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Steps to Becoming an Economics Tutor

By Yann, published on 05/06/2018 Blog > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > Become an Economics Tutor

Surely you have a love for numbers, statistics and analysis; otherwise, you might not have selected economics as your major, nor would you anticipate building your career around economic principles.

Whether you abide by them in your computations for a company or teach them to eager minds, you, more so than most, would be keenly aware of the laws of supply and demand, and consumer habits.

Or, you may turn to the academic side of the subject you hold most dear, as these economists in India did, to discover heretofore unseen patterns that reveal inequality.

Who knows? You might even win the Nobel Prize in Economics for your work, one day!

The world of economics: markets and trade, behavioural economics; financial economics or even environmental economics – the study of environmental policies’ financial impact…

This world is indeed fascinating and complex… and, for some with absolutely no head for figures, a real snoozefest!

Obviously, that is not you. You have mastered the econ, written your graduate thesis, perhaps on economic development in postwar Germany…

You are now looking to promote your vast stores of knowledge with the intent of gaining a solid reputation – and, through your work, a satisfying income as a tutor of Economics.

Unfortunately these days, it is not as easy as hanging out a shingle and waiting for passersby to knock on your door.

In this digital age, when commodities and futures can fluctuate more furiously than a frenzied feathered flock, there is veritable competition among tutors for students of economics (and other subjects).

Likewise, every undergraduate studying economic theory endeavours to retain the very best tutoring services that provide them the greatest satisfaction for their incomes and the prices they face.

According to George Mankiw, that would be the third principle of economics… right?

From your perspective, you are most likely looking to embrace the fifth principle: equitable trade.

Let Superprof now lay out the steps to becoming an economics teacher of merit, as recommended by our most successful tutors, so that you too can join their ranks.

How to Set Your Prices for Economics Lessons

The idiom money makes the world go 'round is apt for your tutoring business and in economics The goal of your teaching, and the point of economics is money! Source: Pixabay Credit: 1588877

The list of idioms involving money is staggeringly long. By the sheer wealth of phrases – pun intended, we can see that money does indeed make the world go ’round.

You must be so well-versed in the many ways money drives both political economy and public policy!

Your prospective students, most likely, are not. That is why they need you.

However, just as with any market, a vendor must employ viable marketing strategies. Too steep a rate and the job will go to your competitor.

Too low a rate and the quality of your instruction will be thought of poorly: not for nothing do people say you get what you paid for!

Of course, you may be independently wealthy and have a sincere and altruistic desire to educate, but you would be wise to not thumb your nose at folk wisdom!

Besides, think of how little regard you would demonstrate for applied economics if you flout the very principles you propose to teach?

Beyond that factor, pricing yourself effectively involves a measure of analytical thinking.

  • Do you intend for the sum total of your tutoring income to approximate a living wage?
  • Will you work a salaried position while you build your stable of clients?
    • Will you tutor full-time or part-time?
  • How many hours do you need to tutor to reach your financial goals? At what price?

Determining how much money you need to earn from tutoring is only one way to establish a schedule of fees.

Other aspects to consider are:

  • Will you design your own curriculum and provide teaching materials, or rely on students’ textbooks?
  • Will you meet your tutees at their home or some other place?
  • Might you host sessions in your home, so that your students are liable for transportation costs?
  • Would you tutor a small group, or do you prefer one on one sessions?
  • Would you consider tutoring students online, via webcam?

As you can see, many variables go into setting your per-hour rates for tutoring.

Tutors in big cities generally charge more for their lessons than those in remote areas Among other factors, where you live influences your tutoring rates Source: Pixabay Credit: MichaelGaida

Geographic Factors of Pricing

As you are surely aware, life in the big city costs substantially more than in remote regions.

That phenomenon is reflected in pricing private lessons – see this table for comparison!

Name of City or RegionMaths Tutors av. feeLanguages arts tutor av. fee
Economics tutor av. fee
London: average £17.29/hr£27 - 33£22.96
£18.96
Manchester: average £15.96/hr£18 £14.27£15.61
Glasgow: average £19.28/hr£20.89£19.28£17.67
Cardiff: average £17.25/hr£18.27£14.17£19.31
Leeds: average £16.56/hr£23 - 30£16.56£16.56
Averages across the UK: £18.49£21.86 - 23.85£17.25
£16.19

All salaries reported by Indeed.

For example, an economics tutor in London stands to earn more per hour than does one in Plymouth, Cardiff or Leeds, simply because London is the largest, most populated city in the UK.

With more students to teach, obviously, there is more potential for earning!

Still, should you not live in London – and even if you do, it would be wise to check out the competition, find out what other tutors in your area charge per hour and set your prices competitively.

Before we move on to our next topic, we leave you this thought to ponder: should you teach economics online, you will have no geographical boundaries!

That offers you a global range of students to teach!

Finding Students for Your Economics Lessons

Now that you have determined what you will charge for an hour of economics lessons, hopefully, based on your location more so than any other factor, let us throw a few curve balls at you.

One easy way to find students who need help in learning economics would be to skim your local Freeads and Gumtree.

You might also visit university campuses’ Department of Economics.

Quite possibly, they maintain a register of qualified, experienced tutors they could add your name to.

If there is no such roster, you may suggest they create one and put your name at the top of their list!

While you’re on campus, be sure to post flyers on Econ building bulletin boards; also in dormitories. There is no shame in handing a few such adverts out to anyone curious about what you’re promoting, either!

Those are obvious ways to find and retain students. But, have you thought of volunteering at your local Council or library?

True, volunteering runs counter to the principle of earning a living, but on the other hand: doing so gives you exposure to a broader client base.

Economics students don’t only haunt college campuses.

You may find a richer teaching experience by instructing a more diverse student body, perhaps consisting of:

  • senior citizens looking for an education on investment and mortgage prior to retiring
  • civil service hopefuls who need a better grasp on economic analysis for their exam
  • adventurous world travellers looking to learn more about their future home country’s economics, or the global economy in general.

You could also create a Superprof tutor profile free of charge, wherein you list your teaching and learning experience. You may even opt to teach online or at clients’ homes!

One demographic is strangely lacking from the world of economics, and may particularly benefit from your mentoring.

In spite of the controversy surrounding the Nobel Prize in Economics – most notably the snub of economist Joan Robinson, the award has been distributed 48 times… but only once to a female.

Perhaps you could make it your mission to recruit more females into the world of economics!

Planning your schedule is as important as planning lessons! Planning your lessons can take any form, as long as it remains flexible Source: Pixabay Credit: Rayedigitaldesigns

Planning Your Economics Lessons

Thanks to your competitive pricing and aggressive canvassing for students, you now have most of your nights and all of your weekends booked.

Perhaps you will host a seminar for all of your macroeconomics and microeconomics students.

Or, you might consider workshops for groups learning about one specific aspect of the discipline: labour economics perhaps, or international economics.

Although these are great ideas to plunge yourself into the lucrative world of private tutoring, most likely, the bulk of your work will be as a one to one instructor.

Should that be the case, the most reliable tool you will have to organize your teaching and mark quantitative progress would be by drafting lesson plans for each of your charges.

Perhaps the best aspect of formulating lesson plans is that they incorporate time within the lesson for flexibility and spontaneity.

Because Economics is not the most spirited of subjects, it is important to render it interesting, perhaps through debate or an energetic Q&A session, all of which should fit within the framework of the lesson at hand.

Any experienced teacher will tell you that it is so easy to be thrown off-track by a theme parallel to the topic you should be discussing.

A lesson plan focuses your time in such a way that such discussions are permitted, as long as you keep an eye on the clock.

The organized teacher structures his/her lessons the same way:

  • Warm-up: around 5 minutes to greet your student, exploring retention of last week’s material
  • Introduction of new material
  • Practice what has just been learned, perhaps using worksheets
  • Production: this is where your student works on his/her own
  • Review: the last few minutes of the lesson; you may discuss just-learned concepts or preview next week’s lesson

If you, like most tutors, instruct in hourly increments, you may find this breakdown easy to follow and adjust for each of your students.

If you have never created a lesson plan, there are several approaches to it, as well as several templates available for download.

Becoming a tutor of Economics is a multi-faceted endeavour that requires a lot of knowledge, planning, skill and ability.

You are most surely up to the task; we hope to have provided you with additional information to help you succeed in your venture.

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