Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So need a touch of advice. I've been throwing around an idea for some time now, which is to try and freelance tutor this summer. The thing is, I figured if I was going to go through with it, I'd like to do it in the way I want--and to avoid compromise. If I want to compromise, I'll just wait tables or take some other shit job. So essentially, my plan is to--basically--form a mini-version of the course that I'll be teaching in my grad program in a bit over a year. Which is to say, I'm designing a syllabus around texts I love and would be comfortable teaching--and the tutoring course (perhaps unlike the one I'll be doing at the school) will be about equal parts seminar discussion and composition training. I'm organizing it as a small group tutoring 'class'--perhaps capping it at 5 or 6 students--and then holding private tutoring hours one day a week (which would be how I would charge it comparably to private tutoring).

I've got a preliminary syllabus together, and basically, we'll meet two days a week for an hour and a half or two, discuss our texts, discuss some theory/criticism, and discuss the weekly responses they'll be working on. I'm thinking of doing a number of things to help with the papers--peer critique, various assignments (re: the responses) in terms of writing approach, one or two will be responses to the theory rather than the fiction, etc. Then in private sessions, I'll really nail down the specifics of their papers. It's a lot of work, I suppose, but ultimately only adds up to around 15-20 hours per week, so I think it's entirely manageable. They'll also do one short, formal paper, and one longer one (around 8-10 pgs) at the end.

Oh, I should say that I'm aiming this at rising college freshman & high school seniors thinking of applying to college. Basically, this is designed to aid in the transition between high school level reading/writing & college level work.

My questions: a) anyone done comp. tutoring before, with general advice? b) I was thinking of assigning Elements of Style alongside our fiction--think this will be helpful? The thing I worry about is that my writing & grammar & the like has always been very intuitive--I tend to be able to tell when something is off, but I don't know that that unconventional approach will be as useful in teaching. c) Should I/can I charge comparably to private tutoring. I was also considering charging it more like a summer course--a flat fee, rather than hourly. d) Anyone know good places to advertise this sort of thing? I figure craigslist might suffice & some fliers in local coffeeshops, etc. but maybe something a bit more legit would help my cause? e) Is this whole idea just totally moronic?

Advice much appreciate. And if you don't--in the words of Very Mary-Kate, "WHY is everyone pooping on my dreams???"

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