New Zealand Community Education Centres

Tutoring at CEC

What is ACE?

Night school, evening classes, adult community education (ACE) – whatever you call it, people coming to their local secondary school after hours to learn together is a New Zealand tradition. Maybe they’re returning to learning, want to gain new skills and confidence, meet new people, keep mentally active, follow a particular passion or become more involved in their community – there are lots of reasons why people want to continue to learn.   In this digital age, there’s a wide range of opportunities available for on-going study but getting together with a group of like-minded people to learn something new is hard to beat.  

The Wellington High School Community Education Centre (CEC) is always looking for people with great skills to share their knowledge and experience with others and need talented, empathetic and inspirational tutors to deliver courses for adults and whanau.   The following information will tell you more about the processes for setting up courses within our programme and what’s involved in being a tutor at the CEC.

The Community Education Calendar
Our programme follows the four-term school calendar and most courses run during school terms. 

Term dates for 2017

Term 1: Monday 13 February to Saturday 8 April
Term 2: Saturday 6 May to Monday 3 July (no sessions on Queen's Birthday Weekend)
Term 3: Monday 31 July to Saturday 23 September
Term 4: Saturday 14 October to Monday 11 December (no sessions on Labour Weekend)

The programme is usually planned for the full year ahead and is printed in a brochure that is distributed to libraries, supermarkets and other venues around Wellington. Course details are also posted on our website, which is where people usually enrol.  We can however add new courses as the year progresses so if you have a great idea, don't hesitate to get in touch at any time.

How are courses selected?
The CEC Director chooses courses, in consultation with the programme committee.  We take into consideration:

  • current Government funding requirements (where applicable)
  • the needs of our community and businesses
  • courses currently on offer
  • suggestions for new courses received from students
  • the tutor’s educational and occupational experience in the subject
  • the proposed market for the suggested course

Who decides the course content?
Course content is usually set by the tutor, in discussion with the Director and Coordinator.  Tutors need to keep in mind why people take community education courses and be flexible in their approach to setting their curriculum. 

How long does a course have to be?
Course length can vary but the most common options are two hours per week for eight weeks, two hours per week for four weeks or Saturday workshops from 9.30am to 4.00pm.  We're open to other possibilities but courses longer than 16 hours are unlikely to be considered.  Venue availability may also be a factor in deciding a course time or length. 

What’s the best time for a course and who decides?
Course times are suggested by the tutor, but the final decision rests with the Director.  We try to offer a spread of courses during the evenings and weekends at Wellington High School.

Who sets minimum and maximum enrolment numbers and course fees?
Course numbers are set by the Director, in consultation with the tutor, and take into account the type of course offered, the space and venues available and the tutor’s requirements.  Fees are set by the CEC, based on course length, administration costs and any materials required. 

Are there minimum requirements to be a tutor?
Tutors are required to have demonstrable knowledge of the subject being taught. For many courses, this may be the result of your own particular work experience, formal education and training or self-directed knowledge.  Most tutors are not expected to hold a formal teaching qualification, although we do recommend that all new tutors participate in a basic (subsidised) tutoring course called “How to Teach Adults”, offered through the CEC. The exception is tutors of foreign languages who need to have qualifications in language teaching.

Please note that tutors must have NZ citizenship, residency or a valid NZ work visa.

Our current tutors come from a wide range of backgrounds - they’re people who may have a special talent, skills or set of ideas that can be passed on to others.  The basic requirements are a love for your subject, a desire to share this expertise and a willingness to learn.

The following qualities are useful:

  • a good sense of humour and strong interpersonal skills
  • flexibility and a desire to share ideas with people
  • an excellent knowledge of your subject and the ability to communicate ideas (and adapt these to different skill levels)
  • professional presentation, punctuality and professionalism in working relationships
  • good speaking and writing skills
  • a willingness to prepare before sessions and to meet administrative and reporting requirements
  • a willingness to participate in professional development opportunities
  • a willingness to reflect on feedback from students and take action as a result

How can I make a proposal for a new course?
If you would like to offer a new course, we suggest you phone us first on 04 385 8919 to discuss your idea with the Director.  If we’re interested, we’ll email you the “New Course Proposal" form, which needs to have: a suggested course description that outlines what will be covered in the course; the main learning points (outcomes) of the course; whom you expect your target audience to be; the days and times that you will be available and any additional materials or costs that the students need to know about.

We also need a short resume, outlining your background and education and any teaching experience, training and achievements related to your proposed course.

Please note that submitting a course proposal does not guarantee that the course will be accepted or added to the programme.  If added, no guarantees are made that we will automatically continue to offer the course in subsequent terms.

Things to do or consider before you submit your new course proposal
Check the CEC website to see whether your proposed course, or something similar, is already being offered.  Are you considering offering this course elsewhere?  You may end up competing against yourself if you’re teaching the course in other places, as this can lead to low enrolments, cancelled courses and disappointed students.  If you’re a commercial business, is what you want to offer educational, not promotional?

What happens after I submit the proposal?
You’ll receive an email confirming that your course proposal has been received.  All proposals are reviewed by the Director and programme committee.  If your proposal is selected, you’ll be contacted and invited to come to an interview to discuss your course idea.  If your proposal is not accepted, you’ll be advised by email. 

Course acceptance and Individual Employment Agreement (IEA)/Contract
Once you've been interviewed and a decision has been made to offer your course, you’ll be sent a “Letter of Appointment”, along with a tutor handbook, and will be asked to provide personal details (e.g. IRD number and tax code).  Your course information will be uploaded onto the CEC website and/or included in the brochure, electronic newsletters and social media.

After the course is advertised, you’ll be given regular updates on enrolments but are welcome to contact us to check on these. If your course has reached enough enrolments to proceed, you’ll receive an Individual Employment Agreement (unless you are a member of the PPTA), or contract if you're GST registered and have chosen to be paid on invoice, and other relevant documentation.

Course Evaluations
Participants are regularly asked to complete an emailed evaluation form.  Summaries of the responses are sent to tutors and the Director will contact them to discuss any evaluations that may give cause for concern (or celebration). 

Tutor Pay
Tutors are employed under the Adult and Community Education (ACE) Staff in Schools’ Collective Agreement. Tutors who have fewer than 200 hours’ experience tutoring groups of adults are paid $30.03 per hour (plus holiday pay of 8%, if they are not contractors), while those with over 200 hours’ experience receive $39.88 per hour (plus holiday pay).  Please note that payment is made for teaching (contact) time only – no payment is made for planning and preparation, or illness – and is made at the end of each course.

What else do we offer our tutors?

  • an opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with others
  • part-time tutoring opportunities to help build your resume
  • on-going professional development and support
  • the opportunity for free places in courses which have space available

Contact us at cec@whs.school.nz or phone 04 385 8919.  We look forward to hearing from you.