Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Thirsty for the Downsized and/or Underemployed (i.e. Adjuncts)

Emily Post will be rolling in her grave, but:

Who's turning to tutoring?

How do you advertise?

What do you charge?

Anything you want to say?


  1. depending on where you live, you might find ambitious parents dreaming of sending Bubba and Sissy to Big Time U ready to pay good money for help drafting and revising application letters.

  2. I've found under the table tutoring jobs on craigslist. Usually I get HS students that are about 1000xs better than my college students and I can't believe their parents are paying 80-100$/hr for me to point at stuff they seem to already know.

  3. I'm not looking at the moment, but for the introverted and/or schedule- or transportation-challenged among us, writing questions for standardized tests is another fairly lucrative option (more lucrative, I believe, than scoring them, which is yet another option). Some may have qualms about joining the testing-industrial complex, but I was fairly comfortable with what I did: writing reading comprehension questions that tested understanding of things like the connection between argument and evidence and the difference between main and subsidiary points in people who needed to be able to read complex material competently lest they accidentally kill other people. It takes some practice, and requires some fairly rigorous thinking (you have to explain why wrong answers are wrong as well as why right answers are right, adhere to strict editing/formatting/style/content guidelines, etc., etc.), but, once you get the hang of it, you can do it pretty efficiently. And it's one those cases where both credentials and skill count, and are decently rewarded (which is a nice change for adjuncts). Testing organizations sometimes recruit in the job lists and/or at the big midwinter clusterf*cks, but perusing their websites (ETS, Pearson, etc.) can also be a good way to find this kind of work.

    One warning: as with any form of self-employment, you need to set aside c. 40-50% of your earnings to cover taxes (the usual ones, plus self-employment tax, otherwise known as both the employee's and the employer's shares of FICA). Of course the amount varies with your situation (and your state), but I've found that saving 50% results in the occasional pleasant surprise, and 40% in the occasional not-so-pleasant (but not disastrous) one.

  4. I have a friend who tutored the children of a VERY wealthy North Jerseyite for $100/hr. Sometimes they invited him to dinner, prepared of course by their personal chef, and continued to pay him $100/hr while he ate.

    Another friend tutors at a wealthy private high school, where apparently the going rate is $75/hr. I'm told, though, that the real money is in SAT prep tutoring, where I've heard of people regularly paying $200-250/hr.

    Of course, you'll never find enough of these to fill a 40-hr. work week. But if you can find one of these (yes, Craigslist works, and it certainly can't hurt), more power to you.

    Oh yeah--and homeschooled/unschooled kids often need tutors, too. Maybe there's a way to advertise to them.


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