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How To Become A Tutor

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This page, How To Become A Tutor, is for those who wish to tutor for us in Greater New York City (New York City, Long Island, Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley). Here you'll find complete details about everything you need do to become one of our Certified Tutoring Service®  tutors.

First, here are three important points for you to consider:

  1. If you need the services of a competent, professional tutor to help you excel in your courses, click on the Hire A Tutor link!

  2. We're offering you a tutoring job. This means you work as a tutor giving lessons to our students and we pay you a set hourly fee for your labors. You never pay us. If anyone offers you a "job" available only if you first pay them a fee, get up and leave immediately. It's a rip off!

Next, there are three things you must complete before you have a telephone interview with us:

  1. Completely and thoroughly read, at least twice, the entire contents of this page. This means you've read all six steps below (including Step 0 and including all the hyperlinks which you'll need to follow out). We don't want you to apply and work for us unless you've first decided we're a good tutoring service. You may call us at (888) 321-9525 if you have any questions about the application process, provided you've completely read all six steps on this page as directed.
  2. Completely and honestly fill out the application you'll find in step 5 below. Make sure all your answers are as clear and truthful as possible.
  3. Choose a time and date to have the interview with us by calling us up as explained below in Step 6.

You must follow all six of the following six steps before we can accept you as a tutor:

0. Do you qualify for the job and would you like to work for us?
1. Become familiar with our basic principles and techniques.
2. Learn how to become an effective and successful tutor.
3. Learn how to handle the monthly referral report and contact.
4. An important word of caution.
5. Fill out and email us your tutor application.
6. Have a short telephone conversation with us.

Remember, you first finish the six steps and then return to step 5 to complete and submit the application to be a tutor.

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  1. About Us
  2. Hire A Tutor
  3. Become A Tutor
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This page covers the following topics:

Step 0. Do You Qualify For The Job And Would You Like To Work For Us?    Top Of Page

Before beginning the six steps leading to becoming a tutor with us, it's vital to find out if you qualify for the job and if you'd like to tutor for us. Click on the web page Teacher Requirements to learn what requirements you must fulfill to become one of our tutors. Click on the web page Why Teach With Us for several excellent reasons why you might like to become one of our tutors.

Step 1. Learn Our Basic Principles And Techniques     Top Of Page

The first step in becoming an A 1 Certified Tutoring Service tutor is to learn about the educational, theoretical and practical principles of our tutoring service.

Carefully read the following six web pages which cover the basic principles and techniques of our service:

  1. Winning The Parent's Trust is a clear, precise and intensive dramatization of how you need to conduct your first telephone conversation with the student's parents, your first lesson with the student and your consultation with the student's parents at the end of the first lesson. How effectively and professionally you're able to manage all this will mean the difference between having a short-term, unsatisfied student and a long-term, successful one.
  2. Important Procedures is a description of the procedures, policies and deadline dates followed by our tutors.
  3. More Effective Tutoring is a compendium of pointers, tips and techniques used by our best tutors to make their work effective and successful. This web page can add years to your tutoring knowledge and experience.
  4. Diagnostic Testing covers the Comprehensive Diagnostic Testing Program used with every one of our students. It enables you to determine what need work, to plan lessons to get back on track and to recommend an effective tutoring schedule.
  5. Paperwork shows you how to correctly fill out student report cards.
  6. The Basic Forms shows models of Student Information Sheets and Student Report Cards.

Once again, please read the above sixr web pages carefully and thoroughly. During the past decades, every tutor who these web pages to heart held on to students for a long time, enjoyed many pleasurable tutoring experiences, helped students make substantial progress and won the undying loyalty of the parents. Conversely, tutors who ignored these web pages had very few lessons and ended up with dissatisfied students and disappointed parents. These web pages and the philosophy they express are based on 50 years of extensive tutoring experience with actual students at actual lessons. So we hope you'll use the valuable information they contain and have much success in your tutoring efforts.

Step 2. How To Become An Effective And Successful Tutor     Top Of Page

In Step 1, you learned about our basic principals and techniques. In this step, we need to make sure you can comfortably and successfully handle tutoring calls and become an effective, successful, professional tutor.

How We Give You Student Referrals     Top Of Page

We usually leave information about a new student on your voice mail or answering machine. We refer students to you only if they live in zip codes and study subjects you've specified on your application. You must let us know when you'll be away or out of town more than one day. If we refer a student to a tutor who's away and is unable to tutor the student, the result is almost always a lost student. So, absolutely make it a point to tell us when you'll be away more than one day; we don't want to be forced to dispense with your services.

We always establish the tutoring fee for lessons when we first speak with the parents. When we call you shortly thereafter to refer the new student to you, we'll tell you what rate has been set. Since it has already been set, there is no further discussion about the rate. If, for some reason, the parent decides to ask about a new rate, you must inform them you're not allowed to discuss that with them; they can only discuss it directly with us at (718) 874-9209.

The Tutor's First Call To A New Student's Parents     Top Of Page

Whenever we place a new student with you, you agrees to attempt making first contact with the student's parents either during the same day or, at the very latest, during the next day. For this reason, we require you to let us know when they'll be out of town for more than one day so that we refrain from giving you new students until you return home.

A number of things must be discussed during your first call to the student's parents as explained in Winning The Parent's Trust. One of your objectives is to set up the date and time for the first lesson with the student. In attempting to set up the first appointment, there are four possible results or outcomes or, as we like to call them, scenarios. Every time we place a new student with you, one (or more) of these scenarios always takes place. Therefore, you must know them thoroughly, including how to handle each one and how to report to us so we always know exactly what is happening.

  1. SUCCESS: You had no trouble reaching the parents and they agreed to set up a first appointment. Call us THAT SAME DAY and report the exact time and date of the first appointment.

  2. NO VERBAL CONTACT: You called several times but each time got no answer or a busy signal. Call us THAT SAME DAY to report what happened, stating what number you dialed so we can call you to tell you if it's wrong. Try again the next (second) day. If the same thing happens the second day (i.e., you called several times but each time got no answer or a busy signal), call us THAT SAME DAY to report. Try again the next (third) day. If the same thing happens the third day (i.e., you called several times but each time got no answer or a busy signal), call us THAT SAME DAY to report and make no further attempts to contact the parents.

  3. LEFT A VERBAL MESSAGE FOR THE PARENTS: You left a message (including your name, telephone number and the purpose of your call) with a voice mail, an answering machine or someone other than the parents. Call us THAT SAME DAY to report what occurred and try again three days later if your call is not returned. If the same thing happens on your second attempt (i.e., you left a message with a voice mail, an answering machine or someone other than the parents), call us THAT SAME DAY to report what occurred and try again three day later if your call is still not returned. If the same thing happens on your third attempt (i.e., you left a message with a voice mail, an answering machine or someone other than the parents), call us THAT SAME DAY to report what occurred and make no further attempts to contact the parents. So, in this scenario, if you leave your first message on Monday, then you leave your second message on Thursday and your third (and last) one on Sunday.

  4. THE PARENTS ARE NOT READY TO BEGIN: The parents told you they weren't ready to begin (even though they had assured us they WOULD be ready). Give them your name and phone number and ask them to call you when they're actually ready to start. Call us THAT SAME DAY to report and make no further attempts to contact the parents.

Once you've called to inform us of the date and time of a planned first appointment, we expect no further calls about the new student (unless you wish to discuss a problem).

Every tutor must carry out all the above procedures precisely as stated. Failure to do so is very likely to result in losing your position as a tutor.

Termination Of Lessons     Top Of Page

As is true of everything in life, lessons will eventually stop. As soon as the parents have informed you of the date of the last lesson or you have some indication that lessons will stop, call us up the very same day to let us know the details. Of course, you must, as usual, email or FAX us copies of the report cards on the last day of the month. However, we don't want to wait until the last day of the month to fine out about a student's termination of lessons. We expect you to pick up the phone and call us the same day you find out that lessons will cease (or have ceased). Failure to do so is very likely to result in losing your position as a tutor.

Canceling Appointments     Top Of Page

We have two distinct cancellation rules which must be firmly, but politely, enforced without exception.

  1. LAST MINUTE CANCELLATIONS AND CHANGES: To cancel or change an appointment, the parents MUST telephone you directly (not us) no later than 3:00 P.M. of the afternoon of the previous day. If the parents cancel or change an appointment after 3:00 P.M. of the day before the scheduled appointment or if the student is not ready for the lesson when you arrive, they must pay you the full fee due for one hour of the lesson.

  2. FREQUENCY OF LESSONS: The student must have at least one hour per week of tutoring as long as lessons continue. All missed lessons must be made up in any of three ways. They can schedule a make-up lesson for later that week, a make-up lesson for the following week or extra time (for example, an extra 10, 15 or 30 minutes) during the next few weeks.

These two cancellation rules are clearly explained to the parents on several occasions:

  1. In your initial conversation with the parents when they agree to use your services.

  2. In our New Student Welcome web page which you give them at the first lesson.

  3. At the first lesson, explain both cancellation rules and make sure the parents tell you they've understood them.

The Subjects Most In Demand For Tutoring     Top Of Page

During the past fifty years, about 90% of all tutoring requests are in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Elementary School Math. (This includes number facts, computations and word problems involving whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents and integers, basic geometry and basic algebra,)
  2. High School Math. (We receive some requests for lessons in 10th grade geometry and 11th grade intermediate algebra and trig. However, most requests are for 9th grade elementary algebra.)
  3. Elementary School Reading. (This includes Grades 1 through 9 reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar.)
  4. High School Science. (We receive some requests for lessons in Earth Science and Biology However, most requests are for Chemistry and Physics.)

In addition, about half of those who require tutoring in elementary school reading also want lessons in elementary school math, both taught by the same tutor.

The Kit     Top Of Page

During my first few years as a tutor, I noticed how much lesson time was lost due to lack of advance preparation by the student. Some students weren't able to find writing implements or left their books in school or at a relative’s house. Others didn’t have books because the school had failed to hand them out yet or had already collected them near the end of the year. Many times, parents who promised to purchase needed materials did not get around to it until a few weeks later.

To remedy this tremendous source of annoyance and waste of time, I began to require every new student to buy a kit from me at the first lesson. The kit consisted of the following items:

  1. A large, college-ruled, five-section spiral notebook to be used only by me to write extensive notes of everything covered at each lesson. I used the back pages of the notebook to write the date and time of the next lesson, the pages and notes to be studied for the next lesson and written homework due for the next (and future) lessons.
  2. A large loose leaf binder and 200 sheets of college ruled loose-leaf paper which the student used for practice work during each lessons and for homework between lessons.
  3. A box of pencils with erasers used by the student to write (and correct) lesson practice and homework assignments.
  4. A 12-inch plastic ruler.
  5. A textbook chosen by me to be used to completely, effectively and inexpensively cover the course work. I made sure every text book I selected had a huge number of problems and exercises. I obtained almost all books from Amsco School Publications and Barron's Educational Series because they completely covered the courses' syllabi, had tons of practice work and were very cheap.
  6. A large manila folder with a binder to hold the previous five items.

I clearly instructed both the parents and the student to ALWAYS leave the kit at home and use it ONLY for work having to do with our lessons. I presented the parents with a bill to reimburse me for both the cost of the kit and my time in getting it. I was paid either at the first lesson or at the second.

What was the result my requiring every student to have a kit ? All the problems mentioned above immediately vanished and all my lessons became more effective and well organized.

Scheduling: How To Tutor More With Less Travel Time     Top Of Page

The following statements are true for most tutors:

  1. At the school year's start (around Sept 1), a tutor usually has with no students.
  2. The tutor begins to acquire one new student at a time.
  3. It takes about six to eight weeks to build up to a full complement of students.
  4. A student who has a very good, competent tutor usually continues having lessons until January or June.

These four facts are the bases by which an associate tutor can make effective of travel time and scheduling.

Suppose someone who lives 30 miles north of you wants you to be their tutor and you agree to have lessons every Monday. Suppose, a few days later, someone who lives 30 miles south of you wants lessons with you and you agree to set the schedule for Tuesday. Suppose, a few days later, a third person who lives 30 miles east of you agrees to see you every Wednesday. Suppose you get another student a few days later who lives 30 miles west of you and you set the tutoring day for Thursday.

At first glance, this seems to be a waste of time and money - you've agreed to a sixty mile round trip every day for just one lesson a day. That's true . . . But, during the subsequent weeks, you get more and more new students and gradually fill up each day of the week. You put those who live north of you on Monday, south of you on Tuesday, etc. By the time six to eight weeks have passed and it's late October, you now spend Mondays seeing several students to the north of you and having them split the travel time among them. Likewise, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are filled up in the same manner. This is really the only sensible way you can build up a satisfactory quantity of students.

Of course, you could have turned down those first four students with the statement: No! He's too far! However, this way you might end up with just one or two students (if you're lucky), rather than ten or more as described above.

Keep Good Records     Top Of Page

To sign up new students and keep a record of lessons taken, you need Student Information Sheets and Student Report Cards. You'll see an example of a Student Information Sheet in Student Information Sheet and an example of a Student Report Card in Student Report Card. You may print out copies of these forms to use for all your lessons with students we refer to you.

What We Pay You     Top Of Page

In Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island and Queens, we charge a client $40.00 to $60.00 per hour and pay the tutor $20.00 to $30.00 per hour. In Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan Counties, we charge a client $50.00 to $70.00 per hour and pay the tutor $25.00 to $35.00 per hour. In Manhattan, we charge a client $70.00 to $90.00 per hour and pay the tutor $35.00 to $45.00 per hour. However, there are occasions in which we must charge the client a higher rate. If this happens, we will always inform the tutor of the higher rate and pay the tutor half of that higher rate. So, no matter what we charge the client, we always pay the tutor half.

Only one out of every five people who call us for tutoring actually signs up for lessons. The other four say something like Thanks for the information. I'll call you back after I've had time to discuss it with my spouse. but we never hear from them again because they find our rates too expensive. To make it possible for some of these people to afford lessons, we now offer some potential clients a sliding scale fee. As a result, some students pay from $5.00 to $20.00 less per hour for lessons.

Inform A New Client About The New Student Procedures     Top Of Page

Be sure you're intimately familiar with all the procedures parents and students are required to follow. These procedures are fully laid out in the New Student Welcome web page. Inform your clients about the New Student Welcome web page when you call them to set up the first appointment. Give them the web page's exact address both during your first call and then again during the first lesson. If the family has no internet access or is computer illiterate, print out a copy of the New Student Welcome web page to give them at the first lesson. If the parent gets a copy of this web page at the first lesson, it will make running all subsequent lessons much easier for you, the student and the parents.

Know How To Find The Student's Home     Top Of Page

Make sure you know exactly where the student lives, including the address, cross streets and apartment number. It's completely unprofessional to be late or not show up because you got lost. To avoid this, buy appropriate zip code/street guide maps of the areas in which you'll tutor.

For example, copies of

Hagstrom's New York City 5 Borough Atlas
Hagstrom's Nassau County Atlas
Hagstrom's Suffolk County Atlas
Hagstrom's Westchester County Atlas
Hagstrom's Dutchess/Putnam County Atlas
Hagstrom's Orange County Atlas
Hagstrom's Rockland/Orange/Ulster County Atlas
Hagstrom's Bergen/Passaic/Rockland County Atlas
Hagstrom's Fairfield County Atlas
Hagstrom's Union/Hudson/Essex County Atlas

make locating any house in the greater New York City area a snap. With these maps, getting lost is a thing of the past; they are truly indispensable aids for any tutor.

Make Sure You Exchange Correct Contact Information     Top Of Page

Make sure you give the family your name and phone numbers (home, work and cell) and write them down in a safe readily accessible place. Check to make sure they have your correct contact information at least three or four times, including during your first call and during your first lesson. Also, during your first call, make sure you have their address (including apartment number and cross streets) and phone numbers.

Step 3. How To Handle The Two Monthly Mailings    Top Of Page

Now that you know how to handle the day to day requirements of being one of our associate tutors, you must make sure you know how to handle the two monthly mailings. All A 1 Tutors tutors must report to us two times every month.

The Mid-Month Mailing must be posted by the 16th and reach us by the 21st. It contains all checks, money orders and cash received for tutoring from the 1st to the 15th inclusive. (Please send all cash you received in the form of your own personal check or money order.) Enclose a completely filled-out copy of a Mid-Month Mailing Accounting Sheet detailing all checks and money orders received during this period. Never include any Student Report Cards in the Mid-Month Mailing.

The End Month Mailing must be posted by the 1st of the following month and reach us by the 4th. It contains all checks, money orders and cash received for tutoring from the 16th to the last day of the month inclusive. (Please send all cash you received in the form of your own personal check or money order.) Enclose a completely filled-out copy of a End-Month Mailing Accounting Sheet detailing all checks and money orders received during this period. Include a completely filled-out Student Report Cards for each active student detailing all lessons for that month. If any report card are missing from your end-month mailing, we'll hold up your paycheck until we receive them.

We begin to prepare your earnings statement and paycheck about the 7th of the following month (assuming we've received both your mailings on time.). We mail it by the 15th and you receive it by the 17th. If we don't receive a mid-month mailing from you or if either mailing arrives late, your paycheck will be delayed up to four weeks and be reduced by the face value of all bad checks received late.

Once you've mailed us an End Month Mailing for a certain month along with the Student Report Cards for that month, your clerical duties for the month are finished and you can turn your attention to the following month.

Step 4. An Important Word Of Caution     Top Of Page

Everything stated above is to be taken at face value with absolute seriousness and conviction.

In particular, we carefully track the students we give you each month. If you act unprofessionally, if you're careless in your treatment of students and families, if you disregard any of the rules and procedures we've set up, if you fail to apply the comprehensive diagnostic test with every student we give you, if you're not on time with mailings and payments or if you're in any way a black eye for our service, we'll take strong and immediate action. So, it's imperative you always behave in the most professional way; we don't want to be forced to let you go.

Step 5. Fill Out And Email Us Your Associate Tutor Application     Top Of Page

Once you've carefully and thoughtfully read each of Steps 1, 2 , 3 and 4 above, followed and read all the links contained in each step, feel certain you understand our tutoring philosophy and accept the conditions under which our tutors agree to follow, it's time to fill out and submit the Application for a tutoring position. A careful reading of Application Directives will help you in selecting the subjects, grades and tests you will tutor, the locations to which you will go to give lessons and other important items. When you're ready to fill out the application, please click on the Application link.

After we've received your application, we'll consider it very carefully.

Step 6. Have A Short Telephone Interview With Us     Top Of Page

Once we've received your Application, all that remains for you to do is to have a short telephone interview with us.

Before you call us, carefully reread Steps 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 above and the web page Winning The Parent's Trust as many times as necessary to fully know and understand them. There, you'll find all the tools you'll need to comfortably, professionally and successfully handle lessons with the students we place with you. Familiarity with and knowledge of the principles and pointers you'll find there can easily convert you from an unsuccessful tutor with a few short-term students into a successful tutor with many students taking lessons with you for several months. As a result, we'll not be able to complete the interview unless you're intimately familiar with all of Steps 1 to 5 above and Winning The Parent's Trust.

After you've reread Steps 1 to 5 above and Winning The Parent's Trust several times, call us toll free at (888) 321-9525. If we're out of the office or otherwise busy when you call, please leave a message stating three different days and times when you'll be home and be ready to complete the interview. We'll be glad to return your call during one of the three days and times you specified.

It's most essential you call us! If you do not call us as described, there will be no interview, your application will be discarded and you will not be hired as a tutor.

In the interview, we'll discuss the following:                                   

  1. Your application.
  2. Any questions you have about our tutoring service.
  3. Any questions you have about effective methods of tutoring.

If we're completely happy with the interview, we'll welcome you aboard as one of our new associate tutors!

Once again, don't call us for the interview until you've thoroughly read and completely familiarized yourself with Steps 1 to 5 above and Winning The Parent's Trust!

In addition, make sure all these pages remain readily accessible after the interview so you can consult them whenever necessary. From time to time, we add new material designed to help a tutor maintain a high level of skills and professionalism.

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© Copyright 2005-2007 Certified Tutoring Service, Inc
This page last revised Jan 1, 2007