From teacher to tutor: How to make the switch

4 min read   •   April 25, 2024
Elmien Ackerman

American author Joyce Meyer said, “Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges”. For many South African teachers, the challenges they are currently facing seem to outweigh the amount of chalk available. A lack of adequate resources, large class sizes, and budget cuts have led to teachers across the country needing to find alternative ways to change their learners’ lives.

Danie and Diana, former teachers turned independent tutors, share their insights on making the switch and how they are now making a difference through tutoring.

Meet the tutors

Danie van der Merwe, a former Afrikaans teacher, switched to tutoring in 2018. Frustrated by the administrative burdens the traditional school system placed on teachers, Danie found joy in the freedom that tutoring offers. “Being a tutor brings back your power to find new and exciting ways to teach,” he explains.

Diana Folscher, with a decades-long teaching career, turned to tutoring in 2013 when her son was medically compromised and needed to be homeschooled. Diana, just like Danie, was tired of battling the rigours of mainstream classroom dynamics. “I really felt that there had to be an alternative way to help learners with different educational needs,” Diana says. She became an independent tutor to empower learners on their own terms.

Also read: Surviving tutoring during lockdown

Smaller groups, bigger “Impaq”

One of the biggest benefits of tutoring is that it allows you to work with learners one-on-one or in a small group, allowing for more personalised learning. “It’s much easier to have three students in front of you than a class filled with 47,” says Danie. There are many other benefits to making the switch from teacher to tutor, including:

  • The flexibility to tailor your lessons to match each learner’s specific learning styles, abilities, and interests, leading to more effective learning outcomes.
  • The freedom to conduct sessions when and where it suits you, free from classroom constraints.
  • More autonomy when planning your day, no strict schedules, unnecessary meetings or administrative burdens.
  • Establishing meaningful relationships with learners to create a conducive learning environment, fostering open communication and collaboration.
  • Working closely with homeschool learners allows you to see the direct impact of your teaching on learners’ academic progress and personal development.

Diana says that the close connection with her learners is incredibly rewarding. “It gives me great joy to see how anxious, defeated learners transform with personalised tutoring. They come out of their shells and grow into confident individuals,” Diana adds.

Also read: Breaking the ice on social anxiety 

The tutoring triangle: tutors, parents, and learners

Parents play a critical role in the partnership between tutor and learner. “It is a triangle alliance,” explains Danie. So how does it work? When a parent decides to register a learner for homeschooling, they are the primary responsible party for the learner’s education. Tutors cannot take full responsibility for the learner’s education but rather provide subject-specific support.

“Parents must know that a learning centre is not a school; you are tutoring their child,” Danie says about offering his experience to support parents homeschooling their kids. “Parents [ultimately] manage their child’s learning programme alongside the tutor,” Diana adds. Parents must be involved and ensure learners complete their tasks and study for tests and exams, whilst the tutor provides the subject insight the learner needs.

Choose the Toyota of curriculums

Danie admits that making the switch from being a teacher to becoming a tutor can feel overwhelming. Still, he says that choosing a trusted curriculum provider has made all the difference. “Impaq is reliable. It’s the Toyota of curriculums,” Danie says.

Diana also credits Impaq with making the switch that much easier. “I tried using a different curriculum provider alongside Impaq, and it was a disappointing experience. We now stick with Impaq because its products and services have served us and our students so well over the years,” she explains.

Also read: How to Build a Strong Homeschooling Support Network

Impaq offers all-in-one support for tutors from Grade R to Grade 12 with CAPS-aligned products and services to support your tutor business, including:

  • Listing on the Impaq website – receive an optional listing on Impaq’s website to advertise your tutor business.
  • Earn referral fees – Earn referral fees for learners linked to your profile.
  • Access to Impaq’s online platforms – Access Impaq’s online platforms to manage your account, order products online, and obtain thousands of digital resources.
  • Dedicated support – Get support and advice from a dedicated tutor support consultant.
  • Legal advice – Get legal advice and support regarding home education and current legislation from Impaq’s legal team.

If you are considering making the switch from teacher to tutor, visit or send an email to