This is a transcript of a speech given to The Athena Tuition conference in Edinburgh on Saturday, 4th June, 2016 by Adam Muckle, President of The Tutors' Association:
"I have been tutoring for seven years now, but I always remember when I started tutoring. I had one of these pensive moments, staring into the mirror, wondering whether I was the only one in the world tutoring. I found tutoring so dynamic, so rewarding, I was determined to make a go of it and make it a success. I had finished my law qualifications and a legal friend had first told me about tutoring while I was looking for work. I started a legal research position soon after and tutored at weekends. I then channelled the tuition money earned towards a Justice Mission in East Africa. It wasn't really until 2012, when another legal friend who also tutored told me about a tutoring company, that I bit the bullet. I signed up and within months I was tutoring up to 30 students, sent to Shanghai to tutor over the summer and given a tutoring award. However, without these two chance conversations I may not even be here speaking to you. So you have Jessica and Wendy to thank.
A year later, The Tutors' Association was founded in October 2013 as an industry-led initiative to provide a representative voice for the tutoring industry. Its aims are to give much needed professional recognition for tutors, reassurance for parents on the first steps in selecting a tutor and a responsible voice for the profession. It also gives tutors a support network and community to share insights, challenges and exchange ideas. Over the past decade or so tutoring has flourished in the UK and abroad into a multi-billion pound industry. It is difficult at this stage to glean accurate statistics, but there are hundreds of thousands of tutors all over the UK individually contributing to the educational lives and futures of others. Such an industry needs a coherent voice and this is it, establishing dialogues with schools, parents, the media and government. As I see it, The Tutors' Association is both a standard-bearer for good tutoring and a support network and community for tutors. So it is meant for you and to support you in the good work you do. Over my seven years so far in tutoring from the beginning I have been acutely aware of how self-reliant and solitary a role tutoring can be. This Association changes all that.
When the Association was launched two and a half years ago, there was some suspicion from individual tutors, myself included, that this may have been some form of regulatory capture. However, I gave it the benefit of the doubt, joined and got involved. I can say with confidence as an independent tutor and as President it is not that at all. It is instead a way to meet hundreds of other tutors like yourselves from different areas of the profession, to share experiences, ideas and best practice. It is open and inclusive, membership-led, with participation welcomed and completely democratic. New Directors from our membership have just yesterday been elected to the Board and are now in a place to make a real difference to the tutoring industry within the broader educational landscape within the UK. We also have a series of panels which you can get involved in: a CPD Panel which helps create and organise professional development events; a panel investigating the idea of a voluntary course for new tutors; I have created a Pro Bono Panel to look at ways the industry is closing the educational gap; there are also other panels that focus on various strands of tutoring that can be activated when necessary, such as the online and residential panels. Although we are beyond our formative stage, new ideas are always welcomed.
So what do I do to become a member and what are the benefits?
For the price of about two tutorials, the price is £60 per year for tutors attached to a corporate member, or £99 if a completely independent tutor.
You must sign a code of ethics, having submitted your qualifications, personal tuition statement, references and DBS check. This is public proof of your commitment to tutoring. We currently have over 350 members who have done so already, including 150 corporate members who represent thousands of tutors. Having joined, what are the benefits?
Certificate of membership and designatory letters after your name of MTA
branding for stationery and website to signify membership
a legal service, including a free legal helpline
discounts on academic resources, including Galore Park, Bond papers and Hodder Education
discounted offers on accounting and tax service, professional indemnity and public liability insurance
an enhanced DBS certificate service
Many of these above may not seem particularly glamorous, but without these tutors can be vulnerable and their professional standing insecure. These services are something I wish to extend to mortgage and pension advice for tutors and am consulting on. Corporate members can also have their first month of Tutor Cruncher for free, especially good if starting your own business.
Most important of all, however, are the member events and workshops which we offer members, at a reduced rate or free of charge. So far, in the past year, we have hosted workshops and seminars on SEN and Dyscalculia, child psychology, and fostering happiness and heroism in children, all provided by education experts. These events are not compulsory to attend, but they are a good way to meet others in the tutoring community, make connections and feel supported in the work you do. Currently the Association is working on a podcast, with various voices from our membership discussing the benefits of tutoring; an event in July on successfully growing your tutoring business and we are organising a big event at Stowe School for October half-term - a whole day of talks, food and keynote speakers. So much to look forward to and we would love you to take part. This Association is for you.
Our website is www.thetutorsassociation.org.uk, we are on LinkedIn, Facebook and predominantly on Twitter, so do take a look to discover more.
There is an African proverb, "If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together." My motivation in taking on this role is to leave the Association in a better place where someone like me starting off seven years ago can have a go-to resource; for finding out everything they need to tap into to get started and then thrive through their whole career in a recognised profession within the educational landscape. We are creating something of lasting value, for both now and generations to come. The vision is that through membership growth we can have an established profession, all these resources and facilities, offices, libraries, classrooms, more networking opportunities, making great things happen. For me it is an exciting time in the endeavour to establish this. It is pioneering stuff, changing a culture of self-reliance to one of support and cooperation. It is one that I hope you can all participate and feel involved. Thank you."