Thoughts on Math Tutoring

People frequently ask if I am available for tutoring.  I teach full time and chase my family around during the remaining hours of the week so there isn’t a lot of spare time.  I can take on at most one student per semester, so I tend to be really picky AND demanding.

1.  I don’t tutor anything lower than precalculus.  PERIOD.

2.  I want the interest to come from the student, not the parent.  If it is coming only from the parent IT DOESN’T WORK.

3.  I expect my tutees to show up, prepared, at a mutually agreed on time on a WEEKLY BASIS.  I do not do patch jobs halfway through the semester.  I am not available only on the night(s) before the test.

4.  If a tutee (or worse, a parent) cancels or reschedules a session at the last minute more than once, FIND ANOTHER TUTOR.  And, if you don’t pay me for the time I set aside for you, I will not ask you for it, but it doesn’t look good on your part.

5.  Math tutoring is NOT about doing homework (though that is often a by-product).  It is about working hard, building confidence, learning to ask questions, and feeling better prepared in class.

6.  Ultimately my objective is to put myself OUT of business. I want to help a student get up on that bike with training wheels and then take the training wheels off and then only see dust in the distance.

I have always heard that the going rate for math tutors in New York City is between $100 and $200 per hour, and let me tell you, it’s pretty tempting to fantasize about pulling up stakes and hanging my shingle in the Big Apple.  But I wouldn’t be able to be so demanding if I had to work with ten different kids per week (10x4x100$ = 4000$) just to pay the monthly rent.

Or would I?


3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Math Tutoring

  1. The only thing I’d add is that the first step for a struggling student is to try to get help from her own teacher. I often have students who see a paid tutor as an alternative to active participation in class or to coming in outside of class to ask a question or work on a problem. To succeed in higher Math, a student has to learn how to articulate questions, and has to develop the ability to talk to an instructor. I have a line in my Class Info that tutoring should not happen in lieu of talking to me… (Like almost every teacher, I like it when my kids ask questions!)

  2. you should pay the fee to upgrade your wordpress so you get your own URL and don’t have corporate america advertising on your blog. it probably comes with backup guarantees and security.


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