It might also be that their children are already boarding at a UK prep school. They might be looking for holiday tuition to prepare for Common Entrance exams, pretests or scholarships. Children may be at different levels of attainment, wishing to raise their standard. They may be bilingual and want more exposure to the English language and British culture. Over the past seven years, it has taken me to Shanghai, Hong Kong, Thailand, Switzerland, the Channel Islands, France, Venice, Vienna, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Beijing, and I’m just back from a few months in India.
Better than online tuition?
Much is made online over the virtues of online tuition. Largely because online tutors are constantly online, writing about how great it is. Yes, it is very convenient for a tutor not to have to travel for hour-long tutorials and to flit around timezones to get more tuition in. However, in this digital age, we are all online at some time or another. Around 30% of my tuition is online and that continues when I am abroad. Often it is a blended solution, with a mix of face-to-face and online, depending on circumstances. However, tutoring students face-to-face consistently over a period of days, weeks and months, you really get to know the students and see how they are working and developing.
As a tutor, the great thing about tutoring internationally is that, with all expenses paid, I get to explore other cultures, experience and share how others live, eat and drink. It stretches me by learning to appreciate other cultures and different points of view, develop an open mind and, I’d like to think, a growth mindset. It increases your cultural quotient, increasingly important in professional life. Travelling alone too requires a certain amount of resilience and independence.
In this way, tutoring abroad is far more empowering than simply sitting in a study in front of a screen all the time. It develops your soft skills as, apart from interaction with your students, there will be various people within the family offices you will encounter. It is a great opportunity to get out there, expand your horizons and see the world. The advantages of travelling to another country, daring to embrace new cultures, to explore new environments, to spend more time with a student and see the impact first-hand are more fulfilling and life-enhancing, both for oneself and the student.
Adam Muckle FTA
Past President of The Tutors’ Association, 2016-19