Homelingua “staff room” – Webinar #5

Thank you to the teachers who came to the fifth Bucksmore Homelingua webinar on Friday 23rd October, gathering teachers together from Rochdale to Rochester!

We discussed a range of potential issues relating to home tuition and settled on four for deeper discussion. Teachers raised questions and concerns as well as shared ideas for dealing with those concerns. It was a good, simple, sociable afternoon.

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1. Junior students – how do you manage independent time?

The rule is as follows: you are responsible the well being of students aged 15 or under are not allowed to take public transport on their own in independent time although they can go to the local park or shops or sports centre at your discretion; students aged 16 or 17 are allowed to go out anywhere on their own in independent time if the parental permission form is signed.

It doesn’t mean that you have to be with students aged 15 or under all the time! You may need to be a bit creative with their independent time, however. Set them tasks, show them the local area, given them homework, allow them to read, watch tv or make a Skype call to family back home. Show independent time on the weekly schedule so that they know when they should be entertaining themselves.

2. Expenses for juniors and adults – how do I stay within budget?

The guideline is that you have £30 a week for adults and £70 a week for juniors included in the teacher fee for excursions and activity-based lesson materials. We thoroughly recommend you keep excursions local and with minimal costs.

When discussing the weekly schedule with a student, many teachers offer both free (i.e. included in the fees) and pay-for excursions. Unless you would do the pay-for excursion yourself anyway, it is generally better to ask students to do these in their independent time. Never ask a student for extra money retrospectively or by presenting them with a plan for a pay-for option.

3. Planning – when do I find time to plan lessons?

tutor-english-at-home-japanese-studentGood point! Feeding, teaching and entertaining a student can take all the hours in the day. Given that any weekly teaching schedule is likely to change, a teacher is called to be somewhat spontaneous in that student’s course content.

Over time you will build up resources so instead of generating everything newly each time, you will pull out ‘that thing on the past continuous’ or ‘that article about future plans’ and so on, and you can recycle from student to student.

The main draw of 1-1 tuition from a student’s point of view is that there is no fixed course and their individual needs are met. They expect that things will come up in one lesson to be practised in the next. One good technique is to show students the contents pages of a couple of several different course books and ask what they want to work on.

4. Teacher profile – how can I make mine more effective, appealing etc.?

The Teacher Profile is the first thing a student will see about you. Probably the most important thing, arguably even more so than all your skills and experience, is your cover photo. Make sure you look ready and welcoming. Hot on the heels of that photo is the picture of the student bedroom.

Next, bear in mind who is going to read your profile – learners of English and overseas sales agents.

Make your text relatively simple and make the main points clear. What do you really want students to know about you? What are the best or most important things which you want to communicate?

Use paragraphs.

Make sure you keep the main things the main things. (No that is not a typo.)


To sum up…

It was really good to be able to see and hear each other, to share questions and ideas.

We look forward to seeing and hearing you on future webinars!



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