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Is it ok for me to tutor other kids while still in Highschool?

  • Thread starter Gib Z
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  • #1
Gib Z
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Well, the questions the thread name =] I have no professional training in teaching methods, or in the mathematics im planning to teach for that matter. The main thing that made me ask this was that a friend in the same grade as me came and asked if I would tutor him for an hour every week. I said sure, and I wasn't expecting any payment as I help all my friends out with math when they need it, though its not on a regular one set hour a week basis like this.

He came to me the next day and asked if $40 an hour was enough. I had no idea what to say lol. I said I'd sleep on it. On one hand, I need/want the money, but on the other hand I feel guilty that I'm getting so much money for something that I enjoy doing, it kind of feels like i'm scamming them o_O

"Living in the real world" I'd say take the payment, but morally I don't know If I can :(
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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In high school I tutored a kid for his calculus class for slightly over an hour and he gave me $30.

I think you're the only one who can make this decision. You could just tell him the money isn't necessary, but is of course appreciated.
 
  • #3
Chi Meson
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The guy is in the same grade as you, but is he in the same class? Or are you in an advanced Physics class ?

$40 an hour is quite generous. Take it if it's offered. Be aware of what you don't understand completely; it would be wrong if you reinforced a misconception, so don't be afraid to admit to not understanding something. And another benefit for you: nothing makes you understand something so well as the act of explaining it to others.
 
  • #4
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i took a lot of calculus early as a high schooler and lots of it (ap + college at the same time) so as a junior/senior i was already tutoring students even at UCLA in some mathematics

if they offer you money, just take it lol

just make sure if you take it, or even offer service, that you really know what you're doing... they're not paying you to make mistakes
 
  • #5
Gib Z
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Our classes are at the same level (this is math tutoring btw lol). I already know from experience explaining to others who don't understand the details force you to understand them, or at least show you that you don't =] I'm not worried about making mistakes though, I just feel a bit exploitative taking the money :( I think I might though, because I need some cash flow and if I can do really well on this mate, others will come to me as well.

And, well, I do feel I'm giving him good value for his money considering the quality of maths im going to teach him, as compared to other higher priced tutoring companies, which are quite shocking. I think before I take the full 40 im going to ask him parents what they would be happy to pay instead. Thanks for the suggestions guys =]
 
  • #6
Chi Meson
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You know, I only now noticed you already have a PF HH badge. Take the money and feel good about it!
 
  • #7
JasonRox
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Take money if it`s offered?

I wouldn`t even tutor if money wasn`t offered. I charge $20-25 an hour for tutoring services.

I help lots of friends and people, but if someone wants tutoring, they need to pay. The reason is because from my experience, people who want tutoring are lazy and think paying for tutoring as added "lessons" might get them to pass. I met very few that aren`t lazy. Let me tell you that tutoring lazy people is boring, sometimes so boring I rather sit and stare at a white wall for 60 minutes because atleast then I can think about what I want rather than think lazily with another.
 
  • #8
Moonbear
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There are a few ways to look at it and things to consider. First, by paying you, he's obliging you to spend a full hour with him every week. That's different from just helping out friends where you can be more spontaneous and just help with as little or as much as you have time to spend or want to spend. So in that regard, it's reasonable to accept payment because of the time commitment.

On the other hand, that does seem like a lot to pay for what is essentially peer tutoring. I would certainly expect someone to pay that much for a tutor with more experience, but when you are taking the class right along with him, there's less of a guarantee that you will always know the material well enough in time for the tutoring session to help him. There might be weeks where you're getting as much out of it as he is by pretty much studying the material together.

One approach you might consider is simply telling him that you wouldn't feel right being paid so much when it's your first time formally tutoring someone, and since he's your classmate and you're just starting out, you'll accept half what he's offering (or whatever amount you think is more reasonable given your confidence in the subject). Then, if you start getting good at it and he's happy with the results, he will be a good reference for you to start taking on other tutoring jobs at higher pay once you have the experience to justify the higher pay.
 
  • #9
JasonRox
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First, by paying you, he's obliging you to spend a full hour with him every week.
You're not obligated to do anything. He's paying you for one hour. No need to oblige an hour a week even if the person asks.

I'll tell students that I don't want to tutor because they are so far behind or they are just plainly lazy and that there is no hope of passing. Sounds rude, but I have to burst their bubble. Saves them a bit of money.
 
  • #10
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I help lots of friends and people, but if someone wants tutoring, they need to pay. The reason is because from my experience, people who want tutoring are lazy and think paying for tutoring as added "lessons" might get them to pass. I met very few that aren`t lazy. Let me tell you that tutoring lazy people is boring, sometimes so boring I rather sit and stare at a white wall for 60 minutes because atleast then I can think about what I want rather than think lazily with another.
This is very true. I tutored for a government program this last semester, pay was 6 dollars an hour. A lot of the people who showed up thought that this hour was magical somehow, and since they had a tutor, they didn't need to work. I had a lot of students drop out because all (well, not ALL, but a lot of what I would do) I would do was force them to do problems out of the book.
 
  • #11
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I don't understand the concept of tutoring. If I am a professional engineer and have a difficult technical question, I ask a professor, who may charge me for the consultation. But a High School student?! Information technology has advanced enough so that tons of resources are available online and at the public library to help a student through. Maybe people think that just because they will be paying for a service, it means that they will end up learning something. When I was failing my visual arts class in grade 9 (with a shallow 44%), I went to the library, borrowed 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain', read it, then got 98% on the second half of the course. Goes to show you that students don't need tutors. Tutors just profit from the false notion that paying money means magically improving.
 
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  • #12
JasonRox
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...that paying money means magically improving.
Have you not read our posts. That's exactly what we said and we are tutors, but we aren't the ones pushing that notion. The students push it on themselves because they live in a materialistic world that implies paying and buying will fix everything.

I doubt any of the students I know would say I can be replaced simply by searching online and going to a library. They can ask me anything about the subject and get help and answers however unique the question. Can't find that online even on PF because I am physically there. Any tutor here on PF will agree that helping in person is FAR better. I can create problems that they want. Sure, problems are everywhere, but most that you find everywhere don't strike a balance on what the specific student might need or want. Also, a computer can't notice a human who does not understand what the person is reading on the screen. I can tell when someone is having difficulty even when they think they understand. Who is going to do that?

Tutoring is a lot more than you think. For this reason, I charge minimum $20 and next year will be $25 (graduate school, etc...).
 
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  • #13
Moonbear
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Usually kids who need regular tutoring (as opposed to those who stop in to the occasional drop-in tutoring session held by faculty or a TA) have atrocious study skills, which is why they're doing so poorly in their classes. Sometimes it's sheer laziness, and sometimes just that nobody has ever helped them learn how to study effectively. So, tutors are usually doing one of two things: 1) enforcing an hour of study per week when the lazy students HAVE to do some work, which is usually prompted by a parent tired of being the one to nag the kid into doing their homework, or 2) teaching them how to more effectively study the material so they can learn it better on their own. The ones who use the drop-in tutoring available at universities are usually in a different category, and just use it like office hours to resolve a point of confusion or problem they're stuck on without really needing to have their hand held through the entire class.

High school students are still at quite varied levels of development in terms of their learning processes. Some really do still need spoon feeding of class material, and I kind of wish that more of those who need that did get tutoring rather than having to waste class time boring everyone else who picks up the material faster to provide the spoon feeding.
 
  • #14
JasonRox
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High school students are still at quite varied levels of development in terms of their learning processes. Some really do still need spoon feeding of class material, and I kind of wish that more of those who need that did get tutoring rather than having to waste class time boring everyone else who picks up the material faster to provide the spoon feeding.
It wouldn't be a problem if people just admitted they suck at particular things or they are generally slow at learning. We live in a world where everyone is equal, hence all genuises. I suck at Biology and Chemistry and so I did not take those classes to slow everyone down. Maybe now I can handle it before of improved study skills, but I wouldn't take it to drag everyone down.
 
  • #15
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Sure it is, I used to do it when I was in high school, for free even, but hey, if a little money is offered, go for it. I did it because I thought it was fun, and it was nice to see a kids face when they finally learn something :biggrin: It very rewarding!!!!
 
  • #16
Gib Z
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Well it's actually not my first time professionally tutoring, its just that previous to this I've been taking $10 an hour for an eleven year old, this is quite a drastic change. As for knowing the material in time for our sessions, I am quite ahead of my class so I think I'll be fine with that =] Though just in case, I asked my our school teacher for the order he would be going through the topics so I can prepare the lessons (might as well work hard to deserve the money).

Also, I think you all have a very bad impression of tutored students lol! Yes there probably are some that are lazy and doing bad in class and are behind, so they need the tutoring, but this particular student is coming 9th out of 120 in the grade, he wants to come to me for extra work and consolidation, hes quite a good student at school.

I have already contacted him back, I'm taking $37 an hour (odd number I know, his parents insisted at least that much ..>.<" ). Being already 9th in the grade, any improvements he makes might be seen as minor or primarily caused by his own extra effort, so in terms of recommendations it might not seem like so much of a success story lol.
 
  • #17
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Quite a fortunate opportunity >>
Take whatever money you wish, seek to tutor him better than others...
 
  • #18
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Moonbear said:
...2) teaching them how to more effectively study the material so they can learn it better on their own.
These students were a joy to tutor for. The students who also just had difficulty in understanding the material, and liked having someone to ask questions of were also a joy to tutor for. The Type #1 you described... those were the ones that usually dropped out. (Of course, this is at a college, so more self-motivation is required).
 
  • #19
Mk
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40 dollars an hour? That's one customer you want to keep.
 
  • #20
The main thing that made me ask this was that a friend in the same grade as me came and asked if I would tutor him for an hour every week.
I don't have any experience in this sort of thing but this part of your post really stuck out to me. If you mean a friend/aquaintance then I'd say sure. If you mean an actual friend then I'd say that making it a business transaction may create problems on a personal level that you may want to think about. The fact that his parents are paying may make it not so bad but you never know. Just something to think about when deciding how to approach this.
 

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