1. Community
  2. /
  3. Children & Parenting
  4. /
  5. Tutoring

Teen Baby-Sitter/ Tutor Advice?

User in Hollywood, FL
June 20, 2018

I need help: I am a seventeen-year-old babysitter/tutor without a car. I rely on my dad for transportation for the time being. In the past, I have had nothing but success through this website but now I am working with three families (tutoring their kids) and they all have their problems. One changes her scheduled time last minute and this causes my father to have to drop everything and take me. This has been going on for the past two months and I have tried to tell the mother that we need to stick to our scheduled time because I do work with other children- it's not just them. I get paid $20 an hour but sometimes they don't pay me the day I tutor which makes my week hard to plan ( I rely on getting paid that day for things I do during the week). The second family I work with has an older child, closer to my age. I tutor the child in Geometry which requires me to prepare lessons specific to what she is learning in class. I am okay with this, as it's apart of the job, but the mother doesn't send me what she needs help with until 1 HOUR before I have to be their and it takes me 20 minutes in transportation. Then, when I show up with the little I could get prepared in that time, the mother gets mad at me and claims that I "need to know the material before I get there." This was said because I asked the daughter for a reference sheet that I couldn't find online. I only get paid $15 an hour for that spot and only go for an hour at a time. The third family isn't much of a problem. I absolutely love this family but the kid that I am tutoring has improved in the area needed- he doesn't need me anymore. The mom, however, thinks he still needs me and it's starting to become pointless to go. Please I need advice on what to do! Thanks!

Answers
Jake in Saratoga, CA
July 6, 2018

I would say the scheduling issues you're having is a problem worthy of a talk with your employer. You could also mention the issue of getting paid on time, But I wouldn't personally count on it as much as it sounds that you do, just based on how you describe the situation. Also Ill say, that if she suddenly changes something - its on her. And so you don't really have to make your dad go out of his way to take you there if it feels wrong. Ill also say that if you're getting 15$ an hour, the tutoring expectation should be rather low from you, especially if you weren't given enough time to prepare. People are crazy and selfish, don't let that bring you down!

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

Hello, I think it's very important to establish boundaries or your business practices before agreeing to tutor. Since you are still a minor, it may seem odd or daunting to view your tutoring services as a business but it really is. It's perfectly okay and reasonable to tell a family that they need to give you a schedule 1 week in advance or however much time you need. It's also important to be firm in communication with parents. There will be people who try to take advantage of you because of your age or other circumstances. It's best to let those clients go if they are unreasonable assuming you've been speaking with them professionally in a calm manner. Your time is valuable. It can be difficult to say goodbye to a child as it's the best part of the job, but when you need to leave a situation it's best to do so. My advice is to have a list of things that is important for a family to do and what you're willing to offer and discuss them well before agreeing to tutor. This is so it won't be a surprise on either side when you need to know your schedule in advance or you can't accommodate last minute changes. I hope that this helps!

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
Jean in Houston, TX
June 27, 2018

Instead of asking to be paid at the end of the job, ask to be paid once every week or 2, since sometimes it's not about them not wanting to pay, but they may have forgotten. For your 2nd point: Ask if you could take a look at the syllabus, so you'll know what they have been learning and so it'll make it easier to teach them. For the last kid, just have them do more practice problems, so he can have the skill down better, or start teaching him the next unit.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
Amy in Valparaiso, IN
June 20, 2018

Hi there! I always have parents sign a contract before they start. It covers lateness, call offs, illnesses etc. I would have your current clients sign a contract right away. You can see my contract on the forms page at AmyTheTutor.com As for the Geometry student, I would add to the contract a bit about providing the necessary information at least 24 hours (or whatever you choose) in advance. For the last kiddo...First, make sure the parent knows your opinion. Then suggest moving on to something new (whatever the next step is in the area you are helping with) and continue reviewing the things he already knows. You can also look at different ways to cover the same material.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
John in Dayton, OH
June 17, 2018

Many different problems. 1] For students that you see regularly, try to set up monthly payments instead of daily. Justify this with "for everyone's convenience". The advantage here is skipped lessons stop being your problem. Downside...you can never cancel a lesson yourself. 2] Try to gain access to a teacher webpage if one exists. Chances are, the parent has little access to the materials themselves. 3] Keep the "pointless" kid. A lot of times it is as much about the child having a time to do his math. Ensure the material is mastered and be ready to intervene as needed.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

I am a retired teacher and started tutoring years ago and had to learn some of these lessons the hard way! You need to write an agreement that they sign (agree to) ahead of time. In the agreement you write your expectations: starting and ending on time, paying on time, respect and support from parents, child putting forth their best effort, you only accept payment for the entire month on the first day of the month, how much time in advance you need the lesson material in order to prepare,how much advance notice you need in order to change the lesson time, etc. Then in the agreement you also write that you only tutor students on a trial basis of one month to see if they comply with the above requirements and if not you will have to drop them. If you can drop all 3 of these people, I would do it and get your agreement written for the new set of parents. Have them sign a copy that you keep and then give them a copy. If you cannot afford to drop them all I would definitely drop the $15 one - she is very rude. You will not have trouble getting new jobs as people need math tutors. I have tutored many children and I have had to drop a few as the money was not worth the stress but I believe I have also kept a lot of jobs because up front they knew what was expected. It is your business, so you set the rules up front and then if they don't like them they can do elsewhere.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

I would keep the third family for sure. I have worked as a tutor with students that were ahead, behind or in the middle. Just find ways to push the student further. In terms of the flakiness of the other two families that is tough. I am 33 and people tend to be less flaky with me than when I was younger, but it is still not perfect. You can quit if you have to but it also depends on how much you want the money or can find other work.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

For the first family, kindly request for them to stick to a schedule or to give you enough notice. If they can't comply, tell them you can't tutor their child. For the second, same as the first. Ask for what you need and if they don't give it, leave. Same for the last one. There are always new children needing to be tutored.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

First family you need to set and enforce a three strike rule. There is no reason for her not to pay you at the scheduled time. Second family, try to get ahead maybe a chapter at a time if possible. Regardless, have a sit down with the mother when both of you get a chance, in person, and explain to her exactly what you wrote in your question. It is unfair of her to expect that much of you, No one retains information in that much detail if they don't use it constantly. That's an unreasonable expection. Also, you can and should be making much more than $15/hour for a single hour for turiting- try triple that. It is barely worth the $. Especially for dealing with someone who would talk to you like that (the mom). The third family, maybe try to get the child ahead of the class? Perhaps a chapter or section ahead, and prepare him for what he will learn in class the next day.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
Sandra in Briggs, TX
Oct. 31, 2017

Well, the family who doesn't pay you the day you tutor is taking advantage of your youth and good temper. Very politely tell them that you need to get paid immediately after the tutoring session. Next time you get a tutoring position, have them sign an agreement with the few basic rules (like 5 hour cancellation policy or 24 hours, payment due upon completion, etc.) Save up your money or part of it and buy yourself a car. Increase your rates gradually over time, now that you have some experience. Have the clients write a letter of recommendation for you. As for the second client, I woul dnot do any preliminary work for them; just show up and help him/her through the assignment and explain the process as much as possible. It's the student's responsibility to have the assignment and textbook, etc. ready when you arrive, not YOURS. The third family doesn't sound like a big problem. If the mother thinks you are helpful, just do the best you can. Work ahead on upcoming math concepts and encourage your student. Maybe being his/her friend is what the mother appreciates most.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

I would recommend more structure and clearly defined expectations. While I am sure the family is really nice, you do need to maintain professional expectations like time of pay and schedule. You might want to add a penalty payment for late or missed appointments so that they do not reschedule last minute. I always recommend clear, open and honest communication when in doubt.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
Charlotte in Tampa, FL
Sept. 29, 2017

You are very enterprising to have built your own 3 client tutoring business with the support of your parents providing your transportation! You need to set up written contracts for each family stating what information you need ahead of time to prepare their child's lesson plan or a letter of introduction to the child's teacher requesting that s/he email you the assignment materials and perceived instructional needs of the student. Your "contract" for working with the student should include the agreed upon hourly pay rate to be paid upon the day the lesson is provided. The student who has shown great improvement can be introduced to the ISEE test prep materials to improve their mathematical reasoning and provided with everyday problem-solving situations for setting up schedules, creating blueprint measurements, converting recipes, etc. I hope you find this info useful.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
User in New York, NY
Sept. 21, 2017

I think clear communication with the families is essential. If you spend extra time preparing for lessons and it becomes too much of a burden, let families know that you will need to bill for that, as well.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

Hi! I'm sorry that you are going through these difficult problems with families. I understand how you feel, I literally have been going through the same thing as you have with a family I tutor. Although, I haven't adhered this to my own practice yet, maybe you should start charging any one of these families an hour's worth of pay extra whenever they do things last minute, to compensate for both your dad and yourself. Also, if you have on your profile that you can do back-up care, I suggest deleting that piece of information and writing down on your profile that you would like shifts to be settled at least 24 hours in advance, or however much time you need for a warning. I hope this helps! If there is any way you can find out who I am, as I don't know if this is anonymous or not, please let me know how this works if you can? Kind regards, Joselaine Ocumin

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
Minnie in Myrtle, MS
July 19, 2017

Client #1: cut her loose! Yes, you are young, but you are also a business person and your time is valuable. Client #2: Go to your student's school website. They provide curriculum information that will help you plan ahead. Client #3: Google. Look for challenge material on his grade level. Or maybe, branch out into science connections. There is a bridge-building competition, and I'm sure others, that will give him math, science, and problem-solving challenges as well as an opportunity to compete with others across the country. You have what it takes to make it. Keep moving forward!

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

Do you have a contract with them outlining dates, times, goals? In each conversation with them, let them know you would like to be the best tutor for their child/family, and can only do that with agreements to keep a set time, to receive 24 hrs or more notice of prep materials or changes in schedule. For 17 yrs old, you are making a good amount. Most families on here only want to pay $10-$15 for highly qualified, certified professionals.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

It is difficult relying on someone else to drive you to work. Good for your dad if he wants to continue helping you with this. $20/hour is not a lot, but consider taking a small cut. Give the client a discount if they prepay a "package" for a certain number of hours. It doesn't have to be used within a week or anything like that. Say, if you pay for 10 sessions in advance, then the price will be $150, and not $200. They can use the sessions whenever they want. If they cancel within an hour of the session, that session is taken off their package and you are paid anyway. If they cancel at least 1 hour before the session, they get to keep that session in their package. This is how many service packages work, such as hair, nails and other grooming services. Geometry student: The only thing you can tell the mother is just that-- if you don't have time to prepare for the lesson, there will be no lesson. All you can do is follow the lesson their teacher has set out. If they would like a custom lesson, they must let you know the topic their child will be studying the next week. Students have schedules for classes. She is right-- you should need to be able to do the math before you get there. However, if she is looking for extra work, such as extra worksheets and problems, she needs to let you know. I have experienced this before and I have been able to come up with problems right on the spot for the students to practice... so I am on the mother's side with this one. If the 3rd child has improved and his mother still wants you there-- go! She obviously wants her child to keep learning. Get him ahead of the class. Teach him what he needs to know next week, then the next week and the next week.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
User in Pembroke, MA
Nov. 21, 2016

Aloha! I would recommend setting up a pay-in-advance schedule which you would discuss with the family ahead of time. This way, you are not short the funds you are counting on due to a family's change in schedule. You can offer make up times (if that works for you), but the family will know that they've made a commitment to you through payment in advance. Sports, clubs, and other recreational activities require payment in advance, so I always view tutoring in the same way. Life happens on both sides - but at least you'll have financial security despite any unforeseen events. Aloha and best of luck!

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

Be honest with the families and tell them exactly what the issue is. Just be professional about it and they will be willing to agree.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
User in Sumter, SC
Sept. 11, 2016

Ok. So this is some advice that I believe will help you. For the first and second family, the one with the mother who sends information on short notice and the one that doesn't pay you when you need it, you need to write up a contract. One that states that you need the information at least 24 hrs. or so in advance (how ever long that you need). This contract will help you! I promise! I have been doing it and it has saved me! Within your contract for the first family, make sure that you have a strict payment and schedule clause and make sure that the mother is aware of this. If she has any suspicions, and doesn't think that she should have to sign a contract, inform her that it is just to help you and her understand what is to be expected because your current situation with her isn't working due to the inconvenient scheduling and you have other clients that have abided to the contract due to it being a professional matter. And for the third family, I say stay on the job and teach him and prepare him for his next grade level. Who knows, he may be able to surprise his teachers and skip a grade if he's really bright and is being taught things in advance. Hopefully this has helped you decide what to do. And shoot me a message to tell me how things work out and if you need any more advice.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

I have a few suggestions! In regards to the first family and scheduling, maybe have a talk with her on how important the schedule is to you. Have a hard copy of your schedule that you can make on Excel, mapping out all the times you are busy (school, other families, in transit, homework time, etc.). You don't have to label them, you can just color block your busy times. Parents are more inclined to really listen if you're assertive, polite, and have things like a schedule handy. I wouldn't know how to address the payment issue though. For your second family, would it be possible for you to collaborate with the child's Geometry teacher? I hope the mother becomes more understanding that you are there to supplement what the child is learning, rather than being a certified teacher. I'm sorry she gets mad at you. As for the third family, is there anything else he can improve on that you can assist with? If not, see if there's anything advanced that you can bring to further facilitate his skills. I hope I helped at least a bit, and good luck to you!

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
User in Clinton, MS
June 15, 2015

Hi there! I am seventeen years old too! Anyways, I really don't know what to say, but I will try to give the best advice I can, refraining from being biased. I have 5 years of experience as a receptionist, marketer, and recruiter in the same industry. There will be complaints, changes in schedule, things you don't know how to do but wish you could, and more. The main idea here is that you are the employer, and the family is the customer.This is a business. There must be a balance, a plan, and a limit. I think you need to be make some changes, and the families need to make some changes too. I suggest you try to get your point across again by saying you are one person with other responsibilities as well. If they are not satisfied with your hard work and constantly yell at you, find another family. They don't appreciate what you have done for them. However, keep in mind that the customer may be busy as well. Have you asked if they have things going on too? You could try talking to the families for higher pay rates, a more efficient payment plan, and a new schedule. You could try to organize a meeting with you and the 3 families at the same time to discuss the new schedule and possibly address the issues you have. Also, the families could be open about their issues as well. Therefore, everyone has a voice and a mutual agreement. As for the child not struggling with geometry anymore, you can always put together a packet of his past work verifying that he, in fact, does not need help anymore. You can try tutoring him in front of the mother as well. As for the car issue, I don't know what to say except to make sure your parents know that it's time for you to get your license. I can see you are motivated and work hard for carrying three jobs at the same time. They should reward you, but you should also thank your dad for taking time out of his day to take you to work. I don't know what else to write as my mind just went blank, but if you want more advice that I haven't addressed, feel free to contact me through care.com. I really hope I helped you make a decision! Thanks for your time. ~Teresa

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

I would say to write out a contract and have a sit-down with the mother(s)/parent(s). Include the amount of notice you need for cancellations, payment policies, and what you need before each lesson. I would explain to Family #1 how they can't change times last minute AND have them sign it (with a copy for you and for them). Speak to Family #2 about what you need before each lesson because there are several topics in geometry or tell them that you're sorry but they'll have to find another tutor. See if the family is willing to work with you. If they're not, it probably isn't the best fit. As for the third family, speak to the parents about what they're looking for. Explain that, according to the work done together, the kid is doing fine. See if they want you for enrichment, homework help, or if you cleared things up and everyone's ready to move on. If you need tip for how to move on from a family check online but basically 1) Do it in person. 2) Give notice. 3) Be polite. I know it seems a bit extensive but it will save you in the long run- even after these three families. I hope this helps!

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
User in Akron, OH
June 13, 2015

I wish I had answers for how to deal with the first two families. It sounds like communication breakdowns either before or after you got into lessons. as to the third, is it possible to move him up to an advanced level? If he is still motivated and his mother still wants you, I would have him practice his skills through 'outside the box' activities (you might find them on a website for gifted kids). Good luck!

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
User in Wakefield, MA
July 24, 2016

I think you need to be firm with your clients as far as scheduling and payment is concerned. If they were using another kind of service and acted this way, they would most likely be dropped as a customer! It's also good to keep a paper trail of your communications with the parents so you can back up your concerns with documentation. They are, after all, agreeing to a contract with you, as far as your services are concerned. Hope this helps! Sincerely, Tom

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

I don't want to push you to any rash decisions. However, the first two families seem like they don't value your work. The third family does. Even though the student has improved, if his mother wants you to continue working with him, do! This is a perfect opportunity for both of you to challenge yourselves. He is now capable of working independently, so show him that he can exceed expectations. Find fun, but challenging activities in the content area you have been studying together. This is the challenge for you! I hope that helps encourage you a bit, and I hope things work out.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

Time is a valuable thing. If I were you, I would refer a tutor to the first family. I dislike the fact that you don't get paid right away and your time is being haggled. The second family, I would get in touch with the student's teacher. I would ask the parent to connect you with the teacher whom will be a better and more reliable source. However, I would increase my rate at 18- 20 per hour. I would do the same for the third family.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

It sounds like you are juggling a busy schedule, have little cooperation, and not paid very well. My advice to you is that if the first two families are not willing to honor your requirements you should stop services with them and find another client that will be agreeable and offer better pay. I suggest you write up an agreement with your terms for the client to sign before you start work, this way you have a written contract. As for the last family in which the student has improved and parent wants you to continue, make it worth the student's while by giving him enrichment work to challenge him. That should make it more useful for you and the student, and please the parent at the same time.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

It sounds like you have your hands full!!! Of course the first thing I would say (clearly after the fact), is to have a written contract with the people you work for/with. The reason is that they will feel more obligated, and understand the rules. It's more difficult to take advantage of someone who is prepared, and when they know your expectations. Don't get me wrong, a contract is not an exchange for bad behavior. That being said... The first family I would have a sit down with. I would let the mother know my plight, and explain how their changing things at the last minute makes it difficult for your father, and that the pay the give you is something you rely on. Let them know that going forward, you need to have something more consistent, and if they aren't able to accommodate you, then you need to decide if you still want to work there. They may not understand the problems they cause you, but if after talking they still don't respect your position, you may need to not be there for them at the last minute. When you rely on someone else (your father) for transportation, it isn't fair to put him out because of someone else's unreliability. Second family, I would ask your employer to send you the proposed lesson the day "before" you go. There is no reason that should not be accommodated. If she is chilly about this, you may want to consider finding a different position. Your relationship should be friendly, and both of you should be happy. Having reasonable terms is something both the tutor and tutee should expect. The third family, I would explain to the mother that her child has surpassed his/her need for you. She may want you there for her child because he/she enjoys doing their homework with you. You may be more of a therapy type person for her child than you realize. I would be honest with her, and if you still want to work with her child, maybe assist them with something else they may need help with, or something they aren't doing but are interested in. In my opinion, that one is really something you both need to communicate about to find out what is really needed/wanted. Good luck, and remember, every family is different, and communication is key!!! You need to respect them, but you also need to be respected. :)

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up

The first mom: She needs to pay you on-time. Let her know respectfully you have a life as well. If she refuses to cooperate, you may need to drop her. Don't let her walk on you (it's a bad habit to form when you're young). The second mom: You could try to respectfully let her know you need 1 day advance to know what the student needs help with so you can prepare. She's being unreasonable. Mom #3: See if you can help the student work on extra credit. These all sound like people you can drop; if you have success with your dad's website and are a good tutor, you shouldn't have a problem. People need to know it's not all about them.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up
Leave an answer

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up