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Sylvan Learning Center Rips off Teachers

Carey, having a full-time teaching position with Millcreek School District this fall, began looking for summer work in mid April. After all, we've got a new house! Cash is good, in any form. One of the first places she looked was at the Sylvan Learning Center on Peach Street here in Erie.

Parents can send their children to Sylvan for the low low rate of about $40 per hour. Teachers are tasked with helping three to four students at a time, netting the center anywhere from $120 to $160. Teachers - who must be certified and pass Sylvan's own battery of tests - are then tasked with little more than helping students work on Sylvan-prepared worksheets.

How much are the teachers paid? Eight measly bucks an hour.

My recommendation is simple: if you have a child who is in need of tutoring, find a teacher who is good at what they do and offer them $15 to $25 per hour. You'll pay less and get your child individualized attention that likely fits better into your schedule.

I made more than $8/hour working at Boston Market in 1996.

635 Responses to "Sylvan Learning Center Rips off Teachers"

  1. Sylvan does a pretty good job of ripping off parents and students, too.

    About six years ago my parents had me spend a day being tested at Sylvan and while I aced everything they threw at me they decided that my parents had better keep paying them money because I had below average "study skills", a fact they probably arrived at from the one or two questions they asked about how much time I spent on homework a night.

    The whole thing was insulting, I didn't do the silly worksheets they gave me and I didn't want the silly rewards that they gave to the students who did.

    The entire system felt more like babysitting than tutoring. I got out after a couple of sessions.

    1. I can top all of you. Tuesday I called to schedule a make up session, at our local Sylvan Learning Center here in Jefferson City, Missouri for my son for this Saturday. I get there this morning and they have closed their doors, out of business, gone. I just pre-paid $4500.00 six weeks ago for his tutoring. Can you really expect me to believe that they didn't know they would be closing the facility six weeks ago, much less on Tuesday! When I got home I had a letter in the mail saying they were closing due to the economy and for those of us who had pre-paid they would be working on those reimbursements within the next 30 days. We'll see, can anyone say...law suit???

    2. I am very shocked to hear this. My son has been going to the Sylvan Learning Center in Balintyne NC and I can not say enough great things about them. Yes it does cost a good bit but no more than other places. They have payment plans to fit everyones needs and credit situations. I also must say that it is so unreal how much my son learned with them. He is 7 and his school wanted to hold him back in the 1st grade because he was on a K-reading level and his school teacher gave up on him and said he had a disability and could not learn like others, yet he was above level on all other areas (math, science, SS, and so on) he just could not read. I had the school test him for disabilities and he tested average and even above average on all areas for his age except the reading. As I said his teacher at school just gave up and did not even send homework home for him after last Dec. She had it in her mind he could not learn.He went to Sylvan for 4 months and learned more than he did his kind. and 1st grade year at public school. So the school just re-tested him for 2nd grade and was in shock that he not only passed the end of year standerds to pass the 1st grade but he was way a head in his 2nd grade standerds. He left school in June on a level 5/6 (this is what Kind. are reading on mid. year) now it's the first part of Aug. and when the school tested him he was on a level 18/19. That is a 2nd grader that has been in school a few months. Sylvan is a wounderful place and all the teachers at this location are happy, love their jobs, and are great teachers. Sylvan in this area pays well and keeps their teachers on for long periods of times. They are very competitive with there pay and it shows in their students learning!

    3. I worked for Sylvan for 8+ years as a teacher, Director of Education, Center Director and Dist. Education Manger. I also agree with the director above who states that you do need to keep in mind that this is a PT job--not a FT job. The teachers do not have the responsibility of making lesson plans, putting materials together, meeting with parents, assessing progress, etc. So, it is a little bit easier.

      However, there are 2 points that I would like to make:
      1. No, teachers don't go into teaching for money. BUT, it is insulting to always say that to them whenever the subject of money comes up. The don't teach for money, but they don't do it for free either. They deserve to have equitable pay. Bottom line is that if teaching were a profession dominated by men, the rate would be higher.
      2. Sylvan's "Labor Goal" (how much they spend on the salaries of all the employees at a location) is about 35-37%. THIS is the reason why no one gets paid what they are worth. Every other service industry has a labor goal of about 50%, but not Sylvan. They have very tight screws on this issue (if a corporate center--franchisees can make their own goals, but usually follow 'corporate best practices'). When I first started with Sylvan, it was about 42-46% for the labor goal (still low, but closer to industry average). Each year, it was brought down lower and lower. They would always have about 5-10 schools as an example on how this could be done. However, when you investigated the situation, you found that one of the directors had no children, or had a husband they didn't want to go home to, or had sacrificed their personal life and would burn out in less than a year because they had no work/life balance.

      The effect of these low labor goals is very simple. You have a Center Director and Director of Education who are both worn out (they have to work 50-65 hours per week to make this labor goal happen) and a staff that feels unappreciated. Lower labor goals also means more customer complaints. More customer complaints means more BS to deal with (with less labor to do it) and lower job satisfaction. The lower salary goals also mean you cannot pay a competitive salary and turnover is high. With high turnover comes more loss when you have to train a new employee.

      I do hate to hear that several parents were given one estimate and then the estimate increased. That is a potential problem. Test results are only one facet of a child's ability. When you begin instruction, you learn even more about the child. The estimates are given based on how long it takes the average child to complete each skill. But, if the child takes longer, then the # of hours estimated will go up. Parents should have some type of documentation on this at each parent conference (monthly). If you are a Sylvan parent, my #1 piece of advice to you is to always ask "How many more hours are you estimating for my child to complete the skills they have left." They should be RECALCULATING this each time--not simply taking the original estimate and subtracting the # of hours attended.

      And for those of you that like to nitpick: I did not spell check my response and I am not going to. I know there are a couple of spelling errors and grammar errors. I know I am an educator and I should hold myself to the higher standard of not making any mistakes (and expecting less pay for it too because "I love children" and that should be enough!). But those are your issues, not mine 🙂

    4. An important fact to keep in mind is that each Sylvan Learning Center is a FRANCHISE. This means that the quality may vary. Sylvan Corporate does check up on all the franchisees regularly, but this doesn't mean that some unscrupulous centers don't get away with cutting corners or sneaking in substandard practices. Sylvan's programs are excellent when done correctly at a good center. Visit your local center in person before agreeing to schedule testing for your student.
      Additionally, whoever said that some of the materials were copyrighted in the 60s is mistaken. The first copyright date of a book does not reflect the date of the most recent edition; please look again.
      Also, most Sylvan teachers are classroom teachers who work there because it's a rewarding and fun way to make some money on the side, not because they're lousy teachers who can't earn more than $8/hr.

    5. Actually Veronica, at the time most of these posts were written, Sylvan had about 1000 centers and 250 of them were corporately owned. The remaining 750 were franchised. So, if you attended a corporate center during that time, you probably had very consistent operations compared to another corporately owned centers. Franchisees do have to meet the QAR standards, but no one ever follows up with them. They are supposed to have a QAR every 2 years, but they do not have enough staff in that department to make that happen.

    6. If you have a student who tests on level for everything but reading, that student should be identified for a disability and should receive special education at no cost to the parent. This is neither pro or anti Sylvan. The school district receives funding to support students like yours (with the reading deficiency), and for a teacher and school district to just give up on the student is a lawsuit! Sounds like you need an advocate rather than a tutoring center, no matter how good the center is.

    7. I make $15.00/hr working for Sylvan in a very small town in N FL. The director and other teachers do care about the students.

    8. On Dec 31, 2013, Eugene Sylvan closed their doors without notice - after I had paid over $4,000.00 for tutoring for my daughter. For over 8 months I have tried to contact the local owner, Jill Nolan, and also corporate office to get an exact accounting of what I paid - also to get my daughters educational records. Jill won't respond and corporate sends out a canned email. Of course corporate claims they aren't responsible and they also refuse to send me an accounting. How is it that corporate does not know how much Ms. Nolan made as she had to pay them each month based on her client take?! Sylvan may provide good tutoring but they took my daughter's funds for education and won't help me to get them back.

  2. Hey, they have to pay for all of those TV commercials some how!

    1. how can you say law suit if they are paying you back with a refund. Maybe they had no clue 6 weeks ago that they would not have as many students as they have had in the past and that it would come to this. Times are hard on all businesses and be thankful your job has not shut down. You can't try to get more money back by a law suit if they return what you paid!! Greed will hurt you in the end. Just find another place to go for help, rellax and thank god this is the worst that is going on in your life.

  3. ...and the Google ads...

  4. Wow that is pretty bad. Are there regular increases in pay or some other benefits involved?

    1. It depends on the center. Often the pay is really low but they say it is based on experience. There are many times that it does work well for a students' needs. It just depends on who is overseeing the progress.

    2. My Friend, who is a dedicated professional, and always available when called upon at Sylvan, received a $0.09 per hour raise, to raise her base salary to 13.59 per hour... she has a masters degree and is certified. Many of the "teachers" there are not certified, and some list having a bachelor's degree on their profiles, when in fact they are still trying, sort of trying, to complete their degrees. A few of the teachers have failed out of at least one college...

  5. No.

    1. Skeptic, Mar and all the others with such ugly words. Calm down. I am a parent that put 1 hr a day in with my child and tried to pick up where the school did not, but it took the help I got from Sylvan to get my son where he needed to be. It is not always that the parent does not put in time with the child! Sometimes it takes a teacher that cares and wants to teach to get the childs attention and to help them. As far as spell check, get a life we all type fast like tangie and some times don't go back to check spelling. This is not a paper or report for school or work, it is a blog. Give a person a break! As far a syvan and their teacher pay. They are a business and like all businesses, the owners are in it for a profit!!!!!! They charge fees to cover payroll, tax, advertisment, learning materials, the reward items they give the children, insurance, and oh yea the owners want to get paid also. I am sure they have other cost we don't account for but again would you own a company just for fun and to waist time. NO, you would want to see a profit also!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. I was a classroom teacher. I found that my students had wonderful results at Sylvan Learning Center. I was so impressed by the communication that I received from the Sylvan director about the kinds of things my student my working on. You must remember, Sylvan uses a battery of tests to find out what skills are missing so that those skill gaps can be filled in. A classroom teacher does not have the tools to uncover skill gaps that happened 2 to 3 years before that student was ever in your class. I would highly recommend Sylvan to anyone. I later went on to work for Sylvan as the center director. Sylvan does not clears $150 or more on a table of students. The monthly cost to operate a Sylvan center is around $5000 to $10,000 per month. The Sylvan owners pay their own advertising, they have to buy all of the Sylvan materials, payroll etc... The cost to even open a sylvan franchise is around $200k and that doesn't include any build out cost that might be required to the building.

    My Sylvan teachers started out at $9.00 per hr and received a pay increase at the end of the 90 day probation period. They received bonuses for student growth etc and yearly raises.

    1. Tangie is secretly Sylvan Learning Center! What a terrible company.

    2. 😯 Might want to spell check your answer Tangie. Might want to get some tutoring scheduled for you, too!

    3. How much do you get paid to be a center director? assistant director?

    4. Oh, please.

      So you're a former teacher now owning a Sylvan Learning Center. This is a place where frustrated parents take their impossible children in the hope of helping them. My advice for parents is to drive right on past Sylvan and go on home.

      Sylvan is nothing more than a ripoff for parents and students alike.

      I'm a father of two excellent students who were not always excellent. The fact is that I spent many hours with each of them - teaching them the skills necessary to succeed.

      My suggestion to parents everywhere: Take time with your children - 30 minutes a day for reading, 30 minutes of unsupervised homework. Check the child's homework. Correct the homework. Reinforce the concepts being taught in school. Reteach if necessary. Your child doesn't need Sylvan - they need parental involvement.

    5. Sorry, but $9 an hour for an experienced, certified college graduate is an insult. If the teachers were any good at all, they could be earning $40 to $60 doing private one-on-one tutoring with word of mouth and personal references bringing in more new business than they could handle.

      No wonder there are so many bitter complaints on the net about the big national "learning" centers. You get what you pay for. And, if your bottom line dictates that you can only hire a $9 an hour, you deserve the poor results for your customers that you're going to get.

  7. $9 and hour! Darn. I'm glad I checked on those guys because they are contacting me to set up an interview. Just think of how much of these measily bucks will fly away to cover gas!

    1. 😕 [quote comment="52938"]Tangie is secretly Sylvan Learning Center! What a terrible company.[/quote]
      I just read the poorly structured blog from Tangie...if this is an example of the skill set of the directors and teachers at this center; watch out.

    2. This really is a great place to get help for a child! The people that are mad seem to have miss placed anger. You should check out what some people say that had great out comes from sylvan. I know they helped my son a lot! All businesses are open to profit not just to be there for free!

  8. I just spent three hours "training" at Sylvan only to learn that my teaching degree and 5 years classroom experience would get me $9/hour. I'm going back to waitressing.

  9. I'm not surprised. With what I've read on this blog and what I experienced in my first interview, I've concluded that these jokers are educator wannabees. C'mon, 9 measily bucks for teaching? These people live on another planet.

  10. Our teachers start at 10.00 per hour; Algebra teachers start at $12.00. They have the privelege of just teaching and motivating these kids and watching them succeed. There are no long hours of grading papers, lesson plans, etc. They have an assistant to bring them materials or whatever they may need during the teaching hour. The students don't do "just Sylvan worksheets" as one poster put it. They complete from five to ten assignments per hour and the Sylvan prescriptions are researched-based--a lot of the research came from Johns Hopkins university; and each students program is very individualized, and the teacher motivates and guides the student according to what type of learner he or she is. During their initial diagnostic assessment, the student is identified as a visual, auditory or tactile learner.
    It's a program that works for the majority of the students. And I give my teachers all the snacks they can eat, and cokes for 25 cents--plus a dinner once a month and a drawing for giftcards!

    1. What Sylvan do you work at? My boss always tells us there is no money. Yet Sylvan receives $150 each hour I teach and yet gives me only $9. How is that fair? A free coke and snacks do not add up to the difference.

      It is disgusting that Sylvan treats its teachers so poorly. We pay great bucks to get our professional degree. Then we make less than someone who graduates from high school only. Terrible ethics.

    2. Oh wow. I guess I stand corrected.

      All the snacks they can eat? Wow. And soda for 25 cents?? Holy smokes!! I'm afraid to ask where the once a month dinner is. Burger King? But, remember to order from the dollar menu.

      Let me compare that to say, a houseman at the Marriott. Similar wage? Check. Masters degree? Oops, houseman doesn't have that. All the snacks you can eat? Check. Soda for a quarter? Nope, housemen drink soda for free in the employee cafe. Dinner once a month? Nope, houseman get dinner nightly in the employee cafe. Coffee? Sure, for the housemen. In charge of teaching our youth? Whoops...you got me there, Sylvan teacher.

      No long hours of grading papers (boo hoo), no lesson plans (fail to plan, plan to fail).

      I think the only thing these assistants need to bring the teachers during the teaching hour is extra money!

      What a farce.

    3. I just applied to Sylvan and $9-10 hr is about what I expected to make. Let's remember Sylvan is a private business and can pay their employees what they choose to - you don't have to work there - that is your choice. The question as a parent should be does it work - is my child getting the help he/she needs - is my child improving - not what are they paying the teachers. When I go out for a nice dinner I decide if it was worth it by the food and the service I received not what they are paying their employees - and some restaurants charge a lot but still only pay their employees minimum wage. Teaching positions are tight these days in some areas - at least where I live - more teachers willing to work for that wage the less they have to pay - supply and demand - if teachers refused to work for that wage they'd have to pay more - don't want to then go flip burgers for the same or less. Only became credentialed a year ago and with all the lay offs here getting a job has been impossible - competing with laid off teachers - so I substitute teach - I make $120 a day - which depending on the school and grade amounts to $15-18 hr - I get a 30-45 minute lunch - k-5 1 or 2 recesses; middle & high most teachers have a prep but I can be required to take over another class during that time - no breaks other than 3-7 passing periods - I choose to work

  11. I work at Sylvan as an English teacher. I was a math student at Sylvan after I had graduated from college in preparation for the GRE. I was missing math skills from second grade. They took me from 2nd grade math skills I was missing all the way through college math. The big difference was that if I didn't "get" something, they would teach it to me over and over again in a different way until I did get it. I scored 300 points higher on the math portion of the GRE after Sylvan. I don't have a problem with the pay. I believe in Sylvan.

  12. What is the average pay rate for the Sylvan Center Diretors? Im thinking about working for them and was wondering what was their average salary?

  13. I am the owner of a Sylvan Franchise, and would like to add that my employees, teachers and directors alike, are all making pretty good money. My full time staff salary starts at $30k + full health insurance + quarterly bonuses. That totals around $40k/year. Teachers start at $10/hour, with increases in pay every few months + bonuses. If this seems too low, please keep in mind that teachers work only part time (4-16 hours a week), have no preparation to do, homework to grade, or any other "teacher" duties. We are a family here, we love teaching and we love seeing students succeed. We provide supplementary education, and should be considered a supplementary job. And since when do teachers choose their profession for the money? If money is all that you are after, no, Sylvan may not be for you. If you want to make a difference in a student's life, come in and fill out an application.

    1. Hi Kari,
      A few fallacies in your argument/s I NEED to point out.
      "And since when do teachers choose their profession for the money? If money is all that you are after, no, Sylvan may not be for you. If you want to make a difference in a student's life, come in and fill out an application."
      1. "And since when do teachers choose their profession for the money?"
      Response: You are doing what YOU Do for money. We all do what we Do for money. Exception volunteer work at local non-for -profit organizations ... Sylvan is a for-profit Corporation. Why do you pay your employees?

      2. "If money is all that you are after, no, Sylvan may not be for you."
      This is a deliberate misinterpretation of the other "posters" comments/arguments. Money is not "all" we are after, teaching and assisting students is a chosen profession. What we are after is an equitable pay rate that matches/approaches professional pay scale.
      Money part is part of what we are "all" after ... garbage collectors make more money, businss owners make more money... waitesses make more money.

      3. Equity and fair pay is what we "all" want. Think about your argument thoroughly ... we did 😉 .

    2. I have been seriously considering opening a Sylvan Learning Center. I am presently an educator with over 12 years in the classroom along with previous 10 years military experience. I had previously worked for a center and believe in what it offers students. Having four school age children who are extremely successful in school, I believe this program has assisted in their educational development. If you would be kind enough to share any information before making this decision please assist. Thank you.

    3. Dear Kari,

      If Sylvan was a charity organization then it would be valid to say that Sylvan teachers should only teach for the love of teaching and not for money.

      But Sylvan is for anything but charity! It is a corporation!

      Sylvan sits 3 students at a table, having charged $50 each. So $150 per hour per table. It gives only $10-14 of it to the teacher. And I'm afraid you are not being truthful on giving a raise to any teacher. I might have had quit my job there too early, but my friends who worked there for two years had NO increase in pay, nor any bonuses either.

      And yes, teachers DO have to correct papers (called DPs at Sylvan) and practice sheets and also have to write reports on every student for each teaching hour. They don't have the time to do so during teaching so all of them have to stay after hours to finish their tasks. They have to come 15-30 minutes early to prepare for the day and if they don't, they get a phone call "you are 10 minutes away from starting the class, where are you?!"

      So, what you mean is, Sylvan is all for money and shame on any teacher who may want to pay their bills!

      Let's not forget, Sylvan is about tutoring, and only tutors do the main job, still they are the only ones who get ripped off!

      If you are a family (as you claim to be), then it is a very unhealthy and abusive one!!

    4. Well, Kari, i will have to disagree with you. I'm getting ready to leave Sylvan. I think $10/hour is insulting to a certified teacher. I can make more money tutoring via WyzAnt where I set my rate and receive 60% of that rate. I call the center I work for a "crooked center" because the owner is just that...a crook. People come and go at this center like there's a revolving door. The shame of it is that if the curriculum in schools were serving the needs of the students, there would be no need for Sylvan. I'm a dedicated teacher who genuinely wants to help students learn. I have valuable skills that Sylvan basically takes advantage of. Can't wait to leave.

  14. Recently I enrolled two students at the local Sylvan center. Sadly, these kids are in a real crisis situation and need expert one on one tutoring. They must make up years of gaps in the education provided by the Mesa AZ school system. I was led to believe that Sylvan would provide that tutoring in a individualized, comfortable atmosphere. At no time did any of the personnel tell me that one tutor has at least 3 students at a time, that the classrooms were actually one room that was noisy and distracting, and that Sylvan would be assessing the kids progress based on tests I couldn't review as they had been taken originally. (Sylvan uses a bubble test and claims copywrite infringement if they were provide a copy to me) So far, the kids have been given worksheets to fill out and absolutely no individualized help. I should have known something was not right with the center when the emails they sent me had words spelled wrong and grammar errors. They estimate almost $50K in tutoring hours are required for these two kids. If, after 36 hours of tutoring, an improvement of one grade level is not achieved, they will provide 12 hours of free tutoring. Basically, they are grading themselves and don't allow you to have a baseline to assess developement, or achievements by the students,and therefore Sylvan as well. The first 100 hours have been paid for, the remaining funds will go to an in home tutor that will help these kids. It would take a lot to convince me that Sylvan is anything more than just a business with the almighty dollar the real goal. That is the lesson they provided, a lesson I will never forget.

    1. Amen Sister. That is all they care about. They lie and do anything to get more money. What a sad situation.

    2. Please go up to the top of this page and read my story about my son. He had 3 others at his table but the teacher was able to teach him and the others and give him 1 on 1 when needed. He got all the help he needed and more. Just think school teachers have more than this and do their jobs and no one thinks that is bad. If you want complete one on one you have to pay for it.

  15. As a former center director of Sylvan I am amazed at the comments from the teachers. Let's assume you make $8.00 per hour for your teaching 3 Sylvan students, proportionally what would you receive for the 24-30 you teach at your full-time job? $8.00 times 8 times as many students would be $64.00 and nine times $72.00 and if you taught 30 like I did in public high school math $80.00. Now lets do a little more math at the lower figure $64.00 times 40 hours the minimum any teacher I know puts in that is 2560.00 per week and teachers work 39 weeks per year, assuming no pay for vacations. So with the $99,840 you are apparently making at your regular job, why are you working part-time anyway?
    My teachers started at $9.00 per hour in 2004 they received a fifty cents raise after 90 days and an additional quarter for each subject they taught, they also got a raise at 6 months and 12 months. Additionally each teacher got cash bonuses that totaled about $250.00 per year (tax Free). Most of our teachers were making 10.50 an hour in a small town. The average pay for a part-time job was around $7.25 per hour.
    Furthermore I would like to remind the teachers that seeing the light in a child's eye should be the reason you teach. My teachers often remarked that they loved coming to Sylvan because it gave them the opportunity to experience real success with a child. In a time of overcrowded classrooms, violence in schools and children as parents many classrooms have become glorified daycares where the teacher spends more time breaking up fights and doing weapon checks than teaching. I would tell all my parents that you can take a mediocre teacher and give them only three students and there performance will sky rocket, but with an exceptional teacher their growth will be limitless and the exceptional teachers are the ones we want. I couldn't sell it if I didn't believe it and see it on a daily basis. Sylvan works and the teachers that we want are the ones that love to teach and take pride in seeing their students succeed.
    Lastly I would remind teachers and parents that Sylvan is a supplemental educational service provider, we supplement because someone failed. We do not go into the community and tap students with a magic wand that places them 2,3 and 4 years behind grade level, that is a result of over-crowded schools, poor instruction and classroom management (in some cases), teachers retiring while still on the job (you educators know what I mean), parents not sending children to school prepared and not supporting the good teachers the students have, administrators telling teachers students have a right to sleep in class, administrators not supporting teachers, and low salaries being paid such that good teachers are driven to other fields. I would love to see Sylvan learning center out of business because their was no need for supplemental services, I would love to see my tax dollars be sufficient to see that my child is properly educated, but that is not the reality today, and until it is I know the 142 students that have succeeded as a result of my meeting with their parents and outlining an individualized learning prescription, my Director of Education assigning the specific skills to overcome those deficits and the very best of TEACHERS giving quality instruction, would ask that we keep doing what we do. I would further encourage you all to visit a Sylvan talk to the parents, students, and teachers they will give you their honest feedback and you too will become a believer.

    1. As a "highly qualified" teacher (Masters +) I resent hearing "we do it to see the light go off, not for the money". I am sorry, but I have worked hard, both academically and professionally, to achieve what I have done. I have as much education as a lawyer- yet make 1/2 as much. I am a human being, with a family, and a mortgage. I believe everyone should pursue a profession they enjoy, but shouldn't we be paid based on our credentials?
      It is an argument that particularly annoys me. It is an obvious statement that our society under-values education, and our children as the future.

    2. "I would tell all my parents that you can take a mediocre teacher and give them only three students and there performance will sky rocket, but with an exceptional teacher their growth will be limitless and the exceptional teachers are the ones we want."

      This is from a Sylvan Center Director. I think the run-on sentence speaks for itself, as does the unfortunate, incorrect use of the term "there", which should have been "their".

      Also, might I suggest a brief review on the use of paragraphs?

      I would not want my child learning from you or your Sylvan employees.

    3. This is a very good way to look at this situation. Also the lady birdie nest on here needs to realize lawyers and so on make more money because they have longer hours, harder jobs, more research, and just in general harder jobs. They have to stay up todate on the law and so on. You know a lawyers job is harder. Look at it this way, teachers make more than police officer's. Are there jobs meaning less. teachers have great hours, holiday pay, 2 weeks off at christmas, a week or so off at spring break, paid summer vacation, insurance, 4o1k, oh yea, don't forget the sick and personal days off with pay. Sounds pretty good to me!!!! I will take the $30,000 to $40,000 (and some make more) pay that SC pays a teacher along with all that time off!!!!!! I don' think lawyers get that!

    4. You presented a lot of math that, when all is said and done, proves that teachers in the public system are underpaid - something I thought everyone agreed on.

      How would the Sylvan parents feel if they knew that the teacher of their struggling child was only being paid $3 per hour per child, leaving $37 per hour of their fee going God knows where?

      I know how furious and ripped off I would feel.

  16. In the fourth grade our class was reading James and the Giant Peach. A whole quarter I think. We had a work packet to complete, place into our reading folder at the end of each chapter, to be turned in at the end of the book. I never got past page three. Never did the work, never turned in the folder, but I passed fourth grade reading..... my folder must have been lost, we all said. Really, maybe my teacher had a lot of students. I was lost in the crowd, my problem never identified. Most asked for help when needed. I did not. That was just the begining. I barely passed seventh grade pre algebra, eighth grade algebra, failed ninth grade english. B.S.'d my way through yearbook. By my senior year I was still enrolled in advanced classes, but skipped school nearly every day. My teachers and parents just thought I was lazy, and that I didn't care. Truth is, I did! I cared alot! Despite my wonderful teachers, I was rarely able to complete an assignment, not able to learn. I am so glad to know that there is a program like Sylvan that helps to identify the needs of individual children and helps them to succeed in thier studies! Had I been so lucky to have had that extra giudence back in the fourth grade, school might not have been such a challenge. I give thanks to the teachers that care enough to give thier extra time to children in need of a more individualized learning program.

  17. I have taught at Sylvan for over a year and currently make 10/hr. It is a wonderful place to teach and really make a difference in a child's life. Many of the children that come to Sylvan need much more than than just tutoring. Lots of these children suffer from poor self-esteen and other problems. Sylvan offers a safe haven for these students to learn. So, if your primary goal is not to help a child succeed, but only to make an extra dollar for yourself then please, please don't even consider working there.

    1. If you really just care about the children and their families, then why not just offer free counseling/tutoring at the school after hours. Many families cannot afford to shell out $40+ an hour to send their child(ren) to sylvan.

  18. I was wondering if anyone ever gets their money back from the Sylvan money back guarantee. If so how? My son went there March, April, May, June, July, and August of 2005 because he was doing so badly coming out of the second grade and going into the third. He did two hundred something hours of Math and two hundred something of Reading. We spend so much money to help him catch up to his peers. When he went to third we couldn't afford the huge bill so he saw a school tutor all throughout the third grade. He passed by the skin of his teeth. 240 of the End of Grade testing is to pass to the next grade and he scored a 241. This year he is sunk without hope and we still can't even pay off the first Sylvan bill. How can we get our money back because he clearly never caught up to his peers like they said he was.

    1. Make sure that something is not getting in the way of his learning. With all of these interventions he should have shown improvement.
      Take him to your doctor and have an evaluation done

      dyslexia??

  19. Coolidge and Tangie, what's it like to be a center director? Were you able to produce your own marketing strategies and increase enrollment? How much were you paid? It sounds like an interesting job.

  20. First, most of the response are sad and representative of where the mindset is with our society. Sylvan, nor any other business for that matter owes its teachers or staff any more than the going wage. If solid teachers with verifiable backgrounds are willing to work for 9-$10. 00 per hour then thats the market.

    With that being said, stop complaining and do something about it. Most, went into to teaching knowing full well that it pays below average. Most often, teachers have quite a few other benefits that many do not have. It appears most responding to this blog don't have a clue as to what potential costs go into running a business. If Sylvan earns $120.00-$140 per hour are you really that neive to believe thats 100% net income?

    Use your math and college degrees and figuire it out!

    1. Teachers really need to step back and look at the overall job market.
      I've worked as a Probation Officer w/adult convicted felons for 24 years and my pay last year was not much more than a first year teacher's salary! I have spent the last two and a half years working on a MEd and if/when I start teaching I won't even take a pay cut!

      I'll put my 400+ adult felons up against your 35 children and we'll see who has the most stressful job! You have the opportunity to make a difference....I'm dealing with the fall out of kids YOU pushed through school because they were difficult, ADHD, Learning disabled or just stubborn!

      I'm gladly paying Sylvan to help my ADHD/ODD, Dyslexic/Dysgraphic child learn the concepts she has missed since 5th grade because she had a teacher who had retired but didn't have the good graces to stop showing up to work everyday! This is a child with an IQ of 140 who has been in "gifted ed" for the past 8 years and now suddenly she has teachers who tell me she is behind grade level in math (ok, not her best subject) and Language Arts (she reads at COLLEGE FRESHMAN level!)

      Anyone like to take a crack at how THAT happened!?!

      Teacher's should have to do their student teaching during their FRESHMAN year so they will know what they are getting into BEFORE they've invested their entire college career in something that they are going to hate and be miserable doing!! The children they "teach" are the ones who will suffer and it will be far more than YOU do!

      And while I'm on this roll, if you were the head cheer leader or the captian of the football team and you want to relive your "Glory Days" GO DO IT SOMEWHERE ELSE!! And if you were the geeky kid that got picked on, don't go back to school as a teacher to seek your revenge on the children of your tormentors! GROW UP AND GET OVER IT!!

      To the teachers out there who actually CARE about the kids they teach and didn't go into teaching for the "Summer Off" Thank you!
      My differently abled child has struggled her entire academic career because of "those other teachers" but she did have a Resource teacher who helped her survive elementary school...now she says she wants to teach Sp Ed so she can help other kids like her...and by the way....she may have purple hair, black nail polish and some funky piercings in her ears...but she's the kid that will stand up and defend the kid that is intimidated by miserable teachers, she's the kid that will give her lunch to the quiet kid whose parents don't care enough to fill out the free lunch application and she's the kid that talks to her friends about the dangers of drugs and alcohol because she loves them.....

      By the way, just and FYI....when you tell a kid that your not afraid of them.....you just proved that you really are....I'm proud of my "seen", "difficult" and "stubborn" child. Lousey teachers made her miserable, but it's also made her tough as nails and has given her a mission....she exposes classroom injustice, prejudice and discrimination at the top of her lungs every chance she gets!

    2. Well said.

  21. I thought I would add that if you look at Sylvan's annual report they only make a 13% net after tax margin on the services they deliver after expenses. Those retail locations costs lots of money. Sure they aren't paying teachers enough, but after there operations costs they aren't making that much either. They offer a convenient service that works that parents are willing to pay for. I support teachers but you have to look at the fundementals of their business, and labor costs are only a piece of that story. Most people don't realize a Sylvan facility averages 3,000 sq. ft. and that space rents for up to 24 a sq. ft. per year. That's $72k just for the business. Then account for workmans comp inurance and 8% social security tax on top of the wage there paying teachers. It adds up.

  22. Virtually everyone here is missing the point I personally hoped would get through. It's really very simple.

    If you're a parent and your kid is behind, don't send them to Sylvan. You'll get far better results by paying a tutor $15-25/hour.

    Sylvan charges parents entirely too much, gives your child little to no personalized instruction, and doesn't have quality teachers due to the small hourly wages they can afford to pay.

    1. I got on the internet agreeing wholeheartedly with what Erik is saying - that parents would be better off hiring a private tutor than sending a child to Sylvan.

      MAINLY I WAS HOPING TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH SYLVAN CHARGES PER HOUR AND HOW MANY HOURS IT FORCES PARENTS TO CONTRACT FOR.

      I've tutored privately for 30 years- starting when I was taking a break from teaching to stay home with my young children. I always hired a babysitter whether I tutored at home or at the students' home. I wanted to make sure that the hour I was charging for would be absolutely uninterrupted. I never answered the phone during a session, always had materials ready beforehand, etc.

      At that time I was tutoring for a service that was mostly advertised by word of mouth. In around 1978 I was charging about $15, with 10% going to the owner of the service. Gradually, over the next ten years or so, the rate went up to $25.

      By that time I was a single mom and was tutoring after school and during the summers. I also worked for a private accredited summer school program for learning disabled students. For that I only received $9 and hour, but I learned more than I had getting my bachelor's degree and picked up tutoring students for the entire year(s) for which I charged $25-$30 per hour. One of those students I tutored through the last two years of high school. The final December before graduation I billed her parents $1600. They were thrilled I pulled her out because she had multiple learning and psychological problems.

      Referrals continued coming from the two sources mentioned above, but also started coming from parents of students and former students until I became ill and had to stop for a few years. I moved away for a while and foolishly didn't secure my phone number so I lost my referral lines, and I'm virtually starting over.

      Because of this, I did work for Sylvan for about three weeks. I was not impressed. When observing during the first week there, I noticed that there was always one child waiting to have his/her work checked. Wasted time.

      There were three-four students at a time with a teacher. They were different ages, working on different levels and on different subjects. I saw virtually no instruction going on and was told to have a student go on to the next worksheet even if s/he had missed every question on the activity s/he'd just finished.

      It bothers me that there are several tables in a room, several students at each table. That's a lot of movement and a lot of noise for children who are having learning problems.

      There was an employee who "pulled" workbooks and worksheets for each student based upon what skills the child was working on and what he'd accomplished the last session, but some of the workbooks and worksheets were copyrighted in 1963. That was pointed out to me by one very gifted high school math student who was trying to bring up his verbal score for the SAT.

      Language arts curriculum written in 1963 is often what we would consider sexist now and so out-of-date that students don't understand the cultural references (i. e. measles, switchboard operators, carbon copies, etc.).

      I gave the math whiz some pointers in reading comprehension, and he gushed with gratitude.

      Students are not allowed to write in the workbooks, but write on plastic sheets placed over the work pages with markers, often making it very hard for the students and teachers to read.

      One would think that Sylvan could afford to make xeroxed copies, but, even with individual worksheets, they have to write numbers and answers in spiral notebooks.

      One of Sylvan's best marketing tools is the "point system" of giving out toys at the end of the session. That puts big smiles on the kids' faces as they're walking out to their waiting parents. Makes it look like the kids have just loved the whole hours' learning experience.

      WHAT IS A REASONABLE RATE FOR TEACHERS TO CHARGE?

      I live in Texas - 35th in salary ratings. The last time I taught was 1997, and I think I was making about $36,000. Divided by 183 days of teaching (and teachers do get paid by the day) that comes to $196 per day. I knew that number well because that's how much was deducted from my paycheck for every day I was absent after I ran out of sick days. Granted we work more than the 7 1/2 hours we work when at school, but $196 divided by 7.5 is $26 an hour.

      I was paid that tutoring long before I actually made that teaching. Often I did just "help kids with homework," teaching along the way. I was scared to death in the late 70s when I began tutoring wealthy private school kids whose parents couldn't be bothered to deal with homework. I had no teacher's manual, didn't know if I was getting the real story re assignments, often had "surprise" book reports, etc.

      In other words, I had to adjust to that child's needs with a flexibility a storefront tutoring service could never match. Sounds so easy - homework assistance. But it isn't.

      In the summers I did/do often have to pull curriculum together. I admit I am not a diagnostician, but it usually doesn't take long to hit upon an area you know needs work even if you have no communication with the student's teachers. Luckily, you usually do.

      I noticed a few years ago that one of the "grocery store" magazines recommended Sylvan summer help for struggling students. The next year it recommended finding a retired teacher. I figured they must have heard from disgruntled readers.

      I tutor one-on-one, and it's wonderful to see the progress that can be made that way. I have never required any contract before other than asking to be notified four hours in advance in case of a cancellation. I am now rethinking that and will require a month-to-month contract.

      Teachers, we are underappreciated and undervalued. Tutor for the storefront services if you want, but you might want to think of doing that as a stepping stone to private tutoring. Get cards made. Advertise your services in inexpensive ways - Craig's list for one. Keep notes and contact information for a tutoring resume.

      Remember to keep good financial records of both your expenses (including mileage) and your income. You will need to declare private tutoring as self-employment on your income taxes. The expenses - mileage, pencils, workbooks, etc. will be deductions.

      When I've told parents of young children what Sylvan pays, they are horrified. They know what their friends have paid to send their children to the storefront tutoring services.

      Sylvan's biggest overhead is advertising, advertising, advertising. I use 800-free-411 a lot. They have the system down so well that if they're advertising on free 411 that day, they don't give you the 1-800 number, but rather the local number that is closest to you. How do they do that? I don't know, but I do know it must cost a bundle.

    2. I wasn't going to comment, but this has me completely baffled. I am a Sylvan Director and I know for a fact that my teachers, as well as myself are 100% dedicated to all of our student's success! A private tutor may be good, but is not equipped with a full diagnostic assessment to see where the student has gaps in the past, and the resources to fill in these gaps. You must have had a bad experience in the past and are bitter. Sorry! I wish you would come in and talk to a Director to see what Sylvan is really about.

      We are all there not for the money, but because we love what we do, and are all good at what we do. I have fabulous teachers who work for $!0 per hour who I wouldn't trade for the world! They have changed many lives for the better, and I think you need to get more information before you make harsh judgments on people who are doing such a good thing for children.

    3. Perhaps you should check your facts before commenting. Sylvan offers only personalized instruction. I am currently a director at a center and watch hundreds of kids reach success in my center, after "individual" instruction from a private tutor fails. Those teachers do not have the resources to provide success. As for profit margin- Sylvan makes less than 13%. For those of you who don't like the pay- don't work there. If pay is what your looking for- get out of my profession. I want my child to have a teacher who cares. That's what Sylvan provides. All of the comments against Sylvan on this page are from obvious ignorance.

  23. I am a hard working single Mom. The school advised me to sign up for this sylvan program.. Sooo, I have just enrolled my daughter in sylvans center. It cost me $250.00 for a 4 hour test , $ 50.00 for a enrollment fee and then I was told that my daughter needed to come 4 times a week at $42.00 per hour... (( WHAT ))? This is tapping me out!! MY QUESTION IS : Does the school get a kick backs $$$ for recommending them to parents?? I went to the office and explained I can not aford to drop all this money and they made me feel like a really bad mom for not wanting the best for my daughter.. I have spend alot of money so far $1, 140.00 ( this is for only a month).

    1. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!

      Sylvan does market to schools. Most of them should not and do not openly recommend them specifically.

      It makes me want to CRY to think that a well-meaning parent is being "guilted" into spending such a huge portion of her budget on tutoring--especially in advance.

      Four sessions per week is most unusual. It's more than most young children can handle, in my opinion, on top of school hours and homework.

      There are alternatives you might consider.

      Most universities can either do diagnostic testing through their education departments or guide you toward nonprofit organizations that do all sorts of testing - intelligence, auditory, academic, etc., etc. on a sliding scale. Either can probably guide you toward an appropriate tutor.

      There are many after-school programs forming around the country. Many of these are free, and many have tutors. Check into those and talk to the tutor to see what training s/he has and how much time s/he might have to work with your child. Sometimes the tutor does have extra time to work with students who want to "stick around."

      For private tutors you might start with special education departments of universities. Sometimes graduate students do tutoring.

      Retired teachers often tutor. There are probably retired educators' associations in your communities. This is probably where you'll get the best bang for your buck. (And, yes, I am a retired teacher.)

      You might ask for names of tutors from physicians, pastors, community leaders, etc. You could look on Craig's list under the education section.

      Ask for references. Try to find someone who's tutored before. Even with an experienced tutor who's a certified, long-term teacher, you'll pay less than Sylvan charges.

      And don't be afraid to ask to BARTER. I've offered many times to tutor an hour for an hour of housecleaning - either for tutoring a child or for teaching an adult non-reader or non-English speaker to learn English. I've never had a taker.

      Since I live alone, I'd also gladly tutor an hour for a home-cooked meal. How much harder would it be to cook for one more person if you're cooking for a family? I color my own hair--not very well. Would love for someone else to apply the color.

      Walk a dog, babysit, cater a party, run a carpool, give a pedicure. BE CREATIVE.

      I even tutored a student whose mother tutored mine.

      Almost everyone has a skill to barter. Perhaps you and a member of your family could go together to barter two or three services.

      THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. That's what I call "S," one of the "big box" tutoring services.

    2. Hi there Sigh.

      I am an editor at SmartMoney magazine, doing a story on the tutoring industry, and I saw your post about Sylvan. I'm interested in letting parents know the pros and cons of different tutoring choices, and your perspective would be extremely useful to our readers who may see the ads and get the sales pitch, but not know how some of the more poorly-run centers can work. Any chance you'd be willing to chat with me for the story?

      I'm on deadline for early next week (Feb 22). Please contact me before that if you're game! [missy.sullivan@dowjones.com] Thanks!!

  24. I am interested in being a Center Director. Can anyone give me advise on the pay scale as well as growth opportunities? Someone asked the same questions earlier and there wasn't a reply.

  25. Erik's point is a ridiculous one. $15.00-$25.00 per hour would barely cover the cost of supplimental materials needed fro your child to work on. Or is he ploanning on getting extra materials from school, they frowned on that kind of thinkg when I was teaching, except for YOUR STUDENTS of course. People drive mMercedes because of the quality they bring and yes they cost a little more Sylvan is the mercedes of supplimental education. We hire the best teachers and they provide the best service to your child.

    Those interested in the center director position it is quite challenging and rewarding. Pay will typically be a base salary bonus. The ability to market depends on who owns the center, most owners are hands off and want you to take the ball and run with it. With this kind of franchisee you would be in heaven, still some are control freaks and can't let you truly run the business this makes it tough. Most franchisees want you to run the business and succeed, I suggest you stop by a Sylvan one day and chat with the CD. I really loved this job.

    1. Hahahahaha, absurd. I've seen all Sylvan's "supplimentary" 😛 material. I could tutor a kid in math with my fat, Gruber's SAT book for 25/hr better than a regiment of Sylvan teachers with every textbook, "manipulative" <- what a joke, toy, token and juice box in existence.

      What is Sylvan? Sylvan is boxed, one-size-fits-all education.

      There are two types of students, those who care and those who don't. Sylvan gets 75% students who don't give a crap. The ones that do could be tutored with a white board and one half-dry marker.

      Mercedes, don't make me gag. 42/hr....boy, that sure helps provide opportunities to those 9-5 parents struggling to put food on the table. Yea...sure...Sylvan cares...

      Erik has it exactly right.

  26. [quote comment="25556"]Erik's point is a ridiculous one. $15.00-$25.00 per hour would barely cover the cost of supplimental materials needed fro your child to work on.[/quote]

    Children being taught by their own teachers wouldn't need supplemental material - they'd be working on the stuff they're learning in school and using their own textbooks. Students are allowed to take their textbooks home. Some even have one book at school and one at home. There is no "extra" material.

    [quote comment="25556"]People drive Mercedes because of the quality they bring and yes they cost a little more Sylvan is the mercedes of supplimental education. We hire the best teachers and they provide the best service to your child.[/quote]

    At $8 to $10 to maybe $15/hour, you do not hire the best teachers. You're kidding yourself if you believe otherwise. You hire teachers who want to work a little over the summer or you hire teachers who couldn't get jobs elsewhere. Some Wal-Mart employees make more than Sylvan "teachers" do.

    The simple fact of the matter is that spending money on Sylvan is nearly as beneficial to your child as flushing money down the drain. Children receive little to no individualized attention, spend most of their time doing worksheets, and benefit only from actually being made to do work, not by learning things relative to what they're doing in school at the moment.

    1. Totally agree. Worked at Sylvan for about 3 weeks.

      Am wondering - What do the parents pay? For how long do they have to contract?

      I know it's tons more than the $10-11 the teachers get paid.

      I've tutored off and on for 30 years, but have moved and am just getting started again. Have charged $25 -$30 since the late 80s and 90s. After a while off, I'm told the minimum should be $40.

      Amazing the results of one-on-one tutoring. I've never required a contract other than asking the parents to notify me within 4 hours if they're going to need to cancel the session.

      I did work for Sylvan about 3 weeks and was appalled at the lack of instruction, having 3-4 students at each table of different ages, different ability levels, working on different subjects, the number of tables in the room. Lots of noise and movement for children who are having learning problems.

      Old, old workbooks and worksheets which cannot be written on, but answered either in spiral notebooks or with markers on plastic sheets paper-clipped over workbooks.

      Was told to have students to do activity, check, have him do the next activity - even if he'd missed every question on the page.

      Best marketing gimmick--point system that allows kids to buy "toys," junk, etc. at the end of the hour. Sends students to the cars with big smiles on their faces.

      Biggest overhead--advertising, advertising, advertising. If they're advertising on 1-800-free-411, they don't give you the 1-800 number, but rather the number of the center closest to you. How do they do that? I don't know, but I do know it must be very, very expensive.

    2. HOW MUCH DOES SYLVAN CHARGE? HOW MANY SESSIONS TO YOU HAVE TO SIGN UP FOR?

      I worked there for about three weeks and was not impressed with their system.

      Have tutored privately for a loooooooooong time but have moved and am starting over. Have charged much more than the $11 an hour I got at Sylvan since the late 70s.

    3. Absolutely 100% not true! Not at all. Have you ever visited a Sylvan, talked with the teachers or Directors there? They are caring, loving people who want to see the children succeed! And every student gets individualized attention. Are you making things up just to try to cause chaos? Or to mislead parents who need help?

  27. I work at a learning centre similiar to Sylvan. I have worked there almost four years, and have not had a raise in three and a half years. What many have said here is true. The teacher shortage is long over. I cannot get a job other than supply teaching. I work at the learning centre for experience and money...not GOOD money. However, learning centres want the benefit of being able to say they employ"certified teachers". However, the teachers don't benefit at all financially. For every two hours I work, I spend at least 15 minutes before teaching reviewing materials, making photocopies etc. Then I stay after the lesson at least a half hour marking, writing comments, reading/marking essays,talking to parents, putting books away etc. I am not paid for this extra time. Apparently, I am supposed to do this DURING the hour I am with my students. If I actually did this, I wouldn't have time to even talk to my students,answer their questions or mark their work. I would simply be a paper pusher...and THAT is what my pay is based on. I love teaching, I care about my students. I just can bring myself to do a half-assed job reflective of my pay. Yup, I am being taken advantage of...but I have no one to blame but myself. Many learning centres rely on a teacher's desire to go above and beyond for free.

    1. why don't you name the learning center you worked it since everyone else is naming Sylvan??????

  28. I am reading these posts and amazed at the comments some of you leave. Coolidge, I agree with every comment you made, I am a Center Director at a Sylvan and love my job! I love to see what being at Sylvan for 6 months can do for a child's self esteem and how confidence can soar! Our teachers start at $13/hr and can raise that to well above $16 over time, so I'm not sure where you all are coming from. Our teachers love what they do and love working for Sylvan because they see the difference. As for paying your classroom teacher $15/hr., perhaps you should think about WHY your child isn't getting what he or she needs from that teacher all day....how would a few extra hours help her? Plus, we go back and find the holes and missing pieces and fill those in and then the student can feel successful. That's the reason for the test. And, the program is completely individualized, but the reason for 3 students is so the child can also learn to work independently after skills are learned. After all, the classroom isn't exactly 1:1 is it?

    I'd like to see some of you who criticize Sylvan actually go there and "feel" what is happening during instruction....students who want to learn and teachers who love teaching. No amount of money can match any of that.
    Amen.

    1. When Sylvan assessed my child the test results were dead on target with where she began struggling....5th grade....that teacher is now selling real estate....but because my daughter was "difficult", by educator's standards, she spent most of her 5th grade math class sitting in the hall!! Consequently, she does not have the concepts she needs now in 8th grade. I just wish that woman had started selling real estate before she ever set foot in a classroom!

      If I have to pay $50 a month for the rest of my natural life, I will if that's what it takes to help her fill in the gaps for what she did not get from public school. The Sylvan Director we work with is at that center 12-14 hours a day 7 days a week! I believe she would stay till midnight if a child needed her help....she is that passionate about teaching children...and homework help is FREE for enrolled students....my child is there for homework help twice as much as she is for Math essentials....and they help her with ANY subject that she's working on at the moment, not just the Math that I'm paying for! My high schooler took a practice SAT test this week, also FREE! So far, I'm very satisfied with what I'm getting for the money I'm paying.

      After her first Sylvan session my "avoid homework like the plague, throw a fit, start a fight, do anything you can to keep from doing it" child ASKED to go back the next day....on SATURDAY, no less! I have not had to fight with her to get her to go, she comes out smiling because she actually "got it" for the first time!!

      PUT A PRICE TAG ON THAT!

  29. seems Sylvan's cd's and teacher's aren't really on the same page as far as pay scale goes.

  30. Some of you have mentioned that tutoring places like Sylvan must not have quality teachers because only the 'poor quality' teachers would accept the low pay.

    Doesn't have quality teachers?

    I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education (my second Bachelor's degree by the way). I live in the NW Indiana/Chicago area and cannot find a teaching job ANYWHERE, despite sending out literally 100's of resumes - there are simply not enough teaching jobs to go around in this area (others I graduated with cannot find teaching jobs either). The only way to gain the necessary experience to 'get my foot in the door' as a classroom teacher is to tutor or sub.

    Do I like the reality of low pay for teachers (tutoring or in the classroom)? Of course not. But please don't get the erroneous idea that unless a teacher is employed by a school corporation, that he/she is not a quality teacher.

  31. [quote comment="38723"]I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education (my second Bachelor's degree by the way).[/quote]

    Dawn, you may or may not be a good teacher. I obviously can't know. But please don't use "I got good grades and two degrees" as proof that you're a good teacher. It doesn't prove - or disprove - anything.

    1. Erik,
      I'm glad you started this discussion!

      A bachelor in elementary education is a joke! You just have to complete ridiculous "tasks" and work on "projects." I went through Single Subject credential school and it was such a breeze. Any dummies with the ability to bull-sh*t can get this degree. I'll call you a genius when you get a degree in Math!

      I used to work for Sylvan as a teacher through one of the free programs that they run for the school districts. Because apparently, the districts think Sylvan can make a difference; so they gave Sylvan a generous contract. The difference Sylvan cares to make is to increase their bank account.

      Sylvan's directors are corporate whores who only cares about money. After all, if Sylvan cares about students like all the directors claimed here, why don't they open a center in a ghetto?

      Parents, you know why Sylvan is so successful? Because they actually have somebody spend some time with your child and go over the homework! They're not genius with special strategies! They just charge you a lot of money to perform one of your duties as parents: to be consistent and spend time with your child when he/she is working on their hw! If you would have been consistent and put forth time and devotion, you wouldn't need to pay Sylvan to "babysit" for you.

      People: please think about it! How do they afford the advertisements? How do they afford to open locations with high rent? Where do they get these money? From *ucking with your heads and squeeze your hard-earn money.

    2. Erik,

      Are you a teacher? Some of the comments you make suggest that you are not one. Maybe you should leave the teacher comments to those people who are actually teachers. You're buddy DS seems to think that a Bachleor's Degree in Education is a joke. I wonder if either of you have ever set foot in a classroom to teach. It seems like you have not.

    3. [quote comment="55014"]Are you a teacher?[/quote]

      Did you bother to read the actual blog post, or just the comments?

      [quote comment="55014"]You're buddy DS seems to think that a Bachleor's Degree in Education is a joke.[/quote]

      It's "your." Maybe it's more of a joke than you think - it didn't help you with basic grammar.

  32. [quote comment="24262"]I am a hard working single Mom. The school advised me to sign up for this sylvan program..

    Sooo, I have just enrolled my daughter in sylvans center. It cost me $250.00 for a 4 hour test , $ 50.00 for a enrollment fee and then I was told that my daughter needed to come 4 times a week at $42.00 per hour... (( WHAT ))? This is tapping me out!! MY QUESTION IS : Does the school get a kick backs $$$ for recommending them to parents?? I went to the office and explained I can not aford to drop all this money and they made me feel like a really bad mom for not wanting the best for my daughter.. I have spend alot of money so far $1, 140.00 ( this is for only a month).[/quote]

    My husband and I are looking into this as well for our son. He has reading comprehension issues and fluency problems. He gets good grades in everything except reading that involves comprehension, and things like social studies and math that involve him understanding instructions over a long period of time. Regular math problems, and spelling, he excels in. The school system in KY will only help in those areas if he's failing school. Why should we wait to address this if he gets below a D? He should be making at least b's in most of his classes, and he does if this comprehension issue isn't involved. Good luck to all the parents out there, fight for the best education for your kids, even if it means private school, which may be where we go next.

  33. I worked as a teacher and then an Assistant Director and then a Center Director. My salary started at $6.50, I kid you not. They moved me up to $7 after 90 days. I eventually was paid $8 for teaching. The Director job was salaried at $30K with some benefits.

    All that said, I've been on both ends of the Sylvan thing -- management and labor. I think the diagnostic test is good to get a feel for what skills are missing, but I think parents are better off taking that information and giving it to a private tutor. The hour of instruction will actually be an hour, not an hour divided by three kids, and subtract the time used while a student is waiting for the teacher to finish updating paperwork and recording rewards. It's a huge waste, IMO. I would never send my kids to Sylvan. Seriously.

    Incidentally, I really resent, as a teacher, the idea that a person isn't a good educator if they expect to be paid what they're worth. No one is in it for the money, but a person with a degree should expect to be paid more than a person working at McDonald's. Period. So there's no need to get all self-righteous about the idea that a certified teacher should expect a certain amount of pay.

    And to get the the heart of the issue with directors -- let me relate a conversation that took place among a group of directors and myself one morning. During the meeting, we were discussing the issue of student enrollment. I made the statement that I believed that it was our job to make ourselves obsolete -- that we should be striving to make our students no longer need us. That's because this is how a *teacher* thinks. You'd have thought I had just grown a second head from the looks I got in that room. The directors think like managers. Most of them aren't teachers, or they've forgotten what it means to be in it for the good of the students. The bottom line is the money. They want to get the students in there and keep them there -- the idea is to start by getting students up to speed, then move them into "enrichment" programs, and then to study skills, etc. It's a racket.

    I have no doubt Sylvan helps some kids. I've seen it myself. But I also have no doubt that a private tutor would come a lot cheaper and help much faster. If you insist on taking your kids to Sylvan, have to good sense to realize that the director is out to keep you there for as long as possible.

  34. Elizabeth and all,

    I read your comments, and I am so torn over what choice to make for my daughter. My ex-husband and I are very concerned about our Taylor. She is in first grade, has a bubbly personality, blossoms socially, and is slowly catching on to phonics, but not so much mathematics. Now her report cards, both thus far, reflect all "1s" and few "2s" in reading comprehension and all mathematic skills. The one's stand for working below grade levels with accommodations, and the two's are at grade level with accommodations. The school year is half over, and despite all my efforts at home with supplemental activities, work, memorizational techniques, writing, v-smile games, online learning games, ETC. we are still not confident she will progress to the second grade. Three conferences have revealed that she is an excellent student, with good personable skills, but her teachers feel she is developmentally unequal to her peers due to her age (she is 6, and will not be seven until July of this year) and they have mentioned that she may need to stay back because of this, to actually grasp things better. Now, this scared her father and I. I have leaned towards still helping her and encouraging her, and if she does not make it, understanding it was necessary for her to repeat this grade...it is a hard thing to accept, but I want the best for her. What if holding her back is the best thing? I don't know. Now, to get to the bottom of this, her father mentioned Sylvan to me, that a teacher told him it was the best, I naturally wanted to do my own research. I have seen so many conflicting stories, and high rates, and do not feel confident as of yet, and I have also sent all of my findings to her father. Do you or does anyone else here have any advice for our particular situation? I know most of you say private tutoring is best...I am beginning to see that, but even one tutoring service we checked into (ClubZ) was outrageous, and did not impress during the home visit. This would be her father footing the bill, and I know he may or may not be concerned about the money, and honestly, I am not either. I understand the need to charge, but is it the best thing? My main concern is what is best for Taylor. Now, I don't lilke that there is no one on one with Sylvan, she needs this obviously, not just another classroom setting, that is not working.....any help?

    1. Christy,
      I am an elementary school teacher and I can tell you honestly that some children just need extra support. However, with budget cuts and poor funding, very few of my students have been able to get the time they need with a resource teacher working daily in small groups at the child's instructional level. Because of increasing class sizes, classroom teachers are unable to provide some of these children with all the support they need. However, you are right to worry about your daughter because literacy skills in 1st grade are vitally important. Children seem to fall farther and farther behind if they do not acquire grade-level literacy skills in 1st grade. Once they have these gaps from previous years, it is even more difficult for teachers to try and catch them up while they also teach the current grade-level skills.
      I have had a few students make progress with Sylvan, however, I agree that the service is way over priced. If I were you, I would ask around at your daughter's school to see if there is a teacher that would like to earn a little extra money over the summer. Ask the principal to send out an e-mail. Teachers are underpaid and I bet you would have lots of takers. Then choose the teacher you feel would be best for your child. All elementary teachers should have a solid background in teaching literacy. If you could find some to tutor for 90 minutes a day, one-on-one, I bet your daughter would make remarkable progress. If you offered $20-25 I think you' be getting better, more personalized tutoring and saving a bundle. Also, if you sit in on a couple of sessions a week and monitor her progress, you'd probably have a great idea of how you could continue to offer at home support during the school year. As a teacher, if a parent comes to me and says "what can I do to be helping my child at home" I always have plenty of suggestions. These are the children that make progress because they have a committed parent willing to offer support and encouragement at home.
      Sylvan certainly would be much better than no tutoring at all, but again, I think if you find a quality teacher (which shouldn't be too hard if you offer $25) to be her personal tutor, she make a lot more progress. Also, you'd probably save quite a bit.
      Additionally, it sounds like your daughter has great social/study skills. It could be that perhaps she has a learning disability of processing disorder (dyslexia, etc). I see a lot of children suffer going undiagnosed and teachers are not aloud to suggest to a parent that they have their child tested. Teachers are certainly not physicians, however, they work with a lot of children with disabilities and can often recognize symptoms and signs quite easily. If you do hire a teacher as a private tutor, I would ask him/her for their honest opinion at the end of the summer. I would ask if they have seen any signs of learning disabilities that they would recommend looking into. Then you can seek a physician's opinion. I can't tell you how many students of mine have struggle with learning disabilities when they could make so much more progress with the help and support that comes with the understanding of a diagnosis.
      Good luck. It sounds like your daughter has two concerned parents on her side so I'd consider her one of the lucky ones!

  35. I thought about doing a little tutoring this summer and so decided to call Sylvan to hear about what they charge a parent per hour and what they pay. In Spokane Washington they said they pay teachers $10 and charge parents $41.

    I am a teacher at a private school and have had two children go to Sylvan with good results. One child loved it, the other was at one point overworked and refused to go after a while but still benefited.

    I am sure it helps children otherwise why would it exist at all? However does it help all children? There is no such thing as all and always but one must find what works for their child. There are several ways to skin a cat (just an idiomatic expression I love cats) and when you do, it will be the cat's meow for your child. There is nothing like a child who finally starts doing well in school again. It changes more than their grades.

    Non the less I bet parents can find tutors for less than $41 and who maybe even have the diagnostic tools Sylvan have. As a classroom teacher I am thinking of charging $25 - $30. I will not work for about 2-3 dollars above the minimum wage. I could easily offer diagnostic reading tests, and math tests to see what a child knows using a computer and paper pencil and observation and questioning. Questioning is a big one and a computer test does not ask motivational questions, or get to the bottom of why some kids are not learning.

    If Sylvan gets your child up to speed and then starts offering "enrichment" as someone wrote, I might suggest that you can supply enrichment yourself simply by taking your child to a museum, hiking, reading a book with you child, teaching them how to build something, knit, paint, visit an old person's home, visit any number of businesses, factories, government agencies on and on. The more the better. Enrich like crazy because the more they see the more they will be able to write from experience, understand when they read and will even understand why math is important. (TV is not enriching in most cases- too passive)

    Hope this helps. And remember. Paying a classroom teacher $25-$40 per hour (my brother pays $40 in Massachusetts for his daughter) is not too much really when you consider what is at stake in the long run. The price of failure or mediocrity is far greater. Anyway they can always go to Walmart and work for $10 per hour (after just a year) if they work smart. Your call.

  36. My daughter has had hearing problems since birth. She has had three surgeries on her ears, adnoids, tonsils, and again ears. She was diagnosed with 40% hearing loss in one ear and 20% on the other, this was in the beginning of kindergarten. Throughout her schooling (she's in fourth grade now) she has struggled with reading and reading comprehension along with some math skills. The girl struggles to maintain A's and B's and consistently has to work harder then her peers. We sought out Sylvan and so far after three months my daughter is above her grade level in reading, math, and is almost up to grade level on comprehension. Sylvan has been a wonderful learning experience for my daughter, those "prizes" someone mentioned earlier have actually motivated her more to meet her goals.
    If you want to compain about pay look at the pay and wages of a U.S. Airmen, Soldier, Marine, and Sailor. They fight for our country and they make $7.00 an hour. Enough said.

    1. Actually, If you look at the fact they are on the clock 24hs a day 7 days a week. It breaks down to far less then that. Its a shame how the military is paid.

    2. When I was in the Air Force back in 1992, I made $11,000/yr. That was at the lowest rank, and while that looks like nothing, I didn't have much to pay for either. Most of my food, all of my medical (I had my daughter in a private hospital and the bill was $0), and my housing was paid for. I had a car payment, gas, and insurance.

      When I made $75,000/yr as a contractor, I had a mortgage payment, utility bills, food, medical insurance AND medical bills (insurance doesn't pay for much), plus 2 car payments (I was married), gas, and insurance. And I had about $100 a month left over!

      I didn't have the "freedom" when I was in the military to do what I wanted when I wanted, but I didn't have much to worry about in terms of bills. I could just as easily got hit by a drunk driver or shot at by some random bullet and died when I was a contractor, as I could have been sent to fight and died for my country. It's all in how you look at it.

      As far as the Sylvan issue, my girlfriend has a 10yo boy who has the biggest trouble with reading/comprehension. He adds syllables and sounds to words that aren't there, and can't tell you what the story was about because he had so much trouble just reading the words let alone understand what he's reading! We are both concerned and involved parents and do what we can to help him. I was looking up the pros/cons to Sylvan as his mom wants to take him there to see if it will help. I just want to have all the right questions to ask and let her know what she's getting into financially. I have read all the comments up to this point and have come out with a lot of good points, both promising and disconcerting. I will try to convince her to look for private 1 on 1 in-home tutors at half the cost as well.

  37. [quote comment="39319"]If you want to compain about pay look at the pay and wages of a U.S. Airmen, Soldier, Marine, and Sailor. They fight for our country and they make $7.00 an hour. Enough said.[/quote]

    Let me preface this with the fact that I'm thrilled your daughter has had good results with Sylvan. We saw plenty of students that we were able to help. I just think that as a general rule, help can be found cheaper and quicker elsewhere. Sylvan certainly never hurt anyone -- it's just a ridiculous expense for what you actually get, IMO. Since there are three kids there, you're not paying $40/hour, but actually paying about $40 for twenty minutes -- so if you can find a private tutor charging less than $120/hour, you come out ahead, and so does the child who has more attention. But it's your money and your child. Do what works for you.

    But I have to address this servicemember comment, as it's rather annoying. I'm married to an active duty member of the AF, and the pay certainly isn't what it should be given the sacrifices we make. But I can also tell you that those who make $7/hour do not have a degree. Officers certainly make more than that. Enlisted servicemembers are underpaid, no doubt, but that's an apples and oranges comparison. A degree and certification are avenues to advanced pay in our society, and enlisted servicemembers can achieve rank more quickly by obtaining an academic degree, so even in the military, getting an advanced education results in higher pay. (Having said that, getting shot at should result in higher pay as well, but contact your Congressman about that -- we're talking about private enterprise here.)

    [quote comment="39285"]Elizabeth and all,

    My main concern is what is best for Taylor. Now, I don't lilke that there is no one on one with Sylvan, she needs this obviously, not just another classroom setting, that is not working.....any help?[/quote]

    I can't speak to your situation without observing her personally, but I would suggest contacting her teacher and asking if any of the teachers there tutor privately or contact a private school and ask them. The teachers there generally earn considerably less and may be looking for outside income. If it's a developmental problem, no amount of tutoring is going to bring her up to speed, but only time. I'm not advocating holding her back -- she may hit a developmental "turning point" tomorrow. But I would suggest a private tutor who can be with your daughter one-on-one who can evaluate the problem. Sylvan tutors really don't have the time to get to know a student, since there is so much else going on in there (at least if it's during a busy hour). Also, Sylvan tests are strictly about detecting weaknesses in academic areas -- they cannot tell you about developmental problems. That's more of a pediatric/psychological testing area. I would probably also give your pediatrician a call. But that's just me.

    IMPORTANT ADDITION to my first post:

    I should have mentioned this in my initial post, but it slipped my mind. When I first started teaching, Sylvan had me teaching Algebra to students at one point, as well as doing teaching the math prep for the SAT. **I am a certified English teacher!!** The only Algebra I have had was high school Algebra I and II, and I wasn't very good at it then, plus I'd had ten years to forget it! (I had Math for Art majors as an undergrad and that's it.) I told the director this, but she needed a body in the chair, so there I was. This went on for at least six to eight months before they hired an actual math teacher, but even then, I still had to do it from time to time. But the director told the parents that I was a certified teacher teaching their kid. This was true, but I wasn't certified to teach math at all.

    So it's important to be sure that your child's teacher knows their field. They'll stick any warm body in a chair sometimes if they're hard up for a teacher. I'd have been furious if I was a parent to find out I was paying for that.

    FWIW

  38. Thank you. I actually have arranged for a private tutor, someone I know well just did not know they tutored. Her first lesson is tomorrow. When I said developmental I did not mean "slow" or as in developmentally challenged. I meant that she is much younger than her other classmates, and perhaps I should have waited to start her in kindergarten, pre-k, and first grade. She gets a clean bill of health all around from her doctors. The issue is mainly her stubborness and confidence levels, along with her age compared to her other classmates. Her tutor is a High School Math teacher, with a Master's specializing in Education of course, and Mathematics. Being a personal friend of mine, he adores my girls, and knows he can help open Taylor's eyes better, and does not want me to pay him, but I will not let him refuse. I got lucky this time.

  39. I don't work for Sylvan, but Huntington Learning Center, which seems to be very similar. I am not certified, but I do all the work that certified teachers do at the center, and I get $12-13/hr. depending on the task.

    Funny thing about Huntington -- There's a printed list of employees above the time clock where we punch in. The list ALWAYS has new names written in at the bottom, yet it never grows longer than one page. Hmmmm -- can you say "continuous turn over?"

    Send your kid to a center for anything except test prep and they will sit there for hours doing worksheet after worksheet. There is very little teaching going on and NO consistency because of the turnover.

    After 9 months, I'm fed up, and hoping to jump ship over to Princeton Review, where i can immediately double my pay and focus only on test prep.

  40. PEOPLE- You Don't Understand Tutoring

    For high school students (who do not need remediation) but need help in a current subject such as a high math, science, or foreign languages, a decent tutor will fairly charge between $25-$60 / hour. . . . Parents can probably find 'cheaper' alternatives, search craigslist for the bottom feeders, but know that quality will surely suffer.

    For younger students and anyone in need of basic remediation, a learning center's program for remediation for basic math, reading, writing (such has the curriculum offered by a franchise like sylvan, huntington, or tutoring club) will cost between $35-$45/ hour. . . . Parents will not find a less expensive alternative, because nothing short of a proven program really works. . . . Meaning, any tutor, at any price, simply can not do what the curriculum of a reputable learning center can do. . . and it's a very sad rip-off when they try. Parents are simply throwing away their money in the same way that people don't buy 4 tires for $100 and expect them to last very long. Even a current or retired English teacher can not teach a child who is behind in reading in the way that a learning center's proven reading curriculum can. . . . nor can a math teacher remediate a math student who is behind . . . oh, it might help for that day's homework, but it doesn't address the core of the problem - those missing skills. At a learning center, parents are paying for a proven systematic program to permanently fix the child's "skills gaps", not just the $9-14/ hour teacher delivering the instruction.

    From the outsite, to an uneducated observer, the "systematic" nature of the program might look like worksheets, but that's the learning process in action. Sorry is appears boring, but it is what it is and it has worked for many many decades. . .

    Lastly, truth be told, all fees at all learning centers are negotiable. . . most centers would much rather waive the fees to get your tuition than let you walk out the door.

  41. What bothers me the most........is our children spend 7-8 hours a day, five day's a week at school. Why do we have to pay other people outside of their school to really educate them? Sometimes I consider becoming a stay at home mom so that I can educate him myself. As most of us know, it just simply not possible. I am a single mother and work two jobs to survive. Why do our children need further education?

    1. yo...it's public school. people here are complaining about the time being divided between three students, not twenty. and you probably don't have to pay these people extra if you'd just make sally do her homework. but you're not supermom so you shell out da dough. cause isn't that what you really want?? someone else to take over your daughter's education and leave you with an extra hour of peace in the day?

  42. As educators, there are times when we all wish we had a remote control to "pause" the classroom. There are children who don't always "catch on" and teachers do not have the time to make sure that each chlid "gets it." Due to the rigors of standarized testing and end-of-course tests, teachers must press on, as frustrating as that is to everyone.

    While it is expensive, these learning centers spend more money on making sure they have the resources to help every student who comes through that door. I know centers that have over 800 pieces of curriculum ranging from Pre-K to adult. Show me a private tutor/teacher with those resources. In addition, how many parents are able to do background checks on their own personal tutors?

    1. [quote comment="41239"] I know centers that have over 800 pieces of curriculum ranging from Pre-K to adult. Show me a private tutor/teacher with those resources. [/quote]

      A good tutor won't make that claim. They focus on the tier they know well.

  43. Blah, Blah, BLAH!~ when was the last time anybody told a doctor that they should be into their profession to "just to see people get well, and to NOT be into it for the money?"..I am a recent graduate with teacher certification and all I am seeing is how people feel they DON'T have to pay teachers what they are worth! as professionals, deserve to get paid a professional wage. Teachers have spent years on our education (need I mention the constant demand on continuing education) and no one seems to see the value in it. We have racked up student loan bills just the same as any other professional; Doctors, Lawyers etc. etc.
    It sounds to me like Sylvan is trying to get the biggest bag for their buck. Yeah sure, the teachers don't have prep to do, and they get weak raises every few months...but what about their knowledge and experience? why does Sylvan think they can get that for free?

    1. Why would any center pay you more. Please don't compare yourself to a Doctor or a Lawyer. You make me laugh. 😆

  44. After reading all the comments on this thread I'm sorry for ever bringing my daughter to sylvan. She is seven years old and having trouble with math. We have tried to do more at home and all it got us was frustrated (on both sides). She has expressed some of the same concerns that have been listed here , not enough individual attention, room to noisy and distracting, not actually doing math, having to compete with other children at her table and most recently being told that she could not go to the bathroom or get a drink of water until the instructor felt it was appropriate.

    Like an idiot I gave them the entire tuition upfront. Do any of you know how or if I can get my money back so I can spend it on a private tutor? Any help with this would be most appreciated.

  45. My daughter presently is in Huntington Learning center in Orlando Florida- they promised us the moon in a short time
    but we still have to see the benefits . we are thinking of retaining her this year- seems like Sylvan isn't much better
    they are all businesses set up to milk the less fortunate
    students parents... I did not give them all the 6000 dollars
    they wanted up front - so far we have given them 3000 and
    are thinking of throwing in the towel in June and give the kid a
    well earned rest for the summer . time is a good tutor also
    some times kids just need a year to catch up -that's life
    we all have our shortcomings as human beings
    after all - look at that kid in Virginia Tech -- he was an English
    Major that knew how to write well ... look what he did ...

  46. [quote comment="41268"]After reading all the comments on this thread I'm sorry for ever bringing my daughter to sylvan. She is seven years old and having trouble with math. We have tried to do more at home and all it got us was frustrated (on both sides). She has expressed some of the same concerns that have been listed here , not enough individual attention, room to noisy and distracting, not actually doing math, having to compete with other children at her table and most recently being told that she could not go to the bathroom or get a drink of water until the instructor felt it was appropriate.

    Like an idiot I gave them the entire tuition upfront. Do any of you know how or if I can get my money back so I can spend it on a private tutor? Any help with this would be most appreciated.[/quote]

    Just ask for the refund - there is a two week "written notice" requirement, but if you make a big enough stink, you might be able to waive the notice. Ask for "corporate" if they will not cooperate.

  47. Is that the norm?? $40 a session? Wow I was hoping to help my daughter with reading comprehension. Each year she is sent to the next grade with the ""Work on reading comprehension" and each year I ask WHAT CAN I DO?! HELP!?! SOS!!! she started out reading high as a 4 yr old and has progressively gotten worse!! she's 9!! HELP!!!

    1. linda--
      i am in the exact same boat with my daughter. Her confidence and intellect was high above her peers until 1st grade. I get the "work on reading comprehension" year after year. she is currently in her 2nd year of 3rd grade. She should have waited a year to start K i believe now, but she has also been overplaced for 3yrs and falling further behind as her reading skills never seem to grow higher than mid 1st grade level. I am extremely irritated and annoyed by commenters saying if we seek help we are wanting to pay someone else to do our job. Or if we can't fix our childs education defecentcy it is our failure as a parent. I am an extremely involved parent, I read with my daughter and always help with her homework. But i am not a teacher, I read very well, but i do not know how to teach phonic to my 9 year old so gets it and retains it.
      All i am left to think is i just don't know how to teach her right? or she needs more individual attention with a Teacher. She does the 'free" public school reading resources and summer programs every year since 1st...and not one of them has helped her to progress. She does very well at math..obviously bc she doesn't have to read to do it! Math word problems are another story. She does mediocre on Social Studies and Science due to how much of the reading she understood. If she knew what she read of course she'd do well on the work! Right?!!

      I am just so frustrated at this point. I don't have the money to pay a place like Sylvan even if i wanted to. Every teacher since K said she catch on, bc she was so bright in all other areas, yet she never has. I've talked to the schools, board of ed, doctors, teachers, and i feel no one has a real answer as to how to help my child not struggle and hate school. The only relief i have ever gotten in any form of help for my child was having to seek a solution myself, NOT ONE TEACHER EVER OFFERED ME IDEAS ON WHAT COULD HELP MY CHILD. OTHER THAN READ MORE!!!

      Her 3rd grade experience last year 08/09 yr was such a paper pushing overload, w/ her not being able to read well, the entire year was a complete waste of my childs time and tears and my families frustrations. Every school subject was taught with at least 5 or more worksheets, adding up to about 15 + a day,.. one weekend my daughter had 50 pages of homework from one week of school...her week there as a new student as well!!! it took us months to catch her up. She was so overwhelmed and no matter what i could not catch her up. She was required to work during her lunches as well as recesses!!! my poor child gained weight due to no activity or play time for her. Then had to come home and in order to keep up w/ her homework overload i had to crunch her on her play or free time she dying for! what was I do to??? Her teacher always said she was highly distracted, doodled a lot. (THIS YEAR THAT ISN'T EVEN A PROBLEM)....

      Well my logical thinking was, there is just too much paper busy work, it is overwhelming her, it is constant work work work, and she would just throw in the towel and doodle. I would too! All these kids did in this class was paper, nose to the table all day. (this was first experience with a Title I school as well, before this I had no idea what that even meant).

      I could get my daughter to catch a break, so i took her to the doctor, he put her on 15mg of CONCERTA to see if that helped her w/ being so distracted. Of course it didn't bc she was distracted bc she couldn't read well and keep up with the work, not bc she is ADD. I worked months to force gag this pill down my daughters throat hoping it would help her in this class. When i think of putting her threw that it makes me cry. I never thought elementary school would be soo horrible for my little girl. I always loved school at that age and did well. I never anticipated all the heartache thus far.

      Still being frustrated that the "magic" pill did not work, i went to another school seeking help bc my daughters school wasn't offering any ideas or solutions other my child needs to apply herself more and i need to read to her more i guess. (mind you she was NOT GETTING RECESS AND WORKED DURING HER LUNCHES SOMETIMES EVEN DURING "SPECIALS" -- WHICH WAS MUSIC OR PE) This other school front desk worker gave me more help in the 20minutes i spoke with her than my childs school had in 4 months. She said if my daughter was taking Concerta she qualified for a 504 plan or an IEP, she could have a reduced work load and other arrangements made so she wasn't always so frustrated and behind. I had never heard of this before, amoungst other conversations i am convinced her teacher merely did not want to admit she was giving my child and all the children far too much busy work.

      I take my doctor signed form that certifies my child for a 504 to the office and we have a meeting with the VP and her teacher to set up her IEP. I couldn't believe these options on it, one was that she get more physical activity bc she had too much unleashed energy- YA THINK!--mind you i only got the teacher to agree to 2 or 3 recess a week (20min each) rather than not getting any at all bc of behind work. My daughter tells me she still hardly got recess time. She got to "walk the fence" while she worked on school work so she is still activily moving! ???? WTF?? i've never heard of such things. The Principal wasn't at our meeting bc i had cried too many times in his office so we just didn't get along or see eye to eye. wonder why? However even decreasing her work load wasn't enough, bc this teacher gave out far more than any teacher i've ever seen for this age. Needless to say not all that was in the IEP was followed, and the year just felt like a total waste. I got tired of the fight for better for my child at this school and luckily i knew we were moving and changing districts.

      Now this 3rd grade year my daught magically has no "ADD" symptoms or signs, she doesn't doodle and she doesnt get distracted, but the work load is less than half what it was at the previous school for the same grade. She has more time to be engaged and process what she is doing and enjoy it. Wow who'd a thunk it! Now how about the absurdness that there was no "ADD" testing or specialist that said my child needed meds. I simply told our Tricare Pediatric DR that the teacher i see these issues and think this may be what it is and i got a prescribtion. I feel our kids are just getting crapped on, doped up and pushed through the system. I do feel my son has ADHD, he's 6, but find it pointless to take him the doctor to get a controlled substance w/o any specialized testing to be sure this is really the problem. I guess it is just hit and miss with these types of diagnosis??

      But the reading issue still continues and with 4 months left in this academic year I have loads of anxiety about 4th grade being right around the corner. I don't know what to do. I am left too feeling like homeschooling is the only answer, bc trust me 30 minutes a night reading with my kid like one dad wrote is not enough to fix the overplaced errors of shotty teaching my kid got the past 3 years.

      The teachers have too large of classrooms, too many kids have uninvolved parents thus making them more of a distracting for the other children, and there just simply aren't enough resources anymore in the public school system. My kids were lucky enough to attend a DODS school system in Germany when we were stationed there, and what a night and difference it was. You could almost say they were OVERSTAFFED!!! Plenty of help per student, large rooms, very parent friendly and welcomed parently involvement (not my experience in the states), and the staff was of course far better paid, these are GOVT dollars, not state dollars....and even substitute taught there for double what my mom (a certified teacher) subs for for here. plus mine was tax free! She too looked for years for work and found none. So she had to substitute.

      anyways, i am just largely frustrated and at my wits end. There is no simply answer, blame us parents, or the teachers, or the system, it in large part is all of it. And i know my grama and puncuation here has been horrid, but i write as a venting mother blogging my rants here, not as a college grad scholar looking for a good grade, so enough of the grammar correction cheap shots smart asses!! it is a petty way to disagree with someone just to point out thier errors, i probably misspelled something in this sentence already!!

  48. [quote comment="41347"]Is that the norm?? $40 a session? Wow I was hoping to help my daughter with reading comprehension. Each year she is sent to the next grade with the ""Work on reading comprehension" and each year I ask WHAT CAN I DO?! HELP!?! SOS!!! she started out reading high as a 4 yr old and has progressively gotten worse!! she's 9!! HELP!!![/quote]

    It can go up to $50 per session at Sylvan depending upon the payment plan. The main problem at Sylvan is that you may not be paying for a full hour. The model is 3 students at a table "sharing the hour." The teacher can only work with one student at a time, so, in theory, the teacher spends 20 minutes with each student. During the other 40 minutes the student is doing independent work related to the "guided practice" that the teacher spends 20 minutes on.

    Of course, if the center doesn't have much business, and there is only one student at the table, the student may get more time. However, the student will still do independent practice no matter how many students are at the table.

    As far as the reading comprehension is concerned, the Sylvan materials are the same as you would find in any school or teacher supply store. Questions about "main idea," "cause and effect" etc. which relate to a particular passage. The this is not magic - just similar work that they get in school, but somewhat more individualized instruction.

  49. [quote comment="41150"]PEOPLE- You Don't Understand Tutoring...Parents will not find a less expensive alternative, because nothing short of a proven program really works. . . . Meaning, any tutor, at any price, simply can not do what the curriculum of a reputable learning center can do. . . and it's a very sad rip-off when they try.[/quote]

    Ok, I'm calling BS on this right now. I understand tutoring fine, since I ran a Sylvan. A tutor who knows what the skill gaps are will have **absolutely no problem** going into a teacher supply store and finding materials to address any skill gap that Sylvan addresses. Period.

    Trying to pretend as if there is this secret knowledge that only Sylvan or another "reputable" center has is exactly how they try to approach parents -- to make them fearful that they can't possibly solve the problem without their professional help.

    Quite frankly, that's just crap.

    [quote comment="41239"]I know centers that have over 800 pieces of curriculum ranging from Pre-K to adult. Show me a private tutor/teacher with those resources.[/quote]

    A private tutor doesn't need 800 pieces of anything! That's a red herring argument. The private tutor only needs those materials that will help that particular student! That's why they don't need to charge the ridiculous amounts of money that Sylvan charges. (Plus tutors don't have to pay for those $5 glossy brochures that cost $2 more to mail...)

    [quote comment="41351"]As far as the reading comprehension is concerned, the Sylvan materials are the same as you would find in any school or teacher supply store. Questions about "main idea," "cause and effect" etc. which relate to a particular passage. The this is not magic - just similar work that they get in school, but somewhat more individualized instruction.[/quote]

    EXACTLY! This is why a private tutor makes a zillion times more sense. If you want to have your child tested at a learning center to find out what the skill gaps are, that's great. Then take the results and go to the teacher supply store and buy the materials that address those gaps. In fact, the public library has nearly everything you'd need.

    Not that Sylvan wants you to think about that...parents need to think that the more they spend the better the quality. With tutors, that just isn't the case.

  50. Thanks for your comments you guys! I have tried the buy it at the bookstore stuff but I wanted to have her 'go" somewhere to get out of the house and neighborhood kids for the summer. I contacted a tutor who actually teaches the next grade she will be in. She said the "going" rate is $20-25/hour and wanted to know how "often" I wanted her to go. What are your opinions? once a week? twice a week? and is an hour long enough? I didn't think an 8 yr old could spend more than an hour on one subject? Open for suggestions and comments. Thanks again!!

    1. people can only stay focused for one minute for each year they've been alive, with adults topping out at 15-20 minutes. so negotiate the half hour session and send her everyday. to me!

  51. If it were me, I would have her go a couple of times a week if that's feasible, but definitely no longer than an hour. It's been my experience that any longer than that, and they just can't stay as focused. (And the $20-$25/hour sounds very reasonable if the person is a professional. I made that amount in the mid 90s when I tutored privately.)

    Since it's a reading issue, I'd also sign her up for the summer reading program at the library if she'd cooperate. (Most public libraries have these.) Ask the children's librarian for good book recommendations -- a series is really the best thing because she'll want to read them all to find out what happens -- but make sure it's not above her ability level or she won't want to do it. If you can start her on books that are slightly below her grade level, she will get in some great practice, and she may form a new habit she'll love.

  52. It's amazing how much lip service parents give when they talk about how they value education . . . right up until it hits their wallet. . . Then "it's too expensive" "they charge the rediculous amounts" "a rip-off" and the seriously dangerous advice by the previous Sylvan director to DIY by going to the library or teacher supply store.

    You don't DIY your child's health, you don't DIY your car maintenance, you probably don't even DIY your own lawn care or home cleaning . . . . but to spend a few bucks on the proper education of your child . . . well, now that's a rip-off.

    Between cheap parents and lazy kids who won't speak up, there is no mystery why the U.S. is well behind many other countries in education.

  53. To put it straight..yes I do DIY EVERYTHING that I do especially illnesses and lawn care.

    My daughter gets A's and B's, I just want to keep her up to par over the summer. As for the money... I don't work and I choose to better my childs' education by getting opinions from people like Erik to see if Sylvan is worth the money or to hire a private tutor.
    As for cheap education, I pay $200 up front to put my kid in public schools and that does not include the endless supplies, field trips,book fairs, fund raisers, teacher gifts, etc . that I pay for.

    Besides, I moved from Florida schools to get away from Hitler style "teachingto the FCAT test"and in MY OPINION, school is much more than just learning.

  54. [quote comment="41360"]It's amazing how much lip service parents give when they talk about how they value education . . . right up until it hits their wallet. . . Then "it's too expensive" "they charge the rediculous amounts" "a rip-off" and the seriously dangerous advice by the previous Sylvan director to DIY by going to the library or teacher supply store.

    You don't DIY your child's health, you don't DIY your car maintenance, you probably don't even DIY your own lawn care or home cleaning . . . . but to spend a few bucks on the proper education of your child . . . well, now that's a rip-off.

    Between cheap parents and lazy kids who won't speak up, there is no mystery why the U.S. is well behind many other countries in education.[/quote]I have always found it ironic that a company that tells parents "you get what you pay for" in education pays their teachers less than half the going rate for a good tutor. Ironic, eh?

    And, FWIW, my "dangerous" advice is backed up by: a BS, an MEd, and a PhD -- all in education or education-related fields; middle school, high school, and college teaching; advanced level state teaching certificates; and teaching and directing at multiple Sylvan Learning Centers. I'm fairly comfortable in the fact that I know what I'm talking about when it comes to education and Sylvan. I recommend a professional tutor, but not Sylvan because of the money as well as the fact that the child gets individualized attention.

    Attempts to make parents feel as if they are shortchanging their children if they don't spend the child's college savings is a tactic used by Sylvan to frighten and guilt parents, and if you give it a moment of thought, it's a ridiculous argument. (If your doctor was charging you $6000 to remove a splinter, it would still be a rip-off, regardless of his level of expertise. You don't need a doctor to remove a splinter, and you don't need 8000 pieces of curriculum to teach one child.)

    What I have suggested is that no one needs to pay the equivalent of $135 an hour (Sylvan wants $45 "an hour" although your child only gets twenty minutes of that time) when a well-qualified person can find perfectly suitable materials, will give a child full attention for the hour, and will do the job for a less than a fifth of the cost of what Sylvan charges.

    If you want to pay $135/hour, be my guest. Your child won't be able to hear the tutor over the din, not to mention the other ADHD child at the table who demands all the teacher's attention, and the teacher will also be busy getting three notebooks updated during the hour -- but if it makes you feel like you're doing good for your children if you spend more money, that's your prerogative.

    Just don't fool yourself into thinking that because something costs more it's what is best for the child.

  55. I'm noticing a recurring theme - advice from former Sylvan employees need be taken with many many grains of salt. Can you say Disgruntled?

    IMHO, in tutoring, like everything else, you do get exactly what you pay for. If you don't agree, that's fine, roll the dice with your own children, but please don't advise others to go cheap.

    At the bottom rung, armed with stuff from the teacher supply store, DIY. Take a small step up and hire a teenage high school student from the neighborhood to sit with your child. A bit more and you can buy a college student's time. Spend even more on the so-called "professional" tutor - who comes with/without curriculum, lesson plans, background check, reliability, and does not offer any sort of guarantee of student success - maybe you get lucky and find a gem of a teacher. . . maybe not.

    With my daughter and her struggles with math, we started cheap, and crawled up the tutoring ladder. Her continued frustrations stretched the parent-child relationship to the breaking point, spoiled the fun of her elementary years, wasted a pile of our money for no results, and tested all of our patience on many 'wannabe tutors' and 'broken promises' . . . If there's one thing I've learned in the process, having a bunch of degrees does not mean you can be an effective teacher - even one-on-one.

    Eventually, it was Sylvan's proven curriculum and guaranteed program that saved her. Sure, it was expensive and yes, there was another child or two at the table working out their own problems, but it's nowhere near the chaos of the classroom, the program worked, it worked fast, and our only regret is that we didn't go there first.

  56. [quote comment="41376"]IMHO, in tutoring, like everything else, you do get exactly what you pay for. If you don't agree, that's fine, roll the dice with your own children, but please don't advise others to go cheap.[/quote]Is there some reason why you can give advice but those of us who disagree cannot? And I don't know anyone who would consider hiring a professional teacher to tutor their kids to be "rolling the dice" with children. 🙄

    But I must say that if you don't want a cheap tutor, Sylvan isn't the way to go at all. Sylvan tutors are paid less than half what a regular tutor makes. That kind of throws off the whole "don't go cheap" argument there a bit doesn't it? Sylvan seems to think it's okay...

    And FTR, I'm not recommending against Sylvan solely because of the cost -- I recommend doing what makes the most sense for the child: A certified teacher in the quiet of your home giving your child 100% attention with hand-picked materials OR a certified teacher in a room with twenty people moving around, five or six of whom are talking at one time, waiting for the teacher to get ready to deal with them, who will work with them for **at the very most** twenty minutes.

    If you seriously think that is what's best, then that's what you should do, regardless of cost. I just don't see it that way.

    [quote comment="41376"]Sure, it was expensive and yes, there was another child or two at the table working out their own problems, but it's nowhere near the chaos of the classroom, the program worked, it worked fast, and our only regret is that we didn't go there first.[/quote]I recommend that any parent who wants to send their child to a Sylvan go to that location during the busiest hour -- sit there and listen to the noise and then tell me that is the best you can do for your child.

    Incidentally, we estimated that approximately 30% of our students were ADHD and on meds; however, these children were almost always off their meds by the time they came to Sylvan because their parents didn't want to give them more after school. Unfortunately, teachers simply cannot do the kind of individualized instruction that Sylvan promises in a fair and consistent manner when they have a child (or children) at the table that cannot work when there are distractions at the table or nearby.

    But that is what your $45/hour gets you. Again, if you think that's the best you can do for your child, that's great. If you think it's the best you can do for no other reason than "it costs more so it must be better," that's just foolish.

    1. thank god. finally someone that believes in giving amphetamines to children whose brains haven't begun to develop. meth and cocaine hamper the development of the frontal lobe, in adults, the part of the brain responsible for making mature decisions. have you tried ritalin or aderol? the stuff gets you jacked up. so give me your kids without their meds. i hate druggies.

  57. [quote comment="41376"]I'm noticing a recurring theme - advice from former Sylvan employees need be taken with many many grains of salt.

    Can you say Disgruntled?[/quote]

    I think it's great that you can get the "inside scoop" from websites like this one. Sylvan is just one alternative of many - those who pay for such services are entitled to know what they are actually paying for. If it works for their child, that's wonderful, if not, there are other options that work well. By the way, my understanding is that Sylvan is rolling out a home tutoring program soon - perhaps they are seeing the advantages of 1 on 1. This cost, of course, will be much more than the in center tutoring.

  58. I've been working for Sylvan for the past 3 years, started off as a teacher 2004 and was getting paid 10.50. I was a first grade teacher getting paid more than what i'm getting paid now but even thought the pay is low, I love this job because Sylvan does work. I was inspired by parent conferences and hearing how much impact it had on each student. Even though each hour parents are paying are pricey, its still worth it since it does make a difference. We have 3 types of payment options. The most popular one is actually the educational loan where they can pay for 100 hours and their monthly payment is 80 per month. Many people say.. "it is soo expensive" but the program is so individualized because it pinpoints skills each student needs improvements in. There was not a month where students academics declined. Each month so far each student grew 1 year or more in their academics. Sylvan does not rip off anyone. Teachers get paid 10.50 and it gets me a bit angry that they complain about that. The reason for that hourly pay is that all they have to do is come in, sit down, and teach. They do not have to make lesson plans or write a report card or meet with parents.. We provide the lesson, materials, and books they just use thier love of teaching. Please understand that Sylvan is not about money... It's about seeing these students improve and seeing that they love learning.

  59. The original premise was the Sylvan employees. It's a free country - anyone who agrees to be employed by a company can't be calling Rip Off. Just quit your part time job if you don't like the compenstation. But since "seeing these students improve and seeing that they love learning" is part of the deal, then don't quit and don't complain about the money part.

    Somehow, this blog morphs from employees to Sylvan ripping off parents. It appears to me that it's the curriculum and the "system", not just the teacher's shared time that you pay for. Get off the 20 minutes trip. During an hour of tutoring, a student only needs 20 minutes of teacher time. . . anything more dilutes their ability to become an independant learner. And students need to learn how to learn in a real world (noisy) environment. Both of these reasons (the exclusive teacher and the silence of home) are why in-home tutoring often creates a child that is permanently dependant on tutoring, incapable of learning in a noisy classroom where a real world teacher give you 1/30th of her attention (about 2 minutes in an hour long classroom filled with 30 students - with ADHD, special ed problems and much much more).

    If Sylvan starts sending tutors to the homes, it's either in response to their competition from Club Z or University Instructors - who offer in-home services. . . . or as a means to recruit for their "what will be comparatively less expensive" learning center.

    In any event, if you like the learning center idea, but don't want to pay Sylvan prices, you might try another learning center that provides diagnostic testing and curriculum. Shop around. . . Huntington, Score, Mathnasium, Tutoring Club . . . .

  60. I'm currently working on finishing my thesis for an M.A. in Mathematics and I had briefly considered Sylvan as a potential part-time employer this summer. I'm quite thankful for all the feedback and commentary on this forum as it has convinced me Sylvan would not be an ideal work environment. I was aware of the low-pay since a friend of mine use to teach math at Sylvan, but it was more than sufficient as far as she was concerned for supplementary income while she completed her degree. My thoughts had been the same.

    I've worked a variety of jobs ranging from driving trucks to information technology. Both paid more and neither required a degree, but we know that teaching is not a profession one goes into for the money - unless you want to go for a Ph.D and become a college professor at a larger university.

    From a realistic perspective, the amount of money you would pay to have your child tutored at a learning center over a significant period of time is going to be more than most families (and especially single parents) can feasibly afford. Some can and some can't. I feel bad for the ones that are made to feel guilty for not being able to do so. If you don't have the extra money then you don't have it, and unfortunately money doesn't just come by a matter of will (else we'd all be rich).

    I would highly recommend to those two-parent families that you give every possibly consideration you can to home schooling. A classmate of mine that attended graduate school with me was home schooled. He began college at 15 and finished his M.A. before he turned 20. Home schooling is how children have been educated for hundreds of years and it works quite well when parents work hard together to make it happen. For single parents, this is probably not a viable option. But there are still some things you can do to help your child succeed. One such is the following:

    Get rid of your cable TV.

    Aside from an occasional useful broadcast on the History channel or PBS, TV is fairly worthless. Productivity goes up immensely when you disconnect the cable. The silence at first may be a difficult adjustment, but within days you will start to appreciate it. You will find yourself far more productive and your child will follow because imitation is a strong aspect of a child's learning curve. In the absence of a TV, people often turn to reading or other introspective activities while indoors. They also tend to converse more when family members are around and they'll have a stronger tendency to go outside and be physically active. I'm not suggesting you actually get rid of the TV itself, though. Keep it, watch a DVD from time to time, or hook up the bunny ears and catch the handful of broadcasted channels if you're really in the need for some occasional televised news. Also, if you do get rid of your cable, then not only will you find productivity higher, life more fulfilling, and your child more successful, but you'll also eliminate another obnoxious monthly bill. Take that extra money and buy your child a good book. =)

  61. Keep in mind that the $80/month student loan payment plan is most likely for 15 years!

    Also, the 1 year or more growth in academics in reading or math only relates to the particular concepts the student was tested on originally by Sylvan. The student is retested after 36 hours of instruction on these same concepts using a different version of the original test. Of course, the instruction prescribed by Sylvan will focus on the skills that the student has not mastered in the original test, so odds are, that the student will "grow" academically using this formula.

    It should be made clear that the Sylvan gaurantee of 1 year's academic growth after completing 36 hours does not mean that the student will be reading or doing math at an all around higher grade level, i.e., a 2nd grader reading at a 1st grade level will be reading at a 2nd grade level in every sense, or a 2nd grader reading on grade level will be reading at a 3rd grade level in every sense. It just means that certain concepts taught at a particular grade level, which are part of the Sylvan curriculum, have been mastered according to the standardized tests that are utilized by Sylvan. In fact, on the test results shown to parents there is a disclaimer that says that that the "grade level equivalents" are not meant to be considered as actual grade levels.

  62. I have been thinking about purchasing a Sylvan Franchise, and was trying to do some research about the company when I came upon this blog.This was by far the best research based on other people's opinions and experiences. Thank you for being candid and thank you for sharing. Now I can make my decision.

  63. [quote comment="41641"]Also, the 1 year or more growth in academics in reading or math only relates to the particular concepts the student was tested on originally by Sylvan. The student is retested after 36 hours of instruction on these same concepts using a different version of the original test. Of course, the instruction prescribed by Sylvan will focus on the skills that the student has not mastered in the original test, so odds are, that the student will "grow" academically using this formula.[/quote] Exactly. The long and the short of it is they basically teach the test.

    And they give the child the exact same test to see if he/she has improved after three months -- statistically speaking, the child would show improvement without the instruction because he/she will recall seeing the questions on the test.

    The same test being administered in such a short time period makes the results invalid, so the "guarantee" is flawed from the beginning.

  64. [quote comment="41657"]And they give the child the exact same test to see if he/she has improved after three months -- statistically speaking, the child would show improvement without the instruction because he/she will recall seeing the questions on the test.[/quote] In the interest of full disclosure, I should clarify: I worked at two centers in the Southeast where we gave the same test to the students for progress testing every 36 hours (usually around four months).

    The two centers where I worked in the Northwest administered similar versions of the same test. However, we only owned two versions of the test. A second set of progress testing would be performed within eight months and the original test would be used again. The companies who make the test suggest that this is still too soon to be administering the same test (if one hopes to achieve a valid result). IIRC, most testing companies want there to be a year between administrations, although by that time most students will have moved up a grade level to a different test anyway.

  65. I have looked at buying a franchise with both Sylvan and Huntington. I have found that the concept does work. However, no two centers are the same. The director and the hired tutors can make a difference. A good director will typically hire the best tutors and keep them motivated and wanting to stay.

    In relation to parents it is critical that they are clear on how the process works and know exactly what they are getting. It is amazing how in our society a family can spend $500 a month on a new car but complain on spending a similar amount on a child. Also, from the meetings with owners and directors it is clear that everything is negotiable.

    The few centers I have looked at the rates for the tutors have all been different. For the most part it is market driven with some tutors being paid a lot more due to long term employment and job satisfaction. Just a couple of thoughts from an outsider.

    One last comment. I had a major learning disability and without early intervention I would have had a much different life. I did not learn to read until the third grade and was in special classes in the afternoon. In short, the help early on gave me the tools to complete High school, college, post graduate studies and to become self-employed.

  66. Alright, first of all sylvan does nothing. They take your money promise you some stuff, and eventually you just quit out of frustration.

    Im taking algebra 1, and was failing miserably. My mum signed me up at sylvan, hoping for me to atleast understand the material.

    Well to my surprise.

    the FIRST day i got there i stumped them with my first problem. The "tutor" that i had, did not know how to do my math. They asked all around the noisy room, and noone could explain, or do it for me.

    their lame excuse was that their math tutor was sick. I asked the question, then why am I here if theres no math tutor.

    I mean come on, adults should be able to do 8th grade math. I continued to go to Sylvan for about a week or so, with no improvement. the same problem kept reecuring, they could not do the problems i presented them with (the ones on my homework) and when their specialized math tutor person did show up one day and worked with me, he was rude , cocky, and wouldnt stop talking about how much he hates his job, and couldnt wait to go home. It also seemed like he had a hangover from the day before when he was "sick" He could do the problem yes, but could he explain to me how he did it? no.

    I began oppenly questioning their system, asking why they could not do an 8th grade problem, or explain it to me. I was simply told that I should change my attitude as it was rude. I was only tryink to argue my point.

    After I got so fed up, I got my mum to pull me out of the program (we didnt get any of the money back that we payed) an expensive amount over $6,000 even though I only attended for about 15 hours.

    Sylvan, in my opinion, does not keep promises, and does not present itself in a leanring environment. There are 4 people to a tutor, and if you have a question, you have to wait yuor turn (usually very long) before they will talk to you.

    I can now proudly say, I am doing very well in algebra 1. And not with the help of Sylvan, but with Huntington Learning Center. I could deffinatly recommend this to anyone, the staff is professional, there is 1 on 1 tutoring, with very very good math teachers/ tutors. I understand all the material, and I am even AHEAD of my math class now by a milestone.

    Dont choose sylvan, they are unprofessional, rude, and a rip off.

    choose one on one tutoring at your home, or huntington.

  67. [quote comment="41680"]
    I mean come on, adults should be able to do 8th grade math. I continued to go to Sylvan for about a week or so, with no improvement. the same problem kept reecuring, they could not do the problems i presented them with (the ones on my homework) and when their specialized math tutor person did show up one day and worked with me, he was rude , cocky, and wouldnt stop talking about how much he hates his job, and couldnt wait to go home. It also seemed like he had a hangover from the day before when he was "sick" He could do the problem yes, but could he explain to me how he did it? no.
    [/quote]
    Yes, adults SHOULD be able to do 8th grade math and much more so than that. I'm of the opinion that any person holding a high school diploma ought to know Algebra and Trigonometry and know it well enough to actually use it. This is clearly not the case and it begs the questions, "What are high school diplomas worth?" Honestly, they're worth almost nothing these days. As far as I can tell, college is the new high school and grad school is the new college and really all that school isn't necessarily going to be worth anything if it's sought for the wrong reasons.

    One of the major problems with trying to motivate our children to learn is that we can't give them real honest reasons why they should. I've heard it preached since I was in elementary school: "You need to go to school so you can get a good job." And apparently, this statement is suppose to have some underlying truth that a good job equals happiness. I think kids see through this and know that's it's a lie. What we really should be telling them is that learning for its own sake will enrich their lives in many ways; being able to start up conversations with strangers because of a common thought, engaging in debates for personal growth, understanding science and its effects and dangers, being able to see past the politics of the system and find truth for one's self. Moreover, learning should not be motivated by financial security (which is often an illusion). We should tell our children the truth - that they may not ever need a degree for the way in which they make a living in this world and that they don't necessarily need a college or structured learning environment for mental growth.

    I'm about to finish my M.A. in Mathematics and I will never use it to support my family. When people ask what I'm going to do with my degree, the best response I can give is 'frame it.' It's a nice personal accomplishment, but that's all. I grew up learning computers from a young age and I've had many jobs in the computer field over the years - none of which even cared if I had a high school diploma, much less a college degree - and they paid more than jobs that require an M.A. degree. Even with that in mind, I decided a while back that I will never work in the computer field again.

    I've told folks that jobs I've thought of doing included being a truck driver (smaller trucks) or a writer. They look at me as if it's crazy because, like so many people, they've forgot what it means to really live. You have to follow your heart all the way and you can't make backup plans. Parents have become slaves to their own fears and instilled those fears upon their children which is one of the saddest things I have witnessed. They tell them horrible things when they listen to their children tell them their dreams. They tell them, "You need something to fall back on." This is a soul killer. If you have something to fall back on, you'll fall back on it and you'll always be mediocre. What these parents should tell them is to press after it with all their hearts and to work HARD. They should tell them, "to thine own self be true." But too many of them have become cynical from their own failures and anything that actually speaks to the heart they dismiss as idealistic babble.

    For the first time in my life I have nothing to fall back on and I've never been happier. I recently started writing a novel and I decided that this IS what I am going to be no matter what. Of course the world comes at this sense of faith with all the fearful what if's that it can muster, but a person must be confident enough in themselves not to listen to such nonsense. They ask how will I support a family if I don't make it as a writer. My answer: I won't have a family if I don't make it as a writer. I have disciplined myself not to date at all for several years while I've worked on my goals. And if I don't make my goals, then I live alone. And if I deliver pizzas while I write book after book after book and die alone and single at 45 years old, then I will have no regrets. Because I swear I'd rather have given everything and tried with all the gifts God has given me than to settle for mediocre job security out of fear.

    That's my life and should I make it to my destination then that's what I will teach my children. They'll live from their hearts and they'll understand the true reason of why they should learn.

  68. For the first time in my life I have nothing to fall back on and I've never been happier. I recently started writing a novel and I decided that this IS what I am going to be no matter what. Of course the world comes at this sense of faith with all the fearful what if's that it can muster, but a person must be confident enough in themselves not to listen to such nonsense. They ask how will I support a family if I don't make it as a writer. My answer: I won't have a family if I don't make it as a writer. I have disciplined myself not to date at all for several years while I've worked on my goals. And if I don't make my goals, then I live alone. And if I deliver pizzas while I write book after book after book and die alone and single at 45 years old, then I will have no regrets. Because I swear I'd rather have given everything and tried with all the gifts God has given me than to settle for mediocre job security out of fear.

    That's my life and should I make it to my destination then that's what I will teach my children. They'll live from their hearts and they'll understand the true reason of why they should learn.[/quote]

    Way to go guy! It took me 40 years to figure this out - you're way ahead of the game. Your writing talent is obvious - best of luck!

  69. Rob,
    I truly admire what you are doing. It takes a lot courage to "leap and let your net appear". I am an actress who is in career/life transition and have to say I have mixed thoughts about what you wrote. As an actress, I too went for it. The problem was bills kept mounting and now I am deeply in debt. Now I am a Substitute teacher working on certification as a theater teacher, with hopes of studying something else for my master's. I'm considering studying something that is related to theater but not exactly what I want to study ( the NYC Dept of Ed has a shortage in this area and will pay for your degree). I've often thought about what I would tell my students about reaching for their dreams when I know the flip side, and decided that I'd tell them they still need to follow their heart. I don't want to instill fear in them because this was a major issue for me when I was actively seeking a film and theater career. I think, if you don't mind that I will tell them what you said.

    Lest you think that I've totally given up, I have some production ideas in mind and will work on these projects. And if some new passion comes my way, I'll grab onto it firmly and follow it through.

    Take wings and soar with your writing endeavors!

  70. To everyone else I'd like to say there are two sides to every story. I have the unique priviledge of being able to view this situation from three sides: As an entrepreneur, as a former Sylvan " admissions expert ", and as a teacher.

    As an entrepreneur, I agree with the person who said that no one is considering what goes into running a center. Last summer I developed a summer camp and had to grapple with money choices. I was the founder so I definitely thought I deserved to be paid. I wound up paying myself a little less than what I had hoped for. I had one employee and I didn't want to slight her, though I still paid her less than I thought she was worth. Lastly, I didn't want to charge the parents too much but they were charged slightly more than I wanted to charge. I had to consider all of these things as well as making sure the curriculum was enriching and exciting for the number one people in this equation- the students. I was unable to get this off the ground and will attempt this again in the furture.

    As a former emplyee of Sylvan, I agree that it is pricey and I am sure a private tutor can accomplish the same results, especially if they are certified teachers. That said, I heard no complaints about Sylvan's effectiveness while I worked there. On the contrary, the only negatives I heard were from parents who couldn't afford to keep their children in the program. Also, someone mentioned that the parents could take the results of the diagnostic tests to a private tutor. We actually gave parents that option when trying to sell them on the program.

    As a teacher I agree with the person who said that a qualified teacher has a right to be paid what they are worth. It's hard not to care about the money when that is your only source of income. You can't tell your bill collectors that you can't pay them because your job pays just above minimum wage. Who in the world can live off $8 an hour. I find that most people who say don't worry about it are getting paid a livable wage. I find it appalling that the teachers were being paid less than what I made as a salesperson. I worked for Kaplan and we were paid $20 per hour and $7 for pre-determined prep time. Because of the limited amount of hours, this was still not enough if I were working this job only. This was an extra small change job for me.

    My point is everyone will have a point of view based on what part they play in the program. I think Sylvan is helpful to many students but I'm glad there are more options out there. I'm sure no program fits everyone.

  71. [quote comment="15799"]Hey, they have to pay for all of those TV commercials some how![/quote]

    Sylvan is a big rip off the programs are not followed in the center by the center managers or the education managers. They prepare for conference 15 minutes before you arrive. They let 18-20 year old kids prepare for meetings and decide what your childs needs to work on to move ahead. People are going into debt for this service. The teachers @ that the centers are rude and act just like a $50 an hour babysitter.

    Don't waste your time Sylvan is a Rip off and people are getting rich off a service that you could get for less than 1/2 the price.

    Teachers are given certain things to follow-up on a daily basis in their Binders and it nevers happen.

    Parents if you are reading this make sure that during your parent ongoing conferences that you are asking to your childs binders to see what your child is really learning. You will be amazed of the incomplete binders and the true colors of Sylvan this service is over priced.

  72. I know that some teachers are underpaid at Sylvan centers. I am a public school teacher who recently inquired about full time employment at a center. I went to the interview and was offered a job as an educational director. From what I can tell the directors are essentially running a small school. If you have worked as a director please be honest. Are there reasonable hours required or will I live at the center? As a teacher, I could have spent 60-70 a week assessing students and preparing lessons if this were physically possible for me. I experienced some frustration in this capacity. Would the position as center director be any different?

  73. I am not sure how things are done at Sylvan. I know that Educational directors usually work under the Center Director. As a center director, I could take care of operations in a 40-50 hour workweek. The Educational Director here also does the administrative, but we are new and we don't have that many students yet. I believe it depends on how many students you have in the center, but you can easily fill up a 40 hour work week and leave still feeling like you have more to do. One thing I've learned is to be efficient.

  74. In my experience as a Director of Education the hours were long and the pay was very low. I spent most of my time preparing for parent conferences and doing other administrative tasks and had very little time to actually monitor the quality of the teaching staff or keep an eye on the students.

    Sylvan has a bonus structure for directors but no matter how hard I worked, the bonuses were minimal. One thing they tried to do in my region was to keep labor costs down. This means that the education director will be responsible for additional tasks which besides parent conferences would include updating the student binders (which contain the students lesson plans), teaching, and even pulling the books for the students. Although updating, teaching, and "pulling" are usually done by other staff members, if the regional supervisor tells you to cut labor costs, you have do take up the slack yourself. Thus you work harder and you may feel like your work will never end. Even more than the low pay, this was my greatest frustration.

    The bottom line is that this could be a 40 hour a week job if the proper staffing was available, but as long as I was working at Sylvan, I never experienced anything but a constant emphasis on keeping labor costs down and therefore worked at least a 50 hour week, and I worked most Saturdays.

    I had to account for labor costs every week to the regional supervisor, and if the numbers did not look good, I had to cut staff hours.

    Keep in mind that this is a national company and different regions might have different approaches to this. Also franchise owners may be more accomodating to a director's desire for a balanced life. I worked at a corporate owned Center.

    Hope this helps!

  75. My Dircetor of Education works about 36 hours per week and is paid for 40. During the summer I give her a break and she works about 30 hours per week with no cut in pay.

    Many of you have questions about refunds and how to get them, did any of you pay attention during your enrollment conference? I am sure it was all covered and you also signed a policy sheet that outlines all of this as well.

    We charge $55 per hour at out sylvan, a private tutor charges about $70 in our area. We have credentials as well as a countless supply of materials and resources. At any given tiem we ahve at least 5 to six teachers at this location. A tutor does not. A tutor is a band-aid to help you with a problem Sylvan is the fix.

    I undertsand many of the former employees complaining, how many of you look back on a past job and speak of how great is was? Not many, i'm sure. The other thing is did these taechers leave on their own right or were they no longer living up to Sylvan's expectations. I have very high expectations for my teachers, if they can't live up to them the children suffer. My goal is to help children acheive, if my teachers cannot do that they are asked to leave. They generally go to one of our competitors, thinking they are being spiteful. My teachers get raises and bonuses on an individual basis, if you eran it than you get it.

    I have been open for 5 years now and my D.E has been with me for 4. Our teacher retention rate is great and our parents love us. If your child needs help, GET IT! You can make no greater investment that in your own child.

    Good luck to all of you who may need a little help this summer. Please visit our FREE reading club at http://www.bookadventure.com. I only put that plug in there becauset is free.

  76. I'm curious about the high volume of spelling and grammar errors in your post. The problem with your writing is so extreme that I'd venture to say you are someone that dislikes Sylvan and wrote poorly on purpose in attempts to discredit them - either that or you may have been drunk.

    If, on the other hand, I were to think that you are actually a Sylvan Owner, then I'd have to say what you just wrote seals the prosecution's entire case for Sylvan being a bad investment.

    1. 😆 Now don't you feel like a idiot??? Correct that jerk.

  77. 😥 I do apologize, I have a neuromuscaular disorder that affects my hand control. Typing is not my strong point, helping others is. I assume you are in a self servng field, most would not be so judgemental of others. I am sorry that you ahve such a negative outlook and feel the need to express it. We don't judge at SYlvan, we offer a solution instead of poking fun at the problem. Again I apologixe for any errors in this posting as well as the last.

  78. Pretty dramatic don't you think? The post wasn't as bad as you are making it out to be. The odd typo here and there happens. Lack of editing hardly qualifies the poster as someone who is "trying to discredit" Sylvan or who has had a few too many. LOL

  79. I must applaud you on your method of defense. Eliciting sympathy is an excellent way to win a case as people have a strong tendency to place emotion over logic in certain situations. However, I'm even more certain now that your initial writing was a ruse to discredit Sylvan. Moreover, your response to me was just another ruse to discredit my response.

    The first matter is one of probability - the number of intelligent immature individuals out there with too much free time far exceeds the number of business owners with neuromuscular disorders. But that really isn't the key factor here. What discredits you most is sheer common sense. Someone with a neuromuscular disorder that caused spelling and grammar errors would be accustomed to those sorts of typing mistakes and thus highly biased towards running spell check when writing anything of importance - especially those things that would be representative of their business and livelihood. But your specific errors included superfluous commas and other logically located errors; not placed randomly as would be dictated by a physical disorder, but rather placed in positions typical of an individual prone to such errors by virtue of poor writing skills. Thus you would either be such an individual or you would be trying to impersonate such an individual. But your response claiming a neuromuscular disorder rules out the former thus leaving you exactly as the latter. In your attempts at creative defense, you've shown your cards I'm afraid to say.

    1. What an a** you are for putting down a person with a disability!

  80. You have all been very entertaining, thank you. Could I please hear from someone who has recently brought a child to a learning center? My child needs help and the schools cannot seem to provide it. Please only respond if you have had experience bringing a child to a learning center. Thanks.

  81. To Curious Parent,

    I have had the Learning Center experience and I can assure you that it is both expensive and effective. We started at our local Sylvan, but they wanted $5000 . . Huntington was even more, but I remember the exact amount . . . Tutoring Club quoted $3000 and offered to guarantee the results. We went with them and it worked just as they said it would. . It was a 6 month program.

    No doubt. . . 3k - 5k is expensive, but if you can afford it, it's worth it. Period.

  82. Im looking for a learning center for my son who is going to the three grade, but needs help in reading and I set up two appointment for sylvan and huntington if you had a choose which one would you perfreed .

  83. Just make sure that the person in charge of the education department has a teaching degree and is not just a salesperson. At Sylvan the Center Director does not have to have an education background, just sales, so at least the person in charge of the educational quality should be a certified teacher with several years of experience.

    Also, tour during the busiest time. If there are few students there, the center has problems keeping clients. If there are many students there - who appear to be happy - the management is doing a good job and it's probably a safe bet.

  84. The only thing that determines what you earn is supply and demand. If few want to work at McDonalds or go fight in a war, then those that do will make more money if burgers are going to be sold and the gov't needs soldiers. Many people want to be teachers even though not so many are actually good at it! Teachers will only make more money when it is harder to become a teacher causing there to be fewer teachers than needed. I don't think this is ever going to happen.

  85. I have been a teacher and Director of Education for two different Sylvan's over the course of 5 years. I have owned my own center for over 6 years. The ignorance on this website is astounding. Frankly, I don't know where to begin.
    Facts about Sylvan:
    never ever more than 3:1 student to teacher ratio
    all centers decide their own pay rate...our teachers earn $15 to $17 per hour(they do not have to create lesson plans or take home work, it is all done for them, they just need to teach)...agreed that some centers under pay.
    We charge between $47 to $52 per hour. This is the going rate in our area for a tutor. It costs the average center approximately $34 to $42 per hour to deliver instruction to one child depending on the region. Therefore, this is not a huge profit margin. The fact is that it costs alot to maintain any business and owning a Sylvan Learning Center is no exception.
    MY Director of Education earns approximately $41,000 per year. She never works beyond 40 hours per week, has three weeks paid vacation, a pension plan, and full health and dental....so we are not walmart.
    I have even paid maternity leave...which is not required by law. I could continue....but I have other things to do...like educate children. If you are a parent and are interested in educating your child, Sylvan should be on your list of potential solutions. To ignore the leading provider in supplemental education is just foolhardy.

  86. [quote comment="42014"]My Dircetor of Education works about 36 hours per week and is paid for 40. During the summer I give her a break and she works about 30 hours per week with no cut in pay.

    Many of you have questions about refunds and how to get them, did any of you pay attention during your enrollment conference? I am sure it was all covered and you also signed a policy sheet that outlines all of this as well.

    We charge $55 per hour at out sylvan, a private tutor charges about $70 in our area. We have credentials as well as a countless supply of materials and resources. At any given tiem we ahve at least 5 to six teachers at this location. A tutor does not. A tutor is a band-aid to help you with a problem Sylvan is the fix.

    I undertsand many of the former employees complaining, how many of you look back on a past job and speak of how great is was? Not many, i'm sure. The other thing is did these taechers leave on their own right or were they no longer living up to Sylvan's expectations. I have very high expectations for my teachers, if they can't live up to them the children suffer. My goal is to help children acheive, if my teachers cannot do that they are asked to leave. They generally go to one of our competitors, thinking they are being spiteful. My teachers get raises and bonuses on an individual basis, if you eran it than you get it.

    I have been open for 5 years now and my D.E has been with me for 4. Our teacher retention rate is great and our parents love us. If your child needs help, GET IT! You can make no greater investment that in your own child.

    Good luck to all of you who may need a little help this summer. Please visit our FREE reading club at http://www.bookadventure.com. I only put that plug in there becauset is free.[/quote]

    All of the above is dead-on with its accuracy. I too have had a DE for 5 years. I have many teachers that have been with me me for over 3 years(remember, this is only part-time work for these teachers, many are teaching in their own schools). I just wanted to take the time to highlight accurate comments on this site.

  87. In less than 3 hours my husband and I meet at the local Sylvan to go over my daughter's test from yesterday's first-time assessment. I was appalled when I took her in yesterday. Here was my 17 y/o (already unhappy with having to go in) surrounded by 15-20 fourth/fifth graders. She was given nowhere private to take her test and came home in tears. The quiet center I had initally visited was a learning center zoo. Then, a short bit ago I read that Kindercare once owned Sylvan. Well, that I can speak to as I worked for Kindercare once myself- what a nightmare. I have a degree, experience, and they started me out at the base rate as if I were a 15 year old. But, back to my daughter... how in the world is anyone to learn anything in that environment, with that many ages mixed in together in the same room?!? So far we've only laid out the initial assessment fee, but I am not about to pay them anymore if what I saw yesterday is a typical tutoring program. I've sent my husband some of the postings as I am getting very concerned we are the brink of making a huge mistake. Already there is no way to undo the damage my duaghter felt yesterday when she thought she was going to a great place for teens and instead was left in what looked like a day-care.

    Any suggestions of what to watch out for as far as "hooks" that the director will try to use to enroll her?

  88. Okay, my dad has been working at a Sylvan Learning Center in SLC, Utah for almost ten years. He's hardly ever paid overtime "because he has a salary." His salary is 28,000 a year! He has to support five people on this salary, and still pay more than 500 bucks a month on rent for a crappy two bedroom apartment. Please don't try to tell me that Sylvan isn't ripping off its teachers. 🙁

  89. [quote comment="42151"]In less than 3 hours my husband and I meet at the local Sylvan to go over my daughter's test from yesterday's first-time assessment. I was appalled when I took her in yesterday. Here was my 17 y/o (already unhappy with having to go in) surrounded by 15-20 fourth/fifth graders. She was given nowhere private to take her test and came home in tears. The quiet center I had initally visited was a learning center zoo. Then, a short bit ago I read that Kindercare once owned Sylvan. Well, that I can speak to as I worked for Kindercare once myself- what a nightmare. I have a degree, experience, and they started me out at the base rate as if I were a 15 year old. But, back to my daughter... how in the world is anyone to learn anything in that environment, with that many ages mixed in together in the same room?!? So far we've only laid out the initial assessment fee, but I am not about to pay them anymore if what I saw yesterday is a typical tutoring program. I've sent my husband some of the postings as I am getting very concerned we are the brink of making a huge mistake. Already there is no way to undo the damage my duaghter felt yesterday when she thought she was going to a great place for teens and instead was left in what looked like a day-care.

    Any suggestions of what to watch out for as far as "hooks" that the director will try to use to enroll her?[/quote]

    If she's not happy in the environment, it's not going to work for her. Tell the Center Director or Education Director that it's not what you expected and cut your losses.

  90. [quote comment="42142"] The ignorance on this website is astounding.[/quote]

    I disagree with this characterization of our statements. Many of these postings accurately convey the facts and opinions of former Sylvan employees and former clients. That's the whole point of a website like this. Why not give people the facts as we have experienced them so people can make an informed choice?

  91. If she's not happy in the environment, it's not going to work for her. Tell the Center Director or Education Director that it's not what you expected and cut your losses.[/quote]

    Well, that's what we did. From the look on the director's face, I don't know if anyone has ever questioned her as to why she would try to assess a student in a room full of commotion and expect accurate results. We will press on with trying to find a personal tutor and put this experience behind us. Glad we didn't shell out the $3,000 they estimated we'd need to spend. It's not the money- it's being sure we are doing what is best for our daughter.
    I appreciate all the comments on this blog in helping us make an informed decision.

  92. First of all, I would never take time away from my family for $15-$25 an hour.

    Derek--You talk about the market, but you cannot generalize about teachers. Each one is different so each one will be worth a different amount.

    Advice to parents--Never use a tutor (Sylvan or private) that cannot provide for you before and after assessments. For example, you should know your child's correct words per minute rate, the standard words correct per minute for their grade level, what level of spelling they are at (not grade level, spelling has been proven to be developmental and there are 4 stages--letter name, within word, syllable and affixes and derivational relations), what percentage of comprehension they have at their current reading level, Phonemic Awareness tests, Sight Word tests, etc. You should be able to see growth when these tests are repeated at the end or periodically.

    I don't know anything about Sylvan, but those are some of my standards and I am a reading specialist.

    By the way, many teachers I know that are amazing are doing other things, such as training other teachers, teaching at the college, and doing seminars. What I would do is find an amazing teacher and offer them $40 an hour to tutor privately with no other students.
    Good Luck Parents.

  93. I worked as a Sylvan Director of Education for over 10 years. You can debate back and forth over the validity of any program; however, if you haven't experienced Sylvan how can you judge it?

    To those who say the pay is too low for teachers....what are your local schools paying? As some have noted previously, breaking down local pay per hour for county school systems you find the hourly rate far below $8-10 per hour. Sylvan does hire quality teachers and holds them to high standards because supplemental education is still education. Any true teacher understands the need for quality rather than the "almighty dollar".

    Anyone who experienced Sylvan with negative results should contact either the local Sylvan or the corporate headquarters with questions. Your concerns will be addressed. Sylvan is far more than worksheets, babysitting, group instruction, etc. It is not for everyone and unfortunately everyone cannot afford the cost of private supplemental education. It doesn't mean the Sylvan community thinks you are an inadequate parent. If you have questions, do some real research into what Sylvan is.

  94. [quote comment="42285"]As some have noted previously, breaking down local pay per hour for county school systems you find the hourly rate far below $8-10 per hour.[/quote]

    No, you don't. Only ridiculous "break-downs" that included per-student rates drop below Sylvan levels. $8-$10/hour is about $20k/year (if you work 50 weeks/year). Teachers in public schools make far more than $20k/year and don't work 50 weeks.

    Let's go with the high end and take $10/hour. That's $20k/year for 50 weeks of work, or $400/week. All assume an eight-hour work day. Many commenters above have said you don't get paid for everything you do at Sylvan, and that there's still prep work, test grading, etc. for which you're not paid - so I'm being more than generous with these numbers.

    A teacher earning $40k/year is working about 36 weeks. That's just over $1111 per week. If we assume they work 40 hours, that's almost $28/hour. To make as little as a Sylvan employee working for $10/hour, the teacher would have to work over 110 hours per week, or nearly three times (2.8) the 40 hours the Sylvan employee earns. If we assume a 40-week work year, the numbers change to $1000/week, $25/hour, and 100 hours of work to equal the miserably low $10/hour the Sylvan employee earns.

    Sorry, but saying that the hourly rate for teachers is below $8-10/hour doesn't make it so. The math just doesn't work.

    1. If you factor in the fact that your $40k/year teacher is also getting roughly 16 weeks of paid time off, as well as spending far more than 8 hours a day grading homework, creating lesson plans, and attending school events, the math does work. Granted, an ideal 8 hour in-and-out work day would be GREAT, it's just not a reality in teaching.

      The payscale for a Sylvan tutor is dependent upon the location, apparently. And, what are they gaining in regards to pay vs. expense? Immediate clientelle. The truth of the matter is, without a reputation and word-of-mouth, a private tutor has no business. Sylvan provides the students. Tutors provide tutelage. No advertising cost to the tutor, as opposed to self-promoting. (Ads in your local paper will vary in cost.)

      The work is not commisserate with the pay, so to speak, for a teacher. If you break it down to an hourly rate, teachers are paid significantly less "per hour" than your calculated $25. But, you can't beat the schedule. Summer and winter break. Every major holiday off. Weekends free (unless you coach - which you get paid for).

      Sylvan and other learning centers provide a SUPPLEMENTAL income to teachers who, generally, are already being paid to teach. And, as far as supplemental second jobs go, $10-$15/hr (the going rate around here) for a part time gig is pretty phenomenal.

  95. With a master's degree, I make $45,000 a year plus benefits.
    Is that sufficient? Well, it depends on whom you ask and what the cost of living is in the area. I have several friends with masters degrees who make over $100,000 and I would consider us all of equal intelligence and in careers that require an equal amount of required knowledge. They just went into areas that pay more.

    I am content with the pay, though some days I am not. Sometimes it bothers me that all teachers get paid the same amount regardless of different amounts of time invested and effort. Sometimes I am happy to teach and feel rewarded, other days I think that if I opened my own business in any field and put this many hours in, I would make a lot more money.

    People who think that teachers will only be happy teaching are quite mistaken. Most teachers I know enjoy many things. I get satisfaction from working with adults as well. I also think I may open my own non-school related business. My point being is that if society wants to guarantee that teachers are the best they can get then maybe their salaries should be a little more competitive with the business world.

  96. My son needs tutoring and I am considering Sylvan. So, how does it work? Do they require contracts? Thanks.

  97. I currently work at a Sylvan center. The first thing I'd like to make clear is that roughly about 80% of the almost 1200 centers in the US and Canada are individually owned and operated.

    Therefore, all payroll, hourly rates, test rates, quality of staff, etc. will vary center to center. It surprises me how quickly some of you have turned one bad experience with a center into a generalization that the entire Sylvan concept is a bad idea.

    Sylvan uses research based and proven programs/assessments to achieve success within their students. True, Sylvan is definitely not the best fit for all, but done right it is an exceptional resource for students that need that little extra they are not getting at school or at home.

    Not all owners have dollar signs in mind-I personally know my owner loves what she does. Our teachers go through the same background checks that teachers are expected to undergo and require the same certification that classroom teachers are expected to provide when applying for a 'regular' teaching job.

    The same teachers getting hired at Sylvan could be the same teachers standing in front of your child in a classroom. Our teachers are required to do weekly/monthly trainings and workshops to continuously update there understanding of the Sylvan programs and to provide them with exposure to new implementation and teaching strategies.

    A private tutor may be able to provide assistance with homework, but Sylvan can provide a professional outlook, they will identify skill gaps, tailor instruction, provide ongoing assessments and work with parents, educators and schools alike to make sure their students succeed... and no longer need them. I have been here almost three years, my degree is in education, I have taught and now am a director. I am young, and I don't have children yet, but if and when that happens, I would definitely send my own children to the right Sylvan. 🙂

  98. I contacted sylvan in marlton NJ . before I listened to anything I explained UPFRONT Im getting divorsed and I can only afford approx 100. a week to bring my daughter up to speed on the 3rd grade math she struggled with. (& passed..poorly) but passed. They insisted i take the evaluation test, which i certainly agree with. they insisted i incorporate the reading skils in this testing because that is usally associated with poor math skills... the are the pros so I agreed.
    I was "lucky" enough to get the 99. "special" for the 4 hour test, upon review they presented to me what i already knew my daughter was at grade level for the reading, The math was alittle above 2nd grade level. She would need 5200.00 worth of tutoring in math with a 4 hour minimum a week. I almost fell off my chair and they lowered their price down to 2700.00, I begrudgingly agreed, I paid for the first session of 160.00 and she took the 4 hour class. I told them Id be back next week with the balance check. (i had to try and figure out how i was gonna shit 2700. in a week) I went back the following week and the director was not present I explained my daughter is uncomfortable with a 4 hour session and I simply cant afford it either. I offered them 1 x a week 2 hour sessions. They will get back to me..ill keep you posted but this is "a violation of their policy" so if they dont accept my offer of 10 weeks 1x a week for 2 hours (100. bucks a week) I will just hire one of the many teachers around here that tutor at my house .

  99. If sylvan really does pay their teachers 9-11 dollars and hour that is a joke. Why in the world would you go to 4+ years of college to make so little? I a trying to find a teaching job in my area and with a masters i will start out at around 40k a year. I do not think that is too bad for only working 180 days a year. Anyone that can afford to work for a few bucks more than minimum wage must have a husband supporting them. Anyone that requires your employees to have a four year degree should start out at least around 12 bucks an hour. I am not in the treaching field for money, but come on 9-10 bucks an hour is insulting!!! There comes a point whey yes, money has to come into play if you want to have a half way descent life. Why go to college if you are only going to make 9-10 bucks an hour? So you have 40k in student loans and then make garbage for pay? I could make more driving a forklift with only a highschool degree, and I would be guaranteed a job in the summer.

  100. Jackie - I believe that the corporate "policy" of 4 hours per week minimum is for every student, but the Center Director should have the discretion to allow 2 hours per week if that is all you can afford. So if you tell them you can only afford 2 hours per week, they will probably take that, but warn you that the chances for success are minimized with less hours.

    However, another alternative is paying for "homework support," at Sylvan rather than the regular math program. The cost should be the same. In homework support, your daughter can bring the types of problems that she needs help with to the center (even if it's not homework per se). Once school starts, she can get help with exactly what she is working on in school. This is most likely what an outside tutor would do anyway. Homework support does not come with a "gaurantee," but it still might be more effective for your daughter.

    The regular math program at Sylvan would simply teach her the skills that she needs improvement on, and because the instruction for these skills is not given in any particular order, she may not show the immediate improvement that you are hoping for.

    So my recommendation is to maximize your $100/week by asking for the best math teacher that can work with her on the particular problems that she is struggling with.

    Good luck!

    1. There is no "corporate policy" that states how often a student should attend!!!!! How often a student attends will depend on how much help they need and how fast the parent wants to get them there! And yes, sometimes what a director "recommends" is not what the parent can do....a director does not know what your financial situation is or what your work schedule is.....
      This blog page is the most ridiculous thing I have ever read!
      If your child is struggling in school, failing, does not want to go...what choice do you have as a parent? YOU MUST GET THEM HELP! Sure, everyone thinks a private tutor is the gold standard, but what you don't realize is that most parents have tried that route and it has not worked! Sylvan is usually a parent's last resort.
      A private tutor will struggle to address skill gaps at lower levels. Private tutors also tend to be very inconsistent with scheduling...this is the number one gripe of parents that have tried this!

  101. Dear Jackie,
    I have found much success in an online math tutoring program I have used with my son. Although I do not remember everything about math, I was able to use this site to help me tutor him. The child takes an online test for what ever grade level you want. Then it shows a pie graph of what your child has mastered and what he/she needs to work on. It then gives your child problems to work on and 2 explanations on how to get the answer. It starts at third grade and goes up through College. That is the beauty of computers. One teacher cannot have the amount of available math knowledge that a program can have. My son has gone up 2 grade levels since working on this program. You should try it. They have a trial period. You will know right away if it will work for you. It is only $20 a month, which I think is a steal. It has filled in all of the gaps for my son. Try it.
    http://www.Aleks.com

  102. My visit to this website was prompted by a fact gathering mission that I am beginning as I prepare to support my son in his education as be begins 10th grade.

    When my son was in 3rd grade he had difficulty with reading skills. After attending the local Sylvan Learning Center for the entirety of 4th grade he caught up and surpassed his grade level.

    Currently, after 9th grade, he continues to be tested with success at college level reading. We considered our experience with Sylvan to be a success.

    Last year, my son began his high school education at a Charter school specifically aimed at computer technnology and engineering. My son's passion is computers.

    My son began having difficulty keeping up with the work load by the second quarter. He also began having an attitude problem. If it wasn't specifically related to computers he wasn't interested. At one point he was failing all classes except Computers which he maintained an "A" in.

    We suggested returning to Sylvan and were met with an emphatic "No Way" from my son. His only problem was "being seen" entering or leaving the facility or running into an acquantance in the facility.

    Thus, we contacted Club Z Tutoring. They understood that my son's issues were time management, study skills and that he needed help with Algebra. They first tutor they sent was a certified teacher, but she hadn't worked in a long time. She also had no experience teaching high school level. After working on one problem for 45 minutes and still not figuring out the problem, she said she would dig out her college books when she got home to see if she could figure it out. She "hollered" to me in the other room that this problem had given her an extreme headache. Then during the 5 minute parent conference at the end of the session all she did was talk about her recent divorce and the need to make money. They send a tutor to your house for private help.

    After calling the Club Z director and explaining that she wasn't the right tutor and after being told that they had never dealt with someone who wasn't satisfied with the tutor assigned--that this caused them quite a problem--they sent another certified teacher. Again, we found out that this teacher had no experience with high school level teaching but we gave her a chance. After listening in on a few sessions we had confidence that she knew what she was doing.

    After a couple of months our son was caught up in all his classes and we suggested to the tutor that it was a good time to begin working with him on time management and study skills so that he did not become dependent on having a tutor by his side to get his work done. (The tutor was coming to our home 4 times a week for 1 to 3 hours each.)

    The tutor's response to this was "your son is a teenager, he doesn't want to put in the time to study so it would be a waste of time to teach him those skills." Needless to say, we won't be hiring that tutor back for 10th grade. Our goal is to have a son who can study independently and confidently. We certainly aren't going to send a tutor with him to college! The tutor's goal was to keep working--she told us about the new car she wanted. Obviously, as parents we are aware of the mistakes we have made and the weaknesses we have in instilling those necessary skills. We admit it. The bottom line is we know we screwed up and we want to solve the problems and we are trying to find the right experts to help us.

    Now comes our problem. Do we go back to Sylvan? After reading all the negative comments I now have doubts. Plus there's that problem about "being seen there". I don't want to go back to Club Z because after many conversations with the tutor and the directors, I don't believe they have as a goal to turn out independent learning students. They're good at hand holding but that is about it. I have also interviewed Huntington Learning Center and don't feel they would fit our needs.

    I am more than willing to put in the time to tutor my son myself. The problem there is that our personalities clash in this area and it has been a disaster.

    When I look online for a tutor in our town I come up empty. The only sites that pop up are Sylvan, Club Z and Huntington. How does a parent find a qualified teacher? I looked online also at the local college's education department and couldn't find anything. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  103. Dear JJW,

    All of the Sylvan teachers are supposed to be certified teachers - but they are not necessarily qualified to teach a particular subject. And even if you like a particular teacher at Sylvan, there is no gaurantee that you will get the same teacher the next session.

    Sylvan is selling you the Sylvan Method, not the teaching staff. The Sylvan system is somewhat individualized, and somewhat nonindividualized. For example, after the assessment Sylvan will put together a curriculum to fill in your son's "skill gaps." But this curriculum may not necessarily correspond with what your son is taking in school.

    So, if you want to help your son with what he is learning in school, just find a teacher who specializes in the area he is struggling in and hire that person as a private tutor. If you want a general "catching up," the Sylvan system might help.

  104. Dear JJW,

    Please visit Aleks.com. You said you were willing to tutor him yourself. This is exactly what I did. I went to this website, it gave him a comprehensive assessment, showed us where the gaps were in his learning, and we sat down together to read the explanations and learn the math. We are now beginning Algebra. You can choose what you want to do--I think it even goes to Calculus and Statistics. I believe they have a 48 hour trial period. I think you will know right away after the assessment and you try a few problems. I was sold immediately. I have used this for struggling students as well as gifted students (I am a teacher). Good Luck. It is much cheaper than a tutor and it was good to spend time with my son as well as brush up on my math.

  105. 😡 Huntington underpays its staff-$7.50 to start-and that's with a masters degree and 20 yrs experience. Staff just records and pushes paper each session--no motivation or visual aids to interest students. One-one means crowding a dozen kids in a small room at a stark table where the child is tested and retested. Some kids complained of stomach aches every session, and others kept asking when they could go home. If the child finished his work ahead of time, he was rewarded--with MORE WORK!! Rip-off city all around!! Teachers are addressed by their first names, and most kids do not bother to learn the teachers' names.

    Hire a private tutor!

  106. Private tutors will give your child the attention and experience he deserves. Learning Centers exploit their staff and the parents--not to mention the students. Pay a certified teacher $25 or more per hour--it's worth it!!

  107. Owners of these "centers" are clever business sharks who manipulate the overly-saturated teacher market. They pay insultingly low hourly rates, provide less than 10 hours of work and have no respect for their staff. When I called to tell of a death in my family, I was told that I would have to find a substitute and quickly!

    No condolences were offered. This shows the type of people who run these outfits. The mighty dollar is all that matters.

  108. Sylvan sells franchises...so does Burger King and McDonald's

    Sylvan advertises with deception, the same as most corporations

    Sylvan overcharges, keeps 80% and the rest 'trickles down' to staff.

    Sylvan's emails have grammatical and spelling errors. What does that tell you?

    Sylvan should be a new listing in the "Hoax Enclyclopedia."

    Stick with public schools or credentialed, professional tutors.

  109. As a Sylvan employee, I agree wholeheartedly---A mere $9/hr (at my branch) for a teacher with a bachelor's and possibly master's degree. It's particularly ridiculous when considering that Sylvan does NOT adequately assess each child's individual needs but assigns them pre-determined "prescriptions" according to their test scores. It mostly amounts to, as you said, workbook pages. Also, in reference to this comment:
    "If you want to compain about pay look at the pay and wages of a U.S. Airmen, Soldier, Marine, and Sailor. They fight for our country and they make $7.00 an hour. Enough said."
    My husband IS an active-duty airman. Hmph. I guess our family gets the short end of the stick all around!

  110. I am currently applying to Sylvan. I am a certified teacher. Sub teachers in my state earn 40 to 50 dollars a day and there is a ton of competition even for daily sub jobs (sit by the phone and wait). I know Sylvan pays 10 an hour! Big money here. Most jobs pay federal minimum wage of 5.15 an hour. The Sylvan job will look good on my resume and pays more than subbing or paraprofessional jobs with the local school systems! I will love the job!

  111. I came to this website to get some idea about the issues, problems and challenges of becoming a Sylvan franchisee. All of the comments are very interesting and apparently quite sincere. Several things occurred to me as I read many, but not all of the posts.

    1. Of course it is a business. Why else would someone like me want to invest a lot of money to set up a center, take the risk of signing a lease, hire staff, buy furniture, etc.? I don't think a school district will subsidize my very personal risk.

    2. My interest, probably like many others who already own a franchise, would be to do something good for children while, yes, earning a profit. What is wrong I ask about getting rewarded for taking a very significant personal risk, which the teachers do not have to take, to do something that is needed?

    3. Two of my children went to Sylvan for a year each and both benefited from the skills assessments and more focused teaching. We learned that my son, whom we always thought was smart but not demonstrating it, had a vocabulary far beyond what the teacher expected for his age. That feedback bolstered his confidence and self-esteem immensely. It was, I think, very rewarding for his teacher to see the change in his ability to write and use his excellent vocabulary more effectively.

    4. Teachers are indeed very important people in our society, which is one reason that I find this business intriguing. However if we are honest, the gaps between the best and the worst are horrific. In some occupations rewards go preferentially to those who consistently produce results. Who favors paying members of his/her favorite pro team the same pay base on years in the league as schools do?

    5. Our educational system has lost perspective and no longer strives to be the best in the world. I have lived 10 years outside the US and sadly we are not the best. Our kids would struggle badly with the same curriculum standards that exist in most of Europe, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore among others. I don't intend to be offensive, but many teachers would not be qualified to teach the typical higher level classes in those countries. I agree with several of the comments that Sylvan should not exist. But it does, because the school systems are not meeting the needs of a lot of students. I was encouraged to read that some dedicated educators get satisfaction from being able to make more progress with just a few students.

    6. If cost relative to teachers' pay is the issue, consider these numbers. In our school district the average cost per student is $16,000+ per year. If the cost in elementary school is $12,000 per year then the district (read taxpayers) pays $300,000 per year for a class of 25 students. If an experienced teacher gets paid $50,000 per year and gets total benefits worth $15,000 per year the total compensation is ~22% of the total cost. Private sector Class A office space costs roughly $24-36 per square foot with miscellaneous expenses. With a large 2,000 sq. ft. classroom and another 2,000 sq. ft. of shared space, students use a maximum of $144,000 per year of facility costs. (Bear in mind that schools are typically not class A and benefit from tax-free interest financing.) Where does the rest of the money go? Books? New furniture? I wonder how many teachers, if given a chance, would take $250,000 per year and agree to pay for the building space, the books, etc.? If they did I think they would be very well paid. A local private school gets better results (measured by test scores and % of graduates getting acceptances at top colleges and universities) on two-thirds the total cost. A neighbor's child advanced 3 years in the public school system after two years there. Why should that be? I think the system inhibits and restrains teachers from achieving their best with students.

    7. I would want to find a way to pay the best teachers the most if I did buy a franchise. But would teachers want that? I once volunteered to serve for 5 years on the board of a self-supporting international school. Even the outstanding teachers rejected the idea of being paid on any basis other than years of experience and degree level and graduate school credits. But as one education lecturer said to a group of teachers, "Do you really have 20 years of experience, or 1 year of experience repeated 20 times?"

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. I'd appreciate candid feedback.

  112. I have worked for Sylvan Learning Center for 17+ years on a part-time basis. The people with whom I work are warm, caring, loving people. It feels like a family! When my daughter graduated from high school, they all came to her graduation party. When my mom died, many attended her funeral. When our original owner died, we all grieved.
    Yes, we are there to make money; what business isn't? But we are a business whose function and desire is to help students succeed and we rejoice in that success. It causes us frustration when students don't succeed! Students' success/failure depends on MANY factors. Factors include parenting, sibling relationships, frequent moving, ability to focus, relationships with peers/teachers, learning styles, etc. Because of those factors, Sylvan is not for every student needing supplemental education, but I've seen it work for MANY!
    Regarding the pay...yes, it's not all that high, but I love working there, love the hours, and love the kids! If it doesn't fit your needs, perhaps you should work somewhere else.

  113. I too have had frustrations for 10 years with finding tutors. Our experience with Sylvan has been better than most of the private arrangements I have used. They at least have a recipe and all the instructors/teachers follow it and communicate - some private tutors have their own plan which is not always in synch with school and they are not always good at communicating. Although I was frustrated with the constant assessments, I think they did help focus on needs. I also got frustrated with the rules for makeups/schedules, etc - I felt pushed to buy more hours and come more often than necessary. I would like to see the teachers earn a living wage or maybe get paid for 3 hours when they have 3 students for an hour - this seems fair since each parent pays the same per hour whether we have 1:1 or 3:1 ratios. If anyone knows how to locate a qualified tutor with a known track record I am game. The school district doesn't know how to hire qualified teachers and they cover for each other when you ask one to recommend another for tutoring-I been burned hiring the "best" reading tutor in the district. Is there a place to go in Texas to find our how private tutors rate? We need junior English - I hope we will be OK in Math after 150 hours at Sylvan - I appreciate that I have recourse at Sylvan if a teacher does not meet my expectations - with my old arrangement my recourse was to fire the tutor and start my search again to find a new arrangement.

  114. There are things more important in life than money, either a parent's money or a teacher's salary. My child struggled with reading in a way that was too painful for me to watch. We would spend hours each night at the counter crying -together-over homework that he couldn't read or write. We received no help from the school and in fact, were told that we should be proud of our son's coping skills.

    After attending Sylvan for a total of 105 hours, Connor was reading at a level we had only dreamed of. His instructors were wonderful. The director outstanding. The money expensive.

    I would have paid twice as much as we did to see the successes Sylvan brought to my child. They are countless (he won an essay contest and read it out loud on the air and in front of the school to name just one.) As the credit card slogan goes, "there are some things money can't buy."

    As a parent, a few thousand dollars toward your child's education is the best money you can spend. Better than your cigarrettes or beer, better than your tall latte mochachino, better than the video game rentals and fast food dinners.

    Quite honestly, it was the best money I have ever spent.

    As for the teachers complaining about the compensation- I am thankful my son didn't have any of you. His instructors were dedicated, helpful and loving. The director was one of a kind. Even the owner has been involved in our lives- calling to ask about our experiences. Like any business, there are good owners, managers and employees. One bad experience does not determine the entire franchise or the fit for other teachers or families.

    Research your options, pay attention to your child's needs and above all, discuss issues when they are small rather than waiting for a blow out. You are in control, use it to help your child. At our first meeting, we were told to let them know who our child liked for teachers and if there were any he didn't like working with so they could better match them.

    Good luck to all- teachers and parents alike. I wouldn't change a minute of our 105 hours at Sylvan. I hope you find the same to be true for your family.

  115. To Quote Judy,"As for the teachers complaining about the compensation- I am thankful my son didn't have any of you. His instructors were dedicated, helpful and loving."

    I am one who has complained about the lack of compensation. I still work there. I still work hard and have worked FOR FREE many hours over the last 3 years. if that isn't "dedication" I don't know what is! Do not confuse our complaints over poor pay with lack of dedication and concern for our students.

    I am glad to hear your son got the help he needed and deserved. Just think, all that effort on the teachers part got her/him 10 bucks an hour( and more than likely with three students at the table at the same time)

  116. [quote comment="42677"]There are things more important in life than money, either a parent's money or a teacher's salary.

    As for the teachers complaining about the compensation- I am thankful my son didn't have any of you. His instructors were dedicated, helpful and loving.[/quote]
    1. It's easy to say there are more important things than the teacher's salary when you aren't the teacher.

    I was not offered medical coverage while working for Sylvan and had a brief stay in the hospital. As one might guess, the hospital billing department wasn't remotely interested in how dedicated I was. Teachers have to live, too.

    2. Dedication is not measured by one's willingness to accept substandard pay or treatment. Certainly, we can all recognize that a doctor is not less dedicated because he/she charges more for services than a manicurist. A teacher, like a doctor, is a professional who has invested in education and needs to make a living wage.

    3. I'm glad your son was helped by Sylvan; however, I'm disappointed that you are not remotely bothered that his "wonderful" teachers were not paid what they were worth, and that you seem to think that's just fine.

    To each his own, I suppose.

  117. Wow, I was surprised with all the resposes from professionals with spelling and grammar errors. I am a senior in college going for a teaching degree, and even I know that it takes all methods to teach students. Let the parents make the decision. Let the teachers who choose to work for Sylvan work there. If money is tight a private tutor would probably be more economical. But, they will obviously not have the battery of identifying tests that Sylvan has. However, if they know teaching methods and care, they will probably increase the student's abilities. Still, I have a friend with a son who won't work for those he knows one-on-one, it takes competition with others. The point I am making is that there is no absolute right and wrong with teaching students, as long as their human rights are respected and the material is presented in a way in which they can respond.

  118. While the prices are a little steep, I felt that they helped my daughter a lot.

    My daughter was falling behind in school, because the teachers have to focus too much time on kids that don't speak English. They just expect the English speaker to be able to read the material and figure it out.

    The teachers were suggesting the we put our daughter in a special program that was going to be more expensive than Sylvan and would probably not help her on the level that Sylvan did.

    Not many teachers are willing to tutor after hours, as many of them are at school working on other tasks, long after the students go home.

    Sylvan took great care of my daughter and brought her above grade level on all subjects. We were given the opportunity to review all tests. The elementary school also tested my daughter and their tests showed the same grade point level.

    Now that we have moved to a better school district, the teachers are actually able to work with their English speaking students and keep all of them at or above grade level.

  119. [quote comment="41652"]I have been thinking about purchasing a Sylvan Franchise, and was trying to do some research about the company when I came upon this blog.This was by far the best research based on other people's opinions and experiences. Thank you for being candid and thank you for sharing. Now I can make my decision.[/quote]

    I am thinking of buying a franchise as well. Did you find any more websites that helped you with your decision. If possible I would like to speak with you.

  120. I think you are missing the point. Have you ever tutored privately? Obviously not, the biggest challenge is to try and figure out what the problem is as you work with the student. Then you have to find materials that address the problem areas. This will soak up a whole lot of time that you are charging those poor parents for. Sylvan identifies the weaknesses from the initial skill assessment. Obviously you have no experience with Sylvan or you would know that Sylvan is absolutely not worksheet based. If you did work for Sylvan you probably chose to teach the skills that way. I have no doubt that if you are a classroom teacher you probably manage your classsroom the same way...that's called busy work.

  121. I have been a CD for Huntington Learninng Center for a year now and am sorry for those who did not have their children reach the goals set for them regardless of the learning center. I meet parents every day who cannot afford programs here and it breaks my heart because the children desperately need help. The majority of students that come in for testing are 2 to 3 years behind in skills. Many high school students cannot multiply fractions!! Our center has been here for two years now and has only broke even financially twice! We give many discounts to the military and wherever possible so that families can afford it! We are not about money, although we have to make a certain amount to stay in business. The owner is a retired teacher and the Director of Education is a retired principal, we care so much about the success of the individual student. Our teachers are wonderful and make between 10-13 per hour, have no extra work to do, quiet rooms, well-behaved students and develop wonderful relationships with the students. I thank my lucky stars every day for my wonderful staff. For all of you parents searching for help, I hope you find it however you do and your child achieves academically.

  122. You sound like a different sort of administrator than the ones I worked for. I was paid $7.50/hr with a .25 raise after six months. The maximum amount of hours anyone could have was eight. We were told what to say, how to say it, where to sit, what to write. We were not allowed to use a sense of humor--for those few of us who had one--and we were not to fraternize with the other staff. The program was all that mattered--if the child was crying or cold or not feeling good, these two oafs did not care. ( oafs, meaning the director and the ass.* director).
    *not a typo--this cretin was a jackass.

    I have a masters degree with over 25 years teaching experience, and Huntington was the worse place I have ever worked--there was no incentive, no respect from the staff or the clients. We had to adhere to a strict dress code--like the old fashioned parochial schools use to enforce, but the children could wear whatever they wanted. They could call us by our first names, but most of them never bothered to even learn our names.

  123. [quote comment="42920"]I think you are missing the point. Have you ever tutored privately? Obviously not, the biggest challenge is to try and figure out what the problem is as you work with the student. Then you have to find materials that address the problem areas. This will soak up a whole lot of time that you are charging those poor parents for. Sylvan identifies the weaknesses from the initial skill assessment. Obviously you have no experience with Sylvan or you would know that Sylvan is absolutely not worksheet based. If you did work for Sylvan you probably chose to teach the skills that way. I have no doubt that if you are a classroom teacher you probably manage your classsroom the same way...that's called busy work.[/quote]
    You sound like a different sort of administrator than the ones I worked for. I was paid $7.50/hr with a .25 raise after six months. The maximum amount of hours anyone could have was eight. We were told what to say, how to say it, where to sit, what to write. We were not allowed to use a sense of humor--for those few of us who had one--and we were not to fraternize with the other staff. The program was all that mattered--if the child was crying or cold or not feeling good, these two oafs did not care. ( oafs, meaning the director and the ass.* director).
    *not a typo--this cretin was a jackass.

    I have a masters degree with over 25 years teaching experience, and Huntington was the worse place I have ever worked--there was no incentive, no respect from the staff or the clients. We had to adhere to a strict dress code--like the old fashioned parochial schools use to enforce, but the children could wear whatever they wanted. They could call us by our first names, but most of them never bothered to even learn our names.

  124. Lucy,
    Your comments are insulting and totally out of line. I never used busy work when I was a full time teacher. I believe in motivating my students and involving them in the lessons I teach--this was not allowed at the center where I worked (not Sylvan--but another well-known one). Furthermore, your remarks about compensation are way off base. Consider this: a dishwasher makes $8/hr., and the center where I worked pays certified professionals $7.50. Even you must see the injustice in that. No professional would be pleased with that meager wage. Would you???

    I am a caring teacher who was totally disappointed in my "learning center" experience. The owners care more about putting money in their stingy hands than giving staff any incentive. They push the children to finish their prescribed program, and then they are eager for the next batch of kids. They deal in volume not quality.

    Your remarks reflect your ignorance of the situation. Would you work for $7.50? I doubt it. I spent a great deal of time and money to earn my degrees, and I deserve much better whether you understand or not.

  125. Lucy-I forgot to mention that I have tutored privately and I have also done in-home instruction. It was very rewarding; the children's grades improved, and I was praised by their parents--so I think you are--again--way off base with your comments.

    The children received excellent instruction, and I was worth every penny I earned. My ESL students also improved, and my boss was very pleased with me.

    You really don't know too much about teachers and tutors, do you?

  126. MEP,

    First off, this discussion is about Sylvan, not Huntington. You cannot say that one is the same as the other, as they are not.

    Second, your salary information does not specify how long ago this was. Time makes a difference in pay levels.

    You are clearly comparing apples to oranges.

    I know that we sat down with peopl at both huntington and Sylvan. After long discussions with both, we felt that Sylvan could better help our daughter.

    I know that teachers are not paid well. That tells me that they do it for the joy of teaching. If you are so concerned about pay, instead of the joy of teaching, maybe you should consider a different line of work.

  127. [quote comment="43033"]After long discussions with both, we felt that Sylvan could better help our daughter.

    I know that teachers are not paid well. That tells me that they do it for the joy of teaching. If you are so concerned about pay, instead of the joy of teaching, maybe you should consider a different line of work.[/quote]

    No one takes a 50% cut in the average salary, just for the joy of doing the job -- not when he/she could work elsewhere and experience that same joy at an appropriate salary. Especially not a teacher who makes so little to begin with that they're looking for work outside of school to earn income on the side.

    When I hired teachers to work at Sylvan, nearly every one of them worked for a school and acknowledged that they came to Sylvan primarily for supplemental income -- and for that reason, many of them walked out of interviews when I told them what we could pay them.

    That is precisely why many people here have commented about the turnover at Sylvan -- lots of teachers take the job until something better comes along because they just can't afford to work there.

    That does not make a teacher "less dedicated"; it simply makes him/her responsible.

  128. As an owner of a center let me just say this: just as teachers don't like to be lumped together and generalized, neither do owners of learning centers. I did not open a learning center to "get rich." Make a living, yes, but I am not in this to buy a mansion/Mercedes/horse/island...etc. I opened a learning center so I could contribute to the community and feel good about what I do every night. I would love to pay my teachers more. As it is, ALL of my teachers make between $12-$20/hour. I do have teachers leave the interview saying it's not enough. I don't begrudge them for their opinion. I also have teachers who said to me, "This was the best summer job! I loved working here!"

    To all of the parents out there: do what is right for your family. I know that there are quality teachers out there that do private tutoring. I know because some of them come to me looking for a job. They don't like going into strange homes, being left alone with students sometimes bigger than they are or parents cancelling at the last minute or just not showing up at all.

    I am also aware that there are subpar teachers that do private tutoring as well. I know because the parents come to me saying their child has had a private tutor since Kindergarten and he is going to be held back in the 3rd grade for not passing the NCLB mandated standardized test. Four years of private tutoring!

    My teachers are informed from the beginning that this is a part time job. My pay scale is higher than most, but my conscience would not let me pay certified teachers less than I pay my high school aged babysitter ($8-$10/hour). These days it hardly covers gas. We train them. We do have mandatory staff meetings, but we pay them for coming and we feed them. Their hours are flexible and there is very little prep time. They can dress at the center how they dress at school. All we ask is no shorts or sweats, ratty clothes, flipflops, etc.

    We do care if the students are cold (I have seen teachers give sweaters to students while we tried to warm up the room). We do care if they are crying.

    I'm just saying that I resent being called an insensitive, greedy *&%^#@* because I own a learning center.

  129. I've been thinking about finding a tutor (or Sylvan) to help my 2nd grader son with his reading. I'm very discouraged at this point. I don't want to blindly hire a tutor without at least a good reference from another parent. His teachers don't offer any help, they just tell me to keep reading with him and go over sight words. Fortunately, he likes to read and we have been spending an hour or so every day reading and going over sight words. I have seen mild improvement, but I know there are probably things I could be doing with him to speed up the process. What resources could I turn to for help in tutoring him myself? Any Phonics type programs or tools, computer programs, etc. Techniques I could use? Would Sylvan be able to help with this? I can't afford another "mortgage payment"!!!! I'm willing to do this myself, I just don't know the best way to go about it!

  130. Tracy-- 😛

    Can you obtain a copy of your child's text? There should be a list of words at the back of the book. If not, does the teacher give vocabulary lists? If you answered yes to either of these queries, here's what you could do to help your son: make flash cards from the list. Go over these every day with your son until he recognizes the words immediately. Next, have him compose a sentence using each word. He can do this orally and in writing. Keep a notebook with these sentences, and keep reviewing them. If he does well with this, it'll improve his reading and give him confidence.

    Also, some districts provide after school instruction--free of charge. The classroom teachers stay an hour or so after school to help small groups of students. This would help your son if it's availaable.

    If you provide your zip code, maybe I can be of further assistance.

  131. Eddie,

    Would you expect a doctor or a lawyer or any professional to work for insultingly low wages? Any professional deserves a decent amount of pay. Much is expected in these centers, and without any incentive, morale tends to be low and turnover high. Seventy-five percent of the people I started working with left within one year. I didn't enter teaching to become rich, but low pay indicates a lack of respect which was very evident at the center where I worked. Maybe Sylvan is better. Maybe the place where I worked is unusually bad. Who knows? I am just telling you how it was, and I still think a private tutor is the better choice. He or she can provide individualized instruction. The parent can supervise-or not. In some cases, the tutor can contact the classroom teacher because the teacher has been working with the child, and can provide some insight in regard to methods which might help the child. I tutored privately, and the results were always very good.

    Anyway, if the learning center works for your child--great!! But I think these centers take advantage of the overly-saturated teaching market which has produced a surplus of qualified teachers who will take any teaching position. That is why I took the job--but it was an awful choice for me. I could not use any of my prior teaching background--no motivation, no visual aides , no games. We had to stick to "the program"and we had to ask the students--every session-how "the program" would help them in school. We were given a list of acceptable answers by the director. We had to write these on index cards. They did this because the crap they were pushing was so far removed from actual schoolwork, that they had to make it seem like it was viable.

  132. The education director at this Sylvan worked closely with us and my daughters school teacher.

    Along with the program, they reviewed her classwork to help target her weak areas in class.

    As a parent, it was a gret experience and a great help to our daughter.

  133. MEP,

    Thank you for your suggestions. I will do exactly what you said!

    I think they use "Open Court Reading" program. I'll get the book and even see if they have anything on the internet. We've been using flashcards for the top 110 Dolch sightwords. I've made cards and we play "Go Fish for the Sightwords" That seems to be slowly helping.

    He goes to a very good private school. Unfortunately they offer no extra tutoring. The kids are expected to keep up, if not - it's up to the parents to get students extra help.

    My zip-code is 31410. Thanks again for your help!!

    Tracy

  134. Tracy, 😆 🙂

    I am so glad I could help! I have another suggestion. The public schools where I use to sub use a"word wall" to motivate the children. This is used in the primary grades-K and 1--I am not so sure about grade 2, but I think your son would like it. What you do is create a set of words for each of the vowel sounds-short and long vowels. Then create a short list of words which would fall into each category. For instance: short a--cat, bat, sat. nap, etc. Since your son is in second grade, you could think of words that are more challenging. Go over the list with your son. Then , put the words vertically on a wall or a magnetic board. You could put them on the refrigerator with magnets if you don't have wall space. Say the word, and have your son point it out. Add to the list every day. Let him think of words that fall into each category. You can expand on this in many ways. He could think of a story for each list-or a short poem. He could draw pictures to go along with the words he creates. I think he would enjoy it. I know the students I worked with always looked forward to this. It was part of their morning routine, and I really think his reading will improve.

    Re: your zip code--I was hoping you lived near me, but my zip is 14221. Anyway, let me know how things are going, and I will think of some other motivational techniques if you need them.

  135. Hi,

    Great discussion! Learning centers and private are both needed and the customer obviously asks for both. Private tutors are great but it takes an unbelievable tutor to do diagnostic and go buy materials for that hour lesson. I taught an esl student 1 hour a week for a year and she did great on that HW but her grades did not go up. She need foundation skills that a learning center can provide. Us private tutors are great for close to grade level and above grade level students. If below grade level was so easy , there would be NCLB issue in America. They are both necessary.

  136. 🙂 Billy, I too have worked with ESL students at the high school and college level. In my expereince, they are highly motivated and most were excellent students in their native language. My responsibilities were to acclimate them to the nuances of English, explain directions and help them understand our culture. They were not required to take diagnostic tests. I currently help a Korean master's candidate with her papers. I correct her grammar and syntax--the content is always very good, it's her English useage that needs correction. She did very well on her final paper after I had corrected it, so I must be doing it right! 🙄 😛 😀

  137. By the way--for those who have put me down for wanting money, this is a Volunteer Job!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 😈 😯 🙂

  138. My problem with ESL students is that they take away from the learning experience of the kids that speak the language. ESL kids should be given a verbal and written test to determine if they are right for the grade that they are entering or if they should be held back a year and take and ESL class to bring them up to speed.

    Why should 20 english speaking students not get the education that they deserve, because the teacher must spend the entire day giving specialized attention to the 5 mexicans that speak very little (if any) english?

  139. Eddie,

    In my experience, the scenario you are describing did not exist. I assume you live in a border state where there are more Spanish-speaking students. The ones I worked with were from Asia and Europe; I only worked with two Spanish-speaking students--one from Mexico and the other from Columbia.

    Anyway, the teachers did not go out of their way for them at all. I am a certified teacher, but I worked as an ESL aide. My job was to attend every class with the ESL kids, help them take notes, explain what was going on in their classes and do follow-up instruction in the ESL room after their classes. I also helped them start their homework and accompanied them to the library to help with research. These students were way above average in math and science, but had difficulty with English and Global History. If they had questions that I couldn't explain, I would go to the teacher after class--not interrupting instruction in any way.

    These students were regarded as Special Ed pupils: they had IEP reports, and they had to have an aide accompany them to all their classes. I felt bad about this because not one of them was a special needs student, but that is how the district regarded them. Most of the teachers paid hardly any attention to them at all. It was my responsibility to teach them. I found it rewarding, and my kids did very well. The disruption you described just never happened at all.

  140. Nope. VA is not a border state. We just have a rather high population of mexicans. The schools that my kids were in, used to be the top schools in the state of Virginia. Now those schools are about average.

    It got so bad, that my ex finally sold her house and moved into a rather expensive area, so the kids could begin getting the education that they deserve.

    Our schools have to meet the Virginia SOLs. If a school doesn't meet the Virginia SOL requirements they begin funding cuts to the school.

    The poorest performers on our SOLs are ESL students. The majority of the ESL students are mexican. So, the teachers have been directed to give the ESL students specialized instruction. Then they just expect the other students to get what little instruction they have been provided.

    It's pretty bad when you go to 'open house' and run into these kids and their parents. The kid speaks broken english and they are having to translate, as their parents don't speak a word of english.

  141. That's unfortunate. It doesn't happen where I live, but then our taxes are very high--I guess that's a good thing. Even in the elementary grades where I subbed for four years, the ESL children did not appear to be a priority. They were the best behaved, most attentive and hardest working kids in the class. If they had a problem, their aide would help, or the aide would ask me when I had a spare moment. I don't understand how VA can be so different. The teacher's plans left no special instructions for the ESL students other than to let me know that they were in the class and their aide would be sitting next to them. 😀

  142. These kids do not have an aide. It's all up to the teacher and their volunteer teacher's aide.

    When my daughter was in second grade, one child in her class did not speak a word of English. The teacher and her aide did not speak a word of Spanish. Another Mexican girl was fluent in both languages, so she became the interpreter.

    This is a situation where the system has failed. The one child should not have been in a regular class, if she could not speak a word of English. She clearly should have been in an ESL class to teach her (and her parents) English. That won't happen as we are too politically correct.

  143. Was this a public or a private school? The other student should not have been taking the adult's role as an interpreter.

  144. [quote comment="43223"]Was this a public or a private school? The other student should not have been taking the adult's role as an interpreter.[/quote]

    This discussion has wandered far away from the original subject. Further off-topic comments will not be tolerated. Scroll all the way to the top, read the original topic, and if you have something to say, do so. Otherwise, kindly wander off and find a new place to talk about ESL. This isn't the place.

  145. [...] Sylvan Learning Center Rips off Teachers (144 comments, the later half of which has veered greatly from the original post's topic) [...]

  146. Wow.....I just spent about an hour or so reading all the posts on this string.....and I feel compelled to post. I am not an educator but simply a parent who has a child that recently started with a Sylvan Center in San Diego. I feel confident that the program will help my son who has severe reading comprehension problems; otherwise I wouldn't have ponied up the $7,000. To be quite honest I know that, if nothing else, Sylvan is a business....but their business is teaching children. I guess I already knew going into it (and this belief has been re-affirmed by many of your postings) that the curriculum is pretty much predetermined and that I was buying into the program.

    However, I did not realize that the teachers were getting that small percentage of the hourly cost. Not being an educator, I can not fully appreciate the fact of a "teacher surplus" (something that was mentioned in an earlier post).....but as a father of 5 children, I do understand that we all have to "live".

    My first question (again as an outside looking in) is how many of the Sylvan teachers are actually using this particular job as a primary means of living? It seems to me that (other than perhaps a "Director's" position) this type of employment could only ever be seen as a second job......to what is most likely, an already low paying teaching job at a local school district.

    Secondly, (with no disrespect intended by any means) how much of your "teaching credentials" are actually used in the instruction of this predetermined program? Is it more so the fact that your immense teaching experience helps to better convey the material or is it simply for the center to parade around the fact that their teachers are certified?

    Thirdly, during my interview with the Center Director (who does have a Masters in Education, thankfully) I did ask if the same teacher would be providing the instruction to my son throughout the program. And, with some reluctance, she did mention that the teacher would change, but that they all teach from the same curriculum.

    ELIZABETH, can you answer the following quesiton.......Do you think that changing teachers in that manner would in any way jeopardize most children's ability to truly complete the program effectively?

    Lastly, I have been an enlisted member of the United States Marine Corps for more than 12 years. There were a few postings earlier about enlisted servicemembers making $7 an hour. That is a complete falicy, probably similar to that of public school teachers making that same wage. In fact, entry level service members make about $12 an hour. To be completely honest I take home about $33 an hour. Some might still consider this low as I have deployed to Iraq three times.

    Thank you to all the teachers who care.....for without you and the dreams you help our children attain, they may very well be lost in the mediocrity that plagues our society.

  147. I stumbled across this site because I just got a job with Sylvan learning center. I have been teaching for 3 years, and I've had a few part time jobs at restaurants and other various places since I started working my career, but I really don't enjoy doing that kind of work. I figure that tutoring is (at least in theory) a part-time job that is related to what I went to college for.

    I didn't know much about Sylvan before I applied, and to be honest, I didn't know very much about it even after a brief interview and getting hired. There are a million things that have been raised throughout the posts that I've skimmed pretty well. I'll try to stick to the original topic, if I can.

    I guess the original point has something to do with the fact that Sylvan is a business, in it to make money. And, as even the opponents of this idea will admit to, that is an undeniable fact any time any business is opened. Hopefully the money is being made, while at the same time accomplishing a goal. I would hope that people who open a particular business, do so with a certain "passion" for whatever it is that the business offers. I don't think there are lots of people sitting around, opening business in totally random fields, based upon which type of business will be the most lucrative for them. Maybe the people who open up tutoring centers (maybe even Sylvan Learning Centers?) have a genuine interest in helping children learn.

    On the same note, the notion of hiring a private tutor for $15-$25 per hour, and saving money while paying the individual teacher a higher salary, it sounds nice. But I guess my question would be, why don't we just do that with everything? We could go to a farmer to buy all of our vegetables, and pay less, pay him more than the supermarkets do, and eat fresher food to top it all off. The evil supermarkets would go out of business and the world would be a better place. We could all buy our own fabric and sew our own clothes. The people at the Gap wouldn't get the crazy markup that they usually get. I won't go on with my ridiculous examples. The point is, pretty much everything in our society is a business. There are many, many "middle-man" kind of businesses that offer a product or service. And that middle-man needs to be paid. But everyone does it. We all participate in this system, and why? Maybe it's convenience, maybe it's laziness, maybe it's just a sense of complacency that since we aren't going to be able to change the way our economy works, that we have no other choice but to comply? Whatever it is, as another person (whose name I'm too lazy to scroll up to find) said, if people are willing to pay the going rate (and if teachers are willing to accept the going salary), then I guess the system works just fine.

    The other main thing that I wanted to talk about (which I swear I think is related to the main topic as well...) is teachers' salaries. (And a side note about a comment I read a little while ago, in most jobs that I know of anyway, your salary increases with seniority. Teaching is not the only profession with this concept. Pro sports is one of the only counter-examples, and it's fair to at least mention that pro sports is unique enough of a profession that we need not compare it to any other professions, especially where salary is concerned.)

    Anyway, I went into teaching for "noble" reasons. I just have always liked to see that look on someone's face when they finally "get" something. I like the feeling that I am helping someone, and helping them learn something that will be useful throughout the rest of their lives. You know, the whole "teach a man to fish" thing. I knew full well that going into education meant that I wasn't going to drive a fancy car, have a big ol' mansion, or be vacationing in the bahamas or anything like that. I'm okay with that. (My grandma wasn't all that okay with it: I was the "smart" kid in the family growing up, and I was supposed to be a "doctor or a lawyer or something" and make all the money...anyway...) I also am well aware that teaching has it's "perks." The summer off, and a few weeks of prime vacation time during the rest of the year, not being the least of these perks.

    But... I also, as another poster said, need to "live." Most people who go to college for 4 or 5 years and get a degree and go into the profession that they have been preparing for, do not need to look for at least one (and maybe two) part time job in order to afford their rent and other expenses. But I do, so I am. I have worked in restaurants, and I did so strictly for the money. Not because I love bringing people diet cokes and salads and wearing a plastic name tag on my polo shirt. I am applying to Sylvan for pretty much the same reason: I need money. Believe me, you have no idea how much I wish I didn't need to work a second job. I mean, it's not as if I don't have anything else that I need to for my full-time teaching job, after school hours. I put in many extra hours both at school, and after school at home, and during pretty much every weekend. Does that mean I won't still enjoy doing my job of teaching these kids that I'll be tutoring? I sure hope that I'll find some enjoyment in what I'll be doing. It'll help make the small, supplemental paychecks that I get not seem so...well, small.

    I guess that leads me to my final thought on the subject. Most of the teachers that I know (except the ones whose husbands are rich and they don't even need to work a job at all...) have a second job. Some, a third job. But they apparently love teaching, so they continue to make the other sacrifices to do so. But...many people, who would make great teachers, and who would probably otherwise choose to go into teaching, decide to go into some other, higher-paying profession. Then, the teachers who do decide that it's still worth it, they have to work at least one other job, meaning that they have a little less time to grade papers, make good lesson plans, spend time thinking about their students' progress, and are generally not very well-rested, making the job that they do as a teacher be...well, not what it could be. Then you have schools that are failing and kids who are not learning what they would normally be able to learn from good teachers, who are not driven into other professions, and who are not skimping time on planning to work their second job. Then you have people deciding to open up high-priced supplemental tutoring centers, and hiring the same people who are already overworked and underpaid to help teach what they weren't able to teach the first time around. Then you have legislation that is put into effect that takes money away from schools and teachers when this unevitably takes place (and, not surprisingly, at a much higher rate in poorer areas.) But I digress...

    This cycle that I have just described, is going to continue until something changes. Is that something going to be that Sylvan Learning Center comes and saves the day? That their $10/hour teachers who are working a second job are going to get through to the kids in such a way that everyone instantly jumps up to where they ought to be, and that, by word of mouth of this miraculous center, all kids who are even the slightest bit behind their prescibed level, will go there and the entire ship will right itself? Not likely. Is it going to be that people get together and demand that teachers are paid a higher wage? That they go though more rigorous training so that not "just anyone" can become a teacher, but that once they do become one, they will have no doubt that they will be able to live comfortably for the rest of their lives without worrying about getting a second job? That maybe to compensate for the high salary, they be required to teach some classes or attend further training during the summer, so that they aren't getting so many "weeks off"? Also, not likely. But we can change things, right? That's how this country got here, some people didn't like the way things were, and they built their own country and made their own rules. By the people, and so on and so forth. But will we ever change it? Will we continue to hear more stories about how much money pro athletes get paid, or what Lindsay Lohan was arrested for, rather than people being concerned about how well our teachers, or our policemen, or our soldiers are paid? Will we just stick by the status quo because it's more convenient, or because we're lazy, or because we figure that the system is not going to change so we might as well comply? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

  148. I found this website while looking for some information to try to help my daughter, a 16 year old junior in public high school.
    If any of you educators (currently with Sylvan or not) can give me some ideas on what to do, please help.
    She has always been an average student, just average, I think she suffers from test anxiety and has a problem retaining what she reads, or not really "getting it". She can read a page in a book, and if you ask her 10 minutes later what it was about, she can give you just a brief idea of what it was.
    I don't think she has a learning disability, per se, as she's always gotten A's and B's, and in the last couple of years (high school) it's been more B's and C's with the occasional A's, and now we're seeing D's and F's on some assignments and tests (along with A's, B's and C's). And frankly, it's not just her, it's sometimes a quarter of the class that will fail a test or quiz, and the information is not re-taught, it's just "move on to the next chapter". So I blame a lot of it on the education she's been getting....not one of her teachers has ever questioned her about a poor grade; it's almost like they don't even care.
    Last night she was in tears when I asked her about her grades and she said she has trouble concentrating when the teacher is talking, or when reading in the book, and that she's trying hard. She doesn't spend hours studying, though, and I wonder if constructive study would help (of course it would, but does everyone have study skills? I just don't know).
    Unfortunately, my financial resources are not unlimited, so I truly want to help my daughter and put my money to use in the way that will serve her most efficiently. I honestly cannot afford to "try" a bunch of different things and throw money away. More importantly, I want her to enjoy school and get an education that will prepare her for college.
    I'm not asking for a "diagnosis", but I've read all of the prior comments, and it appears that many of you have a lot of experience with children (remember, this is a 16 year old) and truly want to help. Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.
    And to comment briefly on the original blog subject: it doesn't sound like anyone has been forced to take a job at Sylvan, but I can honestly see both sides of this issue....there are huge costs with acquiring and running a franchise, but I always want to see quality teachers get paid what they are worth. Good luck to all of you.

  149. Brenda,

    It seems all of your daughter's anxiety revolves around reading comprehension. Would it be feasible for you to monitor her homework and "quiz" her for tests? You might try "guided reading" as one approach. You would have to read the text first. Then ask her to find information in the reading selection. It is ok for her to read the selection more than once to locate the information. In fact, it might help her remember what she has read, and this will ease some of her fears. She could also take brief notes and make up her own questions with some prompts from you. If you have the time to do this, you might give it a try...

    Re: "forced to work at a learning center"--you are correct. No one did--In my case, it was a very poor choice. One reason is that I could not draw on any of my previous experience when working with the students. Everything was dictated by the owners who are not educatiors. I blame myself-not them. I believe my experience is valueable because I have worked in almost every educational setting-full time, part time, subbing. Sunday school, tutor, music teacher, community college, ESL--but none of this was appreciated. When I interviewed, the job description was sketchy, but I thought I would fit in because of all the different venues which I described. This was not the case. Learning centers are different from anything I have ever known. Some people--especially those just out of college--have a different spin on this. For them, it might be a good experience. But for some of us who have been full time teachers, it is not "teaching"--it is just record keeping. As I stated before, we were told what to say, how and when to say it, where to sit, what to write, and to make certain that all the rules were followed. To me, that's all it was--rules and more rules. It was stifling and I regret wasting a year of my time in such a repressive environment with such unimagineative business-oriented people. I don't believe education is a business; it is a process which can be mutually fulfilling for students and teachers. Now, some of you will probably cite private colleges and universities, but that is different. They do make a profit. I am only talking about K-12. Kids need levity, creativity--not iron-clad sameness. Not profit-hungry non educator dictators.

    Some centers may be very good--I only am reporting my experience. Perhaps your school guidance counselor could advise you further on how to help your daughter.

  150. MEP--
    Thanks for your response. I will try the guided reading. I will also check with the guidance counselor. It's a small midwestern high school (no offense, anyone, it's the one I graduated from, too...), so the resources are few.
    It sounds like you do have the experience that anyone would want in someone tutoring/teaching a child. I have always respected someone's work/life experiences and have drawn upon those when making decisions.
    It's unfortunate that you were stifled in your attempt to better some lives....I stumbled across a new website that intrigued me; it sounded like a novel approach to tutoring (what do I know, though....I've never tutored nor been tutored). It's called Super Tutors USA, and it appears that local college students and graduates are the tutors, in their fields of "expertise". It's less costly and less of a long-term commitment than Sylvan, and they are one-on-one sessions, either at the college campus or another location desired. I am going to check into it if the counselor can't help. Again thanks.

  151. Brenda,

    I hope everything works out for your daughter. Does she take any foreign languages? Those require memorization, and maybe that would help her retain information. Beginning Spanish is pretty easy.

    Thanks for understanding about my negative experience in a learning center. Although the pay was insultingly low, that wasn't the only issue. As I outlined in my previous response, my "Skill Set" was not utilized, and that was the most frustrating thing of all. I just couldn't function in that stilted environment.

  152. I have been working at Sylvan for about six months now as a math teacher. I own my own business that does not require much of my time. Since I have a background in engineering, I wanted to do something rewarding with my experience.

    I get paid $14/hour. This is nowhere near the $60+/hour that I made in engineering, but I don't really need the money. I have learned a lot about the teaching profession since I started. It really is about the reward of helping the students succeed. During my first month, when I saw a young student start understanding math and gain confidence, I was hooked.

    I am really impressed with all of the other teachers. Most of them work at a public school, or have retired from teaching public schools. They either work to supplement their regular teachers pay, or to have extra spending money. They are all really good with the students.

    It has always astonished me that teachers are not paid very well. We entrust the education of our future generations to people who do not get paid very well. All of the teachers that I know are aware of this, but they choose to be there.

    Teaching at Sylvan is a part time job and they were very upfront with me about the hours and the pay. I don't need to continue working at Sylvan, but I choose to work there. Even if the students don't ever thank me directly, I do find that knowing that I may have made a difference to even one of the students is very rewarding. On the other hand, I do believe that teachers pay in general is a problem that America should address. Be it at Sylvan or a public school, teachers are making a difference and training our future generations.

  153. I am so disappointed in all of your negative replies. Sylvan is such a wonderful program. You are forgetting that even if the teachers make $9/hr it is a supplemental income for them as they are already teachers making $40K+/yr. And not for nothing, how do you even know what they are making. The important thing is that they are teaching these children that need extra help because the school districts don't offer enough no matter how much you pay in taxes. Hats off to Sylvan!!! Everyone else...make some real comments here that will help parents.

  154. [quote comment="43386"]You are forgetting that even if the teachers make $9/hr it is a supplemental income for them as they are already teachers making $40K+/yr.[/quote]

    For a lot of people it's not supplemental, no.

    [quote comment="43386"]And not for nothing, how do you even know what they are making.[/quote]

    Scroll all the way to the top. Read. There's your answer.

    I disagree that Sylvan is as great as you seem to believe and personally believe parents are better off going any number of other alternative ways.

  155. I enjoy working at Sylvan for 10 dollars an hour. But I want to work more hours. They over hire - hire 20 teachers and pay to train them when they only need 5 teachers. At this point it is barely worth the gas for me to drive in for only a 1 or 2 hour shift. But I think it is something else to put on my resume for the future jobs I apply to. Teachers are not in a short supply - there is not a teacher shortage. Teachers in my state definitely do not get paid well in the public schools. Educational Assistants (who are supposed to be doing the same thing that Sylvan does) make 7 dollars an hour and no benefits in my area. Kitchen assitants are paid more. Substitute teachers earn less than employees of Walmart. I like working for Sylvan - but will continue to look for another job - because just not enough hours are being scheduled. I would love to be full time - as a Director or in a Management role - so maybe that opportunity will open up also. I also agree the program is very expensive for most parents. I also agree that it is a shame so many students need to be in a for profit tutoring situation - rather than getting education in the public schools. The schools need to hire people to teach reading and math rather than spend money on sports IMO. The public schools are partly to blame for students needing Sylvan in the first place. None of the teachers in my center are actually working in the public schools - because there are simply no jobs available for them - due to there being too many people applying for the jobs. Some of the people in my center are not teachers by degrees either - but have other skills that are being taught. I am sure each center is different and some are more organized and better run than others. I like the job - and will continue with the hope of full time hours - unless I have to move on to a different job due to continuing getting low scheduling hours.

  156. Proud mom-you need a dose of reality. Most teachers' starting salary is in the low'30K region. Workers at "learning centers" do not have full time teaching jobs. Most of the workers are right out of college and work as substitutes or day care workers. A full time teacher would not have the time or the inclination to work at one of these places--Get Real,Lady!!!

  157. With my master's degree in reading and an excellent math teacher, I make $45,000 a year. I would never think of doing anything for less than $40 an hour. It is not that I don't love children, but I need time for my own children. At $40 an hour, that might help to provide a little something more so I probably would consider it. I already devote my life to 30 children full-time. I barely would need to prepare to tutor a child because I use everything I would need everyday. I am an expert. I am not bound by a rigid program, can bring in exactly what materials I need based on feedback from the student, and can provide excellent assessments that have been used in IEP's. I seriously doubt anyone at Sylvan, even with a program provided for them can provide the insights and the expertise that I can provide. It's not that I am bragging, which may sound like it to those who have not went to a rigorous University, but that nothing compares to the education I have had. It's like the difference between hiring a doctor and a person that has access to Webmd. I train teachers and have spent 8 years observing 30 kids per year 7 hours a day. Not only that but I have done my own research and have perfected the art of motivating children. I work with many other teachers just like me. They are out there. You need to ask around to find out who they are. You need to pay them what they are worth. I am sure Sylvan is fine. But like many businesses, there is something lost the bigger you get. Sylvan is for those who don't want to do their homework to find the best or somehow think big business is worth paying $40 for a canned program but not for a skilled craftsman. Like a doctor, I am constantly reading the current research in my field. You have no idea what a good teacher knows. It would blow your mind.

  158. Proud Expert,

    Finally!! Someone is tuned in to what I have been saying. "Canned" is a great way to describe their methods--no creativity, no motivational techniques--visuals or auditory--just their archaic program. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The money is also an issue that some people just don't understand: your analogy about a skilled craftsman is correct. In my area, dishwashers and bus drivers make more than I made. I know you will find this abominable, but there are some uninformed people who have made nasty comments about greed. Your salary is decent, and I am sure you deserve it.

  159. One last thing I wanted to mention--I think that it would be just as effective, maybe more, to tutor 2 children close to the same level, at once. They feed off of each other and learning can sometimes be quicker. One may be able to explain what is difficult when the other can't. Both may not feel shy to tell you they don't get it the way you are saying it because the other is struggling too. There seem to be quite a few advantages.

    I say this because I understand that $40 an hour is a lot. Especially because it will take many hours to remediate a child in an area. However, there are teachers out there that simply won't tutor because they can't get $40 an hour, and $20 an hour is not worth giving up their time with their family or others in their lives. So they simply don't tutor. That is a shame because if someone would come up with the idea of splitting the $40 between two parents, you can get an expert for cheaper if they are willing. My sister and her friend split the cost of tumbling instruction for their cheerleading daughters and it is $40 an hour.

    Just a thought.

    Thank you MEP for your support.

  160. PE:
    I am guessing that the first thing people will comment on is the $40/hr rate you mention. But where I worked, parents were paying $34/hr while we were paid $7.50. And, I am one of those teachers you said won't tutor. Where I live, $25/hr is considered the maximum. If I could count on $40--I'd probably do it. Just working with five students per week at that rate would be enough for me.

    Dual tutoring is a great idea, but again, the center where I worked frowned on that: it was one-on-one, but we were all crowded into a tiny room with a dozen people at individual tables. The noise was distracting for the kids and for me. It is too bad because children do learn from each other--just not in a center situation.

  161. Sorry, but I have to agree with many here based on my experience. We enrolled our son in Sylvan based on his testing and their reccomendations and saw very little improvement. Every review we were prodded to add more time and expand the time...of course adding to the costs and when we said no, they made us feel like we were bad parents and the reason he wasn't improving was our fault. Finally we got him out and had a private tutor from the school at $15 per hour spend some time with him and his confidence soared and his school work improved ten fold. We can argue all day about salaries, but our experience and many others we have talked with says that Sylvan is a money machine.

    thanks to all you teachers...no matter who you work for, thanks for trying to help our kids.

  162. Greg,

    I am glad your son is doing so well. It is great that the school was able to find such a competent tutor, and the price was not exhorbitant. The $15/hr. was very reasonable.

    I appreciate your comments and your understanding that one on one, consistant tutoring is much more beneficial than the canned learning center approach. The low pay is only one of the negatives--I never got to know the students because I worked with a different child every time. I had to write comments on their forms the whole time which made it difficult to fully attend to what the student was doing. Also, as I have mentioned, we were packed into a small, noisy room with a dozen other kids and tutors. It was very tough to focus.

    Good luck to you and your child!!

  163. As a Sylvan employee (Admin. Assistant/Updater/Classroom Assistant), at least at our centre. The teachers get paid over $12 hr to start and has regular increases/bonus. People need to realize each centre is individually owned and operated so one person's experience at one centre doesn't reflect them all. Also the teachers come in just for class time. All the lesson plan updating is done and they have all the materials they need. Most centres have a classroom assistant to get photocopies, books etc during class. I have been treated well in my job and we are like a family there. How many people can go home at the end of the day and say 'I love my job'? I can.

  164. I agree with the comment made about this notion that teachers need to remember the glimmer in the eye of getting through to a student and that should be part of the "payment". Give me a break-- thats like saying that a car manufacturer or oil company should accept that they are HELPING us get to work and live our lives as ENOUGH -- money should not be the issue--
    The world does not work like that-- Please teachers -- don't accept this line of BUNK! Just because you are good at what you do and you make a difference in the world does not mean that you should not EXPECT to be PAID sufficiently for your time!!
    I was considering sending my First Grader to Sylvan-- but after reading this blog-- I may reconsider and I would rather pay an actual teacher the same 40 an hour that I would for them to be at Sylvan-- Because that is what its worth to me-- and teachers deserve it!!

  165. Sylvan - advice to parents

    Having worked with this company there are some thing potential parents need know. First, the people you will be talking to when you come to the center to sign up for your program are there to sell you the largest possible program. Deposits and revenue are measured weekly in some centers, and believe me when i tell you, from experience, they will use any and all emotional "triggers" to get you to sign on.

    Once in the program, there are many things i have read on this site that ring true. Ask to see your child's notebook in conferences, ask to tour the center during busy hours, ask for as much as you can get. Sylvan does well at painting pictures, but there is rarely any substance.

    Not all centers are out for only the money, it is worth the effort to find out. Do your homework, not all Sylvan centers are the same!!!!!

    Honestly, with a little parenting and a two dollar library card, more often than not the same results cand be achieved. Save your money until you dig deeply into the program you are being sold. As it always does, the truth will come out sooner or later.

  166. As an employee of Sylvan at the corp headquarters, I find this very interesting to read.
    I deal with center staff, teachers and families directly on a daily basis.

    Points to remember here:
    Teaching positions within the center is not forced, so if there is a teacher at a center relying on that income as their sole income - they have no room to complain they voluntarily accept the position at the rate of pay.
    Centers are individually owned and operated, so the rate of pay and benefits will vary. Corp provides the centers with guidelines of pay and benefits, but ultimately it is up to the individual center owner on what is provided.
    Teachers at the centers and the on-line programs are certified and MUST complete and pass all background checks including finger-printing.
    Sylvan has an on-line program that can be taken from home in front of your own computer.... with a LIVE teacher. The classroom ratio is still 1:3, however the students are isolated in their own room so other students do not overhear or see. This seems to work best for those who lack confidence and tend to withdraw due to embarassment - especially boys. The kids seem to get a kick out of being able to talk to a Live person through the computer, and the program is very interactive. From what I understand it costs less then in-center as well....Now, some kids benefit more with the teacher being right there with them and the feed back from other children in the room, this is where the in-center program is the best.
    Any program, provided by any Company\Individual will not be without some short comings. An individual needs to weigh the pros and cons of each when considering either enrolling their child or working for the company.

    I hear from many parents on a daily basis. I hear positive and negative. I also observe the children on a daily basis and I see positive and negative on that side as well.
    When considering a program for a child it is very difficult for parents as they are emotionally involved, so of course they will tend to over-exaggerate problems as this is their child we are dealing with and their money. This is the mind set I have when I hear grievances, and believe me I will be the first one to contact a center or teacher on the parents behalf in order to rectify a situation or offer praise if so deserving... unfortunately, doing so is getting me into some hot water lately as this is not something corporate office would like us to do any longer.....which I hate! these are kids we are dealing with and lots of money their parents are putting out to better them.....you will see that many of our teachers have the same additude...they are there for the kids! The teachers amaze me as to how well they interact with the kids....they really do care......if they didn't then they wouldn't be willing to work at the rate of pay that they receive.
    Teachers are underpaid...all the way around, they have to deal with 20+ students in each class...think of all those personalities and midsets you are trying to get through to...think of all the behavioral issues you have to deal with, and the many parents that send their children to school with the additude that if their child has a behavioral problem during school the school can just deal with it..but at the same time there are so many restrictions on teachers and schools that they cannot appropriately deal with it....thus jeopardizing all the children in the classroom!
    In the mean time everyone in the state pays taxes for schools and many times bond referendums, unfortunately the school districts do not know how to mange finances and feel that having corner offices and panoramic views are more important then paying teachers what they are worth or even providing adequate supplies to them to teach appropriate (many are spending over $500 out of their own pockets) So with this in mind the average rate of $10\hr for a Sylvan teacher is not bad..as there is no (or shouldn't be) any out of pocket expenses...scheduling is at their convenience and they do not have to deal with the Admin BS that is required of them in public schools.
    Right now I am a very disgruntled employee, I do not believe in all practices that are in place (that will happen anywhere you work) however, I have seen the pros and cons, the satisfaction and dissatisfaction from the inside and I still believe in the program......unfortunately, the Center Staff is usually lacking proper training and therefore represents Sylvan in a poor manner......again each center is different and every parent and teacher must weigh their priorities prior to jumping in.......

  167. [quote comment="43590"]Teaching positions within the center is not forced, so if there is a teacher at a center relying on that income as their sole income - they have no room to complain they voluntarily accept the position at the rate of pay.[/quote]

    That's beside the point. The point is parents get what they pay for, and currently, 80% of their payments go towards administrative crap and profits while only 20% goes to the "teacher."

    As stated, parents are far more likely to get a better return on their investment buy taking a little of that 80%, adding it to the 20%, and hiring a teacher to tutor their child one-on-one.

    [quote comment="43590"]Centers are individually owned and operated, so the rate of pay and benefits will vary. Corp provides the centers with guidelines of pay and benefits, but ultimately it is up to the individual center owner on what is provided.[/quote]

    The highest total mentioned is $12/hour. Given the $50/hour centers charge, that's still only 24% to the "teacher" and 76% to overhead and profit.

    [quote comment="43590"]Teachers at the centers and the on-line programs are certified and MUST complete and pass all background checks including finger-printing.[/quote]

    So do "real" teachers.

    [quote comment="43590"]Sylvan has an on-line program that can be taken from home in front of your own computer.... with a LIVE teacher. The classroom ratio is still 1:3, however the students are isolated in their own room so other students do not overhear or see. This seems to work best for those who lack confidence and tend to withdraw due to embarassment - especially boys. The kids seem to get a kick out of being able to talk to a Live person through the computer, and the program is very interactive. From what I understand it costs less then in-center as well....Now, some kids benefit more with the teacher being right there with them and the feed back from other children in the room, this is where the in-center program is the best.[/quote]

    Sounds like another great way for Sylvan to rip you off and do even less work for the cash.

    If a child is fearful of embarassment in front of other kids, the proposed solution of one-on-one tutoring with a student is still far more valid than using Internet chat.

    [quote comment="43590"]Any program, provided by any Company\Individual will not be without some short comings. An individual needs to weigh the pros and cons of each when considering either enrolling their child or working for the company.[/quote]

    Or, they could avoid the "necessary" shortcomings altogether and get more bang for their buck by hiring an individual tutor.

    [quote comment="43590"]When considering a program for a child it is very difficult for parents as they are emotionally involved,[/quote]

    And from all I've heard, Sylvan seems to rely on the emotional state and pry at it to get parents to keep their kids in Sylvan. They'll insinuate that parents are cheap, lazy, and/or bad parents if they don't spend another few thousand dollars to keep their kid in Sylvan. They'll use lines like "You can't measure the value of seeing the smile of success on your child's face in dollars and cents."

    The simple truth remains that Sylvan employees are paid a small portion of the money a parent pays to "the company." For that $50/hour, they'll be given tests prepared by Sylvan, whose employees will then teach to that test so that when it's given again in ten weeks, the child shows "improvement." Of course they will. All that for $3500, only $700 of which goes to the teacher.

    [quote comment="43590"]If they didn't then they wouldn't be willing to work at the rate of pay that they receive.[/quote]

    That's faulty logic. If they were better teachers and they cared about kids all the same, they'd likely work for a school system which would not only pay them more but which would give them summers off and expose them to more kids that their altruistic little hearts could help out.

    The fact of the matter is that the majority of Sylvan teachers are teachers that weren't qualified enough to land a school job, so obviously they're going to be paid less. They're worth less.

    [quote comment="43590"]So with this in mind the average rate of $10\hr for a Sylvan teacher is not bad..as there is no (or shouldn't be) any out of pocket expenses...[/quote]

    Oh c'mon now. Cut the crap. $10/hour is $20k/year, and that's if the teacher works year-round. Even the poorest school districts offer about $30k/year to their starting teachers, gives them the summer off, and offers some form of health care and pension plan. Even if you were accurate (you're not) in claiming $500 in out-of-pocket expenses, it's a drop in the bucket compared to Sylvan's $10/hour.

    $10/hour is barely more than minimum wage.

  168. It seems there are two points in this topic:

    The first is teacher pay at Sylvan, fact of the matter is one side saying it is not enough compared to what Sylvan charges, the other saying it is not required that teachers work there and if the pay is too low they should go elsewhere.

    Teachers, truthfully, go elsewhere. True, there are no plans for you to keep up with, but you do have to sit down and make sense of plans someone else, sometimes someone with little training, is making for you. These plans can be repetative, even if you believe the student should move on, and you have about 5 minutes to do it before you have three students with different programs staring at you and parents asking why you are wasting their money. Schedules are always changing, and will change each hour you are at the center. Sure you pick your own days to work, but you will be called either every day for every hour you have listed, or not at all. If you have something come up you better be ready to cancel it because once you take that teaching job Sylvan owns the hours you list. Set up your own tutoring schedule and work as you wish individually with the students, form true bonds with real results, not made up testing pieces and scrambled together conferences. Sylvan employees may say otherwise but the truth is known to them. SYlvan owners will say otherwise but would you expect them to admit to what is being said on this blog??

    The second point is the effectiveness of Sylvan compared to its' cost. Sylvan does not work any better than any other program on the average. True, some Sylvan centers show great success, have wonderful tales to tell and knowledgable staff. However, most are not this way.

    My experience with Sylvan was one that was full of inept employees and administration, who cared only for the numbers, not the customer and student. Books were updated late, and in a manner that was "to get them done" not with the student in mind. The ownership was absolutely terrible at communicating with employees, and would do what I felt was everything in their power to prevent fully refunding unhappy customers. Even to the point of having a student pay for over one hundred hours and never attend, and then have the franchisee state they want the refund given to the parent at the nornal hourly rate instead of the discount rate the parent paid. Ended up costing the parent over 500 dollars, for a service they never used!!

    Sylvan survives because public education leaves parents wondering how they can help their child improve. As so many have stated before, one on one tutoring or parent assistance are very functional alternative to going into debt for a service that has a 50/50 chance of yielding success at best.

    That is as honest as I can be from my experience. Let others say what they will, everyone has on opinion. I just really feel for the single mom with three kids that wants desperately to help her student and gets saddled with 17,000 dollars worth of Sylvan that does nothing and ruins her credit score. I feel for that mother because I used to be the one that sold the program to her.

  169. As a former Center Director and Education Director I, unfortunately, agree with the above description by Smith. Keep in mind, however, that there are success stories, I'm sure in every center.

    It is clear that that the parents come to Sylvan so their kids will do better in school. However, if the child is very far behind, they will not be on grade level and will therefore be "filling in their skill gaps" at Sylvan with work that may not be related to their current school assignments. So how are you going to see improvement at school?

    One solution is to find out from the student or teacher what skills they are working on, then make the lesson plans accordingly. But in my experience at Sylvan there is really not enough time for the Education Director to take such a personal approach. At least I never had enough time to do it for enough students (maybe just a few).

    The best results came when the students brought their own homework and the teacher helped them with it. That way it's much more relevant and their grades shoud improve - I saw this especially in higher math (with a very fine teacher.)

    While I was still employed with Sylvan, they were going to start "homework help" at a reduced hourly rate and without the 3 to 1 student/teacher ration. I'm not sure if that ever got off the ground, but it seemed to me to be a good idea, based upon what I've said above.

  170. Well said former employee,

    I too spent time working with sylvan, on the same path you were traveling...the homework help you mentioned did take off, but anyone wishing to take advantage of it had to combine it with study skills to get the reduced rate...and we were told to really " get on these parents to add extra programs" after they had signed up for this reduced rate..

    As many people on this blog have said in the past, ALL learning is beneficial for struggling students, but my experience with the moral and structural components of Sylvan leads me to believe the parents and children are not the key concerns for this company at a franchise level in many centers.

  171. I work at a Sylvan currently and am also a full time teacher. Why am I at Sylvan? I need the extra money due to the wonderful wages given in the public school system. I make 10.25 an hour. We get a huge .25 bonus every 3-4 months as well if we the directors who may roam the room for a few minutes, think we are doing our job. We cannot have drinks in the room. No dinners or drawlings or anything mentioned earlier. I look around the room and see 12 kids at 45 bucks an hour and think...wow.....we are professional teachers making as much as a waiter at TGIF's . A lot of the kids do not want to be there after being at school all day (I dont blame them), escpecially the high schoolers and when they are indifferent about doing anything or are distracting what can you do? Not a whole lot really. Give a detention? What is my point? 90% of the teachers there are there for the money (which is not a lot) and feel bitter about how much the place makes for giving out assignemnts in books that are over 10 YEARS OLD. The place is a gold mine for someone and no one is seeing the benefits from it on the teachers side of it. Sometimes I am a ashamed to give out the work....giving out 1st grade phonics or spelling words to a 10th grader with a B average. Don't tell me to get another job if I dont like it. I like the kids but they are getting ripped off and we are as well. Just how society works.

  172. The above is a synopsis I have heard before both on this board and from teachers in the center of which I was a part.

    Teaching at Sylvan is a job, and one that pays around minimum wage, if teachers wish to work there that is their right, of course everyone needs to make ends meet. If given a choice, however, the "twinkle in the eye" of students spoke of by so many Sylvan supporters on this blog can be accomplished in a much more teacher friendly environment either by independant tutoring or working with the parents to set up after school sessions.

    Sylvan really utilizes the recent (10 years old thereabouts) trend of some parents to use the school to teach their children everything so that the parent does not have to deal with that part of the child's development. I understand teaching children is what schools are for, but parents really have an important role to play as well. Thankfully, not all parents are doing this and those that play an active role with their children should be looked at as caring and concerned, not the "harrassing" parents many Sylvans make them out to be when they ask for information on their child's program.

    Those parents who simply drop off their student at school, or the bus stop, and wait for them to come home with a head full of knowledge are easy prey for Sylvan. They will pay for someone to do all of the work of "catching their student up" quickly, they will fall for warped statistics and grade equiv. numbers, and, best of all, they will not ask questions during conferences and sign up for whatever they are told their child needs.

    Good Sylvan centers freely give information such as test content, current material being worked on by the student (with dated examples), hours left, true length of program, info on student status in the program and if they will end early or late, explained test results etc etc etc.

    Many Sylvans simply do "cookie cutter" conferences so that numbers can be phoned in as completed and don't give one ounce of consideration to the actualy needs of the student, they simply care about "does the parent see what we are or are not doing" and if so what can we do to explain why we are not getting what we said we would if they ask about it.

    In short, please parents, talk with your child's teachers about what they can do to help your student before trying Sylvan. Teachers not only really know what the student needs from experience (not just one test), but also what the child is expected to do in the future. Sylvan may ask for this info, but isn't it easier right from the brain of the person doing the grading??

    If you must try Sylvan I cannot stress enough, ASK QUESTIONS and GET DOCUMENTED RESULTS! Be the "pain in the neck" parent, after all it is your money isn't it???? In addition, check the sheets you sign before signing them, especially the refund and ending program pieces, they are very enlightening .

    (Sorry about the lack of punctuation, I am typing on an old keyboard...I hope the points were made though.)

  173. good post above this.....i notice the paper work from the conferences....many of the students have the same comments over and over and over...very odd i think considering the number of "tests" they take...i tutor on the side as well...but i guess one positive about sylvan is the schedule with private tutoring that can change but sylvan owns you with the schedule and if you cannot work it they guilt you to death...

  174. I recently tutored briefly at a Sylvan Center and, although I resigned after only 3 weeks, I was there long enough to form a very low opinion of their operation. They absolutely do rip off teachers, parents, and, worst of all, the students. They are only in business to make money at anyone else's expense. The atmosphere was chaotic, noisy and distracting. Students often had to sit and do nothing while the tutor finished helping another of his/her 3 students. The idea of one teacher tutoring 3 students on vastly different grade levels and completely different subjects -- all at the same time -- is ridiculous! The center where I worked charged parents $48.00/hour and paid tutors $10.00/hour. Considering that they were pulling in $144.00/hour and paying out $10.00/hour, I'd say they have a pretty lucrative business going. I knew the pay before I began, but when I saw what a sham their methods were, I just couldn't be a part of it. Parents would be well advised to hire a private tutor for their child. Shame on Sylvan!!!

  175. Very true!

    would-be teachers must be sure not to add more days than you really want to work, because you will be called for either all or none/very few. Should you even consider not working one of the days they call you, not to ASK you if you can work by the way, but to TELL you when you are working, you will be guilted to no end and they may even end your employment for not being available to them when they only told you that day you would be needed.

    There is very little to say about the company that has not been said, the truth is on this board, both good and bad. From what I have read here, many people are really pleased with Sylvan, but it seems just as many, if not more, are not truly happy with their choice of Sylvan for their child.

    Even if the numbers were even, is it worth thousands of dollars to take a 50/50 shot when there are more reliable and less costly options? If you feel it is, roll the dice, if not, check into your options. You may come back to Sylvan, but please take the time and do not rush into a decision.

  176. After reading most of these posts I feel that if one has the financial means it could be benificial for the k-3 students and learning basic skills like reading, writing etc. They have a couple nice things that they do to help REINFORCE what they learn in school. However the older the students get, the more silly the work gets. I do mostly study skills, a joke in my humble opinion. Pay 45 bucks an hour to do homework? And then have them do fake work to learn skills? Please. I am ashamed to do some of the things out of the study skill binder. As far as hours go. My better half told me that she has a commitment in a week but I work. I have zero idea how I can get out of working at Sylvan for two hours. They may even want me to bring in my kids!!! It is easier to call in sick at school!

  177. I am very glad I stumbled on to this board, we have been considering Sylvan for quite some time now. My daughter is in the third grade goes to a parochial school and has been struggling in math since last year. Now she is having issues in language. I am preplexed about the program an would love feed back .

  178. Two pieces here:

    First, Illinois, you are exactly right, as has been stated on this board before, if you list the hours for work at Sylvan they own you...God forbid you try and call out, you will be guilted to no end and probably lose any future hours because you are "unreliable". In addition, you are spot on about the study skills, there cannot be a bigger waste of money...if anyone has questions about that statement please ask I will be happy to share my opinions, but take them as that, opinions.

    To Leslie, you asked about your third grade daughter, please talk to your teachers at the school first, if extra work in all that is needed you can get that cheaper working with a teacher than with Sylvan. Also, to get into the "Sylvan system" you will need to book a 150-200 dollars test for your child, sit through a session of someone trying to sell you more than you often need and monthly meetings where a director will convince you of needed extra hours or programs (usually based on the financial needs of the center, not your student).

    These meetings will have numerous pieces of paperwork extolling the triumphs Sylvan claims to have made with your child, while not truly giving any proof of those gains in most cases. After 36 hours Sylvan promises a year of growth when compared to the last test, please ask to see all of the questioned topics broken down. You will discover that, not only does Sylvan teach to the test the first month, but also the test topics are weighted so that a student can actually miss more questions and still make growth!

    If you must try Sylvan, ask about a money back policy if you are not satisfied, any company with so much faith in their product would at least give that, right? The answer to that question should shed some light on things for you.

    In truth, if you are considering Sylvan exhaust all of your other options first. Sylvan is 50 dollars an hour in most places and your child will be in a crowded, noisy and completely inappropriate work environment. Most Sylvan centers are run this way, yours may be the exception, look into it first. I would ask to speak to the center director and/or owner, get a feel, if it sounds like they are feeding you BS hit the door.

    This is the only advice I can give...once again forgive misspellings, I do not have the time for a proof-read at the moment...many people scour posts and then try to discredit them as "what a dumb person he or she cannot type", these are cheap shots by persons with no real positions to argue.

  179. Leslie,

    I agree with Smith all together so I will not restate everything that he/she said. Ask lots of questions and look at the finacial part, money back etc. If you child has problems working around other kids doing different activities and has problems with working indepedent from time to time. May one to look into a one on one tutor. But if there is one type of focus and you can work out a short program and not have them drawl it out and convince you your child has other "issues" to work on. Maybe look into it. On a positive note, I mentioned how I needed a sub for a upcoming day...they actually covered for me without guilting me....BUT....if they sign up more study skills this week they will call me....Sylvan "on call" so to speak....they should give us beepers....... 😛

  180. I worked at a Sylvan for 8 months with an "emergency teaching credential" in pursuit of a teaching degree and absolutely loved it. I was paid $13 an hour in a suburb outside of San Francisco, and wanted to work full-time, but the Sylvan teachers are meant to be part time employees only (without benefits). I don't doubt that teachers were taken advantage of- but only if they allowed themselves to be. Most of the teachers at my Sylvan were retired engineers who love math, or teachers that wanted more flexibility. The money was so poor, the only reason the teachers came back each day was because they loved to teach. This is what I really wanted to say to parents the whole time I was there- Why do you have to pay me so much money to just spend 20 minutes - 3 times a week-with your kid? Why are YOU NOT interested in what your child is doing each day at school? Most of the children at Sylvan just need encouragement and daily help with homework. Yes, I do have degrees and feel that I was able to really help children with their writing skills, but I don't think it takes a degree to talk to your child and see where they are struggling in school. To sit down with them, 20 minutes- 3 times a week- and go over homework. I personally would not waste my money on the center, since I would think it would be much cheaper to find a decent tutor if I really didn't have the time for my own kids.

  181. You are so very correct on taking time with our children, which I do. I do not think my daughter was given the correct tools for Math in which she struggles in. We now have a teacher that tutors her twice a week and are seeing some progress. I do not think we will ever resort to Sylvan and it's sad that teachers are so poorly paid.

  182. A wise choice. Teachers are a tremendous resource and, despite what Sylvan centers will tell you, really know what is better for your student due to their experience in the field and time spent with your child. Good luck and your student and wallet will thank you!

  183. I'm a senior MIS major at Texas A&M University and realized that with my somewhat technical major I've managed to get by without having very good reading skills. I've always heard that Sylvan had a great program so I decided to give it a chance. I told them my main problem was reading comprehension and they advised me to take the Accelerated Reading Program. Sensing that this was my last opportunity to seek help before I graduated, I decided to sign up.

    $569 and 12 hrs later I'm still where I was in the beginning. The material for the Accelerated Reading course only focuses on reading faster with very little emphasis on retention and comprehension. The majority of the daily skills tests are designed to improve the speed of eye movement (timed tests finding matching letters & numbers) with only one test focused on speed with comprehension. So basically, instead of reading slow without retention I can now read fast without retention, yeah me.

    To emphasis my point, one of the instructions for the 11th of 12 hours told me to read a passage using the techniques I had learned. They noted that comprehension should be less than 50%. Seems like comprehension isn't very important. All they care about is words per minute. WPM are meaningless if the comprehension doesn't follow. Needless to say I am VERY disappointed in the quality of material.

  184. The person above brings to light one of the fundemental and repetative complaints about Sylvan, which is the true nature of the program. Teacher pay being what this topic was founded on I will be brief.

    Sylvan's advanced reading system, no matter the initial thought that inspired it, has been corrupted in many instances to only be an avenue to generate "money making" statistics. WPM is what matters because the center director can use that to sell a parent who will equate what they are told in conferences with actual learning gains.

    A school teacher is held accountable and routinely measured on comprehension, Sylvan's unfortunate lack of advanced reading comprehension content often is not revealed until after money has been paid and parents can be told "well, we can give your student to the tools but cannot make him or her use them". This is an unfortunate statement and is lingo which I, as a former center director, was fed to say to parents more often than I would care to admit when the truth was brought to light.

    For a fraction of the cost of the advanced reading program one can purchase PC software that will teach the same skills and yield similar, if not better results. Sylvan is really beneficial on an hourly basis for help with homework if the student is struggling in a subject. Teachers at Sylvan are useful for this, and immediate results can be seen or not by the child's GPA.

    Bottom line, investing hundreds or thousands in a program only to be guilted, have your parenting questioned when you will not extend your students hours, then told "well we can give him the tools..." when it doesn't work is folly. No matter the rare success story, the majority is where the truth lies.

  185. I am one of the few study skills teachers in our building. No one enjoys doing that i guess...wonder why...I had three study skills students at once....which by the way probably should not be done....too much one on one and discussion for three students at once. I am NOT qualified for math. In fact I stink at it and know it and they know it. I am a history/english guy. Well a good portion of the students need help in math. We have ONE MATH GUY out of the whole staff. I send my students to him for help during the hour. Poor guy had 4 or 5 students coming up to him for help. I do my best but remember that we are teachers in various subjects and sometimes do not have the answer. If only the parents knew our backgrounds huh?

  186. I came across this blog and was stunned by the content. I'm not surprised that, with a system as large as Sylvan, there are folks who've had a bad experience. I guess I just wasn't expecting to hear about the quality of the programs.

    The blog was originally about teacher pay, and given that most Sylvan's in Canada and the USA are independently owned and operated, and operate in very different local and regional economies, it doesn't surpise me that teacher pay varies. That said, $8 /hr is quite low, but that doesn't mean the entire system pays that low.

    As for the comments regarding the system, I have to take a strong stand here. The Sylvan system works, and if it isn't then it's not a design error, it's an implementation error. Bottom line is, this is a service business and results will vary based on the quality of service given, don't blame the system/curriculum.

  187. I have three years of English teaching experience, including overseas sojourns to Honduras, South Korea and Belize. I have had the opportunity to teach in a school in the midwest. Recently, I decided to return to school for my Master's in Education while at the same time seek further work experience at a Huntington Learning Center. Doing so seemed like a fantastic idea, as I would have the opportunity to apply new teaching strategies. Further, I would gain better insight into areas of student difficulty. I was offered a job at a center in Ahwatukee, a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. I shadowed, that is, watched, other tutors for three days. During this time, I heard other tutors state such things as "why do we have him here?" and "Why do we have another tutor? We don't need some hack trying to teach English."

    I was promised, both verbally and in writing, that I would see at least two days a week of tutoring experience. I saw those hours vanish under the premise of "student rescheduling" which, as I was told, was typically discouraged by the administration. I received a hot-breath apology, and further offers for more hours. For two weeks, I received no "floor time", or tutoring experience.

    Also, I was informed that my first week's pay would be received six days after I started work, only to have that explanation countered with a "you'll get it when we feel like giving it to you" sort of response.

    I am insulted by the egotistical, condescentive, pseudointellectual individuals that espouse such a trogloditic and self-absorbed perspective.

    In other words, places such as the Huntington Learning Centers and Sylvans really are a waste of money. Any teacher can help a student achieve as much, if not more, than these places at 1/5th the cost of attendance.

  188. Taking a stand and defending Sylvan is great, and I hope it worked for some people out there. Success stories are everywhere, heck, even shock treatment had its share of people it "worked for".

    Let's look at it realistically though, EVERY educational program is developed with the best of intentions. Some work, some don't, but when you have a mix of people with quality experience stating that the program is flawed in its curriculum and implementation, simply writing "it works" is hollow and unsubstantiated.

    It is written on this blog that some Sylvans are successful, but it is not because of their programs, it is because hard working people take the coal they are given and use it as a template to make diamonds.

    Many Sylvans do not do this, and hence, their product is horrible. Simple point is the tutoring methodology, speed reading and study skills courses in particular are fine examples of Sylvans shortcomings.

    The fact that a few students found success (which they would have most likely also found for free with a teacher or less money with a provate tutor) does not mean the system works.

    Let's be clear.

  189. My apology to some for not writing a white paper on the merits of the Sylvan system. C'mon, this is a blog . . . a place where people can post their thoughts and experiences with the subject being discussed.

    That said, I've been in supplemental education for 10 years. I started at the bottom, directed at several centers, and managed several centers. I've worked for a competitor of Sylvan and now I'm at Sylvan. I've also run an intervention program in two low-performing high schools, so I'd like to think I have some experience at this.

    My initial post was designed to express empathy to those folks who may have had a bad experience with Sylvan because of the way their particular center(s) were owned and operated. I don't want to invalidate their experience(s); in fact, it inspires me to do something about it.
    As for the comment I made on the quality of the programs, I stand by that claim. I stand by that claim not because Sylvan has an entire department of educators and curriculum specialists who designed the programs, not because they've been accredited, not because of the ton of research they've done during development, but . . . the ONE and ONLY reason is because my PARENTS and my STAFF see RESULTS. It's the parents who report the gains at school and improved skill and motivation with their children's homework. The kids experience the progress as well.

    The notion that a company like Sylvan could exist for 30 years by duping all their customers to spend thousands of dollars on programs that don't work seems to be an extreme position to me.
    As I said before, I know quality varies because of implementation. Your comments appear to suggest that the only reason Sylvan works for some kids is because the teachers who teach the programs have to work around the Sylvan curriculum. I couldn't disagree more. The owners and operators of Sylvan would simply go nuts if they were given an unworkable program that only a few teachers could implement; and where only "some kids" found success. Sylvan would be hard-pressed to find potential franchisees to invest in a business model with such a bad reputation and programs that don't work. In fact, many Sylvan owners are themselves retired professional educators (e.g. principals and teachers).

    For the rest of you who are reading this blog, especially parents and non-educators, just know that educators are going to have strong and varied opinions on this subject matter. You should take everything you read with a grain of salt (my comments included).

    As for the teacher pay issue . . . $8/hr is too low, especially in California. I know no one who pays their teachers that low. My advice to anyone looking for part-time work as a teacher is to ask questions. Don't just assume the worst, ask the owner and find out how decisions effecting pay are made. If you don't like her/his explanation, then move on. But don't think that running your own tutoring operation on the side is a walk in the park. When you factor in the cost of materials, travel to and from private residences, acquiring your customers, parent conferences, insurance, Schedule C taxes (your going to do this legally, right?), etc., etc., etc. I'm not sure that $35-$50/hr takes you that far. Ask any independent plumber or electrician about how much of their "hourly wage" goes into business expenses and you'll get my point.
    My teachers don't have to put up with any of that nonsense. They get good pay for a part-time job. A job that doesn't require anywhere near the level of time and effort that goes into running a classroom on a FT basis. How can you compare a FT classroom teaching job's salary/hourly wage with a part-time teaching hourly wage when the actual duties are so very, very different? Ask any FT teacher how hard they work and how much responsibility they have in, and out, of the classroom, then compare it with a few hours of teaching on the side, and you'll understand my point here.
    Oh, and one last point, the notion that any teacher can simply walk in a bookstore and build a child a unique, individualized curriculum does a disservice to the folks who devote their lives to curriculum design. Is every electrician an electrical engineer? Is every carpenter an architect? Yes, I'm sure there are many teachers who can build their own curriculum, but if they are really honest about the time, effort, and expense they'd have to put into it, I'm not sure they'd feel so great about that $40/hr. I think it's a terrific benefit for teachers who teach at Sylvan to just come in and teach, and not have to worry about lesson plans, materials, etc., etc. They come in, they teach, they go home.

    But, of course, I'm sure some folks have had it differently. With 1,100 centers in North America, I'm sure someone is doing something that drives their staff nuts. But the vast majority of centers must be doing something right, otherwise you'd see centers shuttering their doors left and right.

    That's it. Let's be clear . . . there are different points-of-view and different experiences on this blog. Thanks for reading.

  190. California Guy,

    You have great points. I think you are right that Sylvan would not be successful if their program didn't help. However, I think you are wrong that a teacher cannot build a custom made program very quickly and easily based on a child's needs.

    A well-qualified teacher could do this in a heartbeat. I would not need to even go to the book store. I would give a developmental spelling test to see how a child is decoding. Next I would give the QRI (Qualitative Reading Inventory) to assess oral reading, silent reading and listening comprehension. Also using the same test for words per minute, fluency, implicit and explicit comprehension skills, reading in context and out of context and narrative and expository reading skills. If I needed additional assessments like a phonemic awareness test, or reading subskills tests, they are all in my classroom. If a child needed tutoring in math, I have would have them take the Aleks computerized math assessment if they are 3rd grade or above, or I would do activities with them and assess their math knowledge if they were below that level.

    My point is that while I understand that Sylvan has a right to make money, and I applaud the business for providing a needed service, they are not the best. A great teacher is the best. Parents just have to know that they are out there and ask around. I would want the expert working with my child at all times, which you cannot provide, because I don't work for Sylvan. Most expert teachers do not work at Sylvan.

    In addition, my report would be given openly to parents, I would explain exactly what a child needs and provide them guidance on how to work with them at home so that tutoring does not break the bank and my ultimate goal would be to get a child on grade level as fast as possible. My report would be so clear that the parent could tell a different tutor what their child needs if they wanted to. Does Sylvan do that? Or are Sylvan's assessments private, not given to parents to look at for themselves? Are the before and after assessments given to the parent to keep?

    While I charge $40 an hour, there is no huge contract, there is no initial assessment fees, and I provide clear information about at child's needs and progress.

    There are many experts like me. I work with amazing teachers. Most would tutor if offered what I charge.

  191. Proud Expert, thanks for the civil response and not attacking my point-of-view.

    I'm sure you are an expert teacher and find it easy to build curricula on an individualized basis, but not many teachers I know are designing individual programs for their kids; even the ones I visit in schools who don't work at Sylvan and tutor on the side.

    That said, most of the assessment materials Sylvan uses are from outside, non-Sylvan sources. Sylvan is not in the educational publishing business, and we show parents the actual assessment materials after their children have tested. We have nothing to hide from parents. Most parents find the reports easy to understand as well; I mean directors aren't going to waste their time on reports that add no value AND if reports are confusing parents they will lose confidence in the program.

    As for a long contract, we don't use one; but it brings up the point about tuition and how long it really takes to help a child. If most teachers are charging $40/hr and they work with a child that is 2-3 years behind in reading, how many hours of tutoring are they telling the family it's going to take to get that child to grade level? 30 hours? 60? 100? So then, Sylvan isn't that expensive after all is it? I mean an expert isn't going to make a false promise to a parent and say that in 20 hours that child is going to be caught up. My issue with many private tutors is that they don't communicate the reality of a child's situation upfront; i.e. they don't tell the family what the total cost of tuition will be, just the hourly rate. Then what invariably happens is that kids come 1-2 hours a week to see their tutor, and the parent eventualy asks; 1) "Why is this taking so long?" And 2) "I didn't know it was going to cost this much?" They then end up in my office because I tell them everything up-front, before they join, so they truly know what it's going to take in terms of time and money.

    Don't forget, most Sylvan kids have already done the private tutor thing, and the after-school program thing. At least that's the case in many CA centers.

    Back to teacher pay: One of the bloggers says that s/he is making $45-$50K as a professional teacher. That sounds right. Then let's do some math. Let's say s/he makes that in a 10 month school year, and then makes an add'l three grand over the summer working summer school. We'll say s/he makes an even $50K for the year. Now, most teachers are making in the ballpark of $43K for their FT teaching responsibilities, but we'll say this particular teachers pulls in $50K. Divide $50K by 52 weeks, and divide again by 40 hours a week, and you get . . . . $24/hr! (Some teachers are laughing right now at the 40/hr a week part, because they know in reality it's closer to 50/hr+ a week once you add in the work they take home . . . which means her/his hourly wage is closer to $19.20/hr).

    So I ask you, is anywhere between $12 - $18/hr (depending on your geography) such an insult if the position is part-time with far less responsibility?

    I just want folks to know that Sylvan pays part-time people part-time wages and full-time people full-time wages. Any teacher who wants to work FT at Sylvan will (or should) find very comparable, if not better, compensation than the classroom.

    I guess it comes down to this, if you like private tutoring, if you like selling and marketing your services, if you like preparing reports and curriculum, if you enjoy doing all the parent conferences and answering the phone by yourself, and handling all the business matters, then you ARE worth the $40-$50/hr your getting paid because you are doing a lot more than just teaching.

    But if you just want to teach for a few hours, motivate some students who are having a tough time, and then go home (and have other people take care of all that other administrative crap (as one blogger put it), then maybe you won't mind working for a few dollars less an hour for just doing the part of the job you love. In the end, no one is going to force you to do it, it's your choice to make.

    And finally, if you're averaging 3-4 hours a shift, 3-4 times a week, rather than tutor a few times a week for a higher hourly rate, you're probably going to supplement your income more effectively and NOT have to deal with everything I mentioned above.

    Maybe Sylvan isn't so bad after all if you just want to teach part-time.

    Proud Teacher, I want you to know that if you met me, I really do have a good sense of humor. I think I'm going to go tell my teachers right now that I've just found out that they are not real experts! LOL No, but seriously, thank you for your thoughtful comments and well-reasoned point of view.

  192. Thank you for enlightening me. You have me convinced. You have very valid points. My comments on this site have never been about the pay, though. I understand supply and demand. If I wasn't a control freak and assessment addict, I might work for you. I can definitely tell that you are fit to run a business and seem like a great boss. Good luck to you. I am glad to know that you take such pride and have passion for what you do as well. I also was glad to hear that assessments are not so confidential. I did not get that impression from this site.

    Now for some selfish information, how do you determine how long it will take to remediate a student? For example, what if they have a learning disability? How can you estimate how long that will take to remediate? Do you use a formula? Do you diagnose a learning disability?

  193. [quote comment="44453"]Now for some selfish information, how do you determine how long it will take to remediate a student? For example, what if they have a learning disability? How can you estimate how long that will take to remediate? Do you use a formula? Do you diagnose a learning disability?[/quote]
    Erik may nix this conversation b/c it's unrelated to teacher pay; but the answer to "how long it takes" isn't a simple one, and it's why I made the point that we do a disservice to the folks who spend countless hours developing programs and compatible technology to do that type of calculus. I mean the general gist of it is that you a) assess, b) analyze, skill by skill, c) match skills to lessons, d) then add the number of lessons assigned a student, and finally e) factor a range of hours based on the average time it takes students to master the assigned lessons. Sounds simple enough, but it isn't as easy as it sounds. And the calculus isn't given to the parent as a hard number, but as an estimate . . . but it's a darn good etimate. There's human input as well, by the directors, so you need to know what you're doing.
    As for disabilities, they are wild cards and given the different kinds of disabilities, and the different degrees at which they effect kids you simply cannot put yourself in a position where you over-promise. Each situation is different and has to be treated that way; but most parents of kids with diagnosed LD's know this already.

  194. I am sure Erik won't delete this because it is indirectly about pay.

    Many parents I am sure come into your facility thinking their child is "behind" when they may have a disability. Does your testing pick this up?

  195. [quote comment="44458"]I am sure Erik won't delete this because it is indirectly about pay.[/quote]

    I won't, but let's get back to an area that's not quite as loosely connedcted to the actual topic.

  196. Well bravo.

    A series of posts with well thought out points, and long restatements of opinions. In fact, there is only one thing that, honestly, I could take as food for thought. 1,100 centers throughout the country, and the people writing here perhaps deal with, at most, 5-10 of those, including myself. That would mean, as stated by EVERYONE on this blog, that experiences will be different.

    As I have more that ten times before, I applaud those who have had great experiences. Many on this blog have said Sylvan works for some.
    The program, however, is quite flawed, mainly because it is developed by your "team of curriculum professionals", many of whom I have personally met, who are so out of touch with educational reality that their ideas are more suited to regimented private schools than the ever changing public ones.
    Sylvan's program also relies on the person implementing it, as you have stated before (This is it's major flaw as I have stated before, teachers can take the chaos and make great programs, but not all).
    My experience with Sylvan's "curriculum" is simple, it was a jumbled mix of a thousand ideas all thrown together, with no continuity except that put in by book updaters, whose qualifications were dubious at best. Perhaps your experience is different, we all speak about what we know.
    In my mind Sylvan's program is self-serving, exam driven rubbish that puts blame on teachers and studens when it doesn't work, all the while paying them next to nothing. How many teachers stay at Sylvan consistantly? Not sure about you, but at our local Sylvan it is a revolving door each month.

    On another note:

    Experience in supplemental education is interesting, in the opinion of one teacher, that's alot like the minor leagues of education. At Sylvan you recieve students, apply your program and can either succeed or not, but in truth, mostly because of the contract you have parents sign, will get your money either way. At a public or even some private schools, where grades count and futures cling to the report cards, we do not have the luxury of dealing with parents in this way. You cannot explain away results with bogus reports or fancy corporate lingo, and I question anyone who claims these two realms are even close to the same. Sure, we get paid whether students pass or fail, but if enough of them fail we lose our jobs. Granted, not the best system, but it is reality.

    I applaud you if you were a real teacher with real students, and if so would expect that you know better the difference between these things. But please, do not rattle off a supplemetal education resume and expect to impress or intimidate anyone, instead get on the ground with the troops and help solve the educational system rather than pick the bones of desperate parents.

    Also, I did note your work with at risk youth, that is truly noble work and you deserve many kudos for that. Having worked there myself, and not to sound hypocrtical, I know how tough that is. Remember those days please, and if you are as wonderful at helping kids educationally as you say, why won't you return to the public schools, we need people with drive more than ever.

  197. [quote comment="44464"]The program, however, is quite flawed, mainly because it is developed by your "team of curriculum professionals", many of whom I have personally met, who are so out of touch with educational reality that their ideas are more suited to regimented private schools than the ever changing public ones.[/quote]
    Smear their names and their work all you want; in the end customers (i.e. parents) just care about results. In private industry you don't get to stay in business unless you deliver results to your customers. As I said before, the owners and directors would be crying foul if all they had were unworkable programs that didn't deliver.

    [quote comment="44464"]Experience in supplemental education is interesting, in the opinion of one teacher, that's alot like the minor leagues of education. [/quote]
    Personal attacks: Okay, Smith, I guess I'm just a minor leaguer who has had so much success at helping kids in a learning center setting that I've just decided to squander my life away in this fruitless endeavor.

    [quote comment="44464"] At Sylvan you recieve students, apply your program and can either succeed or not, but in truth, mostly because of the contract you have parents sign, will get your money either way. [/quote]
    As I said above, we don't do contracts. If a parent isn't seeing results, they can leave. If they've pre-paid tuition, they can get a refund of any balance owed them.
    You sure do describe a heck of a way to run a service business.

    [quote comment="44464"]At a public or even some private schools, where grades count and futures cling to the report cards, we do not have the luxury of dealing with parents in this way. You cannot explain away results with bogus reports or fancy corporate lingo, and I question anyone who claims these two realms are even close to the same. Sure, we get paid whether students pass or fail, but if enough of them fail we lose our jobs. Granted, not the best system, but it is reality.[/quote]

    Hmm, I wonder why people even bother looking for tutoring then, if all we do is rip parents off and lie to them. Parents don't seek out private tutors and learning centers because they are frustrated with private tutors and learning centers, they seek out private tutors and learning centers because their kids are having a difficult time in school. And they don't stay with private tutors and learning centers because they are unhappy, they stay because they are seeing results IN SCHOOL and at home.
    As I said before, your assumption that parents can be easily duped by fancy reports and bogus information is extreme and conveys a low opinion of a parent's ability to comprehend what's best for her/his child's education.
    As for your point about schools not having the luxury to mislead parents, and how grades mean something, I agree. But my office gets filled with stories about how good Johnny's grades were the year before and why is it that he's having such a tough time this year. After we do our "bogus testing" the answer is staring us in the face; then we ask the parent to bring in her/his copy of her/his school standardized tests scores just to confirm it. My experience is that grades measure many things, like diligent completion of coursework and/or meeting and exceeding the teacher's expectations; but they do not always translate into the required skills needed to promote to the next grade or class. If grades did such a perfect job of this, there wouldn't be a need for standards-based testing.

    [quote comment="44464"]I applaud you if you were a real teacher with real students, and if so would expect that you know better the difference between these things. But please, do not rattle off a supplemetal education resume and expect to impress or intimidate anyone, instead get on the ground with the troops and help solve the educational system rather than pick the bones of desperate parents.[/quote]
    Keep the applause for yourself, Smith. Since you appear to be the only person with experience worth having. Talk about picking bones; you appear to have many to pick with me or anyone else who may have a different point-of-view than yours.
    As for my experience, I don't use my experience to impress or intimidate anyone. In my original post I didn't even mention it. I only mentioned my experience after your first attempt to discredit my thoughts on the subject.
    Where I work, experience counts for nothing unless you deliver for your parents and students.

    [quote comment="44464"]Also, I did note your work with at risk youth, that is truly noble work and you deserve many kudos for that. Having worked there myself, and not to sound hypocrtical, I know how tough that is. Remember those days please, and if you are as wonderful at helping kids educationally as you say, why won't you return to the public schools, we need people with drive more than ever.[/quote]
    I work at Sylvan precisely because of my work in those high school intervention programs. I've learned and lived the value of working with kids in a more individualized way, and I think many kids need more than just classroom/group instruction. I applaud all educators everywhere; whether or not they teach in a classroom, work with children individually, or choose to work with kids in a learning center setting. Schools do an incredibly important thing, but they can't do everything. Given the length and scope of a child's education, kids are bound to run into situations where they will need a program like Sylvan or the help of an individual tutor. Don't try to make me feel bad for not working in public schools; I've got plenty of important work to do here in my center.

  198. Apparently Sylvan has found a successful business plan. If they are finding all the teachers they need at 8-10 dollars an hour and filling their seats with students at $40 an hour and more, the market forces are working perfectly. If they weren't finding teachers and students at those prices the Sylvan centers would not exist.
    It's that old law of supply and demand --works every time, like it or not.

  199. If you really want to learn how Sylvan selects their instructors and creates their curriculum, take a look at this.

    http://www.sylvan-tutoring.com/pdfs/Sylvan-Tutoring-Research.pdf

  200. I just asked my landlord if I could pay him with the light in my students eyes and was horrified to learn that he just wasn't into it.

  201. I read this thread with interest after stumbling upon it while looking for some information about tutoring. When I tutored college students in my area, I charged $30/hour but that did not include the time spent preparing for the sessions and one of my "adult" students did not want to be charged for simply failing to show at the appointed hour and wasting my time.

    I have discovered that the Sylvan centers in my area administer the initial diagnostic test at no charge and then use the results to develop a program of individualized instruction. I don't know what they pay beginning teachers because I didn't apply when I found out that I would have to take and pass the Praxis test to be considered for a position. I did well in every math class I took in high school, except for Algebra II and scored WAY above my own expectations on the SAT. Forty (40) years ago! I have forgotten more about math than most of Sylvan's clients have ever learned.

    My point is that, to be hired in this geographical area, at least, one has to be certified to current standards for public school teachers. And I noted in the business pages where the local center was honoring current employees for years of service so it must not be too bad a place to work. So to keep employees Sylvan must offer more than other part-time jobs. And it's unlikely that a tutor would not be able to explain a math problem.

    Public school teachers in this area start at a salary that is higher than beginning many local college professors with a PhD and will see their salaries increase faster. That possibly reflects the strength of unions rather than the efficacy of teachers or the amount of preparation. But neither salary scale actually depends on instructional results and thus one has well-paid but ineffective teachers in both settings. I doubt a Sylvan tutor who was unable to work their program would be retained.

    No one program works for every student. But don't plunk down major bucks in one payment. Go for installments and expect to see results. If you do decide to go to a Sylvan-like program, the comments here can equip you to ask some very good questions.

    P.S. Some of the typos in various comments have to be a function of the slow response of the site to keyboard strokes.

  202. I can't tell you how many times I've smiled and laughed out loud to the posts-I thought I was the only one who thought Sylvan was bunk!
    After teaching in the Bay Area (Northern California) for 5 years, I moved to Orange Co., but after applying to numerous districts, started the school year without a class. It was all about "who you knew" to get a job, let alone a sub assignment, so I had to look for other opportunities-hence my stint with Sylvan-and I was Teacher of the Year for heaven's sake! In my relatively short teaching career, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with a wide range of grades and abilities, from special education to gifted studies, so I was probably over qualified.
    My starting salary was $11/hr, which at first I thought ok, however, I was only able to work 4 hrs a day because that's all the hours they offered for tutoring. And then it happened, they asked me to come in and help administer diagnostic tests to prospective students and put parent packets together...I found out how much bank these families were forking over!!! I was reeling from the discrepency of payment when, not only did my students have to put up with worn out and abused teaching materials, but I was getting paid $11 when at my table sat $120+ worth of tuition. Luckily, Spring brought a new batch of teacher positions and I landed in a wonderful private school. An elementary teacher, I was constantly fed high schoolers, whom I was unable to assist in their study programs, while I'm sure (as the poster above stated as well) families were assured we were all fully qualified.
    From that day on, if I ever heard a student's parents talk about taking them to Sylvan, I did all I could to dissuade them from doing so. Just last year, I had a family who had enrolled their son; I don't know why, he was very bright and excelled in all areas; but I'm sure when Sylvan realized this, they fed the parents a line of bull so long that they said they were giving him "enrichment". Imagine their surprise when I called them and told them I knew full well they didn't have such a program. Needless to say, the Sylvan center did their darnedest to persuade the parents otherwise but lost the battle. (His parents thanked me for sparing them the agony!)
    After reading almost all the postings here, I find it very interesting that most of the more adamant and vocal supporters of Sylvan's program are the directors and managers.....call me crazy but I think there's something to that!
    I wish we lived in a world that valued and supported (and that means professionally, emotionally AND financially!) superior teachers that give it their all everyday so that no parent would have to go into debt to get the help their child deserves inside the classroom. If we did, maybe I'd still be teaching full time instead of looking for other opportunities. Best of luck to you all :o)

  203. I just enrolled my child in Sylvan. When he came to us ( foster child), he was at least two years behind in reading. He had large phonetic gaps even though his IQ is well above average. He has been enrolled in Sylvan for over one month. He attends 6 hours a week. We chose Sylvan after having him tutored an hour a week for over a year by a reading specialist at his school, enrolling him in public school summer reading program, and specialized help from teachers in the school day. We were not seeing results fast enough with an hour a week and the tutor was not willing to see him more frequently. The private tutor did not have access to testing like Sylvan does. She knew that our child had gaps, but not specifically what skills needed to be addressed. One of Sylvan's diagnostic tests is the California Achievement Test. This is a respected testing instrument. If Sylvan wanted to rip us off and use tests to prove it, they could have told us our child needed math tutoring also. They didn't. They showed us that he is a year beyond his grade level in math. Our child loves going and we are seeing results. Self-esteem is improving and reading fluency is improving. I am a teacher with 31 years experience. There is no way I could have the materials or the curriculum to address his needs. If you are counting on a private tutor to have all the materials to address those needs, it won't happen. The child's textbook is not going to help much either. Many of these kids are years behind or have gaps that should have been addressed in first or second grade.

  204. [quote comment="44744"]The private tutor did not have access to testing like Sylvan does.[/quote]

    Anyone who has access to *the internet* can come up with as good an assessment tool as what Sylvan uses.

    And any remotely decent teacher could come up with a curriculum based on skill needs. Seriously, how hard is it to pick up a book entitled "Main idea: Grade 4" if you know your student needs to learn main idea at fourth grade level?

    That's all what Sylvan does. It isn't some mystical process: they just teach the test. In the real world, teachers aren't commended for that, but at Sylvan, that's "success."

  205. Some of you sure sound bitter. If it were so easy for a "remotely decent teacher" to come up with curriculum, then children wouldn't be behind. If you don't like Sylvan, don't enroll your child. If your child is enrolled and you are unhappy, take your child out. If you have prepaid, ask for a refund. If you don't like the salary, don't work there. It's just that simple. Not everyone will see results with the same kind of program. That is what makes teaching a challenge. Maybe those people who are unhappy should find some other method of tutoring or helping their child. If it's as easy as looking on the internet and finding an assessment and going to a store and finding a workbook, then do it yourself. It's not; or you all wouldn't be looking for help.

  206. I do know people who love the enrichment work at Sylvan. I also have a friend who takes her son to Sylvan, yet after five months...he was still "struggling" in Math. I am an Engineer and took many required college mathmetics courses, so she asked me to help her 6th grader.
    After a few minutes...I gauged that he did not know his times tables/ fact families for division. I sent her to a teacher store for some flash cards. He got A's on his follwing two tests.
    I understand that Sylvan may be helping in other areas that I didn't see, but I was personally disappointed that no one at Sylvan had stressed to my friend that for her student to do well, that student first had to memorize those basics.
    As far as "study skills" go... I have a cousin who says Huntinton saved the world as far as her son's acedemics go. He's always been bright...but at some point he was struggling and nearly did not pass 5th grade. They taught him organization and study skills. He since then has done well and is a 3.8 student in a strongly ranked private school. (He's 9th grade now) She says now she worries of the opposite...in regards to his school work, he's a competivie perfectionist and she has to force him to leave his school work to go to bed once it's "good enough."

  207. Wow! How upsetting! I am a Center Director at a Sylvan franchise and love my job. Every day I see students succeed and become better because they were able to close the skill gaps they were missing in previous grades. I could not even count the number of parents who could back me up on how great this program really is- it is endless at our center. The pay is good for directors, and my teachers start at $10/hr with bonuses and raises. They have no prep work, or paper grading. They don't have to no ANYTHING other than sit and teach. If you divide the amount that classroom teachers make, by the workload it ends up about $1/hr, so it is a pretty good deal. I did not get my job because of who I know. I started as a teacher and worked my way up! I knew noone when I started! Same goes for my peers. For those of you who had a poor working experience with Sylvan, sadly you must been bad at your job and want to blame someone else. If you truly loved to teach and believed in kids, you would know that this is the real thing.

  208. [quote comment="38728"][quote comment="38723"]I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education (my second Bachelor's degree by the way).[/quote]

    Dawn, you may or may not be a good teacher. I obviously can't know. But please don't use "I got good grades and two degrees" as proof that you're a good teacher. It doesn't prove - or disprove - anything.[/quote]

    I agree! Furthermore, a majority of recent grads spouting the complaint Dawn has are not willing to teach in inner city classrooms where a majority of the children would benefit from--but may not necessarily afford--individualized attention.

    Bottom line: Sylvan is a business. Education begins at home before carrying over into the classroom.

  209. I wanted to throw something out there that hasn't been mentioned yet.

    Some teachers who work at Sylvan are STAY AT HOME parents like me! There are many qualified teachers who have chosen to stay home because they want to raise their own children. I made that choice--and it was a hard one.

    My point is that SYLVAN might be a good job for certified teachers who only want to teach part-time.

  210. [quote comment="45238"]My point is that SYLVAN might be a good job for certified teachers who only want to teach part-time.[/quote]

    Or, per my original post, you could make more money, charge parents less, and have a bigger impact on kids by tutoring 1-on-1 within your schedule. Instead, you make less, cost parents more, and have minimal impact by using Sylvan.

  211. Yes, but when you have your own tutoring business, you have to invest money in advertising. You are responsible for connecting with potential clients.

    I'm not saying Sylvan is the way to go. I was responding to the way you insulted teachers who work at Sylvan by saying that they're the ones who can't find a job or aren't good at what they do.

  212. Is sylvan really that bad I was going to ask my mom to sign me up but if it's really that bad then forget it they won't be getting any of my mom and dad's money just so they can cheat us out of our money. I was thinking but am I better off with a home tutor or should I just go whith sylvan????? 😐 😕

  213. I am a certified teacher in the Indianapolis area and worked for Sylvan as a part-time tutor because I needed the extra money to pay off student loans. Long story short, Sylvan rips off parents, students, and their own teachers. Parents pay between $40-45 per hour and this is NOT for individualized instruction, although they mislead parents into thinking this is the case. No, students generally sit three per table with only one tutor per hour so they receive very little individualized instrution. To make matters worse, the three students at each table usually are from different grades, different ability levels, and are working on different subjects!

    Tutors do not have much time to interact one-on-one with the students since there are three students at once working on different subjects in different grades and tutors also keep busy completing worthless progress enteries and "prescribing" lessons for the next session.

    While parents are paying between $40-45 per hour, I only made $9 per hour when I worked at Sylvan Indianapolis and did not receive a raise in my two years there. When I inquired about a raise, I was told that the "ownders do not like to give raises, but I could earn a whopping .25 more per hour if I took Sylvan tests and got certified in math! Many of my co-workers had not had a raise in 3-4 years, despite their hard work.

    Furthermore, Sylvan is a rip-off as their student worksheets are "canned" and do not match the student's homework.

  214. My grandson went to Sylvan for 1yr. Sylvan was great as far as their teaching skills. The only problem I have is the cost. We are still paying on a loan for over $9,000.00 for that one year. Why aren't there any federal grants available to help with the cost. Public schools have to many children in the classroom. In a lot of cases really don't want to take the time to help a child that my not understand on the same level as another.
    Bev.

  215. I work at another company that is similar to Sylvan. The teachers there get paid $25-$35/hr depending on experience. I heard Sylvan has bad teachers, since they are willing to work for $8/hr. That's so sad. Don't send your kids there.

  216. One thing I am concerned about is whether students are diagnosed with learning disabilities from Sylvan.

    Parents,
    If your child is below grade level in school, you need to call a meeting with not only the child's teacher, but the intervention team. There is a process that parents need to push for. It is called the intervention process.

    There has been new legislation passed called "Response to Intervention" Google it on the internet. Basically, it says that teachers have to have specific interventions for children that are below grade level and report the results to the team. Meet with the team and then ask the team where you can find resources to speed up the process if you don't feel the intervention provided by the teacher is enough. Demand more interventions. You have the control. Schools just don't advertise it.

  217. Testing does not show a learning disability. It only shows a gap between IQ and performance. The gap could be a disability or it could be that the child has missed something somewhere. Sylvan also doesn't test for dyslexia. Our child receives special services from the school, but getting teachers to follow the IEP is another story. Teachers are so stressed and have so much to do that sometimes kids just fall in the cracks. It's not acceptable, but it just happens sometimes.

    The parents on this blog that have children in Sylvan are at least trying to address their child's problems. My hat is off to them.

  218. Reading these comments makes my blood boil! I have been teaching for 10 years in the public school system, and I LOVE my job! :mrgreen: At the beginning of my teaching career, I took a summer job at a Sylvan learning center. After 3 miserable weeks, I quit. The materials were so outdated. I think they had a basal from when I was in second grade called "Pug". They supposedly tested these children and developed prescriptions for them. They wanted me to work on vocabulary everyday with this one little girl because they said she needed help in this area. She didn't know the words because she couldn't READ! I went to the director to gently suggest that I work on helping her decode words, not memorize the meaning of them. No luck. I quit. I refused to work in a place that had NO IDEA about educating children, and they only paid me $8.00 an hour. I did not go to college for $8/hr.

    PARENTS...THINK! If you are paying someone to tell you what's wrong with your child, you had better believe they are going to FIND something wrong; or else they don't keep getting paid. I'm not saying that most children that go there don't need extra attention, but as another person said earlier, I would pay a private tutor $30, $40, $50/hr to work with my child before I would set foot in an antiquated Sylvan. Contact your child's school. The counselor will be able to provide you with a list of certified teachers in the district that tutor. They are THE MOST knowledgeable of whatever state mandated test skills are needed.

    Whoever posted earlier that schools don't have the ability to pinpoint gaps in learning has clearly never worked in a real school. To my knowledge Sylvan charges $600+ for diagnostic testing. School districts do this for free, and WE HAVE THE CUTTING EDGE MATERIALS. This is what we do. Parents, learn your rights! You have so many. Every child is legally entitled to a FREE education.

    Whoever posted about being appreciative of Sylvan teachers working with them... I have one thing to say to this. I am so tired of receiving forms in my box to fill out about one of my students. REAL classroom teachers have more work to do in one day than most people do in a week. Do not put a form in a teacher's box to fill out with a note on it saying you expect it faxed back to you the next day! If your testing is so cutting edge, then why do you need my input on a particular student?

    Parents... hire a private tutor. It will cost you less, and you'll get better results. Last year one of my 7th graders was attending Sylvan for math. His mother was mad at me because she couldn't understand why he was scoring 100's on his work at Sylvan, yet failing my class. What they failed to mention to the mother was that they were giving him work on his level which was 5th grade. He was not doing 7th grade work. The teachers at Sylvan were dishonest with her and so who was she mad at? Me. I was the one who was "failing" her child. (this is my last soapbox statement) Teacher's don't fail students. Students do the work, turn it in, teachers grade it, and enter it into the computer. PERIOD!

  219. In response to an earlier comment from a Sylvan Director that teachers should be more interested teaching and less concerned about the level of compensation (and after all they are receiving such wonderful "snacks"), I believe the teachers should organize a union to get the fees they deserve.

  220. 😕

    I've had mixed experiences while working for Sylvan. I started at one in Portland, where I was paid $9 an hour to train, and $10 an hour after that. I was a fully certified teacher at this point. While I sincerely enjoyed tutoring the kiddies, I hated the system there. It seemed like I had to write the same thing in about five different places. Furthermore, I had to "update the books" at the end of each shift. This means I was planning the next lesson for each student. As a regular classroom teacher, this would mean finding appropriate material, and might take fifteen minutes per student. However, because Sylvan is like the McDonalds of tutoring, everything is standardized. In other words, they don't trust their teachers to know what is best for the kids, so they have a very specific way to progress through curriculum. The sucky part was, I got an hour to update all of my students' binders, regardless of how many kids I had that day. If I didn't finish, the education director had to do it. She was there until at least 9 pm every night, after arriving around 9 in the morning.

    I've also worked at the Sylvan in Reno, and had a much more positive experience. The center was beautiful, with cheerful murals on the walls. The kids got a ten-minute transition play period while teachers prepared for the next round of kids. Best of all, I didn't have to update-- they had two full-time people specifically for this. Way more sensical. And I got paid another dollar an hour because they didn't have to train me. Finally, I will mention that most of the tutors in the Reno center were college students, and not certified.

    This difference has to do with a couple of things:
    1) Portland has a completely saturated teacher market, so teachers are sometimes desperate to get any education work they can find.
    2) The Sylvan in Reno is part of the corporate Sylvan structure, whereas the one in Portland is franchised.

    Also, keep in mind that many teachers don't make enough through their regular day jobs, so they take after-school jobs at Sylvan. This speaks to the lameness of our education system, not to Sylvan.

    For people looking for tutoring, I would suggest that you find a great personal tutor outside of Sylvan if you can. If you can't, Sylvan will work. Just make sure you visit the center and that your child feels comfortable and supported there.

  221. We just got fluency testing results from our child's school. Our child was 2 grade levels behind in reading when he went to Sylvan. His latest test results from the school show that he was at words per minute rate of 67 in Sept. and he is now at 161 words per minute (above grade level.) He started sylvan in October. We are extremely pleased. Not only did the fluency rate increase, but the comprehension (as tested by his school) is now above grade level. We had previously been paying for a private tutor for an hour each week. We are really pleased.

  222. Christy,

    I was born in July and didn't need to be kept back because of my age... being 6 in the first grade is normal. For peace of mind, I'd at least go through the testing phase at Sylvan. We just did this with both of our girls with surprizing results... one was a year ahead and the other two years ahead based on Sylvan's reading test. The results will at least give you an outsiders opinion on your child's abilities that you can take with you to discuss with the teachers and administrators at your school. We have conferences this coming Tuesday and I plan to do just that with our results in an attempt to find out whether the problems we've had are based on classroom environment, teacher expectations, my child's motivation (or lack of) or her learning style.

    BTW, I'm shocked at the number of people who are slamming Sylvan when they cannot select the proper form of the word "their" or "there" for their sentance. Yes, this does include one of the Sylvan directors whose comments I've read this morning.

  223. Josie,

    I agree Sylvan makes my blood boil. Let me explain I took my daughter for 8 months and she never raised her grades. When I asked about the policy they explained that be casue she needed the basic it did not apply. My daughter was in second grade she is 9yrs old and she is a summer baby I held her back in first grade going from a private school to a public school. When I first took her in I asked if they found a learning disablity or they just couldn't help her would they let me know and I was assured that they would. Well!!! I am still waiting I took my daughter to a clinic that tests and they said she has Deslexia . When I e-mailed Sylvan they sent me a note stating that they don't check for learning disablities and she quoted a bunch of comments off their website about how good they are and how they help students. I told her my daughter has been with you for 8 months and no progress and it doesn't occur THAT SHE HAS A PROBLEM!! I am very disappointed in the program they wanted her to do 72 hrs
    and all I could afford was 2 hours a week. That's still 82.00 a week x4 .I would have liked had she called me when they noticed that my child was no longer attending and maybe asked is something going on anything we can do or even your right we should have caught it. But they didn't so you know what every parent I talk to I will tell them that my local center is great foe homework minder helper but at 41.oo an hr they are better off helping their own child. My daughter is now getting the help she needs at school and I have her at a speech and reading program that is geared towards her learning disablity.

  224. As a former employee of Sylvan I am saddened by the negative responses in this Blog. I worked in the Bay Area with an amazing team of teachers, center directors, and education directors. My initial pay was $10 p/hr, but after two years of extra training, time on the job, and performance increases I was earning $13.75 p/hr.

    Our center was set up in the Sylvan standard of 3-1 desks, 10 minute transition times, and the Prescription Binders. Our center was set up to use the transition time to interact on a relaxed basis with the students or take care of personal needs. At the end of the night we were given 5 minutes to "update" each binder. For new hires this simply means to jot down personal notations of a child's behavior or working style/ability. For more seasoned teachers they could also put in the next hour's lessons. During a four hour work schedule 4pm - 8pm I would see 12 students, which meant I had 60 minutes to update at the end of the night (with pay). By the time two years had passed, I could do all of my binders and update a number of binders for newer teachers. Yes the style is prescribed and what is taught is chosen, but it has been done after hundreds of hours of research.

    For a parent to say they didn't know that their child was not going to get individualized tutoring is bunk. Before any child is admitted they and their parents are taken for a tour of the Sylvan Center. Since 99% of them are set up in the same style a parent would be oblivious to the 3-1 tables in front of them. As for the 3-1, each child had work to do as one was working on an assignment that they could do alone for a couple of minutes, I could start child two on their assignment, then I could give a spelling or site word test to the third, with pauses I could check on students one and two. No one was without individualized help they just weren't alone.

    As for the $250 diagnostic test, I have seen students pass as well but they are failing school anyway. Many times this is due to poor study skills and Sylvan does have help for that, along with Homework Help. It is important to remember though that the child's and the parent's attitude has an effect on how well a program will work. Most centers use a points/checkbook system for rewards and the older students were a bit turned off by the kiddie stuff. After a discussion we chose to get Target/Starbuck's/restaurant gift cards at $5 a piece. The students could purchase them at 75 points each (about every 9-10 hours of instruction), most saved the Target ones to buy CD's or DVD's on Sylvan, or every couple of weeks got a coffee or burger on the center.

    Additionally, on three occassions when I was in the center while they were doing testing I saw the testers catch 2 eye problems and a hearing problem. They immediately informed the parents and asked them to get the children checked out medically and they could finish the test at a later date, but their health was more important.

    I could probably go on about the positive aspects of Sylvan. I have seen the good it can produce, even in two students of my own that I recommended (and no, there was no kickback or bonus for them signing up). I hope if you have a struggling student you will consider Sylvan it might be a bigger benefit than you could ever imagine.

  225. I am considering applying at a Huntington Center for the ACT/SAT exam prep positions since I am not a certified teacher (but do have a college degree). These comments have given me much to think about.

    And to those who seem to think teachers are well-paid: an oft-quoted statistic I hear is that most new teachers don't stay in the profession longer than 5 years.
    Beginning teachers in my state start at $23,500 for the year.

  226. What has happened to our society? When it comes to our children parents should take the first step in helping. Turn your televisions off spend a hour a day with your kids reading books playing games that increase math and critical thinking skills. The solution is not to throw $$$$$$ to have someone else do a parents job. Your kids need to come first and they need to have a Mom or Dad show the interest in their ecucation.

    If you feel you don't have the time, take some time off work or get a different job.

    Spending $5,000 on a non proven system with a (B.S.) money back guarantee is stupid. Most households don't even take home that kind of money a month.

    To all you that throw your money away. May your kids grow up to be as productive as the Hilton clan.

  227. I am so confused. I am considering sending my seventh grader to Sylvan for math. The reviews on this blog are so mixed. Can anyone out there please give me some insight on whether or not Sylvan is a scam or not?

  228. [quote comment="46086"]I am so confused. I am considering sending my seventh grader to Sylvan for math. The reviews on this blog are so mixed. Can anyone out there please give me some insight on whether or not Sylvan is a scam or not?[/quote]

    The purpose of this blog entry and the comments is not to "review" Sylvan. The original point I was making was simply this: Sylvan charges parents a helluva lot of money, yet doesn't pay their "teachers" very much of that money.

    Sylvan is a middle man, and one that preys on the fears of parents at that. I encourage parents to seek out actual teachers for tutoring their child. You can pay them half as much, they make twice as much, and your child gets individualized attention.

    Cut out the middle man and get better help for your child.

  229. I am an elementary school teacher. When I tutor students after school I'm paid about $26 an hour by the state of California. I have about 8 students that I work with. It is free for the students. I can't even imagine how Sylvan could figure out that a credential teacher is worth $10 an hour because they only have 3 students. My time is my time. My expertise is my expertise. I'd much rather go into someone's home and work with their child one-on-one and know that I was actually helping them and that they were getting exactly what they needed (not busy work and worksheets). If I'm working with a child who is enrolled in a school his or her teacher can tell me exactly what skill gaps they have. If not it is simply a matter of looking at his or her grades!

    My step-son has gone from a student who's highest grade was a C and was mostly getting D's & F's to all A's & B's. It isn't because he was enrolled in a program. It is because he has support at home and now lives with a teacher and a parent who can help him when he gets stuck! Unless your child has learning disabilities all they usually need is accountability and some support -- if you can't give it find a college student or teacher who can!

  230. Just a couple of quick responses to these comments..

    [quote comment="45992"]My initial pay was $10 p/hr, but after two years of extra training, time on the job, and performance increases I was earning $13.75 p/hr.[/quote]

    FWIW, last Xmas, there was a sign on the door going into the mall at Sears advertising *retail* jobs paying $15/hour. I pay my teenage babysitter $10/hr and give her a tip on top of that. For Sylvan to start professionals at that amount is ridiculous.

    [quote comment="45992"]Our center was set up in the Sylvan standard of 3-1 desks, 10 minute transition times, and the Prescription Binders. Our center was set up to use the transition time to interact on a relaxed basis with the students or take care of personal needs.[/quote]

    So what you're saying is that instead of students getting 20 minutes of the 60 minutes of instruction, it's more like 16 because they're relaxing the last 10 minutes? I'm not sure that's really a selling point for Sylvan...

    [quote comment="45992"]For a parent to say they didn't know that their child was not going to get individualized tutoring is bunk. Before any child is admitted they and their parents are taken for a tour of the Sylvan Center. Since 99% of them are set up in the same style a parent would be oblivious to the 3-1 tables in front of them. [/quote]Directors were told not to mention the 3-1 unless asked directly. Sylvan intends to mislead parents into thinking their child is getting 1-1. Parents shouldn't have to be finding that out by picking up clues from the environment. (And our parents typically didn't get the tour until after they had signed up.)

  231. I don't want to restate positions others have gone over and over (and over and over). As far as being up front about the 3:1 ratio, I will say that in my center I take all parents on a full tour before beginning the initial testing. I always mention the 3:1 ratio directly during the tour.

    In the last 10 years I have worked at 5 different Sylvan centers (starting as a teacher) and have had positive experiences for the most part. I love my current center and have a truly talented and dedicated teaching staff. When I was teaching for Sylvan I could not comprehend the overhead required to run a business such as ours. Now that I manage and operate a center I do. The pay is what it is.

  232. [quote comment="46274"]When I was teaching for Sylvan I could not comprehend the overhead required to run a business such as ours. Now that I manage and operate a center I do.[/quote]

    Thank you - you've made my point for me.

    Why should parents contribute to the "overhead" when they can contribute less - and receive better help - by paying a tutor (whether that tutor is a college teaching student or a teacher from their school)?

  233. I have been considering taking my child to Sylvan as well. She is in the first grade and struggling with reading and spelling. I have had meetings with all of her teachers, including the teacher from her on-site reading program that occurs two days a week. While I agree that there are many tools out there to help a child, not all of them are available everywhere.

    I looked into private tutors. No luck. All the teachers I spoke with didn't do tutoring on the side, nor did they know of anyone who did for this level in elementary. I spent lots of money at the parent-teacher store. Some of it has helped and the spelling has improved, but not enough. When I received the notification she was at risk of retention, I decided that I would have the assessment done at Sylvan to see what they said. When I did the initial parent conference, I told them the basic issues at hand. I did not go into the specific areas of trouble because I wanted to see if their results matched what the school had mentioned. The results were very close to what we understood was going on, but also pinpointed more specifically the types of reading and word formation issues she was having. At this same time, I took it upon myself to have her vision and hearing checked (after all, I pay for my insurance, why not use it) and we discovered she needed glasses for nearsightedness and astigmatism. I have also learned my daughter's behaviors and know that when she acts up and becomes defiant, it's usually a defense mechanism of some sort because she's frustrated.

    Unfortunately, the response in her school was to move her from a standard class to a K/1 combo with only 8 students for more "one-on-one" instruction. While this does seem to be helping, I fear the teacher doesn't have herself together enough to get a handle on these kids. After 4 full weeks in the class, she is still getting input from other teachers as to how to do spelling, writing and reading formats. With only 12 weeks left in the year, I'm looking for assistance to help her learn her way. I am a tactile and visual learner. I need to see it and touch it to understand. I think she is the same way, and just "feeding" information to her isn't going to work.

    We have been to Sylvan when it was super-quiet (for testing) and super-busy (for instruction time) and she was enthralled with the place. She came home and couldn't stop talking about it. If it motivates her to try, is it really all that bad? She will probably get bored after a bit, and then it will be time to pull her out, but I feel the benefit of her excitement to learn what they are offering exceeds the cost of what I will pay for a time. I understand they do not benefit everyone. But I honestly think they will in my case.

    The director at our local facility was nice, honest and very upfront about what the issues where, the program expense and the understanding that not everyone can afford it. She offered other options for us to try at home. She genuinely made me feel that her concern was our daughter's education. Some of you may call that a scam. But I have yet, even from her school, to hear anyone tell me they are there for my child and not that my child was there for them. The teachers at the Sylvan I have been working with are knowledgeable, courteous, helpful and most of all make my child comfortable and safe in their learning environment. I am confident in what she can learn there. Unfortunately, I am not getting the same impression at her elementary school, even though they are one of the best public schools in the state.

    A friend of mine put it like this: Most people don't bat an eye at paying $2000 for their entertainment system in their car so their kids will be quiet as they drive around town. Then they get rid of their car in 3-5 years and repeat that same option. But when it comes to spending that kind of money to give their kid a lifetime benefit of a learning skill, it becomes too expensive to consider. My child's education is worth so much more to me that a gadget. I have read both the positive and negative posts here, and really it boils down to each person's personal opinion and experience. If you are a parent, I would simply encourage investing the time to research all your options. Look for tutors, look at the various learning centers, ask your school for options, have health assessments done with your doctor. They are all little pieces of a bigger puzzle and each kid is unique. My experience has been positive so far and I hope it continues.

    Thanks to everyone for all of your information. It has given me lots of questions to ask and things to consider.

  234. Sylvan's training is worthless and they do not treat teachers in a professional manner. The students who attend Sylvan are so tired from being at school all day and therefore are not motivated to learn at Sylvan.

  235. 💡 Children vary. There are for instance, children with learning or emotional problems, children with IEP or in special ed. Parents of such children, often decide to send to their child to Sylvan because of the rave reviews from others.

    Therefore, I have to question some of the testimonies posted here. Is your child struggling because he has a learning disability or because he hasn't been exposed to good teaching? There is a difference.

    Sylvan does not diagnosis nor treat learning disabilities. It provides supplimental education, information the "average" kid could understand, but didn't get exposed to because of poor teaching, poorly organized schools, etc.

    All Sylvan does is provide that information that was missed, or forgotten, in earlier grades, in a logical progression, in a smaller (3:1 ratio) than in a traditional classroom. Your typical kid catches on quickly. Sometimes all they need is a little attention from an adult to verify they are doing it right or explain it to them one on one. Sylvan teachers do teach children one-on-one, for about 5 to 15 minutes at a time, while the other children at the table are practicing independently what they were just taught one-on-one.

    However, if you have a child that needs to be talked to constantly for 50 minutes maybe you do need a private tutor. Count in, however, that you will have to find, interview and monitor the results yourself. You will have to find or provide a place for the tutoring to take place (your home?). What you save in money, you spend in time and convenience. Is it worth it? For some people I'm sure it is. Go for it.

    But there are other people who find it easier to hire Sylvan for convenience. They drop off their kid or kids at a set time and pick them up. If it wasn't worth it for some people they wouldn't pay for it.

    Does it mean it is perfect for everyone, every parent, every child? Gee, we don't all have to do the same thing in order for it to be valid, do we?

  236. I put my son in it in hopes as they claim it would help him in kindergarten. He's been struggling for many reasons this year which I wont go into. After 14 hours there is not one iota of evidence that he's learned one letter. One sound. One number. NOTHING. Then she tells me today its because she's been working on compound words. Excuse me. He's in kindergarten, he can't read, he doesn't recognize sight words, WTH???? Would you build walls to a house without laying the foundation first? No! So why would you teach him compound words before one syllable site words? Alphabet for that matter. Anyway, I'm pulling my son. I'll NEVER give them a good recommendation EVER.

  237. [quote comment="46377"]:idea: Children vary.

    There are for instance, children with learning or emotional problems, children with IEP or in special ed. Parents of such children, often decide to send to their child to Sylvan because of the rave reviews from others.

    Therefore, I have to question some of the testimonies posted here. Is your child struggling because he has a learning disability or because he hasn't been exposed to good teaching? There is a difference.

    Sylvan does not diagnosis nor treat learning disabilities. [quote]

    You know after reading this again I had to comment. You are right, children do vary. In alot of ways, but as for sylvan not diagnosising or treating learning disabilities. When my son was tested she continued to reinterate to me, that my son had NO NOTABLE LEARNING DISABILITY, he was MORE then capable of learning the work.

    As for his emotional etc. My son is adhd. Which they have known from day one. He has a huge problem with distraction and attention. So, for this reason I'm annoyed as heck that I'm paying them $43.20 hour for my son to be tutored and his hour is divided with 3 other kids whose parents are paying $43.20-$48 an hour. So I'm paying $43.20 for 20 minutes of tutoring an hour. Give me a break lady, you aint sellin nobody. I was duped once, I wont be again. I'll tell anyone who wants to listen.

    Know darn well my son has adhd they have continually put my son with 3rd-6th graders, then last night they put him with 2 high school boys that were doing algebra 1/2, now give me a break. I was told from day one he would always be grouped with kids his age. How is this going to help him when they are taking turns doing things over the course of 2 hours and he's hearing something high school students or even 6th graders doing. My son needs to learn not get more confused. And using highlights to teach kids? Please, can't you actually go out and buy REAL BOOKS like schools use? I mean come on, as much as parents are paying you. I understand the cost is expensive to run, but you know what, these owners CHOSE this business, and they PREY on desperate parents. The one my son goes to, even told me the first day that Jan is the month that they get hit the hardest with new enrollments because parents are desperate to do what it takes to get their kids to pass that grade that year.

    Well, thats what i'm doing, but how is that possible if after 14 hours my son can't do a dang thing more then he could 14 hours prior? I'll tell you why, because in 2 hours these kids are lucky if they get 40 minutes of that 2 hours with the tutor. I'm sorry you can't learn CRAP in that amount of time. No wonder she told me 100 hours for my son. Then at the end of 100 hours I'm gonna be told, I'm sorry I see its not getting him where he needs to be that'll be another $4360 for another 100 hours, but he should be doing much better then. NOT

    One of these days, someone big will shut this company down for doing this to people. I can't wait till the day I read it in the headlines, because I will cut it out and put it in my scrapbook along with my receipt that she told me to save for my taxes, since its tax deductible.

    Thanks Sylvan, another unsatisfied parent!!!!!!!!!!!!

  238. I was really interested in doing some part time work at Sylvan, but now i've been completely turned off and it has nothing to do with the paycheck. What everyone seems to be describing is the job of a paraprofessional. As a Speical Education teacher I get plenty of experience being treated like one. I'd rather do my own assessments, grade my own papers, and create my own LESSON PLANS (not worksheets). At least then i can feel condfident that I am giving that individual a quality education and will modify it on the spot if it's not working. That's the job of a teacher.

  239. I worked for Sylvan for almost 2 years. I am a credentialed teacher and thought I would get some extra cash on the side for doing what I love. The money ($10.00) was a little help, but what I came across was the shear lack of concern for the children. I taught mainly preK and Kindergarteners at Sylvan, seeing as I was the ONLY CREDENTIALED teacher they had on staff (there were about 8 teahcers)!!!!! If you have ever seen a 4 or 5 year old you would understand their limited ability to focus and sit for a prolonged period of time. I felt it was appropriate to allow my students to stand and do 'fun activities' to promote their learning and make their time interesting. I was pulled aside a number of times and reprimanded for not keeping my students in their chairs, distracting other students (we were in a room off to the side and secluded from the other students) and I had a number of complaints by the other teachers because some of the students wouldn't work for them. When I asked the students why they said because the other teachers made them sit and work the whole time. I made them work but I made it fun and interesting. Um, HELLO!!
    They also have a tendency to give students work that is not current with their school work, and far beyond what they can understand. They say the instruction is individualized, but they get the lessons out of a book that is the same for all students who need help in that subject area.
    I guess I am disappointed in the fact that Sylvan claims to have the best interest of the children at heart, but they don't hire qualified teachers and they don't implement practices that help the children learn.
    If you have young children or children with learning disabilities you are better off finding a teacher who would be willing to work one-on-one with your child and can focus on what they need. I can attest that I would be willing to help students individually for a few dollars more than I got paid at Sylvan, and create a fun and rich learning environment.

  240. I don't know much about Sylvan, but I do know that the competitor for which I work pays way better. We provide one-on-one sessions in the home. The price is pretty high, and depends on who's paying (some students get tutoring at no cost to the family because the school districts use their No Child Left Behind stipends to provide tutoring). We guarantee academic growth, but we do not make unrealistic promises. NO matter who tutors you child, the results are individual results, and vary from child to child.

    I recommend to parents whose very young children are struggling that you ascertain whether or not they have learning disabilities that are affecting their ability to learn at the same pace or in the same way as their peers. You should be able to insist the school system have them tested. From there, you can determine a plan of action. If they just need a little individualized attention, the first thing you need to consider is what you yourself can provide. If your child is K or pre-K and doesn't know letters and their sounds, ask yourself if you've done anything to fix that at home. Flash cards, even alphabet blocks, are helpful. Phonics programs and basic phonics books are things you can work with. If you don't feel you are making progress, or if you don't have the patience, see if you can find one-on-one tutoring for your younger child. Once you have found a tutor, make sure that they will either come to your home or meet you at a neutral location conducive to learning. The library is often a good location, but you need to be sure the tutor will be able to get a quiet corner in which to work. After that, you need to observe the environment -- you want to be certain your child and the tutor have a good rapport. If not, you will be spinning wheels and wasting money. You want, more than anything, a tutor who has a good track record AS A TUTOR. They need to be able to work one-on-one with your child, identify and remediate the individual child's abilities, CARE about the results, and not just watch the child work the worksheets. Worksheets come with tutoring, but there are many different approaches to getting the work done. A caring tutor watches the child work, and intervenes every time the child seems to be having a problem. The idea is to help the child recognize and self-correct, not make a bunch of mistakes and feel bad. I often stop a child in the middle of a worksheet, and have them explain how they got their answer. I do not do this only if they have the wrong answer; I have them explain to me how they're getting right answers, too, to reinforce in them the steps they need to take, and their ability to explain those steps, to solve a math problem or to answer a reading comprehension question. They need to develop confidence in their ability to do the work, and when they look at me and explain correctly, and I respond with an "excellent work," or "great," or any other word of encouragement, they beam on the face is more reward than the pay check. I don't know what Sylvan's reward system is, but I find little gold stars on a worksheet, or even a "you pick the color" star works great.

    My point is, no matter where you take your child, if the tutor isn't providing constant feedback to the child, assessing and correcting their work while they're doing it, not after the session is over, I don't think you're getting what you're paying for, and I don't think the child is getting what he or she needs. You need to observe how the tutor tutors, and how the tutor interacts with your child. If you have laid out good money to help your child improve academic skills, you need to be sure your child is getting what he or she needs. Whether that's $10.00 an hour or $90.00 an hour, whether the tutor is a certified teacher with an Ed. D. and a dozen other certificates on the wall or the high school kid down the street with a natural ability and a natural rapport with your student, what you really want is the one person who can find the magic switch that turns your child's light on.

  241. I'm not sure whether I'm a total believer in Sylvan. I have worked for Sylvan and the center I worked in was not very organized. I think the success could vary from center to center depending on who runs it. As for teachers being paid a low wage, I do agree. For the qualifications it takes to become a Sylvan teacher, the wage is definately low. There is also marking for the teacher to do not just tutoring. Teachers should be paid more than a grocery clerk - don't you think?

  242. hello everyone, i was about to sign up with Sylvan learning center today but glad that i did a little research before making the mistake. Since we have a lot of teachers and tutors on this site i need your help. I am in the NYC area and need help with test taking strategies in taking my state exam. If there is anyone out there who is willing to work with me please post a response.

  243. Hey Melody! There's tons of websites out there to help your little guy at home.
    I used to use starfall.com and also
    carlscorner.us.com. We've never used Sylvan, we used Kumon math which is basically repetition repetition repetition. I just couldn't afford the monthly fees but my son did get straight A's and principals' honor roll the only time in his life when he was there. I saw my husband looking at Sylvan and found this site. I totally agree with your comments.
    Anyways, check out some of these sites for your little guy. If you need anymore, drop me an email.

  244. Terry although I agree with your comments "SHOULD" is the keyword. THey dont have the time or resources to help your kids and if they are put into a "Power Reading" group or whatever the kids are given in schools, it's not a one on one ratio.
    I've been sent home each year at the end of the school year ""WORK ON READING COMPREHENSION" . well thanks..but HOW?!?! I hired a personal tutor myself over last summer for 2 hours a week/$25 hr and they worked on reading strategies. I'm not so sure what else to do. I don't think it's helping and what do I work on the rest of the year. THe schools just don't have the time to take care of all the kids in one class so those who aren't struggling terribly are just left floating through the school year. I'm not cool with that.

  245. I am a recent college grad (no teaching certification) and I applied to teach at a generic tutoring center in the suburbs of Washington DC. They paid $10/hr during training, and my starting wage (after about 8 hours of training) was $17/hr. Within 2 months they bumped my wage up to $20/hr, and I will be asking for a raise in the next few days (I have worked there for 6 months now).

    Further, the only real screening they did was had me take a diagnostic SAT, as well as work 1 on 1 with a trainer for about 4 hours (although I was basically hired at this point)). Just do well on that practice SAT and you're in.

    Moral of the story: different centers pay different amounts. So it's on you as a professional to apply to a variety of places and see what you are able to get. Also, applying as an SAT prep teacher rather than just a generic tutor may allow you to command a higher wage (also SAT teaching is easier...there is tons of practice material out there and only a few areas to address in each of the sections). Communicating to the center director that you are willing to teach a variety of AP or college level courses may help as well.

    So brush up on your SATs (you will probably need about a 750 on each section, or thereabouts) and make that $$$$$$$.

  246. Hello everyone, I am looking for a tutor here in NYC to help me in Preparing for LIC. state exam. If there is anyone on here who does one on private tutoring please post a response. thanks.

  247. I 've been teaching special needs students at the secondary level for twenty years. Most of my instruction has been in the area of math running the gamut from basic math to algebra II. I was looking for some work two summers ago and decided to give Sylvan (South Portland, Maine) a try. I wasn't interested in the $11/hour as much as I was in trying to help kids who struggled with math. I even volunteered to work beyond my allotted time when someone couldn't make it into work. My experience ended up in failure. I found the set up to be a logistical nightmare. As a teacher, I'm all about preparation. We were not afforded that opportunity. We were expected to teach the kids the moment we got there. The paperwork and record keeping presented a huge barrier to teaching. Tutoring three kids of different ages who were working at different levels was like trying play chess simultaneously on three different boards. I also told the director that there were times when I thought I could have presented a lesson that departed from their canned ( and dated) instructional materials but that was discouraged. Ultimately I was not a good match for the corporate mentality. I even had to call to ask about my dismissal as they ended up not scheduling me without having the courtesy to formally sever ties with me. I would strongly urge any parent to consider private tutoring for their child and to stay away from the profit driven entity that is Sylvan.

  248. Wow... so many thoughts here. I'm actually coming from a completely different point on this. Is it possible that the disappointment noted here, is a "franchise" issue? Let's face it, if education were an easy topic it wouldnt be prompting debates nation-wide. An interesting parallel to the state of our healthcare system (...earlier observation).

    Sadly, there's a quirk to every system, and nothing is perfect; so I'm sure some have suffered. But, what of the volume of satisfied customers? It's no secret that there's often more power & fuel to a complaint, than a compliment. Frankly, I worked 4 yrs for the US's foremost medical publisher, and was alerted by multiple perinatal nurses of a potentially fatal procedure that was incorrectly documented. When it was reported to management, I was told that nobody else was complaining and to forget about it. Complaining? Nurse Educators were merely concerned about training there staff with sub-standard material!!!

    My point in all this, is that I'm a Sales person. I'm very good, but I wasnt born with a silver tongue. Rather, I know to sell what I genuinely believe in, and I've considered working for Sylvan. Honestly, given their exposure, if the handful of complaints here, are it; the company is doing well. If they consider adjustments, to address concerns here; other counter issues will likely surface. If there are other flaws in the way that this service is presented to the consumer, I'd like to know upfront; so I can prepare my questions for any potential exchange with their staff. Thx, and your thoughts are certainly well appreciated.

  249. I can't and wouldn't say this is all of the complaints I did alot of searching on the internet when I found this complaint page.

    As for the franchise being the problem it is, but that doesn't make it any less wrong. They pray on poor desperate parents who have nowhere else to turn. Promise them so many things, then can't or don't deliver. I think that maybe in the beginning they mean well, but I also believe their front end girl is a SALESMAN herself (himself). Quite frankly I don't let salesman in my front door so I should have known from the start. Unfortunately I was blinded by hope for my child. Which is what they want. I'm not going to say mine is a complete total waste, my son is getting better, do I think its because of them NO. I'm sure they are helping to a degree, but his teacher has an aide working with him 3 days a week, I work with him every night, and he goes to sylvan 2-3 nights a week.

    I for one think for what they charge a person its absolutely rediculous. They led us to believe that he would be one on one. Or that at least he would be paired up with 1 or 2 other children his age. The first 2 nights he was alone, which was great, he had a full 2 hours each night, but then bam he was with 3,4,5 and 6th graders. Then the following week he was with high school students. In a child with non focusing issues maybe it works great, but my son has trouble focusing, and is adhd. So not only is he struggling to learn to read, he's having to listen to high school students study algebra. Now give me a break. I didn't pay them $86 for those 2 hours for my son to get 40 minutes total of study time, and get confused the other 80 minutes.

    Anyway I'm done with this. My son is almost done with his hours and when he is, he will be done with them. I WONT be stupid twice. I think anyone who is considering working or using sylvan should seriously consider it before jumping into it.

    Do I think everyone should just avoid them or whatever because I said so. No!!! Absolutely not, Do your research first. After all those of us with complaints, we are only sharing our opinion and our experience. It's up to each person to investigate and decide for themselves.

    I just hope desperate parents will stop and think twice before putting your faith into this place. It's not what its cracked up to be. They do work with your child, but I mean face it. Anyone can pick up some highlights books and help your child study. If your child is in a bad place at school and needs help, please please check with your childs teacher, or the school system, find out if any teachers from the school will tutor outside of school. Alot of times you can get by with paying up to 1/4th of what Sylvan charges and its ONE ON ONE.

    Best of luck with everyone and hope they do have lots of successful cases, because I would hate to be their karma in 20 yrs.

  250. 1) if you have a complaint, talk to the center, they need the feedback and you might be surprised what you learn about why something is being done like sitting a younger student with an Algebra 1 student. Teachers that can teach both of those students might just be the most experienced teachers in the centers and your child was singled out for getting the best. Also depending on the day (and the staff knows what each child is assigned, the Algebra student may have lots of independent work, so your child was put where they could get more attention). or maybe? It's ok to ask questions.

    2) If you are truly not satisfied, talk to the director and tell them you want to end the program early and why.

    3) If your still not satisfied talk to corporate.

    4) ONE on ONE is not the best Student teacher ratio for academic growth, a child needs to have time to work independently, while having support close by, if they need to ask a question.

    5) We often get our best academic growth during the summer, when no other instruction is going on.

    6) Sylvan does work, its a researched based proven method.

    7) No tutoring progam change the base nature of a child. Every child grows at their own pace.

    8) And this is serious, if your child is having trouble learning do some research on Fish Oil or Omega-3 supplements.

  251. Hello.

    I have worked for Sylvan for three years. It's a nightmare. I wish everyday I didn't have to work there, but I keep telling myself we need the money, and it's better than Burger King.

    I knew from the very beginning that Sylvan was a load of B.S. Directors say the same thing so many times teachers start to believe it. Yes, they buy a pizza at the meetings and leave little treats in our boxes on holidays, which is all well and good, but I would like more than $10.50 an hour. They can say it's all about the child, but when it comes down to it, it's really all about the labor costs.

    Sylvan decided to be open Sundays. Seriously, who wants to go to Sylvan on Sunday? Half the time the students didn't show up. I was told by The Director that I was not allowed to get paid if the students didn't show up. So I had to sit there for two hours and not get paid. I was furious. 👿 And I complained about it. Finally, they realized the Sunday nonsense was not going to work.

    We are required to be at Sylvan 15 minutes before our shift. (This way we could prepare for the first hour). To cut labor costs, we were not allowed to "clock" in until the hour started, so we were doing work and not getting paid. I spent my first 15 minutes at work checking to make sure I have all the materials, sharpening pencils and preparing for the hour all while not getting paid.

    Do they really give us the supplies to use? Sure. But the supplies are usually pencils with no erasers, dry markers, and broken crayons. I often have to bring in my own supplies from home to Sylvan because the supplies there are not reliable.

    The 3:1 ratio is a joke. If you have a student at your table that needs lots of attention then the other two students get totally ignored. I don't actually instruct the students for 20 minutes each. Rather, I spend 40 minutes trying to keep one child on task so the other two can get their work done. If I even try to help the other students, the distracting child does whatever they can to annoy me and take the attention away from the other student.

    It's the end of the world if you request a day off or call in sick. They use guilt trips and make you find your own sub. I was discouraged from leaving town over the summer because that is "the busy time". They called me out two of the days I was supposed to work and sent me home after and hour on the other two days. I am so glad I didn’t take that out of town trip so I could earn my measly $20 at Sylvan.

    They can sit there and say “it’s all about the child”. It’s may be about the child, but it’s really about the money. It’s a business. If it quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck then it must be a duck. I have seen them sign really bright children up for programs they didn’t need so they could be “challenged”. I have also seen them lie about birthdays on paperwork so they could enroll beginning reading children who were to young to go to Sylvan. Several of the teachers have told the Directors that they cannot teach upper levels of math. Yet, week after week math students sit at the tables with instructors who don’t understand how to teach the students the concepts. Do those practices really sound like they have the children’s best interests at heart?

    So you are probably wondering, If Sylvan is so horrible, why do you still work there? The truth of it is, I was required to sign a paper stating that I would not work at another learning center that was in competition with Sylvan within 200 miles of the location where I currently work. I also signed a form stating that I would not private tutor on the side within two years of working at that Sylvan location.

    So my choices are to keep working at Sylvan, work at Burger King, or go broke.

  252. If you've got evidence that your employer failed to meet objectives/policies&procedures/commitments outlined in the contract, it's not so difficult to break a non-compete (problem is most non-competes are very one-sided, and most people dont realize it's just another contract; so they have the right to stipulate conditions as well). Remember, litigation is costly; so they may threaten, but they'll think twice before compromising top dollar on attorneys. Check into your legal rights before throwing in the towel --you may have more options than you think. You dont need an attorney to collect the facts.

    Good luck:wink:

  253. Hello,

    I am really appreciating the comments and opinions on this site. Right now, I keep debating whether to apply at the local Sylvan center or not, considering all of the questions of pay (probably least important), to effectiveness, to societal fairness. The resume is half filled out in another browser tab...

    Initially, I was very excited about the idea of working at Sylvan, which is only about two miles away--I could bike there!--and literally across the street from the Starbucks where my fiancee works.

    From money and most other perspectives, it would make more sense to work at Starbucks, where they pay you for all of the time you work and have generous benefits packages. (Without their health insurance, we would be at least $50 k in the hole after only about 3 (difficult) years.) Not all corporate chains are as bad as people judge, by any means, and a great deal of good can be ignorantly discounted.

    Of course, that isn't the only factor, or necessarily the most important. The expensive drinks that Starbucks makes are a dispensable luxury, and I always get the cheaper and healthier plain coffee, anyway, when I do make a small splurge. So, my concern is about the high cost of the learning center to the parents and all of the needy kids who couldn't afford Sylvan's program. I want to go on to be a public high school teacher and so teaching experience would be wonderful, and even a small amount of pay much needed.

    It seems, from the non-competitive agreements Mr. Eko apparently had to sign, that if I tried Sylvan I would then been excluded from then trying private tutoring if I felt Sylvan wasn't the best, most effective, and most ethical choice, after all. I would like to give it a try, to see if the good outweighs the bad, but I don't want to make such a sacrifice. Non-competitive agreements for workers at this level are generally just abuses of power by employers, keeping employees trapped in bad jobs, although it could be argued that the prohibition on private tutoring justifiably keeps Sylvan employees from turning all of their Sylvan customers into private customers.

    What amazes me the most, however, is that the instructors--apparently, according to some posts--at Sylvan aren't paid for the prep time. Usually, that is against all of the labor laws and should be the basis of an enormous class action suit. In one family experience, for example, the "suiting up" time for clean room operations in high tech assembly lines wasn't being counted as paid time, the case went to court, and the employer lost, then owing a lot of back time and interest. Does this vary so much by state, or is it something that is somehow signed away in this case? Hourly workers should be getting paid for every hour of work, including prep time, wrapping up time, and idle time they are required to be at work, including the empty Sunday hours someone else mentioned earlier. (Such isn't usually the case for salaried workers of any sort, and so dedicated public school teachers don't get paid extra--unfortunately--for all of the extra time they put in.)

    Anyway, a question or two:
    How would one go about being a private tutor?
    I do not have my teaching degree and certificate yet. (I just finished my undergraduate degree and am looking to enter a Master of Arts in Teaching program this summer.)

    Is the non-competitive agreement requirement (and other bad labor practices) general or a few bad franchises? I have a very strong loyalty streak, both to anyone I am trying to help and to my employer, but would I hate to have that loyalty forced and taken advantage of.

    Thank you for all of the previous posts, pro and con.

    Matt

  254. [quote comment="46972"]4) ONE on ONE is not the best Student teacher ratio for academic growth...[/quote]

    Says who??? There is not one iota of research to back that up. I dare you to find me a study (that was not Sylvan-financed) that says "teachers need more students to be more effective."

    If you can find *anything* like that in ERIC, I'll eat my words; for now, I maintain that's more of Sylvan's BS they feed to unwitting parents.

    1. I have read every entry on this blog so far, so I did remember this one: "

      One last thing I wanted to mention--I think that it would be just as effective, maybe more, to tutor 2 children close to the same level, at once. They feed off of each other and learning can sometimes be quicker. One may be able to explain what is difficult when the other can't. Both may not feel shy to tell you they don't get it the way you are saying it because the other is struggling too. There seem to be quite a few advantages" (Posted by Proud Expert)

  255. [quote comment="15807"]Our teachers start at 10.00 per hour; Algebra teachers start at $12.00.

    And I give my teachers all the snacks they can eat, and cokes for 25 cents--plus a dinner once a month and a drawing for giftcards![/quote]

    So, you pay your "highly certified" teachers less than a receptionist makes and stuff them full of cheap, fattening foods and sucrose? Whoop-tee-do.

  256. Sylvan is a joke. I've tutored math privately for about 8 years now and I've seen my fair share of students that have tried Sylvan with little success. After 2-3 weeks of tutoring 1hr/week, test scores improve. In several cases, after 2-3 tests I no longer need to tutor the student because his/her study skills and self-motivation have improved so much. In most cases I need to work with the student until the end of the semester and then I get call at midterm the next year thanking me for the work I had done because now the student is doing so well on his/her own. It's less money for me, but I am a firm believer that the job of a tutor is to make himself/herself obsolete. And I do it for $30/hr (i.e. $30/week) with no $200 assessment tests (how could anyone think that a scantron is better at assessing a student's needs than a teacher is?). Imagine that. Real results for $30/week. When Sylvan charges more like $300/week for the illusion of results that are just small enough to keep suckering you into paying more money, it makes you wonder who's in it for the kids and who's in it for the money.

    By the way, I know for a fact that some of Sylvan's teachers are not certified: A friend of mine began teaching at Sylvan as a first year University student and didn't quit until he graduated. The job was then offered to me, another University student (at the time), which I promptly turned down when I was told the pay was only $13/hour.

  257. I am in Canada, where I am a certified teacher. I don't know how many of you are from Canada, but the going rate for Sylvan teachers here is $20-25/hour. I have been a stay at home mom for years now and want to ease my way back into the workplace, and thought Sylvan would be the best place to start. Learning what some of you make there makes me wonder why you'd bother! As someone said above, my time is my time! I went to school for 5 years, and I would NEVER work (in my field) for $10/hour!

    That being said, I can appreciate Eric's original point, that parents should go to private tutors and pay half the price. However, I, like many others here, would rather not pay for all the supplies and "recruit" students for my business. Good to mention, though, that private tutors here charge the same per hour as they'd make at Sylvan.

    So here's my question: for those of you who have worked or are working at Sylvan, would you be more pleased with the job if it paid $25/hour?? For Eric specifically, would you still choose to tutor privately if the pay were the same at Sylvan?

  258. Hi,

    I posted earlier about not being sure one way or the other about Sylvan and now have a small update. Originally, I thought I was going to have something overwhelmingly positive to say, but I was naive...

    After reading this site, I decided to try posting as a tutor on Craigslist and it seemed that, in a day or two, I would have 15 hours of tutoring lined up in my home at $15 an hour. It seemed an ideal situation, in that I would be able to give one-on-one time to students, be concerned completely about the students' success (and, hopefully, their independence), and at a vastly smaller cost to the families. (Even $15 an hour seemed like a lot of money to expect parents to pay, if a small amount compared to any other service.)

    Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that the responses, and several more to follow, were merely preludes to "419"/"Nigerian"-type scams. I am still going to try this way, and also try other companies that I have been finding that seem reasonable alternates to Sylvan's policies and prices, but it has been a very disappointing start. These other companies are less expensive, it seems, and focus on in-home tutoring, perhaps so cutting out some of the overhead.

    Since my goal is to be a public school teacher, and the equity and affordability of education are very important ethical issues to me, I am thinking more and more that I would rather sack groceries than compromising on these points. (This is not just hyperbole: there is a very progressive grocery chain I have been thinking about for part-time employment.) I would love to teach and gain experience teaching, but I just can't reconcile those goals with gouging parents and giving their children anything but my best. (Again, the cost structures and profits may be reasonable and necessary in Sylvan's education business model, but I don't think I could participate.)

    Sincerely,

    Matt

  259. Mark,

    As a Sylvan owner, I struggle daily with my desire to be able to help people for less or for nothing, so that I could help more students. So I sort of understand where you are coming from.

    Part of my logic, is that for every student I help their is one less for the classroom teacher, and so not only do I help the individual student, but the whole classroom.

    One person that did some of the construction in my original location was a former Sylvan student. He said that he wouldn't have been self-employed, and an employer without what he learned at Sylvan.

    I got an unsolicited call the other day out of the blue that said her son is now a professor because of Sylvan.

    We get many, many referrals.

    What we do matters very, very much to the students we help. Not offering your talents to the place where it can do the most good (all things being equal ie dollars) is like the bible story of the man who buried the masters money in the ground instead of investing it.

    I'm going to assume you are a wonderful talented teacher. How are you going to find out what to teach that student that walks in your door? Which part of fractions don't they understand? Which vowel sounds do they understand? Which vowel sounds do they need to learn? What level of Prefixes and suffixes are you going to teach? What material are you going to use?

    We have thousands of dollars worth of material in the center, and organized to the point that no activity takes more than 10 minutes. We do 5-7 different things in an instructional hour with a student.

    How many hours a week do you advise a student to see you? 2, 4, 6, just one. How long will it take you to get a child up to grade level? Can you even estimate this?

    Can you get a years growth on a standardized test in 36 hours of instruction?

    Can you accommodate a change in the students schedule? Can someone else fill in for you if you are sick?

    One of my former staff members who is 100% teacher worked at school all day and here in the evenings and called this her "happy job".

    My staff works for me because they choose too, they care about the students and love having a place they can concentrate on doing what they do best - - and that is teach. Not paperwork, lunch duty, or writing lesson plans but teaching - making a child’s day because they "Get it".

    Mark, Do what you want to do. But don't think you are lowering yourself by teaching - - no matter what you are paid or who your are doing it for. It's the child that matters, I have some students of privileged homes, but I also have some students who families have given up Vacations, sold prize possessions, and taken a second job to get their student to Sylvan. They have sacrificed to get a good education for their child. And that is OK. Parents have been sacrificing for children for a long time.

    You said, “ The equity and affordability of education are very important ethical issues to me"

    Equity - all they same, or is this allowing a child to reach his potential. You would be surprised at the number of gifted children we work with. So would you refuse a private tutoring job at $100 an hour because it would be unethical?

    Affordability - - so you feel if someone can afford a better education that they shouldn't have a place to access it? Does this apply to restaurants too - - should they all be McDonalds? Soup kitchens? Or should everyone get to dine in 4 star restaurants?

    "gouging parents" does this mean allowing parents to make the best investment of their lives so their children can be productive and happy is gouging?

    From what my parents tell me this is "the best investment they have ever made", "worth every dime", and has “helped my child so much”. I’m very proud of what we do.

  260. It seems like some are missing the point by comparing how much a Sylvan teacher earns per hour vs. what the centers charge parents who are not getting the needs of their child met at their local public school. Instead, take a look at what Sylvan teacher do for their hourly wage vs. what a public teacher must do. Many would say Sylvan teachers have it made!

    It is also important to discuss what’s not working with the current public school model where students are being left behind at a huge expense to the child, their families, and our society in general. Instead we should look at the good Sylvan and other tutorial center do for their students and support all efforts to help children reach their full academic potential.

    At the Sylvan I run, our teachers get paid for all their prep time and teach 4 hours per day in a bright, clean, nurturing, positive environment. All the supplies, books and curriculum are waiting and they have no lesson plans to prepare nor papers to grade off-the-clock like all my teachers friends lug home every weekend. They bond with each one of their students and delight in the academic growth and confidence gains displayed daily by students who boast “I love Sylvan and wish my regular school was like this.” We have little or no behavioral problems, high parent participation and low teacher turn over. Our teachers occasionally teach 3 students at a time, but with all of our younger kids the student/teacher ratio is 2 to 1.

    The Sylvan teachers that I work with love teaching at Sylvan. We have no daily staff room lunch gripe sessions. We are constantly talking upbeat about how to help our students succeed in their classrooms. We monetarily reward our teachers whose students show the most academic growth and we regularly collaborate and work to improve our teaching skills. It is a win/win for teachers and students.

    At Sylvan, we may not have the economies of scale like public schools and cannot pay high hourly wages due to the high cost of running quality centers, but we offer our teachers and students so much more! We provide a service that works for both the students and the teachers.

    A closer look at the “math” of public schools will show you who is really getting ripped off. Public schools get about $8000 per year per student. Classes in our state have about 25+ students per class. Teachers get paid for a 180 day 7.5 hour/day contract. Thus school districts take in about $200,000/classroom/ school year. Per day schools receive $1,111 and of that, teachers (earning $40,000 for the 180 day contract) get $222. Public school teachers get paid more hourly than the $15+/ hour Sylvan tutors earn (public school teachers earn about $30/hr for the 7.5 hours per day, but all the teachers I know work about 50+ hours per week and thus get about $22/hr) but public school teachers have to put up with so much more.

    From the public school teachers I know they are angry, frustrated and looking to change careers. Their morale is low, they have no ability to move up in their careers without getting out of teaching and they are under extreme pressure to make AYP from the under funded No Child Left Behind mandates. In our state, more than half the students cannot pass the math and science tests required to graduate. After 12 years in the public education system 30% fail to graduate!

    So where does the approximate $890/day in public school “profit” go? Is it going into school buildings? From the looks of all the crumbling, dank, poorly maintained schools the money is not invested there. Is it in text books and teaching materials? The tattered outdated text books, obsolete computers and dull classrooms answer that question. Is it in classroom supplies? From my child’s beginning-of-the-year supply lists that includes pencils, Kleenex, Band-Aids, paper, scissors, glue and much more I know the schools are picking up less and less and the classroom teachers more and more. PTA/PTO and tax payers are picking up more and more of the unfunded school expenses and still there is a thriving business for supplemental education!

    So is what we charge or are paid per hour the most important thing here? I pay my hair stylist over $125 to cut and color my hair in about 2 hours time. A 30 minute oil change costs about $60 and my stay-at-home friends pay their housekeepers about $40 per hour. What we are really paying for is what we value and what is convenient. Most parents cannot tutor their own children. (I’m a certified teacher and do not tutor my own child.) It’s much more practical to pay someone else what they’re good at and do what we’re good at to make that money. We should not begrudge someone for making a living in our market driven society.

    As a well educated certified teacher I am glad I found a positive place to work. I enjoy my staff, my students and the teachers and administrators I work with in our local public schools. My own child has benefited from Sylvan and so do thousands of other teachers’ children. I get paid well and earn every penny of my salary. I don’t sell Sylvan, it sells itself! I would never go back to teaching in the public schools and until we fix the shortcomings in our public schools there will always be a need for tutoring centers.

    Until our public schools are adequately funded and our teachers are paid $100,000 per year, there will always be Sylvans. Until our society garners the will to demand world class education for all students we will continue to settle for leaving children behind. Sylvan provides a service that millions of children have benefited from and families will appropriately seek our services to ensure their child does not slip through the cracks. I gladly pay what is necessary to help my child reach her academic potential and at $45/hour Sylvan is a wise investment!

  261. [quote comment="47294"]It seems like some are missing the point by comparing how much a Sylvan teacher earns per hour vs. what the centers charge parents who are not getting the needs of their child met at their local public school.[/quote]

    No, that's exactly the point I made that started this discussion.

    I believe that, except in rare cases, parents can likely find someone (like a teacher at their school) to tutor their child that:

    1. Costs less (for the parents)
    2. Provides better service (one-on-one, focuses on what the child is doing in school, etc.).
    3. Earns more (for the tutor himself).

    Those are the points I made originally and thus, I find your "conclusion" that paying $45/hour at Sylvan to be preposterous. You've done nothing to discuss the original point at all.

    Who cares what you pay your hair stylist? Perhaps she overcharges you, too, just as you overcharge parents.

  262. Short & simple This is the biggest load of "crap" i've ever heard. Sylvan doesn't do this for the kids. If they did, they would not charge such a rediculous price then act like vultures to desperate parents. I'm sorry I don't feel its a wise investment. I have read where a mother spent over $11,000 on Sylvan for her daughter, then her daughter failed. She sued and Sylvan had to pay her back her money. It is "NOTHING MORE THEN A PAYCHECK". Just like for you, and it shows. Anyone who pays $125 for a haircut and color can't sit back and say its money well spent, till you are one of us people who are living paycheck to paycheck. I made the choice to pay it, but I was desperate to get my son help. He's always with 3 kids and they are never his age. My son has had many health issues which has caused him to miss quite a bit of school. He's had 2 surgeries this year alone, and we found out this year that he had problems with his vision, so he had to have glasses. So it's not that he was anything that we weren't doing with him.

    I've actually seen progress in him the last month, I wont say is all Sylvan, I'm sure some of it is. Do I think its worth $45 hr....Not a chance. Would I ever pay it again? Absolutely not. Will I ever recommend them to anyone? Not even my worst enemy. I've already informed my sons school of our experience, and they thanked me, because they have had people in the past ask about it and they had never really heard any good or bad. So I told them they should research it on the internet. Which the did, and said they will absolutely neve recommend it.

    That said I'm done. My sons hour are almost over, and then I will be hiring a tutor for him from now on. I would be better off hiring a teacher, then the teachers they have working for them, most aren't even certified teachers yet. Heck one girl looks like she's about 20 yrs old.

    Anyway you keep telling yourself that, that way you keep feeling good about screwing people over out of their hard earned money. Just so you can mislead them into believing that their child is important and will get 1 on 1 tutoring fo 2 hours when in fact they get 20 min per hour. So you do the math it's not $45/hr it's actually $45/20min.

    SCAM!

  263. [quote comment="47242"]"gouging parents"

    does this mean allowing parents to make the best investment of their lives so their children can be productive and happy is gouging?

    From what my parents tell me this is "the best investment they have ever made", "worth every dime", and has “helped my child so much”.[/quote]I could shoot down pretty much everything in this post, but I'll just say this..."gouging," by definition, is to ask an unreasonable price for a good/service. The fact that someone was pleased with the service does not negate the gouging. Plenty of people are happy to have generators after hurricanes, but it doesn't mean that it is ethical to gouge them. Similarly, asking $45/hour for twenty minutes teacher time is gouging. These parents might not even realize they are being gouged, but it doesn't change the fact that it's an unreasonable charge for that particular service.

    And bragging that people are sacrificing prized possessions and taking time away from their children to take second jobs to pay for the gouging makes it that much worse.

  264. I'm not a competitor trying to make Sylvan look bad. But I would suggest MORE 1 on 1. I have a child who has severe adhd and he has struggled all year, and he CAN'T stand noise, not at all. He can't focus in a noisy environment. In school because it gets so loud at times, he covers his ears to try to focus. In Sylvan it is not as bad, BUT when they are on a full night with all tables full 9 or 12 kids and 3-4 adults it gets loud because its a big open room they are all in.

    As for the owner speding 50 hours a week working I don't believe that. Since I signed my son up in January we have seen the owner twice. I don't doubt that she works alot, don't get me wrong. But as an owner you knew what you were getting into and you made that choice. That is your right.

    I agree with the person who said [quote comment="47304"][quote comment="47242"]And bragging that people are sacrificing prized possessions and taking time away from their children to take second jobs to pay for the gouging makes it that much worse.[/quote]

    Parents initially think they are paying this outrageous price of $45 for 1 hour, only to find that they are actually paying this for 20 min or less. I mean my son struggles and needs help, so he was put with 2 high school students because they need less guidance and help, so she could spend more time with him. Ok does his parents who paid the same amount as me know this? That they are being ripped off, because their children are older? I don't think they would appreciate the value of their dollar being less then mine, because my son is younger. I think every child that comes through those doors should get the true value of their dollar. A full hour or two. Whatever their parents are busting their butts to pay for.

  265. Melody,

    You sound like a very caring mother, who is trying to help her child reach his full potential.

    1) If the noise level is your concern, have you asked the director about switching to a time that has less students? Ask if he can sit at an empty table to do his independent work.

    2) Have you ever been in a really noise room and you have to concentrate to listen to the person in front of you, and everything else is tuned out? This is what happens in a noisy Sylvan environment. The energy level in the room raises concentration for many students.

    3) Also, You are getting more than 20 minutes of service, there is much value in working independently and then having work check right away to corret mis-understandings or reinforce concepts. Someone made it sound like the student at a 3-1 table, works for 20 minutes and sits and does nothing for the remander of the time. The teacher time is space through the instruction period. A student doesn't need to have a teacher starting at every word they write or watching their every move. The goal is to foster independence.

    4) The bottom line is measure value through academic growth. We really do get a year's growth with most students in 36 hours of instruction, with students starting at a 3rd grade reading level. It takes a lot of time to teach the initial reading, from this is a letter A to ready for 2nd grade. Some private tutors are effective, some are not, I have parents say to me what was said in the commercial, Sylvan has done more for my child, in three months of Sylvan than in three years of tutoring.

    5) Most importantly, what does your child think about Sylvan? Melody, You said "I've actually seen progress in him the last month, I won't say is all Sylvan, I'm sure some of it is." What is the progress your looking for?

    Keep being an advocate for your child. I'm proud of you for carring so much.

  266. I'm not sure where you all live. I live in Westchester, NY (about 20 mins. outside of Manhattan). I am a certified teacher with an M.S. Ed degree. I have privately tutored for years and earn anywhere from $50-85 per hour. A co-worker of mine just got a private tutor for her daughter who charges $100 per hour. So, my guess is that your location really does determine the price. Teachers in the public schools here start at $55K per year, which is not much when you consider the cost of living in this part of NY and the amount of time and energy spent outside of work during our own time. As a teacher I resent the fact that many of you think we should be happy to help our students and not care about salary. I am working full time and giving my students every last bit of my energy- all to live paycheck to paycheck....something is wrong here. I tell people all the time that their opinions of teachers would change if they spent just one day with me in the classroom. Only one person has agreed to take me up on this offer, and he never again put down teachers.

    All things considered, it seems to me that Sylvan is fairly reasoably priced in comparison to private tutors here.

    In fact, I'm currently looking into opening my own learning center. I came to this discussion hoping to learn more about Sylvan and appreciate the candid opinions.

  267. To clarify my previous post- Sylvan seems reasonably priced for families. I do not know how much they pay their teachers here in NY and cannot then comment on that.

    However, I personally would never work for $10 or $12 per hour teaching students. I feel that my knowledge and creativity is worth more than that. But, that's just me. It may work for someone else just looking for some extra cash. I would rather tutor privately.

  268. That's just it. Consider where you live. I live in Illinois. And nowhere near Chicago, i'm down at the other end of the state, where there aren't alot of good jobs. And the good jobs that were here are leaving and going to Mexico etc. I never once put down the teachers. Not once. I appreciate what the teachers have done for my son. But does that excuse Sylvan from preying on desperate families, absolutely not. But it doesn't matter they will continue to do it. Nothing will change that. That said, I'm over this. Because obviously anyone that's willing to work for them or open up their own is going to disagree with parents. Or someone who has the money that can afford to pay that kinda price. Unfortunately I'm not and thats why when my sons hours are over, he will be done there. I can't see paying more for him to be tutored for 100 hours then to save that money and send him to college one day. I mean who the hell can afford $5,000 just for 100 hours of tutoring. Which isn't actually 100 hours. No matter how you slice it.

  269. Thank you for the input! I need some extra help for one of our sons and I am not going to use Sylvan! As for the arrogant owner that is putting down teachers for expecting a paycheck! He sounds just as cheap as his company! Give me a break!!! It is a money game!

  270. [quote comment="47294"]At the Sylvan I run, our teachers get paid for all their prep time and teach 4 hours per day.

    A 30 minute oil change costs about $60 and my stay-at-home friends pay their housekeepers about $40 per hour. What we are really paying for is what we value and what is convenient. [/quote]

    So you are willing to pay a housekeeper $40 an hour, but ONE OF YOUR sylvan employees only $10 an hour.

    I guess a clean house is more important than your child's education.

    Must be nice to be able to afford a housekeeper, because I work at sylvan and I certainly can't afford that! 💡

  271. Go to YouTube, Search, "Sylvan Center For Sale"

  272. Sylvan also makes thier employees sign a statement that they cannot work for any other tutoring company for a 2 year period. The Sylvan Tutor cannot begin their own tutoring company during this period of time either.

    Like I would ever use their techniques anyway! I am a certificated teacher with tons of experience! Their techniques may work after about $5,000.00! The average student goes 4 hours per week at $50.00 an hour. They spoon feed this to the parents with data and etc.

    The owner at the Sylvan is driving a brand new BMW and we are working our butts off to pay for it. I work with three students per session. They are making $150.00 per session and I'm getting $11.00!

    It is a slap in the face and makes me madder and madder everytime I get my little pay check!!

    Sincerely,

    a very upset Sylvan Tutor!!!

  273. As a former Sylvan tutor with a couple of years of regular teaching experince, I feel the need to chime in here. I worked for Sylvan in a small town in the Sierra Foothills in California for several months in '06'. The pay was not abysmal at 15 an hour, but many local teachers thought it was. Granted those who thought so were veteran, tenured teachers at the top of the payscale so they were a little biased.
    What I found in my experience was that most of the tutors at Sylvan at not employed as full time teachers. Most were subbing and piecing together a living with Sylvan as one part of the whole income picture. That it provides an avenue for that opportunity is fine as it is flexible, not difficult, there is no prep involved and you can still interact with kids in a meaningful and helpful way.

    Like any business venture, Sylvan is there to make money, no doubt about it. That they charge parents (read Customers) so much ( and people buy it) is because they market themselves as a real value added experience for their kids.
    For some kids it may help, and for others it is a waste of time and money for many reasons. I found the kids who gained the most were those who it is likely would have done just as well if their classroom teachers could have spent the same amount of time one on one with them. I had both kinds. Motivated ones earnestly looking to do better ( or please their parents) and unmotivated kids with problems greater than a liittle tutoring could solve. In all cases these were kids whose parents could afford (or were willing to put it on a credit card) the service Sylvan offers.

    Regarding the teaching materials: They are canned, cryptic, and not always in sync with what the kid may be doing in school at that moment, but I found you could home in on the meaningful material and let them blaze through the BS stuff. If you've had longterm experience in the classroom you can tell where the focus needs to be placed.

    Bottom line:
    1. A waste of money for parents who probably waste money in a lot of areas in their lives because they can.
    2. Good for some kids, not for others.
    3. Not a way to make a living for tutors, though owning one or working as the director could provide a living, but it is not teaching!
    5. The reason that Sylvan can exist and prosper is that the long running attack on public schools is working.
    Strip them of the necessary funding, point fingers at teachers for not solving societies ills, put unrealistic, unfunded mandates (NCLB) on schools, all to perpetuate the myth that government systems are inherently bad and ineffective. Deprive any entity of what it needs and it will wither!
    This is part of a longstanding conservative effort to shrink government spending and divert money into the private sector where someone can make money, usually someone who has plenty already!
    Support public education!

    Peace to all,
    Dave

  274. I've recently retired from teaching (Earth Science & A.P. Psychology). I was considering working a few hours at Sylvan for my mental health.

    After reading this section of posts, I'm not impressed. Is the use of spell-check too much to ask of the director of an educational enterprise? 🙄

  275. Sylvan is a scam... Trust me! I know. ALL the teachers know.
    Parents who go there fell for the ad, sadly.

    It's NOT the teachers, it's the administrators who make impossible promises. Rarely is there any discussion on "good quality teaching", it is about "preventing complaints". We are even encouraged to give the students "manipulatives" (i.e., toys) to play with if we are busy with another student. It is considered acceptable for a child to play with a "toy" for about 1/2 of their lesson, and that's what you would have paid for, parents. Giving the child the toy ensures less complaints from the child to the parent, to the office.

    Advice: Try asking to see your child's chart for any day and try tracking how much that child actually did that would contribute to his/her educational goal.

    The toys simply mean, "we have no time", so go play.

    The worst thing is the kids suffer. They are made promises which are impossible to fulfill. The worst are the Office Administrators. They are just plain stupid. I don't know if the administrators get commission, but on several occasions, they are informed that a teacher is unable to adequately tutor a student due to unfamiliarity with the subject area only to be told to "wing it". And then they complain to us when a parent complains to them!!

  276. I can not understand the price being charged, if it's about the students than the front line staff should be making more. My daughter is in a similar program, I only pay 120.00 a MONTH, with 2, 3 hour sessions a week! Oh, and the placement test, that was free! I did have to pay a $40.00 application fee when we decided to join, not at the time of her placement test. Parents, be smart, explore all of your options. I'm not saying Sylvan is not a good facility, but please do your own research, make the best choice for you & your children.

  277. I will try to make a very long story short.

    Our son has been struggling in Reading. Despite our continued efforts working thru the school, at the beginning of 2nd grade, he was at 'the end of a Kindergarten Reading Level'. He could not read the word 'cat'. So, we made the decision to invest enroll him in Sylvan Learning Center.

    We prepaid (at $36/hour) from October to the end of May. That total was just over $6000. And so he began his sessions, 2 hrs a day/3 days a week. His first day was October 3, 2007.

    Again, the prepaid amount was supposed to last until the end of May. So, you can imagine our surprise to find out that not only do we owe more money in Mid-April, but he is 40 hours behind where he should be. That's $1440 more. Against the advice of all our friends, we gave them $1200 more on April 23, 2008. We also began monitoring the number of lessons he was completing each day. (We still aren't sure how he got 40 hours behind). His goal is to complete 2 lessons a day, which is one lesson an hour. That's not aiming to high!

    Well, in the one month that we were keeping tabs on his lessons, we received two notes home from his teachers apologizing that he didn't complete more work. Had it not been for their being new teachers, he would have done more. Another time, he just say there the whole time because the teacher had to keep helping another student who didn't understand his assignment. So, within a month, we had paid $216 for basically nothing. Because of his teachers during these specific times, he didn't get the oppurtunity to accomplish anything. This was one month. How many times had this happened during the past six months that we were unaware?

    At this point I placed a phone call to the director, Bari, to address our concerns: 1.) We felt like money was missing as our prepay was supposed to last until the end of May yet it ran out in Mid-April. 2.) Notes from teachers saying he didn't do his lessons because they were new teachers. 3.) Hector sitting their while another student struggled with his assignments. Her response-1.) hours are purely an estimation (had nothing to do with the money) 2.) She didn't think he had any new teachers but would check (never got back to me) 3.) She can assure me he did not sit, but would check into and get back to me. (she emailed later and said he was busy the whole time...phew!).

    The next Monday we received conflicting notes as to the number of lessons completed which was basically the final straw. We were also still waiting to receive copies of our statements to show where the money was being applied-it never came. We decided at that point to disenroll him on Wednesday (5/7/08).

    Thursday I called Bill, the other director, to discuss our refund. He informed me that we only had $600 left in our account. I told him that didn't seem accurate as we just paid him $1200 on 4/23 and Hector had only attended 10 hours since then. (My math says 1200 minus 360 ($36/hr x 10 hrs) is alot more than 600.) He told me he hadn't had a chance to reconcile it so I told him to please do so and call me the following morning as this was part of the reason we were disenrolling our son--we felt as though there was money missing.

    Bill, the Director, began YELLING at me from that point on. His response to why we were pulling our son from the program was "We are not thieves! I am not stealing your money" etc etc etc.

    I asked him repeatedly to calm down and stop screaming at me. I also reminded him that I never said they were thieves, I simply said we felt there was money missing, as we did/do. Noone ever took the time to explain to us where it went.

    His response was "Oh yes you did. That's exactly what you said. Where's your proof? Get your lawyers and bring them up here!"

    This went on for a really long time.

    I got him to stop yelling so I could explain why we felt there was money missing. I informed him of prepaying thru the end of May and having it run out in Mid-April. He asked if I addressed my concerns with anyone in the office. I said yes I did. He asked, who? I said, Bari. He said, "And did she satisfy you with her answer?" I said, "No she did not, she said....."

    He cut me off and began to yell again "So now you're telling me our employees aren't doing their jobs?" "We aren't thieves .... on and on and on.."

    I repeatedly asked him again to calm down and reminded him he was a professional and could not act that way. I even told him he owed me an apology for the way he was treating me to which he replied "I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE TO YOU." Nice.

    I was finally able to tell him what Bari's response was to the money issue (estimation of hours) and why it didn't satisfy me and he began yelling at Bari "Get Bari in here now! Get her in here immediately!"

    To Bari he said, "I've got Mrs. Gonzalez on the phone and she said she is disenrolling Hector because we are thieves and are stealing her money and she said she addressed this concern with you and that your answer did not satisfy her. Do you remember this converstation?" To which Bari said no. Of course she did!! I never called them thieves!!! I never said anything he had accused me of this far!!

    So I told him, "Yes, we did talk, if you would ask her the right question she would remember" His irrational response..."So you're calling Bari a liar??!!"

    More insanity....more yelling.

    I finally get Bari on the phone and tell her I did not say any of the things he said I did. Did not call them thieves, did not say they weren't doing their jobs, did not call her a liar! Reminded her of our conversations, which she clearly remembered!!! And we hung up.

    Then I called my husband. I was hysterical. It took him 3 minutes to reach the office.

    Bill laughed at him when he walked in. Then told him that he never yelled at me and that it was I that attacked him the whole time. Never mind that there is an entire office full of people that heard him. He also tried to trap my husband into making threats. Hector told him, "We better get our money back." Bill kept saying, "Or what? Or what? What are you gonna do about it? What if I don't give it to you?" When Hector wouldn't give in so they could have him arrested he finally said he was a 'danger to the kids' ????? and made him stand outside. They also locked down all of Lil Hector's files until the next morning so we couldn't look at them because Hector told them he felt like we were entitled to a refund for the hours that he had new teachers. They assured us that their teachers would never say that. That's when Hector told them to pull the logs so they could check it together. That's when they told him they would be happy to do so the next day. Well, sure, after there is plenty of time to alter it!!

    No worries, we will be happy to show them the letter we have here, on their stationery, with their teachers signature, dated, when we pick up our check.

    So...moral of the story....stay FAR AWAY FROM SYLVAN. ALL IS GOOD UNTIL YOU DECIDE TO PULL YOUR CHILD OUT. THEN IT GETS UGLY!

    We've filed a complaint with the corporate office and the BBB. All that's left is word of mouth which is where you guys come in.

    As for the money, our remaining balance is $696, not $600, and it adds up, no thanks to them.

    1. Parents,
      Take your struggling readers to a clinic that follows the reccommendations of The National Reading Panel. Lindamoode-Bell
      or a Phonographix trained tutor. Sylvan is a success in marketing not tutoring. The best idea for teaching your struggling reader is to buy a copy of "Why Johnny Can't Read" by Rudolph Flesch. The last half of the book explains how to teach your child to read. With a little patience
      your child will learn how to read. Enjoy the experience.

  278. DO NOT apply for a tutoring position at Sylvan Learning Center; nor enroll your child! Especially for the one in Arlington,Texas. The center's director is a very cold and dry person. She has absolutely no professional regards for applicants and does not present herself in a true manner of caring for children. Some of the activities I was able to catch through passing appear to be "watered down". The children were bored and those who were awaiting their session were very iritated with facial expressions of not wanting to be there. $10 an hour GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

  279. [quote comment="47682"]....stay FAR AWAY FROM SYLVAN. ALL IS GOOD UNTIL YOU DECIDE TO PULL YOUR CHILD OUT. THEN IT GETS UGLY!

    [/quote]

    What you went through seemed to be a pretty unethical and ridiculous situation. After living through that experience ANY business should be reported to the BBB and their corporate office. It IS unfair, however, to generalize a statement and assume that all Sylvan center directors would behave in this outlandish manner. There are over 1200 centers (corporate and franchise combined) and your experience is unfortunate, but out of the ordinary.

    I am a certified k-8 teacher and work as a director for sylvan. I've read some ridiculous stories and the bottom line for any consumer as well as potential employee is... use your common sense.

    If you are looking for a full/part time job, and it doesn't seem to pay enough - don't work there... but don't bash it because you feel overqualified - if you are feeling that way it is because you aren't doing anything about it - just leave! Teachers in general are underpaid and yes - you could make more being a private tutor, but being a Sylvan tutor in a well run establishment has it's advantages (a breadth of tools/materials/assessments/knowledgeable and educated peers and coworkers.....) and a library of readily accessible resources to ensure that the students get as much help as they need.

    As for the average consumer... shame on you for prepaying such a large sum for a service that is supposed to happen 7 months out.... that alone is a problem waiting to happen. The thing to understand and be aware of, is that all children learn at different rates and speeds. It is ridiculous to assume there is a specific time frame or formula that will establish exactly how many hours it will take to meet you and your child's goal. We bill on a monthly basis and never ask our parents to sign on for a longer period of time. We focus on doing a great job within the time that the student is there... It all comes back to the administration and the owner... do your homework... meet with everyone. There are some bad centers out there, and there are some really great ones...

  280. [quote comment="41356"]Thanks for your comments you guys! I have tried the buy it at the bookstore stuff but I wanted to have her 'go" somewhere to get out of the house and neighborhood kids for the summer. I contacted a tutor who actually teaches the next grade she will be in. She said the "going" rate is $20-25/hour and wanted to know how "often" I wanted her to go. What are your opinions? once a week? twice a week? and is an hour long enough? I didn't think an 8 yr old could spend more than an hour on one subject? Open for suggestions and comments. Thanks again!![/quote]

    I have home schooled for 4 years. I would suggest several things to those of you who have struggling students (as I have). There is a company called ACE School of Tomorrow. They will sell to parents. They also sell their curriculum to schools. At any rate, they have a testing kit that can be ordered for $25 which will tell you where the skill gaps exist & will give you a prescription. You can buy an entire grade level for $250. The curriculum comes with answer keys & is very easy to use. The $250 is less than the cost of registration/evaluation at Sylvan & you, as a parent, will probably do a better job anyhow. School of Tomorrow is a bit weak in math at the higher grade levels. I would try Teaching Textbooks (as I have--we love it) for the higher grade levels of math. TT has a set of CDs with a solution to every math problem. The work can be done on the computer with the CDs if your child likes that or the work can be done in a workbook. I would try this long before laying out major bucks. I have tried tutors time & again & have had limited success. I am not a teacher by trade, but I have still done as good or better of a job than either the public school system OR the idiot tutors (both private, certified teachers AND a tutoring company) that I hired. Truly, it isn't that hard & will save you a lot of $$$ (not to mention your child's frustration). Oh, and no, I do not have a finanical interest in the aforementioned companies. I am truly trying to help out.

  281. Here in Northern california (where it is really expensive to live Sylvan advertises that they pay $13 to start. And Education Director makes 40-50,000. Here is part of the job descrition for Education Director:

    "As Education Director, you will select, train, & motivate part-time instructors and educational staff, contribute to center profitability by controlling the labor budget..."

  282. Wow. I thought it might be an option for me this summer instead of tutoring students privately and individually. I can and do charge $40 an hour and I have 10-12 students a week. $12 for an Algebra tutor is a joke and insulting. I was paid $10 to tutor in 1997 for Sylvan with no experience and a BA. You may get motivated and desperate people looking for a job to take that, but not truly qualified ones. I am amazed that hasn't changed. I guess I will take the summer off with my kids.

  283. Wow, there is a lot of anger in here about Sylvan. I currently work for Sylvan after teaching in a classroom for 22 years and I love what I see each and every day. Our center is comprised of about 20 wonderful people who love to teach and love kids. It seems to be all about money for most of you, and it usually is when people are spending it or making it. But, it isn't. Most of you have no clue what it takes to operate a business each month, and the overhead involved with all of that and I won't sit here and put numbers out, because most of the numbers here are lies anyway. Just know it takes a lot, and I feel our "profit" isn't what most of you imagine it to be. I am confident that we treat each family with respect and the goals we set are accomplislhed 98% of the time. So, before you say it doesn't work for anyone, I invite you to try Sylvan, as our individualized approach works. Our teachers start at $15/hr. and have pay increases each year, and some make almost $20/hr. Those Sylvans that pay $10/hr should be ashamed. I agree that there are good and bad centers, but our franchise is among the best, because the children come first here, always. We are a family of caring people helping students, one hour at a time. We even "partner" with our district and use NCLB money to help them out and individualize needs. So....before the rant continues, please know that ALL SYLVANS are not alike. The curriculum is sound and changes daily here in our center, based on the needs of each student. That's what it's all about. Thanks for reading this.

  284. [quote comment="47763"] our franchise is among the best, because the children come first here, always. We are a family of caring people helping students, one hour at a time. We even "partner" with our district and use NCLB money to help them out and individualize needs. So....before the rant continues, please know that ALL SYLVANS are not alike. The curriculum is sound and changes daily here in our center, based on the needs of each student. That's what it's all about. Thanks for reading this.[/quote]

    Well Thats good at your center, but I can tell you PERSONALLY, my son went since Feb and as long as they had my money and he was going they were super nice to us. But as soon as his hours ran out, and I didn't purchase anymore, they QUIT speaking to me in public. I get a snooty nose in the air, Don't even look at me cause you are beneath me look. So, it isn't about kids totally.

  285. I'm sorry they treated you that way, that would never happen here. I love all the families we serve and love seeing them in public, even after the hours have run out. Don't judge all by one experience though. Sylvan does amazing things and helps kids build skills they've missed. No one's fault, we work "with" schools and teachers.

  286. I am a sylvan tutor. I started thinking I would make a difference. Now, I think sylvan is in it for the money. I say this because I think that very few kids are getting anything out of the sessions. In my room, there are more distracting kids than there are kids that want to learn. So far, there is nothing done about the distracting kids. While I am trying to explain something to one "good" student, the other two are talking between tables, throwing paper, rocking on their chairs and things like that. It seems there is no way, at least in my situation, to tame these unrully kids.

    If I was the director, I would have a mild punishment place sort of like the old "stand on the corner" idea. At lest the distractors should be removed. I am sure the parents are not toled that the $50/hr they are paying is sometimes totally waisted.

  287. Yes, we are angry! The public is being ripped off by a group of scam artist's. Sylvan appears to have children's best interest at heart. When in reality it's about (get them in and bleed them dry).
    I taught special education for several years and some of the students I work with at Sylvan will never, no matter how much tutoring they have, be at grade level! It is impossible.
    Sylvan knows this. They don't care. The owners/directors should be ashamed for this practice. (It is NOT a select few either). It is unethical and immoral.
    They are praying on the emotions of heart broken parents that are hoping to make little Susie or Johnny normal. When in reality and several thousands of dollors later, it will never happen.
    So, keep on talking Sylvan owner/director about how bitter and angry we are. Get in your BMW's or Mercedes, go to the beach and ponder life . While Sylvan parents are paying out the nose for your good time and qualified under paid teachers do your dirty work for you. Shame on you!

  288. Direct your anger at the people, not the institution itself. That's whose at fault here. No one "preys" on people's emotions to benefit themselves, we're all teachers, in it for the good of students. How sad that you are so misguided. I'm sorry for you. And, for the record, no BMW here and no huge salary as you believe.

  289. Why do you work at Sylvan then? Wow, I'd glad you're not my employee when you're the one delivering the program and feeling it's not good. Why don't you voice your concerns instead of whining online about it? Or just get another job? You sound bitter, like you've taught toooooo long. Sylvan is a great company, and takes care of children here in our district, and teachers (like me) recommend my kids there as they do care. You have had a bad experience, and that's too bad. Move on, lady.

  290. IMHO, I think Sylvan is a great concept.Unfortunately, the concept is not put into practice. Sylvan claims to have acredited teachers, not so. I am not a teacher but do have a desire to share my knowledge with those who want to learn. Sylvan says they provide training, not so. My training consisted of watching a video on a computer. Fortunately, in spite of the training, there are a bunch of dedicated tutors at my facility.

    However, it does seem the goal is for sylvan to make money, to keep the kids coming back. To do so, I think Sylvan tries to keep the students happy, even if they are not learning, and in fact distracting to others. The open room policy is a great place for distractions and noise. I think many of the students are ADHD and that doesn't help.

    In my facility, there is no feedback to teachers as to how we are doing. We sometimes get a Great Job memo that is meaningless. Students come and they go. We don't know if they learned anything or not.

    I am soon going to leave Sylvan and start tutoring in my home. Probably at $20/hr not the Sylvan $50/hr. I hope to get some kids that are behind that I can really help. We'll see.

  291. IMHO for you to tutor at home for $20/hour is a great concept. May I ask where you will find all the materials to tutor children of different ages? Some of you who seem to have all the answers should think about those kinds of things, as that is nearly impossible unless you have thousands of extra dollars. As far as your Sylvan training, our instructors are trained 1/1 with a director for one week, then observe at a table for one week, then begin teaching one student at a time. Your directors should be sharing student successes with you as a staff. Again, I say, don't blame a company for a few's mistakes. The approach is excellent, teaching to the weaknesses, and it works if done correctly It seems all the bad posts here have had bad experiences with directors, which is really sad. There are those of us out there who indeed do it right. And...........it works.

  292. [quote comment="47795"]IMHO for you to tutor at home for $20/hour is a great concept. May I ask where you will find all the materials to tutor children of different ages? Some of you who seem to have all the answers should think about those kinds of things, as that is nearly impossible unless you have thousands of extra dollars.[/quote]

    Using the student's books themselves is probably not only better for the student, but clearly a whole lot cheaper than "thousands of dollars." If you run out of sample problems, it's not hard to make up or find more.

    Get real. 😛

  293. To IMOH.. I guess different centers do things differently. At my place, my only training was to watch a computer video for about 45 minutes with the vol;ume so low I could barely hear what was said. Then I watched an instructor for about 3 hours, then I had three kids. Not really much training. So far after 2 months, I have had no feedback of any kind at all, except the general notes to all tutors that we are doing a great job.

    As far as materials, I plan to tutor only late middle to high school students. I think the only material I will need is paper and pencil, perhaps a white board. I already have copies of all the text books for the local high school.

    In addition, there are many study guides and books at the local bookstore.

    I don't plan on attempting to tutor students with learning disabilities as I am not trained to deal with these issues.

    Frankly, I think I can do a better job on my own than I can at Sylvan. Cheaper for the parent, better for the student, more money for me, and a better feeling of accomplishment.

  294. Wow!
    What an enlightening site!

    My son was tested last year as gifted and was enrolled in the gifted program in a public middle school. Mind you, he came from a small parochial school with average size classrooms, but fairly focused care. Now in this major change of environment and teachers that have several classes of 6th graders, he has not excelled as expected. All of his teacher report that he belongs in this environment as I have asked if he has been misplaced into gifted classes. They report he is immature and not focussed, with lots of daydraming. I can see that he has done well in each class at one point in the year, but his organization skills (without the care of a routinely assigned teacher) are beyond lacking. I have organized his binder personally with separators and pockets so he actually has a special place for completed work to be turned in (he recieved many zeros for work he completed and left in the binder) - just to find out when he was plummeting again, that his dad bought him a new binder and all my organization was sitting in the old binder.

    I'm more than convinced to hire a private tutor, but wonder - who tutors for just organizational skills and what lesson plan can they come up with for this specialty during the summer? Summer school last year thru the gifted program was a joke.

    I am a nurse doing homecare and met a wonderful teacher who is now home recooperating whom I plan on approaching. She has urban students that are only in Kindergarden, but she describes how in all of her class, she may have only 2 students without major social issues (Miss Jones, my mommy is in jail now) and how she is able to give them each some individual attention sufficient to keep them at task (ex: Well, how about I be your mommy for this week - if you have a problem you just come and talk to me.) She reports that her substitute teachers are baffled at how she manages so well. She sounds so talented, and patient with what she is given, and I'm sure she will tell me if my son is not within her specialty, etc..

    My son has no problems with reading, comprehension, pre-algebra, loved science before this school, plays band and is taking French. He's excelling in only his extra courses (band french and gym). Huge projects are given for each class of which he did not even make an attempt to begin in band or french and received zeros on these projects. He did completed science project but did all expected work backwards - building project before doing research, etc...All deadlines were missed. Completion of social studies research project was done and excellent per teacher today, but she reports that she repeatedly was requesting his folder w/ routine work to be turned in for year end grading and it was terribly incomplete. He is now recieving a D for SS - a class he had an A in at midquarter. It seems that if he is working on a project he quits the daily work for that subject. And by time I find out it's behind, it's too late to pull up the grades.
    I'm sure a great deal of this is related to environment change as he was always very organized prior to this year, but also the change from a daily assignments to a college type syllabus where there are 5 week projects and he sees only into tomorrow ("I don't have any homework for tomorrow").

    Worst part is I have to decide if he should remain in this school or return him to the other one. His father is totally opposed to this school (was all along - another problem) and my son wants to stay here. SS-D, Science -D, Pre-algebra-C, Language Arts-C. Besides science, all these grades have been A or B sometime in the year.
    I'm sure he needs help and needs it NOW but can he get what he needs in the summer related to keeping at task of writing down his assignments, turning in completed work, and seeing the BIG picture that is 5 weeks away? It took 3 mos of me making repeated visits and finally yelling at the staff because I had requested the counselor's help and more bad grades were coming and he still hadn't met her. Finally, at the end of the year they agreed to meet him at lunch and check his assignment book daily. But it's too late - his grades are set. Any thoughts for gifted students with organization problems?

  295. I am sick and tired of the excuse for underpaying teachers is " They don't go in it for the money and they know what they are getting into" This comment, and others in the same vain, implies that teachers should forgo pay just because they enjoy working with kids and love the field of education. Wake up people, this is a career, not volunteer work. AS far as Sylvan goes.. buyer beware. You get what you pay for. On the surface the big bucks you pay may look like a sound investment but how much does the teacher get? The most I've seen on this site is $10. Go private and pay for one on one, check the teacher's credentials, ask your child's teacher for suggestions on tutors in the community. You might not get a fancy spreadsheet but there are many tools an individual tutor can use to assess your child's needs and progress. Teachers are professionals not volunteers.

  296. [quote comment="47799"]

    Using the student's books themselves is probably not only better for the student, but clearly a whole lot cheaper than "thousands of dollars." If you run out of sample problems, it's not hard to make up or find more.

    Get real. :-P[/quote]

    Exactly. That way you know what your school district requires your child to know, and these materials are free! My kid's school just sent her home with her math book (the district is upgrading their books for next year) so we will be using it as a tool to help her stay on task, in addition to reinforcing some of the concepts she struggled with through the year.

    I came here because I just did a google search for sylvan +prices. I was trying to get a pricing range. I keep seeing commercials for Sylvan's Summer program (so your kid does not lose up to 2 months of what they learned) and I am so glad I found this site.

    Funny, in the beginning it seemed like the comments were coming mostly from Sylvan people who contacted each other in an effort to stifle this blogs info. I mean, why else would so many Sylvan affiliated folks descend upon your blog, seemingly out of the blue?

    Thanks so much for broaching this subject...no way they are getting my money...well umm...if I could afford it that is, lol.

  297. I'm all for using a private tutor (1-on-1) and using the student's current textbooks. But is that tutor prepared to find out what skills that child is lacking and can therefore work on? If an eighth grader is having trouble solving for x in a standard equation, how does that tutor know that the student doesn't have a good grasp on the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts?

    What Sylvan does works. They test and find out what specific things that student needs, works with them on that, and then begins to apply those skills to what they are doing.

  298. I agree with kesta. I attended Sylvan for a year in middle school and couldn't do a thing with fractions...they identified my problem and fixed it and I was able to graduate with honors in math by 12th grade! Even took Calculus. The teachers were wonderful, I live in California and they were like a family to me. Even came to my graduation. There are lots of bad comments about Sylvan on here. I think they are a great company who individualizes what students don't get from school. Using my textbook would never have helped me, I was far behind what my class was doing at the time I attended. A tutor couldn't do that on his/her own. Thanks. Raj

  299. If an eighth grader is having trouble solving for x in a standard equation, how does that tutor know that the student doesn't have a good grasp on the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts?

    What Sylvan does works. They test and find out what specific things that student needs, works with them on that, and then begins to apply those skills to what they are doing.

    This is something that a concerned parent can do as well. It isn't rocket science. There are free diagnostic tests that are available on the internet that can give you a good idea of where your child is having difficulty. My own child fell behind in public school in math. I pulled her out to home school. She was entering 7th grade & I bought workbooks with 2nd grade level stuff & we worked them rapid-fire all the way back up to 7th grade so as to fill in the gaps. She is now back up on 7th grade level.

  300. I am thinking to apply for an Education Director position at a Sylvan near my home. I am interested to see what others may think...please let me know what you think of salary, work hours, and quality vs. quantity of work.

  301. Ok first I want to say that in high school I attended Sylvan as a student for help with Algerbra. If it wasn't for them I would have failed.

    Second of all I now work for Huntington part time and think it works well for many of the students. One thing that I like about these centers is it is "back to basics". They re-teach those basic skills that many kids are lacking.

    I know exactly what you are thinking that I am an older teacher ready for retirement and not willing to change my ways.

    However, that is not true I have only been teaching for 8 years. And from what I have seen in the districts I have been in kids do not get enough of the basic skills. There seems to be to much focus on how can this skill be fun and god forbid don't give them a worksheet cuz they will be bored!!!!

    Well I am sorry but some kids need those basics taught in a clear cut way and they need those worksheets to practice them. Trust me they will survive! Many have before them. I am not saying that this is all I do in the classroom cuz trust me I can't because I am a special ed. teacher so many things I so are hands on not worksheets. However, they do work for some kids.

  302. Thanks for this blog. It really exposes the sad reality that teachers are looking for second jobs in the first place. I can't even get a job as a teacher in my town (Miami, third largest school district in the country) due to a "budget crisis". But we can open more prisons!

    As an education major and having tutoring experience I can say that in an informal way a "trained tutor" can pinpoint a child's "learning gaps". I really believe that 1-to-1 tutoring is a very positive and wonderful thing and a good tutor will tailor his/her sessions to a child's needs. In college we learn about differentiating instruction based on student needs (zone of proximal development, learning modality, multiple intelligences...) and aligning instruction with state standards and research-based methods. Additionally, in college we are exposed to all the grades we work towards certification in. I am certified K-6 in my state and therefore have an understanding of the need of K versus the needs of 6.

    Just some food for thought for parents out there.

  303. I just quit teaching at Sylvan because the center here in Sarasota, Florida is poorly managed and is truly disgraceful. Besides the fact that they do not pay teachers well, they do not provide appropriate, or even thorough, training. I have a Master's degree and have been teaching for 8 years; however, I understood that I needed to learn the "Sylvan Way." I came in and finished every training sessions that they scheduled for me. Unfortunately, at this particular center, most of the training materials were incomplete or missing altogether. For example, there was supposed to be a training manual to "teach" me about the Academic Writing program. I watched the video, but they did not have the manual. I informed then Assistant Director of Education and she said, "Oh it's missing." That was that. Also, according to their training plan, you're supposed to observe for an hour before you actually teach one of the Sylvan subjects. I was expecting to observe for an hour, but much to my surprise, I was on the schedule to teach a student in the Academic Writing program before I had read any of the manual or completed any observation.

    Also, the management structure of this particular center here in Sarasota is extremely disorganized. I have never met the actual Center Director, not even once in the three months that I worked there. The Director of Education was never polite to me at all. She would barely greet me and spent most of the time in her office. The Assistant Director of Education, who was responsible for training me, never followed up to see if I had questions or concerns. She never looked over my training materials to see if I'd even finished them. No one knew my name. I was never introduced to the other teachers. No one was able to answer my questions. There seemed to be little, if no, communication between all these "directors." No one ever seemed to know what was going on. For example, as mentioned, I was under the impression that I would be observing. A message was left on my voicemail that I was on the schedule for 8:30AM until 10:30AM one morning. I assumed that it was for observing Academic Writing and Study Skills, the two subjects I had just completed training for. I showed up at the center at 8:30AM, meanwhile, I'd been doing this all along, showing up at the specific time I was scheduled and no one had said anything to me before. When I showed up at 8:30, I was lectured about how I was supposed to be there at 8:15AM, etc. etc. etc because I was teaching that day. I explained to the Director of Education that I was not told that I was teaching nor was I told that I should be there by 8:15, but she wouldn't hear any of it. It was my fault and I wasn't responsible. By the way, I am a full time teacher who has NEVER been late ever in the 8 year history of my teaching career. Ask my principal. Ask the teachers in the classrooms around me. Truly absurd.

    I write this because I see that there are a lot of conflicting viewpoints on Sylvan. Sadly, that really shouldn't be the case since it's a nationally organized program that should provide consistent and similar service no matter what center you attend. Clearly, based on my experience and the posts on this site, that is not true at all. Just like your local McDonald's or Applebee's, it's all about who manages that location.

    No matter what your viewpoint, the sad fact remains that Sylvan charges a lot of money to families who are vulnerable and want only for their children to succeed. I believe in many ways that Sylvan is victimizing families and taking advantage of them while pretending to really care. No one seems be pointing out that the majority of classroom teachers really care about how their students are doing. Obviously there are always the "bad apples," but most of us work very hard to make sure that students are succeeding in our classrooms. Many of us, I am sure, also offer extra help before, during, and after school hours for struggling students. Sylvan is not the only solution.

    I have only met one of the other teachers at the center where I worked. She is a lovely woman who does a wonderful job with her students. She's been working there for many years and despite the horrible pay, she stays because she really likes what she is doing. I respect her a lot and know there are many others like her at other Sylvan centers around the country. I do not want to bash Sylvan. I want to make sure everyone reading this knows and understands that there is no way to ensure consistency. Also, I want to make sure that everyone reading this post understands that the Sarasota location is not really organized and there's a chance that your child may not receive the quality of help that you really deserve.

    That said, I wish all parents the best of luck.

  304. Sure, people say that you can pay a tutor $25 an hour to teach them from the text books that the student is using in their current grade. Those students may need a tutor the rest of their school career. They will most likely get by by the skin of their teeth. Sylvan will find the skill gaps and go back to fill them in. This insures that the student can get caught up and be at the right level. If an at-home tutor helps them in the grade they are in, won't they still have those gaps? Also, for those of you who are saying that a parent is in reality paying for twenty minutes of instruction, that is a ridiculous assumption. The teacher multitasks by helping each student. They are each working on their own cirriculum. One student will get started with their lesson and then the teacher will move on to the next. Be real, most people can multitask. And if they cannot, Sylvan won't hire them. They don't meet up to the standards. And for those of you upset about the pay, each Sylvan is different. And in reality, you are being paid to come to Sylvan, deliver the cirriculum, and go home. You are not required to take anything home, stay after to grade things, or put together cirriculum for the next day. And as for the teacher's who are upset because they have a "degree". I'm sorry, but there are many people out there who do not have a degree and are just as educated as you are. So don't go getting all high and mighty on anyone. I would recommend Sylvan Learning Center to any parent. And if it does not work for you, then it doesn't. But don't go bad mouthing it because it didn't work for you. It works for many others.

  305. I have no personal experience with Sylvan, but I would like to comment on some of the posters responses concerning the "thousands" of dollars required to purchase materials to tutor students. As a home schooler for over 10 years, I can tell you that that is an absurd figure. Sure, you can spend as much money as you wish, but it is by no means necessary. The library, ebay, Amazon, internet and used book stores are all excellent sources of free and low cost educational materials. There are many businesses that cater to home schooling families, and sell a wide range of programs aimed at the teaching parent and the independent student. A previous poster mentioned the outstanding Teaching Textbook series, which is wonderfully easy to implement, and doesn't require any specific knowledge from the parent. We also use excellent programs for history, biology, etc., that are reasonably priced and easy to obtain.

    If you want to be truly horrified sometime, take a look at the websites that sell supplies directly to schools, and see where the school budgets are going.

  306. I think the main point everyone is missing here is the fact that Sylvan is a franchise, same as Mcdonalds etc. No TWO centers are going to be alike. So to judge your local Sylvan center based on what someone in a different state/city says about their center is a tad silly. I think if you want to know about YOUR Sylvan center, go there and find out for yourself rather than hiding on a blog and listening to hundreds of people complain about centers that have NOTHING to do with your local center. I just tried researching about my local Sylvan center and this came up as the #3 line in my search. I wish I would have never clicked on it now. Complainers drive me CRAZY!!!!!!!!! To those of you genuinely looking into Sylvan, please find your local center and get info from them rather than a bunch of loonies who love to puke useless information all over the internet world. Thank you! :mrgreen:

  307. JESSIE
    Sorry to disagree with you but I did go to my local Sylvan center and checked it out before I put my child . The reason I am on this blog is to let other parents know what I went thru at my local brownsville TEXAS LOCATION .If I could shout it out to warn other parents I would. Any parent that asks me about the program I tell them go anywhere but to my local Sylvan.
    So I don't feel my info is useless by the way do you work at Sylvan ?
    Thank you

  308. Several different Sylvan teachers and parents from all over the country have posted several negative comments about Sylvan. These comments of course are not true of all the Sylvan centers. One main very true point is the lack of money that is paid to the teachers. $11.00 an hour on average when Sylvan is making $50.00 per hour per child. The teacher works with 3 at a time. Do the math. Yep. They are making $150.00 per hour and and paying teachers $11.00. Horrible!!
    So, teachers beware and parents beware. Sylvan is in it for the money. Do not work there or take your children to any of the centers. They use workbooks that can be purchased at a much smaller price than the thousands you will spend in the long run. They may have fancy spreadsheets showing this low skill etc. Don't fall for it. It's a marketing tool.

    Sincerely,
    a (loonie) according to Jessie. 🙂 Did WE hit a nerve?

  309. Wow! I am glad I was able to read everyone's opinions about Sylvan. There is no way I would seek to use the services of Sylvan. If there are this many negative user comments on one blog, I can only imagine what the over all picture must look like. Thanks for helping me make the choice to seek out other resources.

  310. If you do go to sylvan, you'll be amazed at how good they are at nickel and diming both the teachers and the parents. Seriously, they have it down to an art.
    From what I've seen, Sylvan could be managed like Enron yet still remain in the black - given their ridiculous profit margin.

  311. The comment about Sylvan's "ridiculous profit margin" is so absurd. Most centers profit 5-10% if they're lucky. The well run centers are probably around 15-18%, but that's because they have a great reputation and lots of students and are thus "beating the fixed costs of rent, etc." to improve their bottom line. The point is, no one is in this to make a million bucks because a milllion bucks can't be made.
    Victor's comment quickly illustrates how little most people know about the economics of a learning center (Sylvan or otherwise). If these center's were so profitable, everyone would own one. When the average lease goes for $6K a month you begin to get the picture . . . and that's just ONE bill a month.
    This is why you don't see very many Mom and Pop tutoring places become 1) successful (and thus trustworthy) in the community, and 2) why so many tutoring businesses go out of business so quickly. Every community is different of course, and most people do try private tutoring before they come to Sylvan...just to straighten that whole argument out.

  312. The only thing absurd about Sylvan's expenses is the thousands of dollars they pay to social marketer's like yourself every month to manage their online reputations.

    I like the fuzzy math the best 😛

  313. It amazes me how there are so many experts on Sylvan, have any of you actually "attended" a Sylvan and gotten help? I have, I posted earlier that without the amazing teachers at my Sylvan in Nor Cal I wouldn't have gotten through high school algebra. They went back and taught me skills my teachers never did in public school, and focused on what I needed, not what the book said. You should try something before you categorize it as a money maker ripping people off. I didn't feel ripped off at all, in fact, I tell people about them all the time. Why so much anger? Yes, they're a company but if they help kids, why the bad bad comments? The teachers at the Sylvan I went to were very happy. Peace.

  314. Victor, I'm not a "social marketer," and it appears you misread my post. I didn't say Sylvan's expenses are absurd, I said your post stating that Sylvan has a ridiculous profit margin is absurd.
    All you have to do is call up your local retail landlord and ask them what 2800 sq/ft is going for; I sad about 6K or more a month depending on your locale. Then you have to pile on the utilities, insurance, CAM, supplies, etc.
    Clearly people come here to vent; and I'm sure there is no use in arguing with folks that have their minds made up already, but it is frustrating to hear comments that are simply wrong. You can still be mad at Sylvan, Victor, but get your facts straight and stop being assumptive.
    If you want to be an expert go open your own 2,800 sq/ft learning center and then come back and tell us how much it costs to operate each month and how much you're paying your teachers. Then you can comment on what a rip off Sylvan is.

  315. Assuming the directors are or have been teachers, how on earth are they able to condone the $8 per hour? That is stupid! It is barely above minimum wages! I am with a tutoring company online that charges $40 per hour per child and the tutor gets 70%. ONE CHILD~ONE HOUR~$24!!

  316. Well, being on summer vacation I decided to advertise on craigslist offering my tutoring services. I have a BA in Special Education and a Masters in Education with an emphasis in children at risk for failure. I charge $25 an hour if we meet at the local library and the students I have to drive 20+ minutes to get to and pay a bridge toll, I charge $35 a hour. Thats a lot less then sylvan and my students get 1:1 personalized attention and instruction based on their own personal needs by a special education techer with 15 years experience. I would rather work at starbucks then work for Sylvan for $8 or $10 an hour. My school district pays me $45 an hour for work done beyond my contracted hours!

  317. My daughter and I had a fulfilling experience with our local Sylvan.
    I am a teacher in a large urban district. I was very impressed with the tutoring that she received in Algebra. Her regular teacher was also impressed and asked her to demonstrate some of the processes she had been taught to solve algebra problems.
    I am going to apply at our local Sylvan. Am I doing it to make a living? No. My full time teaching job is my career. This will be supplemental income. I have been private tutor. It is not easy. I hope that my local Sylvan will hire me. It will be nice to help struggling students and to have the materials on hand to do so.

  318. I entered my granson at the dyslexic clinic(sylvan) they have a big turnover at the one in Boaz,Al.Therefore he was always having to get someone different,this late "teacher" called him a demon,so needless to say I dont think that is helping him,I realize he has a disability,but that kind of action does not help,she had just lost it and it showed,he's 9 years old and also has adhd,they have not helped him by name calling,he wont be returning but I will be paying for the next year..big rip off,out of controll teacher with 4 students.....he wont be forgetting that,it was a bad thing for him,one of the other students said they were going to tape his mouth shut and the teacher proceded to call him a demon,this little guy can be trying I know,but I think there are better way of handling it,she was'nt very professional,didnt look to be to me,she was very rude in my book...Rip off

  319. I currently teach at Sylvan. I have been for the past 3 years. The pay is AWFUL. I started at 8.50 an hour, and I tutor 3 students at a time. The students are charged an average of $45/hour and I make, now, $9.00/hour. WOW what a HUGE pay increase, right?? I am working at Sylvan because I am a stay-at-home mom and not currently teaching, so I'm trying to keep up my skills. However, my pay barely pays for my gas to get there. The owner treats us like dirt. She has even taken away our Christmas Party (she, in the past, has taken us to dinner, the whole 8-10 of us) because she is so cheap. She recently told us that we are expected to dress "more professionally" than actual teachers because we cater to the "higher end" of society. I am sorry, but how are we expected to buy nicer clothes with the pay rate of $8.50 an hour???? And if you have a Master's degree...get this...you start at $8.75 an hour. Oooohhhh that's a huge difference. I teach many programs...beginning reading, reading, math, algebra, writing, and study skills. I am ALWAYS volunteering to train for additional programs when the opportunity is given, and I work as many hours as they will give me. I fill in for anyone when needed, and I am often requested by parents. I DO enjoy my job and get along well with the directors; however, I don't think I'm paid even CLOSE to what I deserve. So....I started tutoring privately on the side. I have the ability to teach just as well without their "program," and I do it a lot cheaper for my clients. Some of the directors on this board sound like they offer a lot more to their employees...I am just not one of them.

  320. Why do you teach at Sylvan, ticked off? Why not quit if you're going to complain on a blog where it's been pointed out numerous times that all Sylvans are very different. As far as the woman from AL with the dyslexic son, Sylvan isn't about dyslexia and they don't pretend to be. Sounds like your local Sylvan isn't the place to be. Why do people whine about things and not do anything about them? No one's forcing you to teach at Sylvan or stay there as a parent.....just leave and find something better. But again, ticked off, do you have the ability to find the students' correct placement in reading and math and then provide all the materials it will take to teach all those skills? Doubtful. I'm glad you don't work for me. Sylvan doesn't need employees like you.

  321. The answer to that dear Mr./Ms. Sylvan owner is we go in sign up and don't read the fine print until it is way TOO late. We are stuck. We have signed ourselves over to a company that has control over us for the next 2 years or more!

    Never thinking that a company such as Sylvan would only pay $9.00-$11.00 per hour! Who has ever heard of professionals being paid such a small wage. Never ever! Every other tutoring company pays at least $20.00 per hour!

    My question to you Mr./Ms. Sylvan owner how can you justify making $150.00 per hour and only paying the person working for you $9.00 per hour. You can not!

    Even on bad days your making a lot of money! Shame on you! We are professionals and expect to be treated a such. Yes, we are guilty for not ready the fine print before signing, but you should not hold us to a contract for 2 years either. Teachers are working in an atmosphere that is equivilant to a sweat shop! Teachers Beware!

  322. [quote comment="48435"]Why do you teach at Sylvan, ticked off? Why not quit if you're going to complain on a blog where it's been pointed out numerous times that all Sylvans are very different.

    I have a right to voice my opinion, thank you. I teach there, like I said, because I want to keep up my skills. I DO enjoy teaching; I feel I should be paid for my abilities.

    But again, ticked off, do you have the ability to find the students' correct placement in reading and math and then provide all the materials it will take to teach all those skills? Doubtful. I'm glad you don't work for me. Sylvan doesn't need employees like you.[/quote]

    You know, Sylvan ISN'T the only program that works...just because you can't tell a parent what "grade level" his or her child is at does NOT mean that you cannot help the child improve on some level. Does that mean that a parent cannot actively play a role in a child's education because he or she might not know what Sylvan's program of "at level," or "above level" is?? I am a very good employee, thank you. I wouldn't want to work for you, either.

  323. I have been at Sylvan for over a year - lied to the whole time. One the pay is awful - number of hours - awful - many teachers get scheduled 4 hours and then drive to work to get their hours cancelled or reduced - doesn't even pay for the gas to drive.

    Here are other reasons to think carefully before working at a Sylvans.

    In this time - I have seen over 100 teachers come and go due to the lies told.

    I have done countless unpaid volunteer hours with a promise of promotion.

    I have seen hundreds of students sign on and quit because this center is total chaos and a total mess.

    Owner has no knowledge of education or business.

    Managers have no knowledge or business or education - they talk on phones - play on computers rather than teach.

    Center is always on the brink of bankruptcy.

    I stayed because I wanted the business to succeed and wanted the government sponsered students to succeed.

    But I am leaving the center and if I want to volunteer I will do it somewhere that is more professionally run.

    I am sure there are great Sylvans - the one I work at isn't one of them however.

  324. I need some honest input. I don't want input from disgruntled parents or even very pleased parents. I am not inquiring about your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the program. I want to know from owners/prior owners/center directors (happy or disgruntled), etc. I have applied for a job as a Center Director, had a long telephone interview, and will be having a real interview soon. I want to know about this job so that I can hear from both sides. California Guy, are you really an owner/operator or other employee of Sylvan? I want to make the right decision for my family and I want to make a difference in the program. I have 15 years of public school teaching experience where I was one of the most sought after teachers in the county. I also have a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. I know that this job is mostly about sales, but I am hoping that with my education background, I can make a difference somehow. The one thing that I already know that I do not care for is the long hours (9-7:30). However, a family has to eat....

    Oh, yeah...and why am I not teaching in the public schools? Because my family had to move to a different state for my husband's job and they are having a hiring freeze here.

    Thanks for any honesty or suggestions that you can offer. And, yes, I have thought about tutoring as well, but have no idea how to spread the word in a new community as large as mine.

    I will also tell you that teaching in the public sector can be very frustrating. They teach to the standardized tests and the kids who do not get it the first time often get left behind. There's little room for creativity or fun and forget about lifelong thinking skills. Memorize the test! It's sad. Another problem is that kids who do not speak English slow down the process. Some schools have no extra provisions for these kids or the ESL person refuses to help at all.

    Thanks!

  325. First, I want to elaborate on a comment made in my previous post. I was one of the most sought after teachers in my county by the parents (that is what I was referring to) because the ones who truly wanted their children to learn to think appreciated the fact that my students had to EARN their A's and B's and I did not give out inflated grades. My test scores back this up. (Sad that I have to say that as I think the whole testing thing is what is ruining our education system). But, I had to work extra hours after school in order to do this great job with these kids. Many days I did not leave the school until the custodians kicked me out around 6:30 or 7:00. In retrospect, this was not good for my family (I was a single mom at the time). It makes me sad to think about it.

    When I referred to the long hours at Sylvan, I meant to say LATE hours (as I have no fear of hard work) because I would be missing the time that I ordinarily give my own children help with homework and some enrichment that I feel may be lacking in their public school classrooms.

    In staying with the topic of this site, I want to say that, yes, tutors do deserve a lot more than what Sylvan tutors are making. However, if I needed a job badly or really just wanted to teach and the conditions were tolerable, I would work for $10-$15 per hour. After all, they do not have to take a huge stack of papers home to grade or spend their entire Sunday afternoon writing lesson plans that motivate students. And, if you think about it, a ratio of 3:1 is a whole lot better than 25 or 30:1. One more point that I would like to bring out, which is also really sad, is that even in the public schools teachers have varying levels among the children in their classroom along with the often appalling student/teacher ratios. It is very difficult to teach to these varying levels.

    One one hand, the public school can often serve as a great retirement system for teachers who don't want to put any effort into their jobs other than the minimum requirement (I see all of the time). Then on the other hand, there are teachers who devote themselves to their jobs and earn every penny they make, plus some. That is the part that is frustrating.

    The whole thing about hiring teachers as tutors is, to me, a great idea because I feel that a good teacher can spend some time with a kid to learn what he or she needs remediation in. Also, they can talk with their classroom teacher. There is also a endless supply of materials out there to help them do their job, however, I, too, believe that their textbook is a great source of reference. The problem that I have encountered is
    how do we find one another (parents/students & tutors)? Any suggestions, sites, etc???

    Again, thanks a lot.

  326. Daisy,

    Centers range from less than $300,000 in annual sales to over $1,000,000 in annual gross sales, the structure for centers of different sizes is very different, so asking what you specific job duties will be wll be important.

    My "sales" went up when I placed more emphasis on customer service. It's providing the right service for the family that is important.

    Ask what % of students are "Return to active". How does the owner feel about that number?

    Ask how the owner would feel if you refered a special needs student to an outside resource other than Sylvan?

    Ask why does the position exist, how long did the last person stay. (standard interview questions).

    Ask where does the center see the greatest opportunty for growth. How well were the goals meet for 2008?

    Your starting at a good time of the year. The center is very busy right now but will slow down after school starts. We actually have our highest annuall number of delivered sessions next week in this center. So you will get to see busy, but you will also have this fall to get your feet on the ground for next year.

    Hours might be somewhat negotiable. Some late nights are needed, it just comes with the job, but my DE (Director of Education) and I discuss who will close on certain nights. Discuss choice and options and what the business needs.

    Do you really want to work full time? or would a part-time postition work just as well for you. With a larger center you might be able to negotiate a Part-time CD position. You can always ask.

    Donna

  327. Reply to Unicorn Lady

    Thank you, Donna, for the information. My interview was scheduled for today and I had to make a decision. After weighing the late hours (which I was told would not be negotiable until after 3 months and then I could leave early one night a week) along with the low base pay (about $24,000 per year and I am accustomed to around $50K as a teacher), I was very hesistant. One, I am not a salesman by trade and my first concern would be for the children and not necessarily the dollar signs and two, we moved so that I could spend more time with my family, which this job would certainly not promote.

    I do appreciate your wisdom and knowledge. I am going to try starting my own tutoring business as well as helping with homework and study/organizational skills. I know that there is a big need out there for all of that--I just don't necessarily know how to market myself. I will continue to research!

    Thanks again!

  328. I looked into slyvan when my oldest was struggling in school. The amount of money they wanted made me almost pass out! And it wasnt't even 1:1 attention! I am a teacher (special ed 15 years experience) and so I had connections and was able to hire a co-worker to help her out for a fraction of the cost. Now this summer I advertised my availability to tutor struggling students on craigs list. Wrote down my specialities and my education and experience. I got many responses. I charge $25-$35 an hour depending on the need and how far I have to drive and set my own schedule. Its been a great way to bring in about an extra 2K this summer.

  329. The letter from McDonald was NOT about a "Sylvan Learning Center". This incident did not happen at the Sylvan Learning Center in Boaz and was in no way affiliated with the Boaz Sylvan Learning Center.

  330. In answer to the woman who had a potential interview with Sylvan, I am a center director and would like to comment on some of the points your post addressed. First, the hours are long only if you make them so, no one forces you to stay and work 10 hour days, most of us do that because we love our jobs and love helping people. Also, the base pay of $24,000 is ludicrous, that's worse than what people are claiming they made as teachers at Sylvan, which is also not the truth. Our teachers start at $15 an hour and move ahead from there. Most of our teachers have been in the center for over 3 years, so I'm sure they're quite happy. We're like a family and these posts from disgruntled families are way off base. I see the one about the Boaz center was a complete fabrication. I'm wondering why some of you even believe those posts here. My advice is to give Sylvan a chance and see if it works for you. If not, then move on. It seems people here love to whine but do nothing, if you don't like a job, then quit, there's no contracts to sign like some are making you believe. I love my job, but I understand that others don't. Our parents are very happy in our center, and we'll continue to work until 100% of them reach their goals. Thanks for reading.

  331. [quote comment="42014"]My Dircetor of Education works about 36 hours per week and is paid for 40. During the summer I give her a break and she works about 30 hours per week with no cut in pay.

    Many of you have questions about refunds and how to get them, did any of you pay attention during your enrollment conference? I am sure it was all covered and you also signed a policy sheet that outlines all of this as well.

    We charge $55 per hour at out sylvan, a private tutor charges about $70 in our area. We have credentials as well as a countless supply of materials and resources. At any given tiem we ahve at least 5 to six teachers at this location. A tutor does not. A tutor is a band-aid to help you with a problem Sylvan is the fix.

    I undertsand many of the former employees complaining, how many of you look back on a past job and speak of how great is was? Not many, i'm sure. The other thing is did these taechers leave on their own right or were they no longer living up to Sylvan's expectations. I have very high expectations for my teachers, if they can't live up to them the children suffer. My goal is to help children acheive, if my teachers cannot do that they are asked to leave. They generally go to one of our competitors, thinking they are being spiteful. My teachers get raises and bonuses on an individual basis, if you eran it than you get it.

    I have been open for 5 years now and my D.E has been with me for 4. Our teacher retention rate is great and our parents love us. If your child needs help, GET IT! You can make no greater investment that in your own child.

    Good luck to all of you who may need a little help this summer. Please visit our FREE reading club at http://www.bookadventure.com. I only put that plug in there becauset is free.[/quote]

    Why is it that a center director cannot spell or create sentences that are properly joined with a comma and a conjunction?? I understand a few mistakes, but there are many, many errors here. I don't understand how you say you have high expectations for your teachers, but you don't have the same for yourself. I would also like to know where in the U.S. that I can move where I can tutor privately for $70/hour. Do you live in Beverly Hills?? My goal, also, is to help children achieve. However, I do not believe in ripping off teachers in order to have that happen. I am not a volunteer, I should be paid for what I am worth. It takes 4-5 years for someone to be trained to replace me, and I should be paid accordingly. I make $8.75/hour. GIVE ME A BREAK!! I could definitely go somewhere that pays more, but how would I keep up my skills?? Sylvan treats teachers unfairly. Period.

  332. [quote comment="48552"]In answer to the woman who had a potential interview with Sylvan, I am a center director and would like to comment on some of the points your post addressed. First, the hours are long only if you make them so, no one forces you to stay and work 10 hour days, most of us do that because we love our jobs and love helping people. Also, the base pay of $24,000 is ludicrous, that's worse than what people are claiming they made as teachers at Sylvan, which is also not the truth. Our teachers start at $15 an hour and move ahead from there. Most of our teachers have been in the center for over 3 years, so I'm sure they're quite happy. We're like a family and these posts from disgruntled families are way off base. I see the one about the Boaz center was a complete fabrication. I'm wondering why some of you even believe those posts here. My advice is to give Sylvan a chance and see if it works for you. If not, then move on. It seems people here love to whine but do nothing, if you don't like a job, then quit, there's no contracts to sign like some are making you believe. I love my job, but I understand that others don't. Our parents are very happy in our center, and we'll continue to work until 100% of them reach their goals. Thanks for reading.[/quote]

    1. Working hours for the director were 9-7:30 Monday through Thursday at every center where I've worked. If the work still wasn't done, we came in on Friday.

    2. Directors most certainly do have a contract. And at two centers I've been in, if the director quit within the first three years, he/she was required to pay back the money that was spent sending them to training.

    3. People should not "give Sylvan a chance" and then "move on" because by that time, they have wasted an enormous amount of money and time. People should weigh all their options beforehand.

  333. [quote comment="48552"]In answer to the woman who had a potential interview with Sylvan, I am a center director and would like to comment on some of the points your post addressed. First, the hours are long only if you make them so, no one forces you to stay and work 10 hour days, most of us do that because we love our jobs and love helping people. Also, the base pay of $24,000 is ludicrous, that's worse than what people are claiming they made as teachers at Sylvan, which is also not the truth. Our teachers start at $15 an hour and move ahead from there. Most of our teachers have been in the center for over 3 years, so I'm sure they're quite happy. We're like a family and these posts from disgruntled families are way off base. I see the one about the Boaz center was a complete fabrication. I'm wondering why some of you even believe those posts here. My advice is to give Sylvan a chance and see if it works for you. If not, then move on. It seems people here love to whine but do nothing, if you don't like a job, then quit, there's no contracts to sign like some are making you believe. I love my job, but I understand that others don't. Our parents are very happy in our center, and we'll continue to work until 100% of them reach their goals. Thanks for reading.[/quote]

    AND...one more thing...all teachers most certainly DO sign a contract. It is part of the Sylvan corporate confidentiality form. I wasn't actually aware of this, either, until my Center Director informed me of this. Item #10 on this form is a "non-compete clause," and states that any Sylvan teacher cannot work for any other "individualized tutoring or learning program that is similar to Sylvan in any way within 2 years following their termination of employment at Sylvan." As a center director, you should know that...especially if you are requiring your employees to sign it. I know this specifically BECAUSE I was thinking of going to Huntington, but I highly doubt that they would even hire me since I signed a non-compete contract--they wouldn't want the liability of it.

  334. [quote comment="48565"]AND...one more thing...all teachers most certainly DO sign a contract. It is part of the Sylvan corporate confidentiality form. I wasn't actually aware of this, either, until my Center Director informed me of this. Item #10 on this form is a "non-compete clause," and states that any Sylvan teacher cannot work for any other "individualized tutoring or learning program that is similar to Sylvan in any way within 2 years following their termination of employment at Sylvan." As a center director, you should know that...especially if you are requiring your employees to sign it. I know this specifically BECAUSE I was thinking of going to Huntington, but I highly doubt that they would even hire me since I signed a non-compete contract--they wouldn't want the liability of it.[/quote]

    Ticked off, I giggled when I read your post. Are you sure a Confidentiality Agreement is the same as an employment contract?
    Anyway, just to calm your fears, I have known of no one, I mean no one who has sued a teacher for getting a job somewhere else. The spirit of a non-compete agreement is to not allow trade secrets to fall in the hands of a competitor, or to allow key personnel (e.g. folks in high-powered marketing and sales positions) to take significant portions of a business to a DIRECT competitor. These situations are EXTREMELY RARE. In other words, it would be a BIG WASTE of time, energy, and expense to take someone to court because they decided to devote themselves to private tutoring or to another position at a learning center.

    P.S. There are many states, like California, where the "non-compete" clause(s) are not even valid. Most national companies will include a non-compete clause in their confidentiality agreements, but if you live in a "right to work" state the clause has no weight or authority whatsoever. That said, there are states where non-compete clauses ARE valid. My advice is to google "non-compete" for your state and check it out.

    Daisy,

    Sounds like you got some sound advise from other bloggers. I rolled my eyes when you posted $24K. My first thought was, "where do you live?" Sounds like you moved from a relatively populous and well-funded municipality to a more rural area where the cost of living must be significantly less expensive. If that's the case, you have to realize that local Sylvan's are basically local retail establishments. Compensation, etc., will fall directly in line with the cost of living in that particular area. Sorry, but a teacher making $40-55K in a metropolitan area will probably see a 10-20% cut in pay once they move out into a rural area. Either that, or the center you interviewed at is about to go out of business.

    Just so you know, CDs in well-run centers should make more than a teacher, but perhaps less than a principal; probably somewhere in between. I'd prefer not to quote specific numbers because it's obvious from this blog that people live in vastly different locales.

  335. California Guy,
    I moved to a community in the Florida panhandle where there is 1) a military base nearby and 2) a huge retirement community of retired generals, etc.--very wealthy retired people to be honest. The families with children in schools are probably some upper middle class but lower as well. Actually, public school teachers with my credentials make about $48,000 a year here just like they did where I came from in the Carolinas (not a BIG metropolitan area). So, that's comparable. However, school districts here are under a hiring freeze due to closing down one of the schools. Unfortunately, jobs for people like my husband and myself with masters degrees are very hard to come by. Most other fields in this area would offer a significant cut in pay. The $24K was base pay and then they would pay less than 3% commission off of sales after several months. Unfortunately, there are those of us who cannot live off of $24K a month and wait around for what we hope will be a decent commission.

    Needless to say, I turned down the job for financial reasons and for the hours, which were truly 9-7:30 four days a week! I do thank all of you for your comments and also for the entertainment and education that I am getting from reading some of these posts.

    BTW, this Sylvan that I am speaking of, works with the local schools in the NCLB program to offer after school tutoring services even in remote areas. I found that interesting as I would gladly do it for what would turn out to be a tremendously lower price!! :-).

    Thanks to all and God bless!
    Daisy

  336. To Daisy: 9-7:30 four days a week and you're complaining? That's not even a full week and you're saying 24K a month? Wow, no need to complain there. Also, you're willing to work with the school district through NCLB, do you realize there are hundreds of students to work with, and you feel competent to do all that on your own? You're an amazing woman. I am getting very tired of all the Sylvan haters who obviously haven't actually worked for this company but feel it's in their best interests to criticize. 3% for Sales? I have worked for Sylvan for 6 years and have never heard that. Also, there is NO CONTRACT, just that silly confidentiality paper that says you won't sell information to other companies and here in CA that isn't even legal. I'm just not sure where most of you are coming from. I've said it lots of times, our parents are happy and love coming to our center and our prices are comparable with any other tutoring company in the business and we do a much more thorough job diagnosing, prescribing and getting children where they need to be to be successful. Daisy, if you are so good, why aren't districts trying to get you in their schools? Hmmmm....

  337. [quote comment="38723"]I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education (my second Bachelor's degree by the way).[/quote]

    How can you prove if you are a quality teacher if you can't get a job?

    I have many friends with the same prediciment who work as paraprofessionals and tutors to help keep their resumes current while they wait for openings. And every year more competition graduates. I took a job at a Catholic school which had less competition because of the pay scale. Does this mean that the teachers were not as qualified? No, they were excellent teachers and our schools test scores routinely beat our the local public school. The difference was that we were not in it for the money, but the love of the students. This may be what a tutor is in it for as well.

  338. This is from our experience only,My wishes are for the children to gain most of all,I don't feel such a big turnover is good for any child,even without a disability,I am speaking about the dyslexic clinic at sylvan,are they not affiliated?In the same building,same people..tested at sylvan...125.00 placement test,said they thought he may be dyslexic instead,$125.00 more for that test,money part does not matter that much to us when it comes to helping,even though we aren't rich people,we want all our children to be the best they can be.

  339. Okay, Miss Thing ("okay" whoever you are), I am generally an easy going person and keep my rude thoughts to myself, but you obviously have a huge chip on your shoulder. I never complained about the job or said anything bad about Sylvan. I have no reason to. I asked for input from people who had worked there. What I said in my posts is the truth and those things were told to me by the owner and the area supervisor. Yes, 3% of sales. It was actually $2,100 per month salary and I would work 9-7:30 four days, then half a day on Friday, occassionally on Saturday. I never complained about it, I merely stated that I could not live off of it. Get that chip off of your shoulder and think about what you are saying to people and read these posts twice before you starting ranting and being so rude.

    And, read again, did I say that I could tutor every child in the NCLB program? No...yet I said nothing negative about Sylvan. Get over yourself.

    And, if you could READ without that chip blinding you, you would see that the school district is having a hiring freeze due to having to close a school and they must place the laid off teachers before they can hire from the outside. I just moved here several months ago.

    Actually, I don't owe you any explanation, but people who think that they can be rude when they don't know the whole story or don't have the comprehension skills to correctly understand what they are reading, need to be addressed in their own language to understand.

    Have a great day and God bless you anyway.
    Daisy

  340. [quote comment="48567"]Ticked off, I giggled when I read your post. Are you sure a Confidentiality Agreement is the same as an employment contract?
    Anyway, just to calm your fears, I have known of no one, I mean no one who has sued a teacher for getting a job somewhere else. The spirit of a non-compete agreement is to not allow trade secrets to fall in the hands of a competitor, or to allow key personnel (e.g. folks in high-powered marketing and sales positions) to take significant portions of a business to a DIRECT competitor. These situations are EXTREMELY RARE. In other words, it would be a BIG WASTE of time, energy, and expense to take someone to court because they decided to devote themselves to private tutoring or to another position at a learning center.

    P.S. There are many states, like California, where the "non-compete" clause(s) are not even valid. Most national companies will include a non-compete clause in their confidentiality agreements, but if you live in a "right to work" state the clause has no weight or authority whatsoever. That said, there are states where non-compete clauses ARE valid. My advice is to google "non-compete" for your state and check it out. [/quote]

    California Guy,

    I have a copy of the "Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreement and Covenant Not to Compete." The Covenant not to compete, Item #6 on the contract, says this...

    "During my period of employment with any Sylvan Learning Center and for two years after expiration or termination thereof, I agree that I shall not directly operate, own, BE EMPLOYED BY, or consult with any business or entity that offers diagnostic and individualized prescriptive supplemental educational programs or courses using programs, systems or techniques similar to those used by Sylvan within a 25-mile radius of any Sylvan Learning Center at which the undersigned was employed. This covenant does not prevent me from accepting employment as an instructor at an accredited school in an established course of instruction previously offered at that school, or from owning or accepting employment at any other Sylvan Learning Center."

    OK, California....I had to sign this form, which means it is a legal and binding contract. I agree, the likelihood for her to file suit against me is low, but I am betting that in our community, none of the other centers will hire me because I am bound to this contract. (Most of the other centers have similar ones....)

    SO, this is why I stay at Sylvan. Because I cannot go anywhere else, except to a school. I have small children and cannot afford daycare for all of them on a teacher's salary...so I just stay home and make very little money getting ripped off by Sylvan. I heard through the grapevine that Learning RX pays more, but because of this contract I am gunshy. I don't feel like getting sued just trying to earn some extra money.

    AND TO OKAY....

    The contract wouldn't be SILLY if it were YOU being sued. Hahaha yeah, that's silly alright. THere is a contract. I just gave a part of it. SEE ABOVE... The definition of covenant in dictionary.com is as follows:

    a formal agreement of legal validity, esp. one under seal.

    It's legally valid (like a CONTRACT). So yes, we DO have a contract.

  341. I am 17 years old, still a high school student, and in need of a job. I decided to major in liberal studies when I graduate from high school. Helping out at Sylvan would be a wonderful experience. Thus, I would like to apply for a starting job as a teacher assistant. I would be paid minimum wage, is that correct? Please reply back. Thank you in advance.

  342. To ticked off....I'm sure you're a very effective teacher with the attitude you're carrying about Sylvan. Glad my children aren't in your center. Please get over yourself to think that Sylvan would even take the time to follow your employment record and sue you....not gonna happen. Again, it isn't a contract, just being sure you don't go around your town talking against each place you work at like you are right here. Which center are you at, I"ll be sure to give your Center Director a call and let her/him know how you feel about Sylvan. I'm sure they'd take you off their schedule today. I know I would not want an employee working for me who talks behind my back and criticizes her place of employment. Quit crying and find a new job. Please.

    1. Lol,

      You obviously are a douchebag. Tickedoff has a reason to be annoyed - the policies of sylvan corporate are extremely unfair to their core employees - the teachers.

      If you were in Tickedoff's shoes I doubt you would be so callous. And to threaten to contact their center director is just a bitchy statement (even in jest). You're the kind of person at a work place that everyone else hates. Do the world a favor and throw yourself off a cliff.

  343. THANK YOU LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel the same way about ticked off..... she does not need to be teaching at all with that kind of negative attitude ..... kids are not benefiting from that for sure

  344. [quote comment="48573"] Daisy, if you are so good, why aren't districts trying to get you in their schools? Hmmmm....[/quote]

    To Okay,
    Just wanted to bring you up to speed and let you know that yeah maybe I AM so good---I got a REAL teaching job today in a district that is in a hiring freeze....now what do you have to say about that? And, by the way, I LOVE my work.

    Even if I had taken the job at Sylvan, I don't bad mouth my employers and I would not teach children if I didn't love it--they can tell when you hate what you are doing. That's one of the problems with education---too many teachers are doing a poor job and they keep teaching because it is too difficult to "prove" that they are doing a poor job--therefore, it becomes a retirement system for many people who hate their jobs! It's people like that who give us GOOD TEACHERS a bad rap.

  345. TO LOL and spedteach:

    FIrst off, I don't feel negatively towards Sylvan and the program. I am not complaining at all about my job, my duties, etc. I love my job. I do not love how I am paid, and I feel that I have every right to give my input on how I feel (which is what this blog was originally about...) Do you think I am the only person to ever complain about pay?? I love teaching kids....if I didn't, I wouldn't be there. Obviously I am not there to get rich. The rewards other than monetary are plenty, but this a job, and I would like to make more money. Making $8 an hour isn't even enough to buy groceries. I could make more at a retail store. That is, I feel, ridiculous. How can you possibly not agree??? But, I don't really care what you both think...I have a right to voice my opinion. How much I think I should get paid has nothing to do with the WAY I teach or the attitude I have toward teaching in general. I love to teach; it has nothing to do with the job itself.

  346. Sylvan's devotion to saving money on what they supposedly do - teaching - is very comparable to Walmart. Except, Walmart gives their employees benefits 🙂

    @ticked off: Sylvan would sue you for sure if it made could financial sense (i.e., they would likely win).

  347. THanks, Whistleblower. That is EXACTLY the reason why I have chosen to stay at Sylvan rather than go to another tutoring company. Because there is always a possibility that they COULD win. And I am not stupid. So, my choices are, stay with Sylvan and settle for the low pay, or not have a job at all--because I am contractually unable to work for a different company. That's why I am still at Sylvan (as opposed to Huntington, etc.). I like what I do and dont' want to give it up; I just don't have many options on where I can go.

  348. @Whistleblower and other Victim's of Sylvan:

    If you feel like you need some revenge against Sylvan, than I invite you to become an author of my anti-sylvan: blog: http://Sylvansucks.blogspot.com

    Email me, and I will give you an account here so you can write your very own blog posts about Sylvan (better for ranking in google).

    If you become a co-writer on my blog, know that Sylvan will not be able to rely on hardcore SEO and social marketing to keep their business running anymore. Soon, it will be to tutoring what Chernobyl is to farming.

    http://sylvansucks.blogspot.com

  349. Wow!!!! I cannot believe what I have read. Luckily, I am certified to teach higher highschool mathematics so I don't have to worry about a job. What this reminds me of is "teacher pimping." I feel bad for all those good teachers out there not able to find a better job than this.

  350. I am a Huntington teacher who just lost her job because the center is closing--not through bad management or bad teaching.
    I feel bereft. It was the best job I have had after retiring from 29 years of middle school Language Arts.
    Our pay started at $11. per hour. Most of us were retired and loved our kids, who in return responded to our teaching. The Huntington method makes certain that students younger than third grade ALWAYS have one on-one-tutoring. Many others with special needs also get one-on-one. There were monumental improvements in MOST children. Nothing is life is perfect; when students' attitudes became positive, their learning improved.
    Unfortunately my center was in one of the most mortgage forclosured areas in Arizona. We were all sorry to see it close. I have applied to Sylvans, Huntingtons, etc. and have been offered positions, starting a low of $11, not such a bad supplemental income to my pension and s.s.
    Just had to vent-- LEARNING CENTERS WORK WHEN ALL THE PEOPLE INVOLVED DO THEIR PART AND LOVE WHAT THEY DO.

  351. Interesting read and I love the passion in the posts, giving me hope that there are people who still care very much about education. I am a former Sylvan instructor and director (2002-2007), currently working on two graduate degrees. I think it is important to keep in mind that Sylvan is a for-profit supplemental education provider, and each center has specific performance goals to meet on a monthly basis. In other words, Sylvan is attempting a business model that has a more complex group of stakeholders than traditional for-profit organizations or non-profits: stock holders (whose goal is profit), employees (whose goal is job satisfaction), and families (whose goal is academic success). Like many other organizations, the management of Sylvan faces the daunting challenge of balancing all the needs of different stakeholders.

    I would be the first to say that I did not agree with all the managerial decisions passed down from Baltimore headquarters, and I would also agree that Sylvan programs are not for every family. As a Sylvan instructor, one has every right to request merit increase and discuss with Director of Education about promotion potential to lead instructor. I had promoted a wonderful instructor and increased his hourly pay, a total win-win situation for the center and the families. The key to higher pay is not entirely in the hands of the managers. In fact, I would argue that effective Sylvan instructors take ownership of their growth in the company by getting trained in multiple programs and making themselves available to learn test administration or even administrative support.

    For part-time employees working in corporate centers (instead of franchised centers), my understanding is that Sylvan offers partial benefits. My goals at Sylvan were to learn as much as I could about the business and to see the impact of prescriptive education in contrast to the traditional classroom (where I taught for a number of years). My center consistently delivered at least two grade level of skill growth in the first 36-hour of instruction, and I always took the time to describe the whole picture to perspective candidates regarding the job, the pay, and how Sylvan experience fits in their career path.

    It is unfortunate that the existing public education does not support more individualized learning, as I saw time and time again how our students walked out the center with so much more confidence and tools to succeed. People need to do their own homework in getting into any situation, whether it is employment or making an investment of education.

  352. Listen to your child's teacher and consider her advice. Some children are just not "developmentally ready" to go on from first grade to second grade. This is how one teacher explains it, children do not all begin talking at the same time or walking at the same time, but they are all expected to learn how to read and comprehend at the same time. Some children just need a little more time! At this early stage, it is less "traumatic" to spend another year in the same grade.

  353. I work for Sylvan and I must say they are the best rip-off artists around. They make television ads that claim they will
    improve your child's learning, actually they just want money and lots of it. The corporate officers for Sylvan are raking in a load of money and we employees can't even get office supplies. It is sad!

    Do your self and your children a favor. DON'T ENROLL WITH A SYLVAN LEARNING CENTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Get a tutor who actually knows academic subjects well and who can teach.

    If you are with Sylvan get out as soon as you can and report them to the better business bureau.

  354. I read a good deal of these comments before I took a job with a sylvan, and I became very apprehensive. I have to say (after about 3-4 months there) that sylvan does more good than evil. Of course they want money. That is what a business is suppose to want.

    I spoke to my boss this morning and one of the students that I have been working with for many hours recently had grown more than five grade levels in 36 hours at sylvan. He went from a .08 comprehension and application to about 5.9. That is incredible. He is certainly not the only one. For 1800 dollars he is almost a grade level in Math essentials. He has gained more than three grade levels in Academic reading as well.

    If a parent is expecting Sylvan to be a cheap panacea, they will be sorely disappointed. We haven't helped every child. We had student do Algebra 1 for more than 100 hours and she could test out of it ever.

    Is the Sylvan method perfect- no. Is it great- no. Does it work more often than it fails- yes.

    If you don't like low pay, how fast the dry erase markers run out, how the pencil suck, the erasers are destroyed by students, then do not seek a job with Sylvan.

    My boss told me flat out at the interview that Sylvan was a business intent on making money. Who would ever think differently?

  355. From the perspective of any educated person, this forum is too painful to read. As teachers, tutors, and parents pushing their children's education, let us all strive to set a good example and use proper grammar. How can I take any tutor from Sylvan or parent seriously if they don't even know what their students or children are learning?

  356. Please stop the complaining here. If you don't like Sylvan, then leave. But, for some students, parents, etc. their programs work. Do medications work for all people? No. Is everyone happy with everything? No. So...if you're a teacher who wants a "supplemental" income, then perhaps tutoring at Sylvan is an option. It's not a career as a part timer. No job is. But, Sylvan does what it does well, there's no doubt to that. Are they in it for the money? Well, guess what, they have to be. The feds aren't stealing peoples' money for them like they are to pay public school teachers and waste it on all areas except the kids. Quit criticizing and misspelling here, too. Some of the people posting here need a spelling class! And to get a life.

  357. I have read many of these and am suprised how cynical some of you are. I worked at the Sylvan in my area and was making $15 an hour by the end of my first year, and that was years ago. I felt that it was a successful place, students learned and gained an increase in confidence. But what irritates me about many of these posts is the anger at what the teachers are making. In my area, a classroom teacher can expect to make about 22-26 thousand their first year, this averages out to about $16 and hour, and that is if they only work 40 hours a week, which we all know that they do not. Preschool teachers can expect to max out around $13 and hour, and classroom aides, a whoppin' $8 an hour. Education is not a high paying career- if you're in it for the money, you're in the wrong profession....

  358. I have read through nearly every page on this site. I have been a public school teacher for 17 years, and recently took time off to be home with my children. However, I am interested in working at a learning center part-time. Does anyone have information comparing Sylvan to Huntington Learning Centers? Thanks

  359. [quote comment="48282"]Assuming the directors are or have been teachers, how on earth are they able to condone the $8 per hour? That is stupid! It is barely above minimum wages! I am with a tutoring company online that charges $40 per hour per child and the tutor gets 70%. ONE CHILD~ONE HOUR~$24!![/quote]

    Which company is it. I would like to work there!

  360. [quote comment="48867"]I have read many of these and am suprised how cynical some of you are. I worked at the Sylvan in my area and was making $15 an hour by the end of my first year, and that was years ago. I felt that it was a successful place, students learned and gained an increase in confidence. But what irritates me about many of these posts is the anger at what the teachers are making. In my area, a classroom teacher can expect to make about 22-26 thousand their first year, this averages out to about $16 and hour, and that is if they only work 40 hours a week, which we all know that they do not. Preschool teachers can expect to max out around $13 and hour, and classroom aides, a whoppin' $8 an hour. Education is not a high paying career- if you're in it for the money, you're in the wrong profession....[/quote]

    See, it's because of that attitude that teachers get paid nothing to begin with. If we allow people to under-value us as individuals, then that is what they will do. I grow tired of being told that I should get paid lousy, because "it's about the kids, not the pay." It's what we love to do, and we should get paid a fair wage for it.

    Can you imagine telling celebrities or professional atheletes that : "You are only getting paid $30,000 a year. You should not do what your doing for the money, but because you love what you do."

    Seriously.

  361. Mr. Eko,

    The online tutoring company you worked for obviously had very little if no overhead costs (i.e. rent, electricity, heat, water, etc, etc.). Yes $8.00 an hour is too low. I don't think most Sylvan centers pay that low. But you have to realize that most of the owners/directors of these centers are simply NOT making a ton of money like everyone seems to think. I personally know that my owner would LOVE to be able to pay our teachers more than $11 an hour but simply cannot afford to do it. Heck, she doesn't even pay herself! Hope this helps clarify some of your misinformation. 🙂

    1. Yes, ToddF, many centers DO actually pay that low. I have been with Sylvan for four years, and I make less than $9/hour. So, yes...they do.

  362. I just have to say that in reading some of these posts, I cannot believe how judgemental and assuming some people are. I am a Sylvan Teacher and making $11.50/hr to start is pretty darn good for me. I do not have to take work home, I do not have to create lesson plans, I DON'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH PARENTS!!! I just can't believe that some teachers are saying things like this: "If we allow people to under-value us as individuals, then that is what they will do. I grow tired of being told that I should get paid lousy, because "it's about the kids, not the pay." It's what we love to do, and we should get paid a fair wage for it." It is about the students. With Sylvan, we get to see that development and amazement on a daily basis without having to deal with all of the other crap that teachers typically have to deal with. Like someone said earlier, Sylvan is not going to work for everyone. NOTHING works for everyone. That's life. Deal with it and find something else to obsess about. I cannot believe that there is actually an anti-Sylvan blog. Figure it out and focus on something else.

    Seriously.

  363. [quote comment="15810"]I am the owner of a Sylvan Franchise, and would like to add that my employees, teachers and directors alike, are all making pretty good money. My full time staff salary starts at $30k + full health insurance + quarterly bonuses. That totals around $40k/year. Teachers start at $10/hour, with increases in pay every few months + bonuses. If this seems too low, please keep in mind that teachers work only part time (4-16 hours a week), have no preparation to do, homework to grade, or any other "teacher" duties. We are a family here, we love teaching and we love seeing students succeed. We provide supplementary education, and should be considered a supplementary job. And since when do teachers choose their profession for the money? If money is all that you are after, no, Sylvan may not be for you. If you want to make a difference in a student's life, come in and fill out an application.[/quote]

    Here’s the problem. Teachers love their jobs and YES they didn't choose their profession for the money. However, low pay for the ability to educate.... along any other worthy profession should not be the standard. I have two bachelors and one masters degree all related to education ....5 different certifications... reg ed and special ed .... and I get paid $10 and hour? That’s amazingly absurd!

    I’m good at what I do. NO... I’m AWESOME at what I do.. and get this...I also have to pay the bills. No excuses.. pay us what we are due and stop making excuses or try to make us feel guilty for wanting compensation for our awesome abilities! Maybe us teachers should just go into business for ourselves and not deal with you people. I think we could do it better without you. Better yet... I KNOW we could. BTW.. don’t tell me about not having to do "teacher duties" , "grading papers" that’s just another lame excuse for why you don’t compensate us appropriately. As soon as enough of us realize that YOU need US and do away with the idea that we need you... we'll be much better off.

    Until then, you should feel pretty bad for swindling low paying work from over qualified professionals.

    One last note: If you yourself weren't thinking about your overhead and only about the success of the students, you'd cut your own profits and offer more compensation to your teachers. Then again you're in business, right? You couldn’t possibly do that. Money is what YOU are "thinking about", but teachers shouldn't think that way?? Newsflash, we went to college and majored in this profession. No one goes to college for 4 years to learn how to do volunteer work. You and others like you are a joke.

  364. [quote comment="15807"]Our teachers start at 10.00 per hour; Algebra teachers start at $12.00.

    They have the privelege of just teaching and motivating these kids and watching them succeed. There are no long hours of grading papers, lesson plans, etc. They have an assistant to bring them materials or whatever they may need during the teaching hour. The students don't do "just Sylvan worksheets" as one poster put it. They complete from five to ten assignments per hour and the Sylvan prescriptions are researched-based--a lot of the research came from Johns Hopkins university; and each students program is very individualized, and the teacher motivates and guides the student according to what type of learner he or she is. During their initial diagnostic assessment, the student is identified as a visual, auditory or tactile learner.
    It's a program that works for the majority of the students. And I give my teachers all the snacks they can eat, and cokes for 25 cents--plus a dinner once a month and a drawing for giftcards![/quote]

    OMG, PLEASE The assignments are from workbooks...so... when you complete sheets from workbooks, they are then called WORKSHEETS. Current research notes that this method of teaching is NOT consistent with best practices in education.
    You can put lipstick on a pig dear, but its still a pig.

    Instead of giving your teachers snacks, why don't you just pay them what they are worth... OR ... give them the option of choosing between your "snakies" with giftcards and having the compensation thats worthy of showing up at your center everyday.

  365. All this anger is directed at the wrong place. Please take a look at http://www.lcurve.org
    or
    http://www.tamethebeast.info/IncomeDist.htm
    or
    http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html
    or
    http://www.forbes.com/2007/09/19/richest-americans-forbes-lists-richlist07-cx_mm_0920rich_land.html

    It's not your local business owner that is the problem. It's a country that has put stockholders ahead of the rest of the stakeholders in a business. Stakeholders include the vendors, employees, and customers.

    I agree teachers, grocery store clerks, factory workers, the person behind the counter at the store, my plumber, the small business owner, and the police officer and social worker, so on and so forth all need to be paid more.

    ➡ 😯
    In March 2006 Forbes reported 793 billionaires in the US with combined net worth of $2.6 trillion. In March 2007 Forbes reported 946 billionaires in the US with combined net worth of $3.5 trillion. That is a 1-year increase of 19% in the number of billionaires and an increase of $35% in their net worth during a time of increasing poverty. Severe poverty is at its highest point in three decades.]

    😮 😮
    3.5 trillion - 3,500,000,000,000 or 7 billion times 7,000,000,000 times the person with a net worth of 50,000 . Thats an average of 3,699,000,000 3.69 Billion with a per billionare. ❗

    303,824,646 (July 2008 est.) ( https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/print/us.html )
    - that means a single billionaire with 3.69 billion could give away $1,000 to every man women and child in the united states and still have 660 million left for him or herself. What if 50 (about 5%) of them would make this decision.

    Look at the broader picture - - please and direct your energies where it will do some good.

    1. Sylvan is owned by Educate Online, which in turn is privately owned. I can't be a shareholder, even if I wanted to be. Because they are privately held, they can pretty much do whatever they damn well please. I as a lowly employee have to suck it up, or quit. I have complained, and I have been told to go along to get along, especially in these hard times. This company makes money hand over fist. Most of their income comes from YOUR tax dollars, as they are approved vendors in most states, and YOUR school district is forced to take money from TAXPAYERS to pay for tutoring for the kids that are behind...and guess who they give it to...Sylvan.

  366. Trust me, I used to be emplpoyed for Sylvan and they are only interestedd in one thing: profit.

    As an "Academic Advisor" my job was to stone cold sell the parent as to why Sylvan was "the answer." No matter what it took, making parents feel inadequate, playing off parental emotions, telling parents that without Sylvan their child WILL FAIL. Telling parents that it is THEIR JOB to do whatever it takes to get tuoring for their child. I was told various times ny the "VICE PRESIDENT" that Sylvan is a "for-profit" business. We were to pretend to show empathy toward what parents were dealing with in regardds to their children. It was all phony... They do not care and as an ex- employee knowing what I know now, I would NEVERE send one of MY children to Sylvan, nonw of my relatives, I would not even do my neighbor a favor by dropping HER kid off at Sylvan. Yes, I did leave the company after several months due to the guilt and stress of a combatitive sales environment and pretending to care about what YOUR child was going through. We were trained to follow a formulated list of emotions as well as get that $75 non-refundable discount so that I could get a HUGE bonus check!

  367. Can anyone comment on the "battery of tests" that is done and the cost just for testing? We have a successful 2nd grade student that we want to continue to challenge and think it would be valuabel to better understand his skills/abilities/weaknesses and learning style. Would paying Sylvan for this assessment be worthwhile or is it really only valuable for thier own tutoring benchmarking and worksheets? If it's not what you'd recommend, what other resources woudl you suggest for parents interested in the assessment but not necessarily their tutoring services?

  368. [quote comment="49701"]I just have to say that in reading some of these posts, I cannot believe how judgemental and assuming some people are. I am a Sylvan Teacher and making $11.50/hr to start is pretty darn good for me. I do not have to take work home, I do not have to create lesson plans, I DON'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH PARENTS!!! I just can't believe that some teachers are saying things like this: "If we allow people to under-value us as individuals, then that is what they will do. I grow tired of being told that I should get paid lousy, because "it's about the kids, not the pay." It's what we love to do, and we should get paid a fair wage for it." It is about the students. With Sylvan, we get to see that development and amazement on a daily basis without having to deal with all of the other crap that teachers typically have to deal with. Like someone said earlier, Sylvan is not going to work for everyone. NOTHING works for everyone. That's life. Deal with it and find something else to obsess about. I cannot believe that there is actually an anti-Sylvan blog. Figure it out and focus on something else.

    Seriously.[/quote]

    Well, that was obviously aimed at me, so I will comment back. I was not just talking about the wages at Sylvan, but to wages of teachers in this profession in general. Please read my entire quote before getting so indignant over a comment by a complete stranger on an internet blog.

    And who cares if there is an Anti-Sylvan blog. I am sure there are Anti-Starbucks blogs, and Anti-McDonald's blogs. Sylvan is a business, and to say otherwise is a lie. It's not about the students, it's not about the people who work there, it's all about the bottom line.

    So, who cares if people who are associated with Sylvan want to post comments on their general disgust about Sylvan over the internet? Who cares if parents that are discontented with the education their child is receiving from Sylvan choose to vent about it somewhere were they are anonymous? It is our right, as Sylvan employees and Costumers express our opinions and we should not have to justify our actions to you.

    Maybe you should get a clue and focus on something else as well.

    Seriously.

  369. Hey All,
    Sounds pretty heated on this page, but I am just curious what people think about how the general economy affects parents' decision to send their children to tutoring (at Sylvan or elsewhere).
    As 401Ks lose money, are parents inclined to reduce spend on things like tutoring, or is that the last thing to be cut from the budget. Would current Sylvan customers decide to hire a cheaper alternative?

    Any ideas or feedback would be really helpful for my research project.
    Thanks!!

  370. Yeah, I had the same thoughts Curious...what kind of research project are you doing?
    My inclination is to say that if one's kid is struggling in school, parents are unlikely to cut off tutoring if its helping. I don't have any personal stories, but maybe some other people on the site do. Hope this helps!

  371. After getting a BA and two MAs in education, the thought that Sylvan would offer me $9/hr is quite scary. Depending on the subject and the student, most private tutors that I know, myself included, will charge between $40 - $60 an hour for private instruction.