Tutor to the super rich earns up to £104,000 a year and travels world
Confessions of a super tutor: Teacher who earns £2K a week working around the world with the children of the super rich opens up about her VERY glamorous lifestyle
- Valerie Westfield, 56, earns £52,000 – £104,000 a year with her tutoring gig
- The tutor from Northern Ireland, must be ready to fly out at a moment’s notice
- She says her rich clients order tutors ‘like takeaway’ as they want kids to succeed
- Has worked in Switzerland, Morocco, Dubai, Greece, France and Saudi Arabia
Being paid £900 for half an hour’s work is something many could only dream of, but not for super tutor Valerie Westfield.
She’s been a teacher for three decades and has spent a portion of that tutoring children privately, most recently making the move to cater to the uber rich who have bottomless wallets and jets prepped to fly anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice.
In the past year Valerie, 56, from Northern Ireland, has been flown to Switzerland, Morocco, Dubai, Greece, France and Saudi Arabia where she can earn up to £2,000 a week teaching, with all expenses paid.
And she’s seen no shortage of pushy parents who are willing to pay huge amounts for a tutor so that they don’t have to take responsibility for coaching their children – and regularly order extra help ‘like takeaway’.
Not your average teacher: Valerie Westfield, 56, pictured on a boat in the Greek Islands, earns a living by teaching the children of the super rich and is flown around the world with families
Jet set: Valerie, pictured during a trip to France, has no shortage of pushy parents who are willing to pay huge amounts for a tutor so that they don’t have to teach their children
Lavish lifestyle: Valerie dons a black ensemble and faux fur coat for a night out in London
Valerie knows she can get results and was at the top of the list for one Chinese family who handed her the best part of £1,000 to help their son brush up ahead of an important exam for just thirty minutes.
‘It’s an interesting lifestyle to step in and out of,’ she says of teaching on yachts, mid-air, in chauffeur driven cars and by luxury hotel pools.
‘It can be very glamorous, people are paying you big money and you have to live up to what you say you can do.
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‘If you can’t deliver then they will find someone else. I have years of experience, I can guarantee to get them up to the level needed, and I know I can do it.’
Valerie, who spent many years teaching in north Wales before moving back home to Northern Ireland to help care for her father, signed up to two agencies in London – the Duke and Duchess International and The London Governess Agency who both cater specifically to royals, millionaires and billionaires.
Swiss getaway: Valerie, based in Northern Ireland, jetted off to Switzerland for one client
Highly qualified: Valerie, pictured in Switzerland, spent years teaching in North Wales before moving back home to Northern Ireland. She is now ready to travel at a moment’s notice
They negotiate the teaching packages with the families before the tutors are informed, so the prices vary from client to client depending on the intensity of the studies.
Since switching to tutoring for the super rich back in August 2017, Valerie has become accustomed to travelling at short notice depending on where her skills are needed, preferring the flexibility of short-term stints with families over long-term placements.
‘I was contacted on a Wednesday for a seven day contract in Switzerland starting on the Friday. So I flew to Zurich the next day to spend seven days teaching and preparing a Swiss boy for the 13+ common entrance exams for a top Scottish boarding school.’
Of course he sailed through after six hours a day of Valerie’s intense tutoring. But it’s not always so straightforward.
‘Most of the time it’s OK and I kind of have a schedule of what I’m doing, but sometimes on a whim [the family] will just decide they’re leaving.
Luxury destinations: Valerie poses for a photo while working with a family in Dubai
‘They will say “we’re leaving tomorrow”. I was in Dubai twice in one week, you have to pack all your stuff and go too, otherwise they can just cut your time short.’
Some of her fellow tutoring colleagues have enjoyed regular stints in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, where one of her friends managed to save £300,000 in just a few years through live-in positions where she didn’t have any bills.
Valerie, whose salary can average between £52,000 – £104,000 a year, said that the tradition of gifting teachers a present to say thank you for their help still stands, for one of her friends it went a little over the top.
‘She was gifted a Range Rover by a Chinese family she taught. It’s a different world!’
Families are prepared to pay high prices for her services because she is good at her job: ‘I have a solid record of getting pupils through their GCSE level and entrance exams for example at Eton, Harrow, and Merchiston Castle.’
Her skills are so sought after that the headmaster of Eton College recently got in touch to encourage Valerie to apply for a teaching post, and although she prefers to remain flexible, she said: ‘It’s always lovely to hear.’
Pushy parents will do anything to help their child succeed: ‘Sometimes it’s assumed that parents who pay a lot of money for tutoring are also disconnected from their children, and want to pass the burden to the tutor.
‘I have come across that. I have had one pupil who said to me “Mummy orders tutors all the time, like ordering a take-away”.’
Valerie during her time tutoring a child in Saudi Arabia. Not all families she works for are high earners, but Valerie says they’ll give priority to education over any other activity
Valerie, who has been a member of the Cheshire Polo Club for 15 years, says that education is prioritised over any type of childhood activities, like playing with friends, because it doesn’t benefit their parents’ future career goals for their kids.
In one particular family Valerie was tutoring two siblings, one passed their 11+ exam the other didn’t: ‘She felt she wasn’t good enough because she hadn’t got it.
‘I said to her “Oh it doesn’t matter I didn’t get it when I was your age and I turned out alright”.
‘Then she decided that she wanted to be a physio and she picked all her options to do that. She was a different kid after that.
‘A lot of the time, I think the kids are made to feel they are not good enough if they don’t get into a certain grammar or prep school.’
Sun-soaked: Super tutor Valerie snaps a photo beside a pool during one work trip in Greece
She adds: ‘At one time having a tutor was like having a big secret, to admit you had one was like saying “my child needs help”.
‘But how that has changed. Almost every family now has one for their children and they love to boast about it, it’s a status thing.’
That counts for those who are willing to make sacrifices just so their children can get the best education they can.
Valerie explains: ‘I find that some families are not high earners, but they will sacrifice other things for tuition and I don’t charge them extortionate rates.
‘Other families don’t have a lot of money but they will still pay. They want their children to have the better chance than what they did.’
There’s a lot of hard work involved for Valerie, who can be contacted via LinkedIn or her London agencies, but it’s certainly rewarding: ‘Teaching is the best job in the world as far as I am concerned.
‘And if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life.’
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