Hiring and Training Rockstar Tutors With Patrick Steck of Deans for Impact

Hiring and Training Rockstar Tutors With Patrick Steck of Deans for Impact

Pearl’s CRO Nate Casey recently conducted a broad-ranging interview with Patrick Steck, Senior Director of Policy for Deans for Impact, an organization committed to improving student learning outcomes by stewarding the transformation of educator preparation. Patrick also served as a legislative assistant in the Texas legislature and is currently on the front lines ensuring future educators learn what’s needed to become great teachers. 

Below are time stamped highlights and key takeaways from our February 28, 2022 webinar about hiring and training rockstar tutors. You can also find the video of the full webinar embedded at the bottom of this article. And don’t forget to sign up to receive notifications of future Pearls of Wisdom webinars!

Impacts of the nationwide teacher shortage 

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As Casey points out during the interview, there is a huge demand for educators nationwide, with “over 50 million K-12 students and a need for over 3.5 million teachers.” Unfortunately, there aren’t enough teachers to go around, with the Learning Policy Institute calling the teacher shortage a “crisis” that’s “stretching schools to the breaking point.” 

An October 2021 survey by Education Week confirmed the severity of the teacher shortage crisis, highlighting dire feedback coming in from districts around the country, noting: 

  • 37% reported “moderate” shortages
  • 25% reported “severe” shortages
  • 15% reported “very severe” shortages

Steck says he isn’t surprised. “At the start of the school year, teachers reported levels of exhaustion that we might expect heading into the end of the school year.” One of the main reasons for that exhaustion has, of course, been the widespread and ceaseless disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. While the pandemic isn’t the only factor behind the dearth of teachers, it has obviously been a major one, with Covid driving up early teacher retirements by a whopping 26% in 2021. 

However, the federal government is fighting back, funding a range of timely programs to bring tutors in to fill the gaps. “The pandemic unleashed tremendous energy, resources, and plans around tutoring as a means to facilitate learning recovery,” Steck says on a positive note. 

From national service programs such as AmeriCorps grants to Federal Work Study programs, federal funds through ESEA and IDEA, and other relief funds such as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, there seems to be no shortage of available cash coming in. But simply throwing money at the problem isn’t enough. Districts must find and train the right tutors who can augment schools during the teacher shortage and beyond. 

But how do districts find such tutors in the first place?

How the tutoring landscape is evolving 

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As Casey points out, America is experiencing a “Renaissance in tutoring.” From in-person to online services, tutoring is the evidence-based winner when it comes to addressing student learning loss effectively. And, as mentioned above, tutoring is also a viable solution for tackling the crippling national teacher shortage at the same time. For these reasons and more, tutors are hot commodities these days. 

But not all tutors are created equal and not every tutor is suitable for every district or student population. That is why both quality and variety are essential. Luckily, as Steck points out, there is a treasure trove of potentially excellent tutors out there who simply need the right training to evolve and help students succeed. 

Effective tutoring training should be:

  • Grounded in the best scientific understanding of how students learn, using evidence-based practices tutors can deploy
  • Arranged to ensure tutors can create equitable inclusive learning environments through relationships they build with students
  • Aligned to a well-sequenced curriculum, particularly for tutors who might not be in-service teachers and are earlier in their development
  • Sequenced so tutors can engage in ongoing professional development opportunities so they can improve their skills. 

Clearly schools have a lot of work to do to ensure the correct training and opportunities are provided. As education author Ron Berger noted in Edutopia, “Districts face a hard reality. Many children lost a great deal of academic growth last year. Districts need to know which students need extra support, including tutoring in and outside the classroom. But educators need to assess students’ abilities in a way that motivates them to grow.”

Once districts know what their students need and what they want tutors to know before starting, then it’s time to source those tutors. Alas, that’s not as easy as it sounds, because while teachers are in exodus mode, tutors are finding themselves in increasingly higher demand across the board. 

Building a roster of amazing tutors 

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Districts around the country are eager to put their federal funding to work hiring tutors who can get started as soon as possible. But where should program leaders be looking for great tutors? 

Given the sheer amount of tutors needed (and the already existing demands on the most qualified tutors), Steck suggests considering traditional as well as overlooked alternative sources. 

Where to look for qualified, trainable tutors: 

  • In-service teacher pools
  • Retired teachers serving as paraprofessionals
  • Teacher aide undergraduates or graduates at university schools of education
  • Undergraduates majoring in subjects related, but not identical, to the ones needed
  • Qualified community volunteers 
  • Organizations that employ tutors 
  • Other sources, such as Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and faith-based organizations

Mitigating risks of hiring tutors too quickly

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When the government offers funding, school leaders feel they must act fast to allocate those dollars in a certain amount of time. But while trying to move quickly, they shouldn’t cut corners or they could end up squandering the resources made available by hiring the wrong tutors. 

Unfortunately, there’s an absence of any coordinated national effort, putting billions of relief dollars at risk of not being properly managed to produce effective results. It wouldn’t be the first time. Schools have been left in such conundrums before, of being offered funds but not knowing exactly how to properly utilize them. No district wants to repeat the mistakes of the past, such as with some of the poorly managed implementations of No Child Left Behind.  

Schools do want to hire quickly to meet deadlines, but need a feasible plan of action to do it right. They must ensure they’re using evidence-based strategies, as exemplified by the Annenberg Institute’s National Student Support Accelerator based at Brown University. The focus, as Steck discusses, should be on finding high-quality tutors from the previously-mentioned talent pools. However, when possible, he also recommends to “incentivize the use of teacher candidates as tutors,” because “creating opportunities for teacher candidates to tutor really is a win-win!” 

Best practices for vetting and monitoring tutors

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After selecting the best sources for recruiting tutors, it’s time to vet the candidate pool. This involves knowing one’s district, its students, the unique challenges being faced, and the best ways to address those problems. Again, not every tutor fits readily into every situation, and so it is crucial to find candidates who are a strong match and who can align with both the needs and culture of the affected communities. In other words, it’s important to find tutors with the flexibility to adapt practices to student needs as well as to the requirements and conditions dictated by the school. 

Deans for Impact also promotes the idea of hiring tutors who possess a firm understanding of how the brain works, and a scientific understanding of how students learn. Simply being an expert in a needed subject doesn’t make a person suitable for tutoring children. The tutors must have a firm grasp of applicable pedagogy, as well as an awareness of the differences between teaching in-person and teaching online. 

After tutors are onboarded, Steck suggests monitoring and promoting tutor effectiveness to ensure positive student outcomes. 

Some methods to monitor a tutor’s performance include:

  • Providing on-the-job training, similar to in-service teacher coaching
  • Offering tutors timely, actionable feedback related to their instruction 
  • Establishing a system to track student growth for the length of the tutoring session
  • Speaking to students and parents to gain their insights and feedback about what’s working and what could be improved upon
  • Using surveys to obtain feedback from school leaders and teachers who can assess the tutors’ ability to support students and contribute to school culture
  • Applying incentives in a way that is meaningful to the tutor (not always monetary)

Summary

The knowledge gap has set some American students back by months, with underprivileged and underserved communities impacted harder than average. It’s up to educational leaders to implement the proper tutoring solutions…and to get things done right for students this time. We owe it to them, their futures, and their future families, who may be affected by the progress — of lack of progress — our efforts lead to in their lives. 

That is why Steck emphasized during our recent interview that his hopes are for tutoring to be “routinely available at no cost to students who need the additional support, especially those in communities historically underserved.” With luck and hard work, we’ll be able to continue the transformation of the tutoring industry so that, in ten years’ time or less, tutoring might “serve as a means for expanding and strengthening the pipeline of future teachers.” If successful, the nation might never face another teacher shortage again! 

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6 Signs You Need Tutoring Business Software 

6 Signs You Need Tutoring Business Software 

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to devastating learning loss among student populations around the country while creating a chance for entrepreneurial tutors to rush in and save the day! The year 2021 saw tutoring become a hot side hustle for some and a full-time business endeavor for others. Now, in 2022, many tutors are continuing to offer their tutoring services as part-time gigs, while those with broader goals are launching highly-profitable, scalable tutoring enterprises. 

No matter how big or small your tutoring business is, at some point, you’re going to need professional software to help you stay organized and manage your tutoring enterprise. Here are 6 signs you’re ready to take things to the next level with professional tutoring business software.

1. Your inbox is clogged

Your tutoring business must stay on top of communications to maintain a professional reputation. If you’re struggling to keep track of important messages with clients via email, it’s probably past time to move on to a better way of doing things. 

Pearl’s tutoring business software lets you keep all your business messaging in one place, so you never lose track again! 

2. You’ve missed appointments with students 

Each time students miss scheduled tutoring sessions, that’s a loss of revenue for your business. Of course, you can set a policy to charge for missed appointments, but that might lead to frustrations with clients. 

The simplest way to address this issue is with a built-in reminder system that keeps students, parents—and you—on time and on schedule. Pearl lets you book, view, and manage appointments quickly and send calendar reminders for upcoming tutoring sessions.

3. You need an easier payment management

Are you tired of wasting time with manual accounting for your business tax purposes? Want to get rid of the hassle of checks or cash payments, but need a more efficient way to manage credit card payments for your tutoring sessions? 

At Pearl, our tutoring software offers easy-to-use storefront payment management features that help you do all these things and more!

4. You’re struggling to keep track of student progress

Tutoring is a financial investment for clients, and sometimes clients wonder how effective their sessions are. The fastest way to show them is through progress tracking, which helps your business demonstrate the value of your tutoring services. When clients see their return on investment, you’ll retain them longer. 

Pearl was built by tutors for tutors, so we’ve built progress tracking tools right into our tutoring platform.

5. You need more virtual classroom features

Many tutors conducting online lessons rely on video conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Meet to connect with students. Unfortunately, such tools weren’t built for educational purposes and often lack essential features you may need to share information or hold your students’ interest. 

Pearl’s tutoring business software includes more engaging video conferencing with whiteboards and screen sharing conveniently built into your dashboard.

6. You need the ability to review lessons 

Both clients and tutors love the ability to record sessions for later viewing. This capability allows students to go back and review material while enabling tutors to look for areas where students might be losing focus during lessons. 

Too many tutoring entrepreneurs try to scrape by without the proper tools at their disposal, leading to wasted time, points of frustration, and potential loss of customers. 

Pearl takes the headache out of managing your daily operations so you can focus on the things that are most important—such as teaching students effectively…and growing your tutoring business! 


To schedule a demo and see Pearl in action, get in touch with us today by filling out this contact form.

The 7 Most Important Things a Tutor Can Do for a Student

The 7 Most Important Things a Tutor Can Do for a Student

We could write a book about the various knowledge and skills tutors need to be effective teachers for their students. But if we had to boil everything down to just the most important and impactful things tutors should do for their students, our list would go like this…

1. Listen to your students


Sometimes tutors measure which areas a student needs help in by looking at work they’ve done instead of paying attention to what the student has to say. It is critical to ask students questions, then attentively listen to their responses to determine if they have underlying misunderstandings or misconceptions about the material.

Quite possibly, a student’s struggles with certain subject matter may stem from a single core concept problem. By letting the student explain the topic in their own words, tutors can diagnose the issue and perhaps offer a new perspective that leads to a breakthrough!

2. Assess and adjust your strategy


Going hand-in-hand with the above, tutors need to consistently assess where the student is with the material, in conjunction with where they “should” be, based on predefined goals and timelines.

If a student isn’t making sufficient progress, it’s time to alter tutoring tactics. Tutors must be flexible and willing to adjust teaching strategies according to individual learners’ needs.

3. Be creative and flexible with learning styles


Every student has a unique learning style and a unique personality.

To be effective, savvy tutors determine the best way to reach each student via their learning style (more visual, more verbal, more written down, etc.). Tutors can next make inroads by finding things that interest their students most, then structuring lessons and activities accordingly.

4. Build relationships


To properly tailor lessons and teaching styles, tutors have to get to know their pupils better!

Students crave authentic relationships with their tutors. In turn, that rapport builds trust and enables better communication flow. These things facilitate learning in ways most students never experience in a standard school classroom.

It’s beneficial to have a strong relationship with parents, too. This allows for more honest and open talks regarding the students’ needs and projected outcomes. And, from a business perspective, it is vital to manage client expectations.

5. Be patient at all times


Students are often a bit shy about needing a tutor. They may enter into lessons with a fragile mental state, being hyper-aware of all verbal and nonverbal feedback.

Tutors, therefore, must exercise extreme patience and not cave into their own frustrations. When the student senses impatience from their tutor, at best, it can demotivate them or cause them to withdraw in embarrassment. At worst, it can cause a detrimental blow to the student’s self-esteem, making them feel like they are not “smart enough” to understand the subject matter.

6. Teach students how to problem-solve


It’s impossible to solve a problem if the problem isn’t clearly defined and understood in the first place.

Tutors should empower students with critical thinking skills to understand how to assess and clearly define problems. When necessary, they must also demonstrate how to break big problems down into smaller components.

Only after problems are outlined and understood should tutors help students attempt to figure out solutions.

7. Foster independence


In a way, tutors essentially should be striving to make themselves unnecessary for their students!

After all, a tutor’s ultimate job is to build student knowledge, skills, and confidence levels high enough that they become self-reliant. As the old adage goes, “Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime!”

Small Group Tutoring: What Size Is Best?

Small Group Tutoring: What Size Is Best?

When we hear the word “tutoring,” many of us think about 1:1 lessons between a tutor and student. But many tutoring sessions involve small groups, which can be just as effective, if not more so. When is small group tutoring better? Naturally, it all depends on the situation — particularly the needs of the students involved and the subject matter being taught. 

But apart from determining when a group lesson is the most viable, another crucial question we should ask is “what size should a group lesson be?” At what point does a small tutoring group become a small classroom, which defeats the purpose of the personalized tutoring concept? Let’s dig in and find out!

In general, small group tutoring sessions can stimulate engagement, with students feeling empowered and motivated by one another. It’s a totally different dynamic than a single student-to-tutor environment. But there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and student needs must be taken into consideration before making any decisions. 

In the briefing “A Principal’s Guide to Intensive Reading Interventions for Struggling Readers in Reading First Schools,” the author cites small groups as “the most efficient way to increase the intensity of instruction for struggling readers.” The benefits pointed out include targeted attention to student needs plus more opportunities for students to “respond and receive feedback.” The paper concludes that 3 to 5 students are ideal for that given situation. 

But there are other circumstances and considerations to keep in mind. Below, we’ve outlined some of the more essential things to consider before putting together a small group tutoring practice. 

Keeping classes “fun-sized”

1:1 tutoring lessons can be fun, but throwing a handful of peers in the mix alters the landscape, usually for the better. Having “fun” in a tutoring class might sound like a luxury to some, but savvy tutors know that fun activities are part of an active learning strategy. As noted in a Harvard study, active learning gets students more involved, enhancing their understanding and retention of material. The nontraditional approaches of active learning can definitely be more fun than listening to a lecture. But what’s the best size for a small group tutoring session? 

Brainspring reports studies that suggest small groups retain the essential elements of 1:1 lessons when limited to between 3 and 6 students. In comparison, EdResearch for Recovery identifies 3 to 4 students as the preferred target, arguing that “moving beyond this number can quickly become small group instruction, which is less personalized and requires a higher degree of skill to do well.”

Teaching students with disabilities

The maximum number of recommended small group students drops to between 2 and 4 for students coping with learning disabilities. Such special education sessions may require additional planning, enhanced instructional support, and perhaps different materials that take extra time to use. 

For teaching students with disabilities, Reading Rockets offers tips based on research from the Office of Special Education Programs. The suggested alternatives include peer tutoring, cross-age tutoring, small learning groups, and combined formats. 

“Smaller groups appear to be better,” Reading Rockets observes. “Groups of 3 to 4 students are usually more efficient than larger groups of 5 to 7 students in terms of teacher and student time, lower cost, increased instructional time, increased peer interaction, and improved generalization of skills.”

Staying cognizant of learning styles

Educators at all levels should take into consideration the diverse learning styles of each student. Tutors may not always have the time or resources to deep dive into their pupils’ inherently preferred styles, but should nonetheless be aware of how such differences impact learning. 

For instance, the VARK model considers four distinct learning styles — Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic. It may be hard to identify in advance of class scheduling which students are more prone to which styles, then find compatible students to add to the group. When in doubt, smaller is better. 

Age and maturity levels 

Another variable that impacts teaching efficacy is the age and maturity levels of the students in attendance. Younger students may be more apt to distract each other, but then again, teenagers often do so even more! 

The ability to focus (or lack thereof), however, is only one of the many factors at play when it comes to age and maturity. As educator Lisette Partelow wrote for U.S.News, “Teaching young students also requires some pretty good detective skills, as students don’t necessarily have the language or awareness to explain their misunderstandings, feelings or behavior.” 

In other words, it may be tough to tell when younger students are struggling if they cannot explain what’s going on inside. Tutors need to work with groups that are small enough to allow time for monitoring and gauging how well lessons are sinking in. 

Ability to track student progress

Tied to the above is the ability of tutors to actively track student progress over time. Some tutoring sessions are aimed at helping students who’ve fallen behind to catch up. Others are more focused on building advanced competencies to prepare for upcoming challenges. Either way, the tutor’s job involves establishing markers and measuring demonstrable success. 

When one student in the group begins to lag, a course adjustment may be required. Tutors can’t merely teach at the pace of their most high-needs students, but they also can’t let a single student falter. 

It’s imperative to closely track how each student is doing, and then intervene with 1:1 instruction or extra practice work as needed. By the same token, students who are ahead of the curve shouldn’t feel like they’re being held back. When the disparity between learners is too great, the group as a whole suffers. 

Experience of the tutor

EdResearch for Recovery made another excellent point by bringing up the qualifications of the tutors themselves, declaring that “teachers might be better able to tutor up to four students whereas paraprofessionals and volunteers may do better with one or two students at a time.” Seasoned tutors will be more adept at juggling higher numbers, whereas those without experience or training should focus on 1:1 sessions. 

Considering affordability factors

Small group tutoring is generally more affordable for the students (or their parents). This is a vital factor, as students around the country continue to struggle in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic’s darkest days. 1:1 tutoring sessions are out of many family’s budgets, so group lessons come to the rescue by enabling tutors to lower prices, helping remove that barrier to access. 

Simultaneously, tutors can potentially generate significant additional income for their tutoring business by attracting students who otherwise couldn’t come. However, the key is to ensure groups are small enough to be effective for tutoring, and that they don’t turn into micro classes

Choosing suitable subject matter

Some academic subject matters are better suited to small group learning than other subjects. However, even subjects like reading, which may seem to require a more 1:1 approach, can be effectively taught in groups. 

Teacher Magazine reported that Abracadabra, a small group reading program centered on “key skills of comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, phonemic awareness and phonics” incorporates individual and paired practice work as part of the group approach. The article goes on to note that sessions with 1 to 5 students allow for “more time to practice” while tutors “provide more individualized attention to help students overcome difficult problems.” 

While there is no consensus about which subjects are more suitable for small group tutoring, students and parents can find small group lessons for virtually any topic. From core subjects like math, science, grammar, and writing to enrichment courses such as music, foreign languages, or public speaking, there are endless flexible options available. 

Selecting the best tutoring platform or software

When deciding how large or small a group lesson should be, a final consideration is the software or online platform being used (if any). Basic teleconferencing software can suffice in a pinch, but to truly unleash the power of remote learning, educators and schools receiving government funding for tutoring are wise to invest in a professional tutoring platform like Pearl.

The ability to scale up is a vital consideration, but so is offering breakout sessions. Breakouts are invaluable, especially when a small group needs to temporarily be made even smaller. Tutoring software Pearl comes with several handy, built-in features while also offering custom design opportunities for institutions that have specific requirements not currently available. 

If you’d like a demo of tutoring platform Pearl, get in touch with us here.

What Is a Virtual Classroom?

What Is a Virtual Classroom?

The recent COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual classrooms across the globe but what exactly is a virtual classroom? The concept of remote learning has evolved significantly over the years with the rise of affordable personal computers and internet service. These days, students of all ages from anywhere in the world can easily engage in learning activities within their own home thanks to the rise of virtual classrooms and virtual classroom software like Pearl. 

Just like traditional classrooms, a virtual classroom utilizes a trained educator to share information and knowledge with one or more pupils. 

A virtual classroom is still a classroom — it simply doesn’t require anyone to be there physically! Instead, participants meet online by using webcams, microphones, and an intermediary software program. 

While the role of the teacher is obviously indispensable, the virtual classroom software used is also critical. Why does the virtual classroom software platform matter? To answer that, we need look no further than recent K-12 experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To minimize exposure risk, schools around the country issued students devices so they could learn from home. However, many K-12 districts soon discovered that student engagement lagged during the remote lessons, leading to significant learning loss. This was due, in part, to the overuse of no-frills video-teleconferencing software like Zoom, instead of educational software specifically designed to bolster the remote learning experience. 

An empty room isn’t automatically a “classroom,” and a student’s mere attendance, be it physical or virtual, doesn’t mean they’re prepared to learn. Experienced teachers know that to effectively teach a subject, a suitable learning environment has to be established first. Teachers must take the spaces they’re given and transform them into learning environments, then find creative ways to grab and hold student attention, elicit responses, and keep them engaged. 

Video conferencing apps like Zoom give teachers nothing to work with, but tutoring software like Pearl offers teachers a features-packed virtual classroom specifically designed to boost student participation. Tutoring platforms like Pearl dramatically reduce the effort teachers have to put into transforming their virtual classroom into a proper learning environment. Instead, they can focus all their attention on the actual teaching part of their job.  

Made for online educators by online educators, Pearl’s virtual classrooms offer all the bells and whistles educators want, plus many handy administrative features as well. 

With Pearl, tutors can: 

  • Easily share materials, including documents, slides, or videos 
  • Pull up virtual whiteboards that let participants write or draw (providing a valuable layer of physicality in a virtual setting)
  • Share screens to quickly display content students need to view live in-class
  • Record screens to capture tutoring session elements for later review

Pearl is much more than a virtual classroom platform, though. Pearl also offers helpful scheduling features that allow tutors to view and manage their lessons at a glance and even send out session reminders to students. Furthermore, user management functions make it a breeze to keep things organized from one control panel. There’s even a storefront for teachers who offer professional tutoring services and need to manage client payments. 

As educators, we created Pearl because we saw a need for an all-in-one tutoring software to help educators do their jobs better in this era of hybrid and online learning. Naturally, when tutors have the tools they need, they can better serve students who’ve suffered a tremendous learning loss due to the disruption caused by COVID-19. 

If you’ve ever dreamed of a remote learning platform that can “virtually” do it all, Pearl might make your dream come true! Get in touch with us today to learn more about how you can manage and grow your tutoring business.

How to Grow Your Tutoring Business

How to Grow Your Tutoring Business

Congratulations on launching your new tutoring business! Trust us, we know exactly how much effort goes into such a mighty feat. But if your tutoring business is at a point where you’re ready to grow and take things to the next level, then here’s a list of some of our best tips for growing your tutoring business: 

Set goals and milestones

Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” 

To grow your tutoring business, you’ll need to establish clear short and long-term goals in your business plan. These will be your “targets” to aim at. Examples may include goals like how much income you want to bring in each month from your tutoring sessions or how many students you desire to have. 

Whatever your goals, aim high and make sure to set up achievable milestones along the way.  

Decide if you want to grow or scale

Think about the difference between growing versus scaling. Growth can require extra capital, such as hiring extra tutors. Scaling, in contrast, increases revenue without necessarily adding costs. 

Do you want to bring in more tutors so you can book more students? Should you charge higher rates for your tutoring sessions or diversify by offering discounted small group lessons? 

There’s no right answer; you’ll have to work out the best big-picture strategies to achieve your unique business goals.

Do what the pros do

You’re marketing tutoring as a service, so consider applying the Ansoff model

  • Re-examine the markets you serve and your competition. 
  • Are there ways to sell more of your existing offerings (via market penetration)? 
  • Can you apply market development to find and fill unexplored gaps, such as overlooked niche subjects nobody else is teaching? 
  • What about developing new diversified services for existing students or teaming up with other tutoring companies instead of competing against them? 

There’s no shortage of creative ideas out there, so do your homework and emulate the pro strategies of top tutoring companies. 

Learn something new

You may be a subject matter expert on the topics you tutor, but when it comes to business, there’s always more to learn. Apart from researching on your own, it could pay off to invest in education and training classes. 

A certification program or even stand-alone business courses (like University of Virginia’s Business Growth Strategy, taught via Coursera) can provide invaluable insights to help your business reach the next level! 

Rethink your branding and marketing

How’s your branding holding up? Is the brand name catchy and compelling? Do you have a distinctive logo, color scheme, or brand guidelines? Is your website attractive and functional? To gain more from your tutoring business, you might need to invest in a professional brand makeover. 

Hand-in-hand with branding comes creative marketing and advertising strategies. Many tutors try to do everything on their own, but you can find affordable, talented help from experienced marketing and design freelancers on platforms like Upwork. Or, if your budget can bear it, you might try a full-service digital marketing agency. 

Get your finances in order

If you’ve been operating your tutoring business for a while, you’re probably aware that you have to save back enough to pay taxes to the IRS. Even if you’re only running a small business from home, Uncle Sam will want a cut if your self-employment income exceeds $400. 

While growing, your business plan should forecast extra expenditures and potential revenue increases. Track those numbers diligently, so you don’t underestimate taxes and leave yourself in a bind. 

If profits are running high, consider re-investing in the business to grow faster. How that looks depends on you. Some businesses reinvest 30% – 50% of profits; some invest all profits for a duration to really get the engines revved up.

Use a flexible tutoring platform 

Many tutoring businesses subscribe to an online tutoring platform or software that can be used for remote virtual classes as well as scheduling, messaging, and other routine tutoring business functions. 

Make sure to select a tutoring platform that’s flexible and offers the right features to handle growth. The tutoring software Pearl, for example, was built by tutors, for tutors, with all these considerations in mind!

Streamline your business model 

Your small tutoring business uses processes, whether you think about them as such or not. Sit down and spend some time taking an objective look at your processes and workflow. 

Look for inefficiencies that can be reduced or eliminated so your workflow can improve — leaving you with more time and energy! One way to cut down time billing clients is to try Pearl’s user-friendly payment management features

Leverage testimonials

Nothing generates buzz like old-fashioned word of mouth, so a few ideas for getting the word out are: 

  • Ask clients to share their student outcome stories on social media. 
  • Offer a discount to those willing to make referrals. 
  • Create a Google Business profile and share the direct link so clients can easily leave reviews. 
  • Post testimonials of parents and students on your website. 

While our list is short and sweet, these concise but powerful strategies should help you jumpstart your tutoring business’s growth in no time!