If you are looking into becoming a tutor, you may want to establish a tutoring office in your home. Tutoring can be accomplished anywhere: you may choose the public library or opt to meet at your student's home. But having a private office in your home allows you to permanently set up your work space without having to tote your supplies all over town. It also allows for privacy and quiet, which is actually at a premium in most public libraries nowadays. If you decide to set up a home tutoring office, you might want to start by setting up in an unused spare bedroom. Read on for tips on how to transform this unused space into the idea office setting.
Establish a Workspace
Most tutors prefer to work alongside their students, so for this purpose you will need a table and chairs rather than a desk. Choose a table that gives you enough room to spread out all your books and supplies but still be near your student without having to get up and walk around. You'll need lighting that is bright but doesn't cause a glare, as reading is hard enough on your eyes. You might want to invest in full-spectrum lights, which are easier on the eyes and offer the same restfulness as natural light. Full spectrum lighting is available at most home improvement stores.
Make it Welcoming and Quiet
A tutoring office should be welcoming and unintimidating. Don't aim for a professional look, which can be off-putting to many kids. Opt instead for color, warmth, and comfort. Your tutoring office should be reasonably quiet, to allow for better concentration. If lots of noise is an issue in your house, you may want to look into various soundproofing options available for home offices. For a small outlay of cash or time, you can create a much calmer environment in your tutoring office.
Keep it Neat
Your office is your permanent set-up for your tutoring business, so you should have all the materials you need at hand. Don't waste your student's time by hunting for papers or books under piles of junk. Install shelving, cabinets, drawers--anything you need to keep your work space tidy and organized. It will make you appear more professional and save lots of valuable work time.
Choose Colors Wisely
There are dozens of books available about the psychology of colors. Spend a few moments browsing through one or two to get a feel for your tutoring environment. Generally speaking, blues and greens are more quiet and soothing and promote concentration. Reds, oranges, and yellows give you energy and verve. Whatever mood you wish to invoke, paint the walls a complementary color. It's an inexpensive but wholly effective way to set the stage for your surroundings.
Your home tutoring office should be a neat, comfortable, and inspiring setting in which to learn. Take a few moments to really plan your work space, and you will be surprised at the results. A little organization, preparation, and paint will turn your spare bedroom into a beautiful and calm home office.
Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.