Author Topic: learning pods  (Read 1172 times)

mamselle

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2020, 02:56:10 AM »
You need a website or blogsite or something like it to direct people to...a place for them to land, so as not to have to go trawling back through a series of posts (or emailing you several times) just to find basics. I suppose Facebook could do that, but I just don't like it....it will eat you alive if you have to keep answering posts to keep your page focused, etc.

Its openness to others' comments is fine for family-friends-opinion-type stuff, but I just don't see it as very professional.

I don't like Twitter much more, because their formatting issues are crazy-making when you're trying to do a significant visual (say, a gravestone photo) to go with a tour announcement and the proportions get shifted due to whatever weird algorithm is embedded in the framing setup..

But I can usually wrestle it to the ground,, get a quick announcement out,, pick up a few more "likes" or followers while I'm at it, and be on my way. I use it to complement my weekly leafleting in the summers (again, this is for tours, but one year about 5 years ago, I did a series of children's activities, which netted one of the families I've worked with ever since.)

And they referred me to another family I've taught and tutored over the past 4 years, which is how it usually goes.

Much longer ago, when I was doing more dance teaching, I also ran a series of dance choirs: two children's groups, and one or two adult groups, divided by age and length of study, and the older children's group was primarily composed of a small cluster of homeschooled kids who took the class as one of the phys.ed activities (community soccer was the other).

Now, they might be called a "pod," then it was just a group of very bright kids whose parents got together to do enrichment programs in their areas of interest and ended up homeschooling them.

I worked with them up through Jr. high school, then they split off to go to various high schools--they'd in fact come together first through their church's faith ed program, so some went to a parochial high school, others to public or private schools, and did decently for themselves.

We just met up at an event last fall, they're all out of college and working now--and that's one thing about working with homeschooling settings, you may become more a part of the students' lives, than in a public school setting.

And you'll also sometimes be under closer scrutiny--i had no trouble with people telling me how and what to teach, but that can happen if several parents have different interests or ideas in mind.

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

polly_mer

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2020, 04:32:35 AM »
Cold calls and sales is much harder when the groundwork hasn't been laid with any sort of market research on what people want and then aiming the pitch at how you provide that.

Anyone who would look at my resume would see the extensive experience I have as a teacher of various subjects and with students ranging in age from 4th grade to senior citizens.   I have also done much tutoring, and of course have professional library credentials.  But you know this already.   Anyone wanting to hire someone for a learning pod in my area, in any of the subjects that I have experience in, could really do little better than me.   FB posts would of course allow me to target friends of friends, etc., and get my name out there.   I have little money to pay FB for any ads, and limited faith that any such ads would be fruitful, and would not piss off my friends.

Let's say I'm a busy mom looking for someone to just ensure that the kids don't kill each other for a few hours a day and it'd be nice if the kids logged into their online classes most days for most of the time.  Why do I pick you over a college student who only wants minimum wage + 2 bucks?

Let's say I'm a busy mom who really wants a teacher for my three kids: 4, 6, and 8.  Why do I pick you over the Montessori-trained person who is expensive, but does exactly what I want in terms of daily experience?

Let's say I'm a busy mom who hates my current setup of plunking the kids in the basement in front of their screens, but I literally have only 5 minutes a day to look for something better.  What have you set up for advertising that will come to my attention through some sort of channel I don't even have to think about and will only take me 30 seconds to skim to conclude, "I've got to get that kaysixteen on the job pronto"?

I don't question that you have some relevant experience.  I question exactly that you have established a word-of-mouth network that will get you what you want with minimal advertising or that the newly created whatever you're doing on FaceBook will be effective because the focus does not appear to be geared towards the audience needs.

Yeah, no one gets paid to establish the professional network when needed.  That's why people need to be working on that professional network starting as soon as they are exploring what their profession is likely to be, much like they study hard in classes.  The generic social networks formed from people like oneself often don't overlap with the professional needs for people who have graduate (or even many college) educations.  Neglecting those networks makes doing the professional aspects much, much harder and that's when one can apply to an open job.  Neglecting the networks and trying to create one's own job is almost impossible if one refuses to really dig into the marketing aspects.
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apl68

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2020, 07:34:57 AM »
Teaching the volunteer history classes for the local senior citizen foundation, otoh, was fun, professionally and spiritually fulfilling, and I will be doing it again (unless I  do get a real job that would prevent it).   Church work opps are limited, but I have taken advantage of the chances I have gotten in this area.   Volunteering for library programs is rather more problematic, in the sense that many librarians, i.e. paid professional library staff, are actually very leery of letting a serious professional do serious work in that area (and again, for me professionally, there would also be that feeling of being used, put upon, doing this for no money).

Maybe some of those seniors you've worked with have children and grandchildren, or other family, looking for the kind of help you're offering. 

Don't rule out using any library opportunities to network, if that's a place where you're already known.

Polly makes a good point about needing to find ways to tailor your pitch to your likely customers.  You need to speak with some local parents and get an idea of what they want.  Remember, it's about THEIR needs.  Then try to contact the parents looking for the sort of service you are best able to offer. 

I know that marketing is not a congenial activity for many of us, but it's how we get our word out to those who might benefit from our services.  Librarians have long since had to learn how to do this.  The essence of marketing is finding out what people want or need and making a case that you can offer that.
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AvidReader

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2020, 07:45:47 AM »
Are you still in the same geographical region as the now-defunct Christian school? That is the network I would use first if I wanted to find a pod: I would let former secondary school students and parents (ideally the ones who liked me the most) know that I was available for tutoring if they knew anyone who was looking. I might even do this if I weren't in the same geographic region, because many of my old students and their families traveled widely and had family and friends in further-off locations.

I think you mentioned your general region on another thread, and I think you are in or close to a major metropolitan area with several large and prestigious universities. Are there faculty members there with whom you have professional acquaintance? They would already know your credentials and might be able to connect you with colleagues whose children would benefit from the tutoring and subjects you can provide.

I agree with apl68 that the seniors might also have some useful connections.

AR.

mamselle

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2020, 09:20:48 AM »
Also chiming to apl68's note about libraries.

When I've taught French students who don't live close to me, the library study rooms have been very important in making things more convenient--ours has two, plus an "OK to tutor quietly here" floor, with a "silent floor" down one flight.

Not options now, of course, but the other thing the library had was a vertical file into which one could submit 1-page leaflets. There was also a community bulletin board that you could post on; the reference librarians in charge of it would initial and date your post, and it could be up for two months, then they'd take it down to let others have a chance; after another month you could post another one for two months.

Since you probably want to create two or three flyers (I have one for music, one for English/Math/Social Studies, and one for tours/children's historical activities) to segment your market and appeal to different sub-groups, you benefit by rotating those flyers as well.

And also, chime to marketing. It's not a "bad, terrible, awful" thing (except that it takes time and can get fiddly when you're formatting something and the  MSWord tables are fighting back): It's how you let people know what you're able to do and how you can help them do what they want to do.

A conversion to that mind-set is sometimes the hardest for folks who've always been in scholastic settings where the school does the PR/marketing for you and you do the teaching. The good part about it is that you control the message and the means of its being shared.

Get a designer to do a good job for you if you're unused to doing your own graphics; as one goes along, one picks up enough mad skillz to do ones own pages, but working with someone to begin with is a good idea: and either plan to pay them or find alternative arrangements that suit both parties.

You may be able to find a swap-mate who will do that for you in return, for, say, translating a 13th c. artist's notebook entries in Latin that they're studying for an Art History paper....or explaining the history of a Roman imperial colony where ceramics were made and traded that is not well-referenced.

Think outside the box(es).

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

fleabite

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2020, 03:16:03 PM »
I think the time to get hired for a learning pod has come and gone. There are only a certain number of parents who can afford to set up such a thing, and most would have done so before the beginning of the school year. But I bet there's a pretty good market out there for tutoring and enrichment activities—parents who would be interested in having someone come to their home and work with their children for an hour or two a week (although for you that would mean exposure to a fair number of people).

A simple way to find a few students might be to put up flyers around your area with pull-off tabs with your phone number or e-mail address. Color printing gets expensive quickly, so I would go with black and white. You might look at the websites for tutoring agencies to see what they offer and how they describe their personnel in order to get an idea of what to stress in your flyer. You might want to include your hourly rate in order to limit contacts from people who don't want to pay more than ten or fifteen dollars an hour. Still, you'll need to be competitive since you don't have an established business already—maybe something like twenty-five dollars an hour?

apl68

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2020, 03:29:48 PM »
I think the time to get hired for a learning pod has come and gone. There are only a certain number of parents who can afford to set up such a thing, and most would have done so before the beginning of the school year. But I bet there's a pretty good market out there for tutoring and enrichment activities—parents who would be interested in having someone come to their home and work with their children for an hour or two a week (although for you that would mean exposure to a fair number of people).

A simple way to find a few students might be to put up flyers around your area with pull-off tabs with your phone number or e-mail address. Color printing gets expensive quickly, so I would go with black and white. You might look at the websites for tutoring agencies to see what they offer and how they describe their personnel in order to get an idea of what to stress in your flyer. You might want to include your hourly rate in order to limit contacts from people who don't want to pay more than ten or fifteen dollars an hour. Still, you'll need to be competitive since you don't have an established business already—maybe something like twenty-five dollars an hour?

There might be new learning pod opportunities opening in the new year.  Of course now is the time to be getting one's name out there for them.  In the meantime, fleabite is no doubt correct about learning and enrichment activities.  We have a part-time staff member here who also does some tutoring.

Fleabite raises a good point about a determining a competitive hourly rate.  I won't try to guess what to suggest there.  The local tutoring grapevine should be a place to learn some ideas about that.
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Hegemony

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2020, 07:09:17 PM »
Going from house to house conducting in-person learning is a good way to become a superspreader.  All it needs is one student in one house to be infectious, and you will be the common link that connects a large number of households. Even if the kids themselves bounce back quickly, their elderly, asthmatic, overweight or immune-compromised relatives may not.  And if parents let a tutor come to the house in person, they are not the kind of people who are taking other precautions against infection.

kaysixteen

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2020, 09:07:16 PM »
Random observations and replies (thanking all for the responses):

1) Hegemony is not wrong.   I have considered not doing this at this time for this very reason.  I would think long and hard about how to do it correctly, if possible, should I get anyone to offer me work.

2) I am living in an area that is both a) lower-income and b) anti-education, very working class, etc.-- there is very limited call for this work here, no local 'tutoring community', etc. (both private businesses I have done homeschool-oriented work for in recent years are for all intents and purposes not doing that any longer, but just doing various extracurriculars, and I did interview at a long-established tutor business in a nearby town, back in Sept., and the woman was trying to put a positive spin on it, but her business has essentially toileted since being shut down by the state for a couple of months in the spring.   This limits my ability to network with similar folks around here, and would strongly limit the amount of money I could charge for this sort of work.   One hopes it could be possible to do it for something, but i am not sanguine that it would be more than pocket money around here.   It certainly is not worth outlaying a significant amount of money in advertising, marketing, etc.   And I do not have the money to do that, even if I wanted to.

3) Sadly, though all the parents and former colleagues from my school, church, know of me and my services, none have shown the slightest interest in doing so.   We could discuss why that is...

4) The reason I had not done the pandemic research sooner is, ahem, clear enough to me, on reflection in the last few days, is simply that I hate sales work, marketing, with an unbridled passion.   As a kid/ young adult, I did take various standardized career aptitude tests over the years, and 'sales' was more or less always at the very bottom, with scores that could hardly be lower.   I agree with this assessment, like it or not, and my much greater age by now has not done much to change this (probably has even hardened my opposition to this, especially given my religious views on pride, humility, etc.).

4) It probably is a good idea, however, for me to tell the librarians I am interested in doing some of this sort of thing, the next time I go in there to fetch books.

5) I could ask some of those seniors I was teaching to recommend me, etc., but am wondering whether this would be appropriate, or seen as gauche, presumptuous, etc.?

6) I get the general idea of convincing people to want something/ trying to figure out what they want.   That said, the teacher  in me also remembers that there are times when one needs to say 'you need this, whether you like it or not', and to say, 'I am outta here, if you refuse'.   

apl68

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2020, 07:07:11 AM »
The librarians would probably be glad to help connect prospective educators with prospective clients.  Librarians love a chance to facilitate anything to do with education.

I doubt that the seniors you've taught would see anything wrong with your asking them for recommendations.  To them, you're a teacher.  They'd have no reason to object to your efforts to find others to teach.  Some of them would probably love to help out, if they can.

I get that you don't like marketing.  I've always been skeptical of it myself, and have never felt that I had any natural aptitude for it.  But I believe in my work at the library, and I love to talk about it.  I've found that that translates into "marketing" what we do at the library to the community.

Look at it this way--you are a part of the community, with a number of different contacts within it.  You have something to offer the community.  Maybe the demand for it in the community is limited, yet it does exist.  Getting the word out about what you have to offer, so that prospective clients have the opportunity to take advantage of it, is of benefit to the community, and to yourself.

Re pride and humility--I get that too.  I've always been acutely aware of my shortcomings at...well, nearly everything, including my work as a librarian.  And yet I know that I provide valuable and useful services to the community.  What I have to offer is valuable, despite my own shortcomings.  So I have a duty to offer it with confidence--if not pride and confidence in myself, then confidence in what I'm offering.  Try thinking about the services you have to offer in that way.  Don't "believe in yourself."  Believe in what you're doing!
Don't lay up treasures for yourselves on Earth, where they can decay or be stolen.  Lay up treasures for yourselves in Heaven, where there is no decay or theft.  Where your treasure is, you heart will be also.


You can't take it with you.  You can only send it on ahead.

mamselle

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2020, 05:15:43 PM »
Just quickly responding to one thing--I wasn't even thinking of doing live tutoring right now--sorry if that was unclear.

You need to be Zoom literate and PowerPoint savvy to teach at present.

I don't even plan to be able to do live tours or childrens' activities NEXT summer, let alone now.

And you should be able to pick up some gigs. Just don't count on covering all your expenses with them right now. It takes time to build a clientele.

The most attractive title will be "Homework Helper." That's what parents need to assuage their feelings of being so exhausted and time-tied from work that they can't help the kids with their school work.

And you really need a good, clear firm but kind bedside manner with the kids. My tutoring student last spring had 4 different topics every day, plus me egging him along to do the work. We arrived at a daily plan that worked, but it took a couple of weeks to get there.

Another thought: if you're still working retail, no way will anyone want you in their homes.

Just being real here.

Good luck.

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

kaysixteen

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2020, 05:10:20 PM »
I will ask the librarians the next time I see them.

I am pretty darn certain I have lost out on jobs before because of perceived unwillingness and/or inability to 'market'-- several school headmasters have more or less said this, wrt the mandatory Latin classes classical Christian schools require.   Natural lack of sales aptitude notwithstanding, I have several issues wrt saying anything that I believe may not be true.   It does not have to be an outright lie, which of course I will not tell, but pumping up things beyond what the facts bear is almost the same, and I do not want to do that either.   To a certain degree, I want just to offer my services, as they are, and see who might be interested.  I have a lot to offer but do not really know how to offer it well, without doing the sort of dossier-padding that, well, ahem...

I do not want to go into someone's home, if at all possible.   I would prefer to use space at a public library, which can be controlled, reasonably distanced, and masked up.   I do not do powerpoint, and it won't be necessary for what I do tutor or teach.   I thankfully have now the experience, with the senior citizen institute, with Zoom.  I get that there would be real advantages to doing this sort of learning pod stuff online, and will do it if asked, but remain somewhat concerned about guaranteeing that I will actually get paid.   I have no money or inclination to attempt to accept credit cards.

I am guardedly optimistic that those seniors would be willing to recommend me-- any suggestions as to how best to ask them?


fleabite

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2020, 07:46:14 PM »
I know from some of your previous posts that you are not very comfortable with learning new technology. But if you would be willing to throw yourself into that—treated as a research project—there seems to be pretty good demand for online tutors right now. I just heard about this service, https://www.tutor.com/apply, which is owned by the Princeton Review. They offer tutoring that spans an extremely wide range of subjects, and the fact that you have a PhD and teaching experience would probably make you a strong candidate.

mamselle

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2020, 08:43:51 PM »
On the one hand, that could work, and it's worth trying it out. Agencies can definitely extend your reach if you're just starting.

On the other, I've tried two or three times to use groups like that: it's often very finicky and not always productive. (But I don't have any experience with this group, in this setting--a friend used to teach their test-prep classes, but not tutoring. They might be fine, there are just some things to watch for).

One of the ones I tried to use wanted a written "blurb" for each subject heading, which was fine, but those take time to construct. The agency also charged clients a stiff fee for each class, and at least one didn't pay you outright, they'd take their cut off the first lesson and then if the client continued, you would get paid after that. So check their fee structures and payment arrangements carefully--they're in business for themselves first, usually...

I rarely got requests for the topics I signed up to teach, also--just very oddly-focused sideways requests that didn't make sense. I could go back through my old emails from them, if a summary is of interest, but my basic response was that it wasn't as useful as I'd hoped.

I think "Ant" was one, I can't remember the names of the others....and in any case, I've found word-of-mouth and local newspaper ads and articles to work better.

If you can find an angle on your own work, and send in an "announcement-like" copy of something like, "K16, long an instructor for advanced students, is now broadening their outreach in working with younger students...." etc.

Make it sound like an article, but it's really ad copy. (An old PR trick, useful for grants, too...)

The town chat lines are the best for getting your name around; I think I mentioned that before.

M.
Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

Reprove not a scorner, lest they hate thee: rebuke the wise, and they will love thee.

Give instruction to the wise, and they will be yet wiser: teach the just, and they will increase in learning.

bacardiandlime

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Re: learning pods
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2020, 04:05:52 AM »
I am pretty darn certain I have lost out on jobs before because of perceived unwillingness and/or inability to 'market'

So you know the problem, but you don't want to find a solution. Look, you need some tough love here. Either you want to find work as a tutor, or you don't.

Quote
I do not do powerpoint, and it won't be necessary for what I do tutor or teach.


ok...

Quote
I have no money or inclination to attempt to accept credit cards.

Right. So you don't want to make it easy for anyone to hire you.

If your only recommendations are from seniors, what are they recommending you as? You obviously didn't tutor them in HS Latin.
You need recommendations for the gig you're looking for.
And you need to act like it's something you actually WANT TO DO, which none of your posts here (with their endless caveats and won't won't won't) I'm really not seeing.