Having spoken to many teachers of late, I’ve noticed a growing trend in the number of teachers who are turning to online tutoring as a way to supplement their income.
Digging deeper, there are some interesting developments as pinpointed by the white paper released on the subject by The Tutor Pages.
What is particularly interesting is that teachers in London and the south of England are far more likely to turn to online tutoring than those in the north. Could this be because of the increased cost of living or are there other factors at play?
We know for example that technological innovation tends to be more prevalent in London then up north as evidenced by the edtech start-up world particularly around Old Street (dubbed Silicon Roundabout).
The majority of online tutoring appears to be around the sciences and languages, and most demand tends to be at adult level or secondary level.
What’s causing this trend? Is it something to be worried about? Is the fact that more and more teachers are feeling the need to supplement their income a worry for the future of the education industry?
Could this also have knock-on implications for students?
It’s not a great push to imagine a scenario whereby a conflict of interest may arise. Imagine for example if the quality of classroom teaching actually decreases so as to increase the likelihood of private business. After all, who’s a parent more likely to turn to if their child needs help; the teacher the child knows from school (conveniently available on Skype), or someone they have no experience with?
This is definitely something we need to keep a close eye on, as the industry continues to grow.
What’s interesting about online learning is that there is no barrier to entry. Just about anyone can start a business from the comfort of their own homes, as clearly demonstrated in this post by Businessmem.
When asked if teachers actually preferred tutoring online 44% answered that they did. When subsequently asked whether they were considering tutoring more in the subsequent years and additional 33% answered that they were.
This statistic on its own makes it crystal clear why we need to take online learning seriously as teachers. More and more of our colleagues are turning to it because there is a demand. At present it still appears as though the majority of that demand is focused regionally as well as on specific subjects but over upcoming years it’s safe to say that this will catch up in other areas as well.
So how much can a teacher expect to earn through online tutoring?
Well according to the same study 44% of teachers who taught both in person and online derived less than a 10th of the total income from online teaching.
Of the remaining, 42% said that it made up between 10 to 60% of their income, Under 5% said that it’s made up more than 60% of their income.
As an outsider looking in, having never taught online myself, I see these stats as quite concerning.
Reading between the lines, it implies to me that teachers are turning online as a way to make ends meet i.e. they don’t feel they are earning enough at school.
This shows that online teaching isn’t necessarily being pursued as a career it’s being done purely for financial reasons.
And that for us poses a huge question.
Remember, the very purpose of our site is to help teachers to manage their workloads and destress. If your work load is actually set to increase due to a need to earn additional money, particularly if it’s out of necessity, then this is something we need to tackle or at least help tutors to manage.
So the question then becomes, is online tutoring something you are doing or considering doing in the future?
Would you like us to run some workshops on this matter?
Let us know if you’re interested and we can put together a workshop specifically for you.