If you need help with online teaching or other challenges in academia arising from the COVID-19 crisis, we have prepared this FAQ to get you started.
159

This is usually a version of a "babysitting scam", where some generous out-of-town person wants to pay you a royal ransom for some minor errand or babysitting someone you've never met. It goes a few different ways, but it's usually some version of asking for a quote of what it might cost, and then wanting to pay you in advance. They'll usually want to pay ...


153

Whether their cheating should impact your role as a tutor is not the primary issue here, so I'll set it aside. You should not be tutoring a student for additional money when you are also grading that student as a TA, even if the grading and tutoring are for separate courses. That sets up a financial relationship between a grader and a student. That's a big ...


111

What you're experiencing is pretty much what all college teachers are wrestling with all the time everywhere. Allow me to point out that the abyss of need can go much, much deeper than what you're currently dealing with. In the U.S., most college students are attending a community college. And most students entering U.S. community colleges do not have 8th ...


104

You need to tell the professor. I would suggest that you tell them you want to tutor the class and believe you have the skills and knowledge, but that you are being required to take the class for credit. Then ask if it might be possible for the tutoring to satisfy the requirement.


73

Should I speak with the professor of the course myself about this? I'd recommend telling the student you can't do it, and mentioning to the professor that you were asked but turned it down (to avoid any rumors). There are massive issues here: Being paid extra compromises your ability to grade the student's work. It looks too much like a bribe, and the ...


63

You're correct in feeling uneasy. Even if you are not yourself improperly influenced, there would definitely be the appearance of possibility of improper influence, which is as important, in terms of the impact on other peoples' actions, as actual impropriety. Even tutoring _for_free_, since you are in the same dept as the people giving the other course, ...


61

I expected her to inform me how the exam went I'm not sure why you expected this. While it's certainly not unusual to follow up with a tutor (or thank them), it's not a requirement. Is it appropriate to ask her how the exam went? I see no reason why not.


54

As a tutor in undergrad, we were taught to ask "how did the exam go?" and not "what did you make on the exam?" The idea being that the tutee gets to project their feelings onto their score (some are happy with a 75) and gives them a way out ("ehh ok I guess"). It's implicit in these instructions that asking "how did the exam go?" is appropriate for the ...


35

Run an introductory test You're looking for students that can manage their time and responsibilities. The only way to test that is by trial. Prepare a short questionnaire that would give you an impression of what the student knows. Send it to the student several days before your first meeting and ask to complete it before the meeting. Depending on how ...


30

Dealing with low-performing students is a necessary part of education, whether you're a tutor or a TA or a faculty member. In all these cases you can: Set the expectation that learning is a self-directed exercise. You are there to guide students, but you can't learn the material for them. It's a good thing to be honest with your students about their lack of ...


24

Why? The good students don't need a tutor, but merely a life coach (or perhaps just a kick in the keester); they are more than capable of teaching themselves the material, once provided with motivation. The true reward of tutoring, since the pay is often poor, can only be found from elevating the bad student, who truly requires assistance. Teach simple ...


20

It's too much of a risk of a conflict of interests - even when trying not to, as an insider you might give undue advantages to the student, or, even if not, other students might argue you did. You probably have qualified friends though who could help your student, and you could consider referring your student to one of them (they, too, need to of course ...


20

To more explicitly answer the question the OP asked: When I am hiring, and would accidentally put you in the position you described, I would appreciate if you told me, and would have absolutely no problem with you declining. I would consider putting you in that position a mistake by me, and it would not reflect badly on you. If you indicate that in ...


19

Tutoring such a class while taking it for credit seems like a conflict of interest that should be avoided. You might want to let him know that you are taking the class and want to avoid the conflict. You can and should thank him for the opportunity and ask if there is some other class you could tutor or another way you could be of service. Tutoring in the ...


16

It sounds to me that the course itself is designed to be a gentler introduction to some of the mathematics they will be encountering in their future careers. If the goal of the course is supposed to be difficult and demanding, but it is not being taught that way, that's a different question. However, it sounds instead that the actual course itself is not ...


15

At my university in the USA, it would likely be illegal for the instructor or the TAs of the particular class to participate in this. There is just too much of a (perceived) conflict of interest since they are evaluating you for a grade for the class. However, there would not be anything barring you from approaching a graduate student who was a former TA ...


15

In principle, as long as you give credit where credit is due, and as long as you do a thesis worth of work yourself, there need not be any problem. A nice example: many large biosciences have lab-specific technicians or technicians in share core facilities who carry out routine work and protocols. The student may not be paying them directly, but they are ...


15

In the US university where I was a TA we were specifically instructed not to get anything worth more then $15 from a student while we are responsible for their grades. Otherwise the student or other students in the group can send a complaint to the dean and accuse you that your grading was biased. In other countries, where customs, policies and procedures ...


13

Is it acceptable to ask a professor for [...]? Yes, the worst it can happen is that it doesn't answer. But: be polite, short and to the point (if you have a long question, ask for an appointment), and don't expect an answer in two hours.


13

Stop tutoring him. He's already shown he doesn't play by the rules. And this situation may "go sideways". Disengage ASAP. You don't want to get more enmeshed in this than you already unfortunately are. Things can rebound and hurt you. (Danger, Will Robinson, danger.) Tutoring is very much a side gig and completely optional for both parties. Disagree ...


12

Measuring the ability to learn tricks (including financial ability) is actually of use to most employers etc., while measuring the ability to cheat is if anything a measure of what employers etc. want to avoid (since typically the risk/reward scheme for them is very different from individuals). Thus, while having a tutor is not completely fair to those who ...


11

Of course, whether it is a good idea can only be known in hindsight. But many PhD students work as private tutors, so if it sounds interesting to you, you might as well try it. Some things to consider: It will probably take you some time to prepare for each lesson. And unless your students will come to your home or office, also account for travel time and ...


11

As with many things the history of higher education is not well known since accounts may be scarce or missing altogether. Early evidence indicate that schools existed in Egypt where, primarily, boys would learn to read and write etc. One has to remember that such skills were not for the masses. Religiously connected schools also emerged where religious texts ...


10

Two misconceptions here: I need to "copyright" my intellectual property to protect it. - No. Unless you explicitly indicate otherwise, you already automatically get exclusive copyright to your notes. There is no "copyrighting" process like applying for a patent. The common "Copyright 2018" notice serves as a reminder of this, as well as suggesting a ...


10

I personally think it could be managed, but many others would disagree, including some people with direct authority. I think it would be wise if you did a bunch of checking before you take this on. Check with the professors in both courses as well as the department head/chair. If any of them suggest it is a problem, then it is a problem. If all say ok, ...


9

Like most things in life, being open and honest is a good policy. Since you (presumably) are not close friends with this individual, and he is asking for assistance it is reasonable to request compensation as a tutor. Every person on this planet has finite time and resources. Having a near stranger request time should result in some kind of compensation, ...


9

Very theoretical, but let’s think this: If you cheat, you are doing sth. very unethical, as you are not following the rules that every one must obey, thus, you're obtaining an unfair advantage. Rules are for everyone and you’re breaking them – that’s bad. If you pay someone (who doesn’t have any real knowledge about the questions in the exam) to help you ...


9

This is a private business transaction between you and the student. Neither the university nor the professor was a party to that transaction, so they'll have no interest in interfering, and it would be inappropriate to try to involve them. Anyone who provides services to clients for money will eventually find that some of them don't pay. You can see many ...


9

It's a form of the advance fee scam. I handle the e-mail for a martial arts dojo and deal with that style of inquiry often. The scam is that they will be paying you via check and will "accidentally" pay you far too much. They then will ask that you kindly return the excess. What you don't know is that the first check will be bouncing and that because it's on ...


9

Bachelor's students can know little about the outside world. Many may not have even done simple things like pay bills. Furthermore, in most countries they have either gone direct from high school to college, or direct to college after 1 year to travel or improve an entrance exam score. You should lead with a disclaimer, and proceed to tell them at least 2 ...


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