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Topic: I have a question. Can anyone help me? (Private tutoring)

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Subject: I have a question. Can anyone help me? (Private tutoring)
Date Posted: 8/17/2008 10:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2006
Posts: 436
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Hello everyone,

I have a question that I hope someone on this board can assist in answering. Since this is the teacher's Corner board, I figured it would be appropriate.

Without getting into great detail, here's my backstory...

The other day my sister came to me saying that she'd sort of mentioned to her co-worker how I'm an English major and how I'd like to be a novelist someday. This woman was immediately interested. She told my sister she wanted very badly to hire me to tutor her seventh grade daughter. Even though she knows that I have a visual impairment and have absolutely no experience in tutoring.

I have to say that I was caught by this, but definitely interested. If the woman wanted me to help, I'd be more than willing to help. I always enjoy helping people with their writing, whether it be essays or pieces of fiction. I have to admit I looked into being a teacher back in my high school days, but came to the conclusion that going that path would have provided many challenges. And they were too many for me to truly see myself getting past. So, I tossed the idea aside and focused on other career choices.

However, with the recent development of my sister's co-worker's request, it has got me thinking a lot about private English tutoring. I never thought about using my degree for such a thing. And while I haven't actually had contact with this co-worker or done any kind of tutoring yet with her daughter, the idea has really, really intrigued me.

Thus, this is the reason for my post on the board. Private tutoring isn't something I'm 100% decided on, but I really wanted to know more about it. At this particular moment, I know zilch, nada, nothing on what goes into being a private tutor, what kind of qualifications, are you able to set your own hours, etc. Is there anyone here who is a private English tutor that wouldn't mind sharing with me?

Anyway, I'll leave it at that. If anyone has some sources to share with me, is in this profession or knows of someone in this profession who wouldn't mind chatting with me, I would greatly appreciate being able to talk with them.

Thank you,

Date Posted: 8/18/2008 6:38 AM ET
Member Since: 11/6/2005
Posts: 642
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Get online and look up your states benchmarks and standards for English.  Also, ask the mother what specific problems and strengths the child has, as well as specific state tests this year.   With the mother's permission, her teacher also might be willing to talk to you...that is iffy - check on district policy for that one!

Good luck!

Subject: I work as a private tutor
Date Posted: 8/21/2008 9:30 PM ET
Member Since: 10/18/2007
Posts: 26
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I fell into the business of tutoring about 9 years ago - my areas are math and science, but I have branched out to most disciplines with the exception of foreign language....

My view is that it ends up being more mentoring than anything else - it also involves a lot of "non-academics" - how to take notes, how to organize, the value of time-management, editing, encouraging, building confidence, etc....  It is very rewarding, the "fun" side of teaching without the administrative headaches.  I tend to work with families on an individual basis - they seek me out (I have never had to advertise, and generally have a waiting list). 


I would say go for it!!! Another area is the art of writing an essay - especially now with essay writing being on the SAT.  You could also offer help in editing college app. essays - students tend to be clueless.  They know what they think their writing is conveying, but the words just don't say it... You can set your own rates, in terms for payment - the rates ranges from $20/hr (what our p.s. system pays for SOL test tutoring, after-school) to $100/hr (in some northeastern metro areas).  I base my rate on a business principle my dad taught me "pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered".  Earn enough - but don't get greedy....

Date Posted: 8/22/2008 11:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2007
Posts: 2,908
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Much of tutoring is helping with and clarifying homework assignments.  Think of what the teacher is expecting.   Ask the student what is happening in class; knowing will this help you do a better job.

Some things to consider:

Tutoring is NO GUARANTEE of a better grade.

Will the person being tutored come to your house or will you meet on neutral ground - a library perhaps?

Agree on the time of a session and what happens in the case of a late pickup.

Agree on a start date and a stop date - often once a week for a semester.  Dates are important as high school and college semesters are different.

Tell your price (not negotiable if you do not want it to be) ahead of time so there is no misunderstanding.

Give guidelines and ground rules in writing at the first session.

Decide if payment is monthly or at the beginning of each session.

Will you take checks or cash only?

What are the tax consequences? (Usually none as this is mostly casual employment like babysitting)

What happens if you cancel?  At short notice?

What happens if the student cancels?  At short notice?

What happens if someone (student, parent, Tutor) cuts a session short?

Send a quick note to parents each session to let them know what you did.

Ask the teacher if you can get a copy of the textbook used in the class.

Stay in touch  with the teacher; they can be very helpful.

This is all I can think of right now.  It has been a long time since I tutored.  I hope it helps.

Good luck,