Whether you get your news from social media, the newspaper or from TV, it's hard to miss reports on what is being called the Great Resignation. In the wake of the global pandemic, people have re-evaluated many aspects of their lives, and many no longer want to work solely for the benefit of their employers while gaining very little for themselves.
It seems we're poised for an economic revolution. Thanks to COVID and the lockdown and curfews it engendered, workers are no longer willing to return to their old jobs and settle for what's on offer; they want satisfying work that pays a decent wage and leaves them time and energy to explore life and all of its possibilities.
Many such workers have gone into business for themselves. Thanks to the internet, it's now easier than ever to launch oneself into a web-based business.
Perhaps, as they were confined to their homes, they took on some freelance assignments and realised that they could make ends meet without a traditional salary. Others have availed themselves to MOOCs (massive, open online courses) to learn new skills so they can transition into remote work.
Teachers endured a baptism by fire. Some (most?) might have never delivered lessons online before. Over the past year, by trial and error, they adapted to the technology used for distance education, doing their best to conduct lessons online.
For the most part, teachers are glad to be back in the classrooms. Some, despite that glee, want to continue their online teaching adventure.
Superprof offers those teachers – and any other skilled, qualified instructor – a platform to advertise their services.
Let's explore how it all works.
Becoming a Superprof Tutor
Whether you're a traditional teacher who, over lockdown, came to appreciate the joys of distance teaching or someone with a non-academic skill who has never taught anything online before, you can become a Superprof tutor after just a few formalities.
You might wonder who we mean by someone with a non-academic skill ...
The Superprof tutoring platform started as a way to connect academic tutors with students in need of a mentor. Since then, the range of subjects offered on Superprof has expanded to include diverse disciplines, from yoga and personal fitness to hobbies and leisure activities such as sewing, gardening and learning how to play a musical instrument. You can check out all the subjects available on Superprof here.
Virtually any skill that can be taught, there's a Superprof who teaches it.
What that means is even if Maths, English or Science aren't your forte, maybe Pilates, Zumba or weightlifting is, and there's a place for you on Superprof.
The Superprof tutor profile includes those with years of experience in their fields, as well as students still enrolled at university who have an aptitude for a particular subject and who wish to help others succeed. Superprofs can also be exceptionally talented bakers and chefs, tailors and dressmakers with years of experience, and artists who have found a measure of success exhibiting their artwork.
Prof is the short form of the French word "professeur", which means teacher, professor, or educator. So, a Superprof = a super teacher!
Obviously, the more experience you have and the greater your credentials, the more sought-after you will be amongst students. But you don't have to hold a PhD in art history to teach art. Once word gets out about the calibre of your lessons via your students' testimonials, other learners will beat a path to your profile.
There are a few administrative matters you need to address before becoming a Superprof tutor.
- Superprof provides the platform for you to advertise your tutoring business and to find students; you are not employed by us. You are in business for yourself and it is your responsibility to declare and pay to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) any taxes owed on the money you earn as a tutor.
- Consider insurance. It’s not a legal requirement to be insured as a tutor in South Africa, but you may want to consider some of the following types of insurance: public liability insurance, business and portable equipment insurance and professional indemnity insurance.
- As a tutor, you have a duty of care over all of your students. This means providing a safe environment for students to learn. You should be able to prove that your students risk no harm in your presence, particularly if you aim to tutor children, or adults with special needs. You may want to submit to a criminal record check, so that you can provide a police clearance certificate to your students (or their parents) to reassure them of your good character.
Establishing Your Profile
Every claim you make in your tutoring advert must be factually correct, and you should be able to provide documentary proof of any qualification you claim to hold.
The more detailed and informative your Superprof profile is, the more likely prospective students are to come to you for help with their learning needs.
Uploading a picture is a great place to start. Did you know that profile pages are more than 20 times more likely to be viewed if they feature a photo?
Ideally, your profile photo would show your smiling face clearly, possibly with something related to the subject(s) you teach in the background. For instance, if you teach art history, having the South African National Gallery, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, or the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in the background is a good idea.
From there, you should:
- Indicate what type of lessons you offer: group or individual
- Confirm your delivery methods: online or face to face (eg. at the students' home, at your home, at another secure location such as a local school hall or a community centre)
- State which subjects you teach
- Confirm the levels you teach at: primary, secondary, adult education and so on
- Add a short bio that includes your pedagogy and teaching experience (or experience in your field)
- Give a breakdown of your lesson prices
- Answer interview questions
An interview is optional, but it is a great way to enhance your profile. Don't be bashful when explaining how you're the ideal Superprof for students who need help in your subject. Prospective students love knowing more about you as a person.
Setting Your Rates
While you have the option to pay for a Professional Pass ("Pro Pass") which gives your adverts higher visibility, it is not compulsory. You can use Superprof for free, and you will not have to pay a portion of your earnings to us.
So, as you set your rates for each hour of instruction, you only need to consider how much you have to earn to make your tutoring business viable.
Here are a few points to consider as you determine how best to set your per-hour fees.
- Your location matters if you plan on delivering in-person lessons. If the cost of living is high, as it is in Cape Town and several other major cities, you may get away with charging a bit more than if you lived in a rural area. It's a good idea to check out your competition to find out how much they charge and set your rates accordingly.
- What you teach matters. If you tutor in a subject that everyone seems to need help in, you might charge a little bit more than if you taught a niche skill or one that is more of a leisure pursuit. Again, that depends on the competition. If the market is saturated, setting your price a bit lower than everyone else might be a better strategy.
- Your availability matters. If you're only available for lessons on weekends or just a couple of evenings per week, lowering your rate might compensate for not being as available. On the other hand, if you're available at the drop of a hat, you might charge a bit more because you'll be around when other tutors are busy.
Finally, although you'll not be charged any fees for advertising your tutoring business on Superprof (unless you choose a Pro membership), you should still know how Superprof's payments and charges work, as your students may have questions.
Superprof encourages tutors to offer their very first session with a new student at no cost. It seems counterintuitive; you didn't go into business for yourself to give the goods away, after all. However, studies have shown that students tend to prefer tutors who offer their first hour free of charge.
To be an effective tutor, you have to spend some time discovering what your students need from you, hence the first hour at no charge. That's the time when you get to ask each other questions and establish what the student's needs and expectations are.
As a private tutor, you should have a general plan for how you'll conduct lessons.
For example, how much of your lesson time will be spent on reviewing existing study material and how much will you dedicate to new knowledge transfer?
Ultimately, how well you work with your students is your formula for success. They will leave a rating and, hopefully, a testimonial of your teaching style and knowledge level; their positive review will, in turn, bring you more students who need your particular brand of teaching.
It's our mission and great pleasure to connect learners and teachers and to provide a platform for independently-minded workers to utilise their skills to benefit themselves, rather than an employer.
The platform that connects private tutors and students