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Math Part time: Tutoring vs. Teaching

  1. Oct 10, 2017 #1
    I've asked about community college teaching before, or really anywhere that will work with someone with a Master's degree. My understanding was that it does not pay well and is more kind of 'for the love of it' type of a thing.

    I am actually open to that, because I do love it, and I think it would be enormously fun. But right now we also need some money. Better to just tutor? I'm thinking I could make more per hour, but the hours are not as steady. I do work full time and have a family so flexibility is also a consideration.

    -Dave K
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2017 #2

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    I know of a friend with a PhD who has developed a strong tutoring business. He handles math, science and english at the high school level along with SAT training. I think the going rate is at least $40 per hour with your degree level although you might have to lower it to get students to come.

    https://www.care.com/c/stories/10229/the-tutor-guide-tutoring-fees/

    One interesting feature of his practice is to give the student a quiz before the start of the session and to then go over the quiz during the session. The quizzes are based on what the student is learning at the moment. He does try to help students overcome immediate problems in school to get them back on track while focusing on the long game too.

    The other thing that impressed me was his ability to tutor both English and Math to the same student.

    Typically he started work at 3pm to 10pm everyday with students getting 1 hour of tutoring.
     
  4. Oct 10, 2017 #3
    My wife is getting $25 an hour tutoring Spanish (she has a master's) through a company that is probably charging much more. I may have the opportunity to sign on with the same company for that much pay or more. Honestly, I'm not sure I mind them taking a cut and doing all the paperwork (and marketing and customer finding) right now.

    One would think a community college class would pay more, since you have x many students at a single time. I've seen something like "$75 per educational unit" which I believe means "credit hours." But if I end up spending a lot of time grading, doing office hours, etc. it might not work out well.
     
  5. Oct 10, 2017 #4

    Mark44

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm teaching a class at a nearby community college. My gross pay for this class for the quarter is $5000, in round numbers, for which I'm expected to be in class 50 hours. That works out to about $100/hr. Realistically, though, I spend a considerable amount of time preparing for the class, and marking programs and exams (the class is on computer architecture and includes assembly language programs), so the per-hour rate is a lot less. I also come to my office before class in case students have questions outside of class. I'm not required to do this, as I'm only a part-timer, but I do it anyway.

    If I were teaching three classes a quarter all there quarters, my gross annual salary would be about $45,000, which isn't much for my area, Western Washington. And there would be no guarantee that I would get a "full load" each quarter. A lot of people who are teaching in CCs have to pick up jobs at two or sometimes more different schools. For me, teaching is more of a hobby than a vocation as I retired from my "real job" about four years ago. When I interviewed for a position a year ago, I told them that I wanted only one or two, at most, classes a year.

    Teaching part-time in a CC is OK on a short-term basis, but I don't see it as a viable career strategy.
     
  6. Oct 10, 2017 #5

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

  7. Oct 10, 2017 #6
    There are several factors to consider that most people leave out of the equation: commuting time and costs, opportunity costs, and future value to your career.

    When I applied for the math faculty job at the Air Force Academy, my application stood out, because they were looking for faculty for jobs with higher than normal office hours and tutoring duties (20 hours per week). As it happened, I had tutoring experience in the Office of Minority Education at MIT, kept 10 hours per week office hours (well attended) in my earlier community college faculty position, and had also volunteered quite a bit at the community college's library based tutoring service. Not only did the experience help me land the faculty job, within a year I was promoted (with a 50% salary increase) to director of the Air Force Academy's STEM-focused evening tutoring service center. The tutoring experiences were key in helping me meet the needs of our students and starting a couple innovative new programs to do more with limited personnel resources.

    In many cases, "tutoring" experience is looked down on and "classroom teaching" experience is more likely to earn more respect from members of future hiring committees. But the one-on-one (and small group) experience of office hours and tutoring was actually much more valuable to me as an educator - because students are more likely to reveal their true challenges in those settings, and to get them over the roadblocks, you need to learn what they really are.
     
  8. Oct 10, 2017 #7
    I found that tutoring math: precalc and higher gets me $40 an hour. I've gotten slightly more for test prep, sat math etc. I actually stayed afloat for quite a while doing this. But the drawback is that you will have to replace up to half your clients by the time the school year is over, especially seniors. I've tutored college students before too, but I had to charge more, like $50 an hour, but they are not as stable as high school students. Oh, and work with wealthy families, because not only are they more stable, they often have all their kids get tutoring. So if you have to drive, you can tutor them all in go. You get these families by working with private school kids, and referrals from them. Also, advertise. It's important to get started. With a masters, you should be able to get these rates, with the right strategy. For more advanced topics, I could see you charging at least $50 for topics such as real analysis or topology since it's specialized enough that people would have a hard time finding cheaper tutors that actually know it. With these topics, you can tutor online because you have leverage. If you already work full time, I'd say just tutor on the side instead of getting a teaching job. It would give you business skills and you already have a stable job just in case it doesn't work.
     
  9. Oct 10, 2017 #8
    Which is what I'm looking for, really. I landed a great job, but my wife and I are swimming in bills, in some part thanks to my student status for the least 6 years, and in some part due to medical/baby stuff.

    I like the idea of teaching a class on a semester by semester basis.

    -Dave K
     
  10. Oct 10, 2017 #9

    Mark44

    Staff: Mentor

    Sounds like you are quite well off, if you can afford to fill your pool with banknotes. :oldbiggrin:
     
  11. Oct 10, 2017 #10

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    That was mean. Ah average, ah stat was never my favorite math...
     
  12. Oct 10, 2017 #11
    Yes, exactly the problem I'm having!
     
  13. Oct 10, 2017 #12
    As long as you stay off the median you should be ok.
     
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