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Is my instructional technique adequate for becoming a tutor in math?

  1. Jun 7, 2013 #1
    I am interested in instructing my peers in math up to Calc. II (and maybe basic concepts in Calc. III as the video shows). The problem is that I am aiming for a bachelor's in Liberal Studies and I have absolutely no formal credentials to suggest that I am qualified to pursue this path. I plan on charging $12 an hour for up to 5 hours at a time. Single Half-hour sessions are free per day. I imagine that prices vary in accordance with location; I live in Miami, FL.

    The following is a sample for soliciting purposes of what I have to offer. Any tips for teaching? Am I clear? How can I improve? Thanks in advance!

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 7, 2013 #2
    I didn't feel it was necessary to watch your video to give you your answer:

    Math tutors are baby sitters who ensure students do their homework.

    Most any level of instructional technique will do.
  4. Jun 7, 2013 #3


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    At 12 bucks an hour you don't really need any credentials.
  5. Jun 7, 2013 #4
    I have tutored math (and physics) at my university for a couple years now, I have to say, that students vary so much that it's difficult to find one specific strategy to tutor. Different techniques mesh with different students, after becoming acquainted with the student you'll find a way that works for them.

    That said, I watched the first couple minutes of your video and it seems very clear, but also very formal (which is probably necessary for a video), I have had some more success with a conceptual approach to the problem then introducing the math. But again, it depends on the student. Admittedly, a lot of the students who come for help don't truly try it on their own too much before coming in; they typically just want the answer.

    Your rate is also very low. 25/hr is relatively cheap for a tutor, 12 is practically nothing especially if you have to travel to meet the student.
  6. Jun 7, 2013 #5


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    Generally, the tutor isn't responsible for teaching the material. That's the instructors job. The tutor's job is to clear up the students confusion about the material and assist with homework problems.
  7. Jun 12, 2013 #6
    I literally had a verbal argument with a student who didn't want to pay me $14/hr for 5 hours! She aced her last exam and said that even though I made her understand the topics better than her own professor, since I didn't have a degree and wasn't even a math (or STEM) major I deserved less. Ended up settling for $12/hr after half an hour of arguing. She never came back even though she texted me later that she bombed her second exam. I love math and I'll gladly do it for hours on end just for fun but at some point in time I'll have to leave my cubicle of utopia and realize that mum won't pay the bills forever. I tried an ad on Craigslist and was flooded by either spambots or scammers. I placed ads all over the internet for that matter and nothing came through. Honestly, if I didn't need to make a living I would do this all day every day and die a very happy man.

    In the real world, what would be the best way to offer my tutoring services? I'm sure many of you have tutored before (even if it was a long time ago). How did you start?
  8. Jun 12, 2013 #7


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    You might want to try looking at getting group sessions so that you can charge a low fee but still get by easily.

    Doing this means you will need to think about the offerings, the delivery, and the actual process of tutoring.

    If you can do it this way, it's going to be a lot better on all fronts.
  9. Jun 16, 2013 #8
    That's actually really good advice. I'll look into trying that. Thank-you, chiro. Thanks all for replying.
  10. Jun 16, 2013 #9
    I have been tutoring math and physics at my university for several years now, and there really is no one size fits all approach; every student is different, not just their preferred learning style but their background or what they are expecting from a tutor. Some students struggle or haven't put much effort and really need you teach them the material; others will have specific questions or problems for which they simply need a nudge in the right direction, and everything in between. One thing I try to do if possible is ask the student the correct set of questions such that they arrive at the correct answer themselves; it forces them to understand and reason through the problem rather than just seeing the solution. With experience you will develop a lot of different techniques and approaches.

    My tutoring experience has been both private and public. Mostly I work for the university's math center which pays much less than private tutoring but you get to meet many new and interesting people. Literally all of my private tutoring has come from people I first worked with at the university who then approached me to work with them privately. Does your school have a math tutoring center that you could apply to? Its a great experience and pay on par with what you are asking. Here in Washington private tutors can easily make between $25 and $80 dollars an hour and if you are passionate and hard working, which you seem to be, they will pay you with a smile and expression of gratitude. Another option is to post advertisements around your school; none of the ones I ever see explicitly state the credentials, and if a potential student is concerned you could maybe work with them for 30 minutes or so for free before committing to anything long term as sort of a test drive.

    Lastly I would suggest negotiating your rate before tutoring so you don't have to deal with arguments after the fact.

    Good luck! Teaching math is both fun and rewarding, I hope you continue with it.
  11. Jun 16, 2013 #10
    This is simply not true unless maybe you are dealing with children or high school students. I have tutored math at various capacities for years and would consider it on par with teaching. Never has my job involved ensuring the student does their homework; always has it involved doing my best to ensure the student understands the material.
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