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View Diary: The algebra formula that saved an industry (258 comments)

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  •  I hear ya on that. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, Larsstephens

    I am a retired engineer working as a tutor for an online tutoring service. I really enjoy working with the students in math and physics (as well as other subjects), but they pay people in those areas the same as in all others, even though there is a huge shortage in the math and physics areas. The company advertises 1 on 1 tutoring, so when we have 2 or 3 students concurrently we can't tell them there are others dividing our attention. It would be one thing to have 2 or 3 students all needing help in the same area, but I might have one doing some problem in electric fields, another doing a geometry proof, and sometimes a third one who needs help writing an introduction for a persuasive essay. Or pretty much any mix from any of hundreds of topics. Grade levels can be from about 4 to 12. So I have to bounce between them and try to simulate being one tutor in time slices of 15 to 30 seconds frequently. We get paid the same but generally do 2 or 3 times the work as tutors not in the "shortage" areas. So is that equal pay? Sure, we all get the same $11 per hour (well, actually, the ones who have gotten lots of compliments get that, others get 10), but some of us do 2 or 3 time the work. So am I getting equal pay, or is the tutoring service getting me for 1/2 or 1/3 price? I guess it depends on how you look at it.

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:47:27 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  the service is underpaying you! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby, Larsstephens

      by not having students in the same category, it is similar to huge class sizes where some get neglected.  either the service needs to block in specific times for specific kids or they need to realize what is occurring.  

      kudos to you for juggling - and maybe your reward will be when one kid suddenly "GETS" it and shares and helps another to do the same!

      can you even begin to imagine a mortgage broker working for $10/11 an hour?  and yet, you and others are expected to prepare the upcoming workforce to understand and function in a complex world on that wage.

      unbelievable! the shortsighted greed of the no more taxes crowd doesn't seem to realize that they are condemning themselves to more schemes like maddof and other perpetuate because the upcoming generation of workers won't be able to recognize what is happening.  so, those "no taxes" people will continue to lose their pensions, their futures, their businesses just like those of us who they condemn to that same fate.

      i loathe ronald reagan and his handlers - those who played to the greed have condemned this nation to 3rd world status in many areas - like education and health and more.

      "An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it." ~Mahatma Gandhi

      by edrie on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:31:54 PM PDT

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      •  Yeah, they do need to pay more. (0+ / 0-)

        At least enough so they can attract the people they need; how hard could it be with the unemployment rate we have now? But $10 per hour is about what online tutors get across the board. There's lots of competition from India, for one thing.

        Lucky for me this is somewhat supplemental. I retired 5 years ago on what I knew would be a shoestring, but 5 years of nonperforming IRA investments and the fizzling out of another business plan makes me glad I have this work. Now if we can just get Bernanke to stop talking about reducing social security, I might just be able to make my IRA last as long as I need it to. I have about 6 times the average amount that most boomers are claimed to have saved up for their retirement, and it's not quite barely adequate. So it could be worse, lol!

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:38:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, and they do schedule tutoring sessions. (0+ / 0-)

        But they also have instant access, and that's what I do. More scheduling flexibility, and less prep time since there's no way to know who will be needing what at a given time. I actually prefer the instant access because it pays the most per actual working hour. Although I did spend the last 12 months going through my college physics books and working half the problems, plus studying geometry and other things to improve my skills. And along the way I discovered that if I had had to buy those same two books today, it would have cost me about 25 hours of work to buy them. I kept a lot of textbooks from my college days and it looks like I have a 7 or 8 thousand dollar pile of books there, which might have cost me 1/10 of that, at most. There's a racket, I have one pair of advanced math books that were published in 1950 and 53 (Morse and Feshbach) which are still available, for $350 for the set. And they have not been updated as far as I know.

        Anyway, I have been witness to many, many "I get it!" moments in this work and it almost makes up for the pay. I have also been told by my students with some frequency that their teachers "don't do anything"; one tonight said that very thing. And it shows. I often have to teach them some of the basics that they should know to work the problems they bring to me for help. Many times it only takes the working of a few examples and they suddenly understand what they were missing before.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:47:49 PM PDT

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