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Old 03-02-2014, 06:45 AM
 
4,366 posts, read 3,839,720 times
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Okay,

Right now, I tutor mainly on a volunteer basis. I started out hoping I could gain a base of customers and maybe turn it into a business later on. Well, I've been doing this off and on for a few years, and, so far, I have not gotten paying customers. The other teachers who decided to do this, though, never say anything about a lack of business, so maybe the problems I'm having are due to something I'm doing wrong. Do you have any suggestions, besides, "get out of the tutoring business?" I did get a degree in Education, and I appreciate my trade, but I still think I need to improve drastically before I start charging anything for my services.

Here's more information:

I don't have many customers. Usually I advertise through Craigslist and other internet sources. I don't print flyers or advertise around town, because I don't know where I might be allowed to advertise.

Few people have paid me for the services rendered. I've spoken to other tutors, and they said that I should probably start having potential clients review a contract and pay for tutoring in advance so that I do not continue to encounter this issue.

I'm a decent teacher. I can sit down with students and explain concepts, and I think they benefit from my instruction, and students have complemented me on how well I teach them. I still wonder, though, if it's worth charging money for. There are tutoring services around here that put my feeble efforts to shame, at least that's the impression I get. Some tutors boast about being able to help students get perfect scores on the college entrance exam. I, however, didn't get a perfect score on the ACT in high school, so I don't know if I could help someone else get a perfect score, even though it seems reasonable that I could help on the reading and language section, since I majored in English / Language Arts.

I have very limited experience working with special needs students, and usually I only offer my services to them on a volunteer basis so that I do not inadvertently charge for a service that I cannot adequately provide.

I frequently tutor outside of my field of certification. Not many students need help with reading and writing, so I generally get stuck helping students with lower-level math, like pre-Algebra and Algebra. I'm not the best math student, though, and I often have to review the subject myself before I'm able to tutor. I can do a decent job, but it's probably not much more than the student could learn from reviewing the book at home with the parent or discussing the problems with the teacher. I think I need to get some lower-level math textbooks and review commonly discussed topics so that I have a stronger grasp on what the students are actually studying. I like math and science, but I don't have a lot of experience teaching these subjects.

Do you have any suggestions for me? I know that what I'm doing now isn't working that well, and I really do not want to continue to offer a mediocre service. With some polish, though, the tutoring service that I offer would probably be as good as any freelance tutoring service offered in the area.

I really do want to try to get this business off of the ground and get my name out there, but I need to make sure I have a quality product to offer before I do so. If you think I lack the preparation necessary to succeed, please make suggestions on how I may be able to prepare. I'm willing to take extra classes and buy a few more books.

Last edited by krmb; 03-02-2014 at 06:53 AM..
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Old 03-02-2014, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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Why do you want to do this?

It doesn't even sound like you have much confidence in your own abilities.

In your other thread you say you've missed appointments, you admit that you aren't well-versed in high-demand subjects, and you somehow can't get people to pay you.

WHY is this something you want to do??
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:04 AM
 
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I should be able to do something, right?
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:24 AM
 
4,366 posts, read 3,839,720 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
Why do you want to do this?

It doesn't even sound like you have much confidence in your own abilities.

In your other thread you say you've missed appointments, you admit that you aren't well-versed in high-demand subjects, and you somehow can't get people to pay you.

WHY is this something you want to do??

I have not been able to find a teaching position, and private tutoring is something most teachers do to supplement their income anyway. If I can't do it, though, I think I at least need to find out why. I haven't really pursued it much for fear of failing, so I don't really know if it's something I can do or not.
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Old 03-02-2014, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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I have a close friend who last year started a tutoring business in which she basically referred tutors to the people who called her with a need.

We even hired a math tutor to help her get started.

The biggest problem we had was that the guy did not show up once and was very late once, and his personality did not fit well with my high-school age son. He kept trying to convince my kid that he didn't need to use his calculator, and kept arguing with the ways my kid's teacher wanted him to learn.

SO my advice to you would be, in no particular order:

Show up. Early.
Get good at assessing what the REAL problem is.
Have a personality that is laid-back and flexible and easy for kids to warm up to.
Establish a set fee.
Have parents pay at the beginning of the session. DO not schedule other sessions until they pay for the previous session. You won't make a living if you don't charge for your services.
Learn how to tutor "ACT prep." Schools place so much emphasis on standardized testing these days that parents are willing to pay for their kids to do well on the ACT and SAT.
Advertise at libraries and bulletin boards/message board at places where parents frequent. School newsletters also often take advertising.
Get hired at an established tutoring office so you don't have to keep up with all this stuff yourself.
Have confidence in yourself. No one want to be tutored by an uninspiring person.
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Old 03-02-2014, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Mid South Central TX
3,215 posts, read 7,748,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmb501 View Post
and private tutoring is something most teachers do to supplement their income anyway.
I'm not sure where you got that information. In my district, we are forbidden from tutoring outside of the school, as it could create a conflict of interest. Since we tutor (at school) before and after anyway, I don't think many would pursue it. After spending 50 hours+ at school, I wouldn't have the energy.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pobre View Post
I'm not sure where you got that information. In my district, we are forbidden from tutoring outside of the school, as it could create a conflict of interest. Since we tutor (at school) before and after anyway, I don't think many would pursue it. After spending 50 hours+ at school, I wouldn't have the energy.
How is it a conflict of interest?
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:29 AM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
16,433 posts, read 11,972,030 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
How is it a conflict of interest?
From the district's standpoint, you are charging the parents for what the district is already paying you to do, educate Little Bobby. Also, it might give either the other kids or their parents the impression of favoritism or buying grades. I honestly don't think a child's current teacher should be allowed to tutor the child for extra money. A former student, sure. A student from another teacher'a class, yes. Sibling of a current student, probably. But current student? No.
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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I've never experienced teachers tutoring CURRENT students. I didn't even consider that, so yes, I can see where that is a conflict. But the OP is not currently teaching, apparently.

I would think that most districts would only ban teachers from tutoring CURRENT students. I would HOPE that's all they would attempt to legislate.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:16 PM
 
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Most of the teachers who do private tutoring to supplement their income do not tutor their own students. I don't even think they tutor their grade level, and they may not even tutor students who go to their school. I personally prefer to tutor the homeschooled and private school students; since I'm not employed by any homeschooling agencies or private schools in the area, neither of those groups would present a conflict of interest whatsoever.
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