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Setting Boundaries as a Home Tutor

There are many things that make being a home tutor a good career to pursue. As a home tutor, one has more control and freedom over the time one wants to spend working. Home tutors have the chance to manage their own work schedule and essentially, become their own bosses. When parents engage a home tutor for their services, they can suggest the dates and times for the tuition and thus, making sure the tutor can plot their own work schedule.

This can be a good thing. However, as it is favorable, it can also be quite difficult to find the right work and life balance. Some home tutors may tend to underestimate their work schedules and may think they have more time than they actually have. As such, when this happens, work can take over the tutor’s personal life and can possibly result in burnout.

If you’re a home tutor and you start to feel overwhelmed with work and scrambling to find the time to spend with your loved ones or just for a break, it’s time to think about learning and setting your boundaries as a home tutor.

Why do you need boundaries?

Of course, scenarios such as the ones stated above wherein you slowly start to run out of steam don’t happen overnight. And many home tutors may even not notice it until it becomes very obvious. When this starts to happen to you, the first thing you should do is ask yourself the question, “Why?” Why do you think this is happening to you? What are the reasons you’re getting overwhelmed? The answers can range from the pressure of parents’ requests for their children to spending your supposed free time answering questions from students.

It’s one thing to always be open to concerns from your students and questions from the parents, but if you spend a lot of time outside of the lessons answering their calls and messages, you’ll have less time to actually rest. In the beginning, it may seem inconsequential but it can lead to burnout in the long run. This is why boundaries are important for home tutors. While being a home tutor doesn’t really have the fixed hours of a regular job doesn’t mean a home tutor can’t set their own.

Setting up boundaries

There are also some things you should keep in mind when setting up boundaries. The first one is to identify the obstacles that prevent you from focusing during your work or from taking time off in peace. When you have identified these problems, it’s time to find ways to get rid of them.

So, how can you get rid of these problems? Well, this should also start with the tutors themselves. Make sure that you are also disciplined in the time schedule you have set up. And if the problem lies with your clients, make sure to also speak with the parents and students and set up their expectations on the very first day of tuition.

It’s also safe to look at your previous goals and remember why you set out to become a tutor. There may be different reasons for it but if you start to feel burnt out from tutoring, your motivations from the very beginning may wane out. And this will not be good for you or your students. As a home tutor, it’s your chosen path to teach students for them to reach their academic goals, however, you should also understand and recognize your own limits as a person. As such, when you go over your limits, you may feel overwhelmed and thus, will not be able to teach your students in ways you or they hope you would.

Tips to help set boundaries

It’s not always a bad idea to ask for a break and since tutors are also humans, you can’t please everyone. However, to help make your tutoring more effective and help you with your work-life balance, here are some tips to help you set your boundaries.

1. Decide your work-free days

There is a reason break days are important. Before you start your journey as a home tutor, it’s important to decide on the day or days wherein you get your break. This means that on those days, you will not do or think of anything related to your work. There will be no tuition lessons, classes, no lesson planning, and no gradings during these days. Doing this will help you get the rest you deserve and need after the days you were working. Break days will also help you spend time with the people you love or just relax. It will also help you regain your focus and destress for the next week’s work.

2. Stick to a fixed work schedule

It may seem like the charm of being a home tutor to have more flexibility with the working hours. However, this doesn’t mean that there should be no set working hours. As a home tutor, you will not work with only one student. You will be juggling to teach many students and these students will have different schedules as well. It’s part of your responsibility to make sure to fit them in a certain schedule that would be amenable to them without clashing with each other’s schedules.

But this doesn’t mean that you have to bend over backward for them always. Set a clear working schedule for yourself that is fixed and won’t change for whatever reason. It must be something you can commit to every day and fit the lifestyle you want to achieve. Once you have set up this schedule, make sure to stick with it. This is your step to make sure you have a work-life balance.

If, for example, somehow, your student is unable to meet for a session, you can set up a make-up session. However, you should help them understand that this will be a one-time thing. Your time is just as important as theirs. Don’t allow your students to take your time for granted. If you let this happen and it becomes frequent, it will take a toll on the schedule you have set for yourself.

3. Have a set grading time

In creating your work schedule, grading time should also be included. Some tutors will grade whenever they can, and while it can be done, it’s much better to do it in a set time. This way, you will have a clear vision of how much time you will be able to spend on grading. With a set grading time, it will help you going overtime with your schedule and also helps you stay productive with whatever it is you have allotted your time for. Another thing that tutors should be mindful of is that if they are starting to get tired and they continue on with grading, this can affect their focus and judgment. You may start to miss out on some mistakes the student has made or make poor judgments of what they have submitted.

4. Take breaks during the day

As students need their breaks during a day of classes, you are entitled to the same. Aside from the working schedule and grading time, you should also plan your breaks. The same with students, breaks will also help you refresh your mind and recharge before going to your next appointment or session. Breaks will also help lessen your fatigue for the day and any mental stress you may go through and thus will help you recover from a day of work.

You can decide how long you want these breaks to be or how much time you need to recuperate. Breaks can be for 5-10 minutes or an hour, depending on how much time you need. However, you have to make sure that during these breaks, you are not distracted so you can recover completely. As we are on the topic of breaks, sleeping schedules should also be included. Set a fixed time for bed and stick to it.

5. Longer travel time

Since a home tutor is bound to travel from place to place to get from one student to the next, you should set a travel time between sessions. In many cases, travel time is underestimated but why don’t you use this time as another break or time to catch up and speak with your family or friends. This can even be used as a time to reply to texts from friends or listening to music to relax you. Longer travel time can also help you when you come across unforeseen inconveniences that may arise.

6. Stop feeling guilty

It’s normal and common for home tutors to feel guilt when they set these boundaries for themselves. This can be especially difficult for those people who love to help and don’t want to hurt people. However, you should also understand the effects of setting these boundaries and how they can help you. Home tutors also deserve respect and care. Tutors also deal with a lot of things aside from imparting knowledge to their students. And if they don’t take care of themselves and their needs, it may affect their teaching, which will also ultimately affect the effectiveness of tuition.

Conclusion

Setting up boundaries helps the tutor for a variety of reasons and the biggest of them all is to ensure that the tutor doesn’t go beyond their duty. Aside from this, it also helps balance work and life outside of work better. This way, work doesn’t have to take over the tutors’ life completely. As it’s important for students to have time outside academics, it’s also important for tutors so they can also become better individuals that their students will love.

Carelle

Carelle

Carelle is a teacher who has been through the ups and downs of the teacher and learner life. She wishes for every learner to gain educational satisfaction that will help embody the people they want to be in the future.

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