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-   -   Working as an independent tutor? (EU B Permit) (https://www.englishforum.ch/employment/111370-working-independent-tutor-eu-b-permit.html)

Vlh22 12.04.2011 22:21

Working as an independent tutor? (EU B Permit)
Hello all,

I am 'in discussion' with a group of families who want to start home schooling their children. They are looking for someone to teach 6 children for 15 - 20 hours per week, which they are describing as a 50% post. They want to employ someone who will be working on an independent basis and will bill them for services rendered.

I am a little unsure about this. I have been told that as an independent worker, I wouldn't be entitled to unemployment benefits. Seeing as at some point these kids are going to need tuition beyond my skills, that worries me. Likewise, I would imagine I would not be entitled to sick pay. Seeing as I don't enjoy perfect health, that scares me! Any thoughts?

Secondly, does this affect my permit? I'm EU, have a 5 year B permit "activité lucrative authorisé"... I've done bit of research and it seems that I would have to get permission to work independently - however I'm concerned as I doubt that this job would give me enough to live on. On the other hand, if this thread is correct I would have enough hours for a permit.

(To answer those people who are sitting there thinking "Well what does she live on at the moment? at present I get Revenue d'Insertion... there is a space on the claim form for earnings as a result of independent work, but I'm not sure that the Swiss authorities would be happy to subsidise me long term!)

I'm thinking that my best bet is to try and persuade one of these families to employ me as a tutor or governess, and then suggest and arrangement whereby the other families reimburse my employer for my services - so what I'm looking for are some really good reasons why they should do this!

Finally, they're being rather cagey about salary, as per usual. I'm a qualified primary school teacher (UK), 6 years experience, double first Cambridge degree (sorry, rather proud of that! :msnblush:)... I worked in a jardin d'enfants and was paid just under 50 fr per hour, at the same time I taught English in small groups and was paid 35 fr per hour. However I've been told by a friend who used to do childcare to ask 100 fr per hour... So I'm rather confused. I'm also concerned because I know that whatever the paperwork may say there would be additional preparation time involved... so without sounding greedy I'd be keen to get a higher hourly rate, to compensate for the fact that I would inevitably work more hours than specified.

Thanks for any advice... feeling rather scared after 18 months off sick (and having said I would never go back into education again, doubting my sanity)...

Moorsholm 13.04.2011 12:58

Re: Working as an independent tutor? (EU B Permit)
Don't go for an hourly rate.

Calculate what a state primary school teacher here gets and then half it. By the way - there is no way that 20 contact hours a week would be considered 50% - do not accept that. State primary teachers on 100% have around 25 hours a week contact teaching hours.

I'm not sure on the salary for that - perhaps someone can jump in, but I'm sure it's pretty good (around 7-8,000chf)

Be very careful - sounds like they are trying to really take you for a ride.

MathNut 13.04.2011 13:58

Re: Working as an independent tutor? (EU B Permit)
6 children is, perhaps coincidentally, the legal limit you can teach in Vaud and still call it "homeschooling". More than that and you are considered a private school, fall under different regulations and have to work more closely with the canton. Maybe the parents know all this already, or maybe they just happen to have six kids between them. Don't know. Anyway, I would not get involved without making very sure that all parties have done their legal homework.

Also, somebody (you? the parents?) has to send the authorities a list of students at the beginning of every year; the authorities have the right to visit/give exams/etc. in order to satisfy themselves that education equivalent to that in the local public schools is being given. So somebody's got to coordinate with them on that.

My point is, aside from number of contact hours - aside from the difficulty of teaching to several different ages simultaneously (and don't underestimate this!) - the administrative side will also be more work than you or the parents think.

Homeschooling is brilliant. It's not for everyone though, and what happens if it doesn't work for some of these kids? Are you going to be responsible for determining whether to continue or not? Are the parents? Presumably the point of having a teacher involved is that if something is going wrong, he or she will spot the deficiency quicker (partly due to training and partly due to experience with hundreds of other X-year-olds and how they learn.) That only works if the parents are willing to defer to your professional judgment. Will they? They're apparently not willing to defer to a public school teacher for whatever reason so why do you expect they will be more receptive to you?

Do you know their motivations for homeschooling? Do you agree? If they are "true believers" in some particular philosophy of education, you need to be one too. Just being happy to go along with it is not enough.

What is their attitude toward the educational establishment? You are a representative of that establishment and can expect to come in for your own helping of the same attitude sooner or later (read: as soon as you insist on doing something differently than they would have done it.)

Look, I'm not knocking the potential here. When it works, homeschooling's brilliant. Best thing my parents ever did for me. It's not for every situation though, and what you are describing (school at home, with non-related kids and a teacher who is not related to any of them) is definitely one of the harder ways to make it work. Not saying it can't be done, but it will be very hard work for you (much too hard for whatever salary they will agree to) and you will be lucky if you are not piggy-in-the-middle on a regular basis.

To be blunt, unless you are passionate about this educational method and these kids, I would think twice, and more than twice.

MusicChick 13.04.2011 18:37

Re: Working as an independent tutor? (EU B Permit)
Honestly, it sounds like a fantastic project. Homeschooling can so work when the atmosphere is good, there is motivation and energy, support from parents and "reseau" for you if things do not go right.

I don't want to knock it down, either. I would, however, question, how ready I am after a year and a half of being on and off hospitalized for mental illness.

You sound like you are planning to do this alone. It can be super stressful, 20hrs is about 80%. I think 60fr is a lot more realistic. If you facture in admin work, state school gives you 45min a week if you are class teacher in my public school, you cannot really ask for more, I would, still, if parents agree (2-3 per week).

I understand you want to get back on your feet and not be on disability pension, but considering the fatigue, all the problems you reported here, how un-supportive your family sounds, I would start baby steps or organize this with a couple of friends who can step in, cheer you up, pass on some wisdom, back you up...From a hospital bed and therapy, into a full time freelance work with all the responsibility, might be a big step, fatiguing.

The best would be to organize this with a local friend, or one of the moms if she is stay at home, speaks local lingo and would be willing to help out with administration.

I think you should also contact your commune and hire an accountant for a sitting or two, to see where you permit takes you, what your duties are, fiscally, social security wise, and what you need to do to file your taxes well.

Out of all the modes of reinsertion, going freelance here in CH is the most difficult one. In my opinion - split it: a few hours tutoring, a few in public school, a few on your own, then move over to the one that works the best, build it up. I have done it for 15 years, with different focus depending where I was and what I was doing, it's a great way to have security. Good luck and don't lose your dreams.

I am sure you have searched, there is a nifty blog I found, with a forum to ask relevant practical questions (and it is next door, too).

Vlh22 14.04.2011 16:30

Re: Working as an independent tutor? (EU B Permit)
Thanks everyone for all the very helpful and thoughtful replies.

I've decided to pull out of the discussions, as I wasn't 100% sure beforehand and your responses have confirmed that a) the workload would be much higher than 50%, b) home schooling is complicated here (the initial advert didn't make it clear they were home schooling) and c) there could be big issues if the parents' viewpoints didn't match with my own (the advert listed several different methods of teaching so I'm not sure they know what they want).

Add in the fact that they wanted someone who would just bill them for hours spent... Just not a good move.

Thank you all so much, I'm very grateful to have had your good advice!

Better get on with the AI application... was hoping to avoid that route but never mind. :msncrazy:

olygirl 14.04.2011 16:35

Re: Working as an independent tutor? (EU B Permit)
Please help me here. If it's homeschooling, why are they hiring a teacher to teach 50 -75% of the time?

MathNut 15.04.2011 10:02

Re: Working as an independent tutor? (EU B Permit)
It's called group homeschooling. Where I grew up it was more commonly done on a class-by-class basis (e.g. several homeschooling families with teenagers would band together to hire a physics tutor) or for field trips (e.g. three moms with vans would drive fifteen kids to the museum, next month some of the dads would organize a tour of a construction site, etc.)
It can also be really good for families with a mix of school-age kids and toddlers. You get together one afternoon a week, and one parent minds the toddlers while the older kids do a craft project, a history lesson or something with the other parents. Think of it as combined school/playdate.

20 contact hours a week though? Maybe these families want the educational flexibility of homeschooling, but can't afford to have one parent stop working, or... not sure. I could also see it as a good option for people who know they are only here for a year or two (hence local schools not the best option), but aren't on the sort of salary that would enable them to afford international school fees for several kids.

MusicChick 15.04.2011 17:48

Re: Working as an independent tutor? (EU B Permit)

Originally Posted by olygirl (Post 1169872)
Please help me here. If it's homeschooling, why are they hiring a teacher to teach 50 -75% of the time?

Because they are stingy and in fact it is almost full time but paying her only half time, you see?

I fellow band member home-schooled his kiddo for two years when they were expats in my homeland, and honestly, it was hard. He had all the right curriculum, books, imagination and a ton of energy and super high intelligence to improvise and all, but it was him who couldn't find time for band practices as opposed to us working your usual 50-60 hour work weeks. It can be extremely demanding, if one is not at his/her own home country, just to find resources, organize oneself etc. I wouldn't quite on that idea, but would build the work load up, as a TA perhaps, together with a parent, step by step. To home-school in a culture where one grew up and went to school and in a new culture where one is still trying to learn the ropes of things is a different work load.

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