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Fair price for a tutor?

  1. Apr 18, 2008 #1
    Here's the deal. I'm an almost old geezer, and not a student of any kind. I used to be a student (BS in math in 76) but to be honest in college I was a bit distracted by girls and partying), and didn't take full advantage of my educational opportunities. Now I'd like to take math seriously again. I'm past the easier pop math books, but found Havil's chapter on hyper-dimensional spheres in "Non-plussed" very cool. I've tried self-teaching, but all too often I get stuck on an idea and get derailed. Enthusiasm isn't sufficient. Unfortunately, there's no colleges nearby accessible enough to fit my schedule. So maybe I could find somebody local who would explain things, like a tutor. Either that, or maybe I'll take up the piano. Piano lessons would cost me about thirty bucks a week. Throw in the cost of a coffee and bagel, my treat of course. I would path that to learn math better. We could meet for an hour at a local Panera - that's essentially what I do when I give chess lessons. so I know the arrangements work. But is it a fair price? I want to learn topology, and tensors, and I've got questions from the Shilov books on analysis I've been reading. If I can find somebody here with the ability and time, say if you were here, would you think this a fair deal?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2008 #2
    Possibly, if the person is your friend, as a business arrangement--no.

    You got to realize that unless you live close to a large university, the possibility of even finding anyone who really knows such subjects, is probably impossible.

    Most tutoring is done on the beginning level in fundamental courses. (Generally universities provide this to students free.) The tutor doesn't have to spend a lot of time reviewing the material and recalling the facts. Conversely, if it is an advanced subject, it may require a specialist in the field, that being either a college professor, or at least a graduate student in that area.

    Today there is a lot of specialization. In the days of Descartes, one could be a mathematician, philosopher, and hold a degree in medicine.
  4. Apr 18, 2008 #3
    You may be able to find someone online who would be able to help you. You would have to work out a fee with them. If it involves a significant amount of work, I don't imagine it would be cheap.

    The math help here on physicsforums is good up to about a Junior in College level, beyond that you basically lose everyone except mathwonk and a few others. I bet mathwonk would know someone... and if not him, one of the major universities might.

    Another possibility is on-line classes. Many Universities offer online classes these days with lectures, office hours and everything.... Once again its not cheap.
  5. Apr 19, 2008 #4
    I am just going to say that in the university where i am, from what i have heard from some friends of mine, if someone wants to get private lessons with a tutor, even in lower division courses like calc II,III, diff. eq etc, the tutor will charge you about 20 to 25 $ per hour, which is crasy as far as i am concerned.
  6. Apr 19, 2008 #5
    Thanks for the replies. I understand it might be hard to impossible finding someone, but at least it seems my targeted price isn't out of line. I much prefer personal contact to something online, because it can be hard to express questions in typing - too short and the the issue might not be addressed, too long and most people gloss over it. Plus, LaTex can take a lot of effort to get right, and then the form becomes more important than the idea.

    Meanwhile, I will try to use this forum more.
  7. Apr 19, 2008 #6


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    i recommend using the forum, and donating the tuition to the forum.

    by the way, the going rate for an instructor (not a professor) to teach a 15 week course that meets a total of 45 times, for 50 minutes each, at my uni is about 3500-4000 dollars. so its almost 3 times what you are offering, and thats basic instructor, not regular faculty, wages.

    and thats for a class of 35 students, not private tutoring.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2008
  8. Apr 19, 2008 #7
    I second 25-30 an hour. That's what I have seen advertised.
  9. Apr 19, 2008 #8
    wow that's really low
  10. Apr 19, 2008 #9
    Mathwonk, I like your suggestion. OK, I'm in. I just signed up, but didn't find anywhere to make additional donations. If this works, I'll contribute more. We'll see if I can express my questions well enough in writing, and if I can get fluent in LaTex.

    Talk with you later.
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