Tutoring Centers (Huntington, Sylvan, Kumon)

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    This summer, I worked for Huntington Learning Center. It shocked me that parents paid so much $$ for the education that their kids received. I mainly tutored math, and all of the math was simply procedural & it was tedious and boring for the kids. A lot of times, the "challenge" problems just had larger numbers in them. There was no emphasis on problem solving or any conceptual understanding. I wonder who made the curriculum or if teachers had any input! It was especially frustrating to tutor older kids because there were so many gaps in understanding that the program did not address. The reading was similar -- the kids copied down vocabulary definitions and answered reading comprehension questions. These are important skills, but it seemed like it was just test prep. Has anyone else had similar experiences with learning centers?
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My college roommate worked at Sylvan after graduation, while she was getting her MA degree. She said Sylvan just provided worksheets that she gave out to the kids, and her job was basically just to hand them out and correct them/go over them with the kids. She said that it seemed like many of the kids there didn't really need tutoring in the first place, so the ineffective methods probably weren't too obvious. I have to imagine that there had to be a number of kids who really did need help though, and wonder how those places continue to stay in business and make money. Are they constantly just getting new clients?

    Any time a parent asks me about tutoring, I tell them to stay away from Sylvan and similar learning centers, and give them specific things they need to look for in a tutor (i.e. orton gilingham based if the student is struggling with decoding). I also warn them how much it costs, and unfortunately the vast majority can't afford tutoring.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I worked at Sylvan for a summer and I agree with all of this.
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Same. I worked there for several months about eight years ago. It was mostly stuff out of workbooks. No creativity on the part of the tutor. In fact, I could be misremembering, but I don’t think any teacher certification was really necessary to do it.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My roommate wasn't an education major, so no certification required in our area!
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Absolutely the curriculum is canned. In our area the one thing the tutoring centers would offer was phonics instruction when the district would not, nor would any teacher who tutored on the side because they disagreed with robust phonics instruction.

    Centers are good for learning factual information and rules based academic content such as math facts, phonics, grammar and mechanics rules, which in our area are things that are glossed over with the hopes it will be caught along the way.

    Kumon is probably the most thriving tutoring center in our area followed by a more locally based center.
     
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  8. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    My Huntington required that all teachers be certified.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The parents pay a lot to the center- how much do the tutors actually get paid?
     
  10. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I just looked through some old emails trying to see if I could find the answer. I can't. But I don't remember is being much. Probably something in the ballpark of $10-15/hour. That's not much, but our cost of living is also relatively low here, so it's not that bad for what it is.

    Yeah, as I was looking through the old emails, I noticed that I did send a copy of my teaching certificate to the Sylvan supervisor, so I guess it must have been required. Seems like it was unnecessary, though, as I more or less just followed a script.
     
  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    At my center, we got $15 an hour. BUT the pay was always late and I always had to follow up about hours they didn't pay me for.

    I definitely wouldn't work for a learning center again, but I did want to make some money without the stress of planning lessons. I will probably look into teaching in a summer program next year to get compensated better.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    While centers might offer a set schedule and number of hours, $15 per hour doesn’t amount to much (especially after taxes) ...though I’m sure for a few extra bucks, something to do, and a way to get thru summer it might be worth it for some. I’ve been fortunate in working 5-7 hours private tutoring during the school year and putting a lot of that away has been better for my needs. In my area, teachers make $70 or more per tutoring hour.
     
  13. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Since they are for-profit, their principle goal is profit, not serving their students. To do this, they need a curriculum that their customers (parents) understand. If they said "we will help your child develop her intuitive grasp of mathematical concepts through problem solving and experimentation", the confused parent might run. Instead, they focus on arithmetic and other topics familiar to the parents.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I disagree with this comment. For profit usually have more of an interest in serving their students because their students are their customers. If the customer isn't happy, they will leave and business will decline.
     
  15. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    I was tutoring a student whose dad rented a space for us to use at Sylvan. (It was a special case and that was the best solution for the child. They wanted my expertise, but we could not achieve our goals in the library setting, so thus the rent.) As such, I had the opportunity to observe many different ages, topics, groupings and tutors. During down time, I would look at their curriculum, ask the tutors questions etc. What I found is that the premise is great, the product and procedures do not align with the promises to parents mainly because of the things mentioned by previous posters. As someone whose students have used all of the different services, I can honestly say that they do not help students. IMHO Parents would be better served to find a private tutor who can actually help the student at the level and in the area requiring remediation. Even Kumon with their data can not truly show growth. (I had two students using this system last year, neither of whom showed growth in the areas of tutoring. We conferred many times about their topics, methods and materials. The only growth shown was in the things we were doing in class. Of course, they tried to tell the parents that the growth was from them to sell another semester of their program to the parents.) As mentioned previously, with students who are getting tutoring without real need, the lack in the program is masked. I'm sure they help students. I've just never ever seen it happen.
     
  16. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    It definitely wasn't a lot. I would love to private tutor next summer but I don't know how to get started! The area I will be moving to also has a lot of summer teaching jobs I can look into that pay pretty well.
     
  17. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    They do a great job of driving home many basic skills, rote procedures, etc...

    However, I see a severe lack of developing conceptual understandings, deep connections between topics, and the mindsets needed. Not to mention that pedagogically, especially with math, the over-reliance on "memorization" worries me greatly.

    I've had at least one student in the past that attended this specific type of tutoring, and while they were strong with many of the basics, there had been somewhat of a distaste, lack of confidence, and it was harder for them to make the connections between topics / problem solve / whatnot.

    Definitely not all bad, but many gaps and areas of concern.
     
  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I think many parents like them because they use teaching methods that make sense to parents... rote memorization, filling out worksheets, teaching straight arithmetic. I doubt they actually do much to help students, but I'm sure it makes parents feel better to see their kids doing that stuff. I know from teaching students that have done programs like Sylvan... I don't see any improvement at all. Some students actually seem to do worse after they start.
     
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  19. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Well. This certainly gives me more confidence in seeking tutoring jobs. I never really knew what went on in those places but their marketing certainly makes them look imposing.
     
  20. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    If you're interested in tutoring, I'd recommend you fly solo and put up ads, etc. You'll be able to charge a minimum of twice whatever you'd make at a place like Sylvan, and you'd have the freedom to go where your students need you to go.
     
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  21. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Oh, I wasn't thinking of joining one of these places - I work privately and charge significantly more than that (the main reason I don't tutor is because evenings are family time for me.) I just always have this complex that I'm charging parents and not providing enough. Hearing that the "professional" centers aren't all they're cracked up to be makes me feel good in comparison :)
     

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