How I Started Tutoring 10 Years Ago

How have we ended up in this situation?

I said to my brother outside a flat somewhere in Stratford East London. It was mid Summer 2006 and we were both in our t-shirts, on the other side in London from our home in Kilburn Park in West London. I had finished my PhD for over a year, still had no job, was in debt, had lost my father from a sudden death a few months ago in Nov 2005, my mother was now living with us, my sister was in hospital for a month and had been diagnosed for a brain tumour, and to top it all off our landlords in Kilburn had given us notice to move out within a month. I was out there with my brother viewing a property so we had a new flat to move into. That was probably the only time that year I took check of what was happening in my life, otherwise things were simply too busy to take stock and feel sorry for oneself.

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Visiting my sister in hospital in 2006, while I am pondering about my future no doubt. It turned out ok!

The landlord must’ve taken pity on us as they let us stay longer so things started to get better. I got some summer work as a researcher in my old lab at Imperial College and I also got some work as a marker at Edexcel. The money didn’t last and I had to take my sister to her radiotherapy treatment daily. I couldn’t afford the travelcard so I cracked and decided to sign up on benefits. My Engineering job search was disappointing, I was filling in forms, attending job fairs but just wasn’t even getting to interview stage. I was never great at job applications and interviews. Even most of the small oddjobs I was applying for didn’t yield to anything, including being a library assistant for a small private library. I failed their spelling test! One such odd job I had also applied to was for a tutoring agency. My friend Tim knew that one of his friends was making decent money from tutoring so he suggested this to me. I had an interview with the agency and like pretty much any other job interview I never heard from them again and assumed I didn’t get the job.

Almost 6 months later in November 2006 I got a phone call from the agency putting me forward to a job. AS Level maths at £25/hr. This was a really decent amount of money for just one hour’s work. I had never been paid this type of hourly rate in my life before and I was really excited about this. My luck was about to turn. I took the job on, it turned out I was a natural teacher from day 1. The rest is history really, I did a good job with my first student and within 2 weeks I now had 3 students. I was able to pay my rent money just from tutoring. Soon I was off benefits and on my own two feet. Things improved for my family too, my sister’s radiotherapy went well and she leads a healthy, normal life now.

I now blog about tutoring on my own tutoring website where I also mentioned my 10 years of tuition. I am so glad I found this profession, and every year has just gotten better and better. I have made such amazing friends with students, families and other tutors. I have earned more money than I ever did and I have become an independent, self assured person. I have many many tales to tell of amazing people that I have met, and place I have been to. You will have seen some of these in my blog posts over the years. Here’s to another 10 years!

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