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?