Melissa Lehan’s work as a private tutor has taken her to some fantastic places. She worked in Bermuda for a couple of years, then Canada. There were stints in southern France, the Bahamas and Tuscany in Italy. At the moment she’s working in the countryside in Luxembourg, earning a six-figure annual salary.
An Oxford graduate and qualified teacher, Lehan, 36, works with children in a home-schooling role. She’s been doing this for 10 years. Her clients are generally wealthy parents who for various reasons aren’t happy with local schools and want a better education for their children.
She loves her job, which comes with paid accommodation and travel. But when you ask her why, it’s not the exotic locations or the time she taught on a private yacht that she highlights. Instead she talks about the relationships she develops with her students and having the freedom to drive a curriculum by weaving subjects together in a way that’s directly relevant to her learner.
“Clicking and helping that one child – knowing them so well that you know what they’re going to learn and what’s going to help them – is what keeps me going,” she says.
A private tuition boom
Globally, the private tuition industry is booming. One forecast says it will be worth $227bn by 2022, fuelled by growth in Asia and developments in online tutoring, like firms connecting students with tutors all over the world. The industry is largely unregulated and there are all kinds of providers: freelancers, cram schools, large chains, online services, bespoke agencies and more.