TutorVista: Yet another job moves abroad
When I was in high school, I did a bit of tutoring. I was terrible at it, and, since the concept of "results-oriented" had not yet been invented, I have no idea whether the grades of anyone I tutored actually went up.
Mostly what I tutored was Latin and, if I recall correctly, most of what I did was vocabulary drills and someone else's homework for them.
I think that tutoring paid a bit more than babysitting. Actually, it couldn't have paid worse than babysitting. One of my main babysitting gigs was for a family with 7 boys, including infant twins. At $.50 an hour, that worked out to a cool seven cents per kid. I used to make the oldest kid stay up with me out of fear that the twins would wake up at the same time expecting to be fed or diapered.
So tutoring must have paid better.
I have no idea how I got my tutoring jobs. I'm guessing that the nuns figured that because I was a good student, I'd be a good tutor so they recommended me to parents who were nervous that their daughters would flunk Latin. (Two years of Latin were required. I was dogged: I did the full four.) The nuns were wrong. I have no idea how to say it in Latin, since all I remember is "Quo usque tandem abutere, Catalinam" and "Arma virumque cano, but:
A Student ¹ Tutoring Competence
At least not in my case.
I hadn't thought much about the tutoring biz in years but, like almost everything else, it's gotten a lot more corporate - and no doubt a lot more "results oriented."
And it's also being offshored, as I read in a recent Economist article about TutorVista, a Banglore tutoring company that offers "World Class Tutoring, just a click away."
Unlike Maureen Rogers, Latin Tutor Manque, TutorVista is available 24/7, with well-educated Indians, working from home, providing the tutelage in quite a few subjects, as well as prep for all kinds of exams.
"Users" sign up for unlimited access for $100 a month, and for that they get access to "the premier online destination for affordable education - anytime, anywhere ayd in any subject. .. They use our comprehensive and thorough lessons and question bank to master any subject and have access to a live tutor around the clock." The web site claims that they have 1,500 students in the U.S. and the U.K. currently using the service. (In article, the number of customers is given as 2,200.)
Tutors - and there are 200 so far and still counting (recruiting) - themselves must have a Master's degree in the field the'll be teaching - which would have left high school me out, right then and there. Many are former/current teachers, picking up some extra rupees.
You can't quite tell how many rupees that might be, but they do pay shift differentials for non-peak hours. The payment is in Indian currency, whether you live in India or not. And, while it doesn't seem like there would be any nationality requirements - other than a willingness to receive remuneration in rupees, the FAQs give the impression that non-Indians need not apply to be tutors. Not that I was considering it, even though I do now have that Master's degree...
Naturally, you apply online and are interviewed over Skype. Training is also online.
There was some concern voiced in The Economist article about understandability, TutorVista believes they will weed out the thick accents during the Skype interviewers. But there may be some communications problems, if the info on the web site is an indicator:
Once you have the required PC Configuration and clear the online test and the interview, you will be intimated about the commencement of your training programme.
Chop, chop, on that training programme, but I can't see the average U.S. student knowing what the heck someone is talking about when the words "intimated about the commencement of your training programme" are strung together."
Intimated...doesn't that sound like something that happens on a dating service?
Oh, well, if they get over the stilted English and the accent problem, I'd say that TutorVista is going to be a hit. After all, some school districts are already recruiting Indian grads for teaching positions since they'll work for so much less.
One more job going overseas, one more amateur act being professionalized.
Tutor la vista, baby.