Minerva Pro Tutors – One year on
Just over a year ago, Minerva became one of the first companies to employ full-time Pro Tutors, alongside our network of freelancers. We’ve always pursued a policy of ‘fewer tutors, more hours’, believing a smaller group of freelance tutors – rather than having hundreds on our books – allowed for a stronger team ethos, and closer relationship with our tutors. This means we know each tutor better, which is ideal when recommending and matching them to clients.
The idea was simple, and simply an extension of our recruitment philosophy; have tutors who are full-time, on a regular salary, involved in the company and with the prospect of professional career development, thus improving standards for parents. Minerva provides training, guaranteed hours and extra responsibilities within the company. The Pro Tutors have job security, a monthly salary and colleagues, in direct contrast to the often solitary life of a freelance tutor.
And so far – it’s been great!
We started with David (me!) who was new to the company, and Emily who had been tutoring with Minerva for a while already. We were the two ‘guinea pig’ Pro Tutors but we now have six, with four more joining in January.
So what is life like as a Pro Tutor?
As Emily put it: “As a pro, you know you are part of a team. You can ask for advice, share resources and work together to each make yourselves better tutors. Far from being a lonely career, as tutoring often is, being a pro has connected me with incredible people with whom I share a lot in common!”
For me, Pro Tutor life started out slow. Initially, whilst building up my client base, I didn’t do as much tutoring as I would’ve liked, and spent a lot of time in the office. However this was no bad thing – I got to know my colleagues, write my beloved education blogs (three a week at my most prolific), build the Parent Portal, and occasionally help with the website. In the process, I got a real understanding of how Minerva works. Immediately I could see that this would be different to simply being a freelance tutor; I was part of a community, and a fast growing business.
Variety is the spice of life (and tutoring)
As the months wore on, this gradually changed and the scope of the Pro Tutor role became clearer. Soon, I was tutoring everything from 7+ to A Level, from times tables to Joan of Arc, volcano formation to Kantian ethics.
I was travelling all over London, from Mile End to Moor Park and everywhere in between, sometimes for a one-hour tutoring session and sometimes for three hours of homeschooling. I was also tutoring online, for children just outside London, as well as those based in Italy and India.
There are many freelance tutors who only tutor one specific age or subject, however as Pro Tutors, with all our time dedicated to tutoring, we do the exact opposite. We are able to take whichever jobs are suitable, and make sure we research and find the perfect resources for every child. Every student provides a unique challenge, and we are constantly learning on the job. Without the financial or time constraints this becomes a pleasure.
The regular training we get from Minerva certainly helps in terms of managing the diverse range of students we all have, whilst also allowing us to develop as career tutors. Since the Pro Tutor program began, we have had training in 7+ and 11+, 13+ , GCSE and A Level, SEN, child welfare and mental health, child safeguarding, online tutoring and the ‘Minerva Method.’ The Pro Tutors have also had the opportunity to participate in ongoing online courses, focusing on learning difficulties and disabilities.
These sessions have been chaired by psychotherapists, headteachers both current and retired, and other fantastic inspirational leaders in the education world. They cover the relevant content areas whilst also establishing how students change with age, strategies for teaching different types of learner, and how we can deal with challenging situations (which can include difficult students AND parents).
We believe that this type of tutor training is unique to Minerva, and truly helps create the cohesive, inspiring and fun environment that Minerva is all about.
A huge bonus of being a Pro Tutor at Minerva is the consistency and financial security.
This consistency transcends money, and extends into our client relationships. Pro Tutors may only end up doing one or two sessions with a student, but with our long-term clients, there is something wonderful about getting to know a child, and family, gradually over many months. For many parents, tutors come and go, and have a reputation of being flakey, and prioritising other career paths, but the regularity of being a Pro Tutor means we are able to forge strong and ongoing bonds with clients, which absolutely creates a more conducive environment to learn.
School holidays can be a nightmare for a freelance tutor: children leave for holidays, and no one seems to be around, or needing you. However, Pro Tutors are often busier in the holidays. Although many regular clients travel abroad, the Pro Tutors are able to help out with Me Club, Minerva’s holiday camp. Emily was the language tutor to a camp of young tennis stars for a couple of weeks, and several of the Pro Tutors, were also able to go abroad with clients.
I was worried about a summer with little work, but before I knew it, I was spending a month in Italy, doing four hours tutoring a day, staying in a beautiful villa five minutes from the beach, and eating fresh, local food every day. So far, other Pro Tutors have recently travelled to Singapore, Gstaad and Rome to name a few, in the noble and ongoing quest to educate and inspire (and sometimes sunbathe).
My next stint abroad was three months as a residential tutor in Mumbai, India. I lept at the opportunity, safe in the knowledge that the other Pro Tutors would be able to take over my London jobs whilst I was away. When I started at Minerva, I had absolutely no idea the places being a Pro Tutor would take me.
Why be a pro?
Being a Pro Tutor is fun above all else; I’ve met a whole host of different kids and families, learnt a huge amount and become proficient in tutoring an array of different subjects. I love being part of office life (specifically the office that reigns supreme in Pop Brixton’s occasional beer-pong tournaments), and I have felt very much a part of Minerva’s story ever since my first day. I feel proud of the way in which the company has grown and developed in that time – which I’m not sure I would feel in a traditional agency.
So the question is…why not be a pro?
If you’re looking for a tutor (Pro or otherwise), or are interested in any of our other services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Temple of Minerva. You can call us on 0208 819 3276, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By David Bard
David is a Minerva Pro Tutor who specialises in humanities subjects at A Level and is a trained expert in the 7 + and 11 + exams. Outside of tutoring, David writes blogs about everything that’s trending in education.