Become a Tutor

Our tutors and facilitators are the hub of our organisation. They give their time and knowledge freely, to make U3APP what it is. Sharing skills amongst ourselves is the core idea behind the U3A organisation.

If you have some special knowledge or skill that you would  like to share in any format, please contact the Course Coordination Team. The Tutor Proposal Form can be downloaded by clicking here.

If you would like more information before you complete the form, please email [email protected], and one of the team members will get in touch with you (please include contact details).

Below are a series of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) which may help you decide whether you want to become a tutor. Click on the arrow on the left of a question to see the answer.

FAQs for Tutors

What qualifications do tutors need?

Generally speaking, you require nothing more than interest, knowledge or experience in the subject you want to teach, and the time to prepare and present classes.

Tutors wishing to conduct exercise classes need to verify to the curriculum team that they are sufficiently trained so as to ensure the safety of those participating in those classes.

What kinds of courses does U3A Port Phillip currently run?

To see our complete course program, click here. But we are interested in any ideas for new courses, even if they are in a category we don’t currently cover.

How long are our courses and how often do they run?

Courses range in length from a full year to a single class, with everything in between. Classes vary in length from 1 hour to 3 hours. When you put in a Course Proposal form, you simply indicate how many sessions, how long each session will last, and what frequency you prefer (weekly, fortnightly or monthly).

Courses are held during four terms, which coincide with the school terms in Victoria. A tutor can choose to continue classes during the breaks between terms if the venue is available.

On the form you also indicate when you would like to start and finish any course that runs for less than a full year, and whether you want a break during the year if, for example, you are planning a trip away.

When are classes held?

Most courses are held between 9:30am and 5:00pm, but some start as early as 9:15am, and finish as late as 6:15pm.

In the timetable we allow a 15 minute break between classes in each room so that tutors can use this time to arrange chairs and tables, or set up AV equipment.

The Office hours at the Mary Kehoe Centre are 9:30am until 3:30pm, during which time there will be an Office Volunteer in the Office to help you with any queries, provide whiteboard markers, etc.

What happens on public holidays?

There are no classes at the Mary Kehoe Centre on public holidays, nor during school holidays, and the Office is closed on those days.

How do I get access to the venue for my course?

The Office hours at the Mary Kehoe Centre (MKC) are 9:30am until 3:30pm. If your course is held at MKC and starts before 9:30 or starts or finishes after 3:30, please ask an Office Volunteer to brief you on the procedures for opening up in the morning and locking up in the evening. If you are teaching at another venue, you will need to be briefed on how you get access.

How is the timetabling managed?

When you fill in a tutor proposal form, you indicate your preferred times, and any special room requirements. The Course Coordination team will then try to find the time that best suits you and fits into the existing timetable. As the Mary Kehoe Centre is quite heavily booked, this may require some compromise regarding time and venue.

Where are courses held?

Most of our courses are held at the Mary Kehoe Community Centre (MKC) in Danks Street, Albert Park. We also run courses in other City of Port Phillip council-owned Community Centres such as Sol Green, the Middle Park Library, the South Melbourne Community Centre, etc.

Some courses that don’t require any special equipment (eg a Book Group), are held in the tutor’s home.

If you think you would prefer to teach at a venue other than MKC, speak to one of the Course Coordination team about your preferences, and they will liaise with the Council to arrange a booking at the tutor’s preferred venue.

Do I need a permit to park near the Mary Kehoe Centre?

Parking in Danks Street and the nearby streets is restricted to 1 hour. The Council issue us with a number of parking permits for members to use, which allow you to park while you are in a class. Permits are always in short supply, so one or two are kept aside for tutors to ensure that they are not delayed by having to drive further to park a car. If you need one, identify yourself as a tutor and ask the Office Volunteer on duty.

How many people are there in a class?

The size of a class is determined by the number of people that the tutor is comfortable with, but may also be constrained by the size of the room available. Once the limit has been agreed with a tutor, we enrol people up to that limit. After that members wanting to join the course are put on a waitlist. Sometimes tutors will be asked if they are prepared to accept one or two more people if there are just a couple of people on the waitlist.

Is there audio visual equipment available for tutors to use?

At the Mary Kehoe Centre each of the three rooms has a large screen television, with a DVD player connected. This AV equipment is owned by U3APP.

You can plug a laptop into the screens in any of the rooms, and U3APP has a Windows laptop if you don’t want to use your own.

We also have a very effective Juno sound system which provides amplification for voice, using a small wireless microphone that hangs comfortably around one’s neck. It is usually used in the Hall, but also occasionally for larger groups in Room 3. Juno can also be used to amplify any other sound source eg iPad, computer, CD player etc, and this works in conjunction with the microphone.

Is there wifi?

The Mary Kehoe Centre (MKC) is connected to the NBN, so we have good WiFi connectivity.  Details for connection can be obtained from the Office Volunteer or [email protected].  Venues other than the MKC may or may not have WiFi.  Connectivity will be verified prior to booking classes at those venues should WiFi access be required.

Is there a secure space where I can leave equipment between classes?

At Mary Kehoe Centre (MKC), there is a storeroom off the Hall where tutors can leave equipment for courses such as art, exercise and music.

What if I need to photocopy notes for my course?

There is a photocopier in the Office at Mary Kehoe Centre which tutors can use to copy material used in their course, with no charge.

Are tutors paid?

Everyone at U3APP is a volunteer, so the answer is NO.

Can I claim expenses?

U3APP does not support travel expenses for any of our volunteers, nor purchase of materials for classes, for example, books for book clubs, art equipment for art students, payment for life drawing models, musical instruments, payment for rentals of plays, etc.  Some tutors require a co-payment from students to cover the cost of some items.

If tutors need to pay for photocopying or making minor purchases, U3APP provides an annual allowance of $50/class/year.  No documentation is required other than the standard Tutor Contribution Form which provides the Treasurer with the ability to deposit funds directly into a nominated bank account. The forms are available on line or in the Office at the Mary Kehoe Centre. When completed, submit the form to the Office for the attention of the Tutor Support Volunteer.

If equipment is required for the courses, tutors should seek information from the Tutor Support volunteer ([email protected]) prior to purchase.

Are there attendance rolls?

U3APP keeps attendance records for all courses, using an electronic roll system. Members are checked off on a small tablet with a touch screen. Tutors can either use the tablet to mark the roll themselves, pass the tablet around the class, or delegate the job to a class member.

How is enrolment managed?

U3APP has a volunteer Enrolment team which manages all the enrolment functions. Most enrolment is done on-line via our website. At the beginning of each year some members prefer to fill in a paper enrolment form, and during the year some may come into the Office and ask an Office Volunteer to enrol them in a course.

Please read our Enrolment Policies and Procedures to find out more about how members are enrolled in courses.

Are there any restrictions on enrolments?

Our most popular courses are Exercise courses, Language courses and Art courses. Our policy is to restrict members to no more than two of each. The policy is implemented after the event ie the system will not stop someone enrolling in more than two such courses. Instead we check from time to time and ask members to withdraw from the course(s) if they have exceeded the limit. The system also doesn't prevent members from enrolling in courses which are on at the same time. We assume that members will discover any clash for themselves and make their own decision about which course to withdraw from.

Can a tutor specify pre-requisites for a course?

Tutors of “advanced” courses can specify the level of knowledge or experience they expect attendees to have. If a member joins a course but does not have the required knowledge, it is up to the tutor to tell the person that the course isn’t suitable for him or her.

Do tutors have any say in who enrols in their courses?

All enrolment is managed by the Enrolment Team. Members enrol for the duration of a course, up to one year. Enrolment opens in December for the following year, or during the year as new courses are added. Places in courses are allocated in order of enrolment time. No priority is given to people who have been members of a course in previous years.

Most courses will have new attendees joining during the length of the course – either because the course was not filled at the beginning, or because people drop out and others join from the waitlist. The rolls are updated every time there is a change to course membership, so tutors can see who is leaving and joining by looking at the rolls.

How can I communicate with the members of my course?

Shortly before your course starts, you will be sent an email containing the names and email addresses of all those in your course. We recommend that you set this up as a group email if you wish to send regular communications to your course members. PLEASE NOTE that after your course starts, it will be your responsibility to keep the list of emails up-to-date as members leave and join your course.

For privacy, we suggest that tutors set themselves as the primary recipient of any communications, then send copies to students via the BCC function so their e-mail address is not exposed to other course members.

How do I communicate more information about my course to the U3A membership?

If you want to change or add to the information about your course on the website, or you have extra information you would like put in our fortnightly e-bulletin, please send an email to [email protected].

How do the waitlists work?

Popular courses often fill, and have a waitlist. If someone withdraws from a full course, their place is given to the next person on the waitlist. The Enrolment volunteer team actively manages the waitlists to maximise the opportunity for everyone to get into the courses they want. The following rules are applied:

  • If an enrolled member of a course has missed three classes without apology, their place will be given to someone on the waitlist, usually after contacting the member or the tutor to find out why the person isn’t attending.
  • If someone is going away and will miss classes for an extended period (e.g.  5 or more weekly courses, 3 or more for fortnightly courses, 2 or more for monthly courses), their place will be given to someone on the waitlist. The person who has left the course temporarily is put back on the waitlist, at the top, so that they are likely to get their place back after they return.
  • Places are held for anyone who misses classes because of illness.
How do people find out about my course?

Information about courses is put into both the print version of the Course Program, and on to our website where people can enrol on-line.

New courses are advertised in the fortnightly e-bulletin, usually in more than one edition before the course commences.

What do I do if I want to change anything about my course?

Requests for any changes to room, time, start date, frequency, etc, should always be made directly to the Course Coordination Team , not the Office. The course coordinators will do their best to accommodate your request within the constraints of the timetable.

What do I do if I want or need to cancel a class?

It is important that a number of parts of the organisation are notified if you cancel a class, or if you are handing over management of your course to someone else for a period.

To convey any information about class cancellation or any other temporary change, you should always send an email to [email protected]. This will be automatically forwarded on to all those who need to know.

For cancellation of a class, we will notify all the course members (not just the ones in attendance on the day you announce the change) for you by email or by phone, depending on the timeframe.

What should I do if there are people on my course roll who never come to class?

If your course is full, the person will be removed by the Enrolment team and their place given to someone on the Waitlist. If your course isn't full, but you would like to remove someone from the e-roll who is not attending, please send an email to the Enrolment team [email protected]

Whom do I contact if I have further questions?

Start with the Course Coordination team [email protected]

If it is a question about enrolment management, contact the Enrolment team [email protected].

If you have any questions relating to the e-bulletin or our website, contact the IT team [email protected].

If you have any questions as to the operation of U3APP or how  to proceed on a particular issue, contact [email protected]  or [email protected]

Still not sure who to contact? Send an email to [email protected], and those receiving it will work out who needs to take action or to provide assistance to you.