Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. Helping children with their math homework seems to be the most requested job I'm asked to do.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Make sure your tutor doesn't watch a clock. His prime concern should be a student's acquisition of knowledge; and understanding the child's way of learning.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. Most parents don't know how to motivate their children to study. They need to pick a place and time where the student can sit down and do her work quietly. Parents need to sit down and do some studying of their own. Modeling the behavior will save you tutor bills down the line.
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. I don't paint or lay down carpeting. I open minds to new ideas and subjects. Understanding your child's learning style is important. Is he an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner? If you know that, that would be a help.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. I don't charge by the hour, but by the lesson. I stay until my student knows what I planned on teaching. I'm stubborn. I don't leave until my kids know their stuff.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. I love working with kids. When their eyes light up when a concept is learned, that's more than money can buy.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. They want to know how long their child will need a tutor. My job is to teach kids to study on their own. When a child doesn't need me any more, I know I've done my job.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. I worked with a boy for many years. Then one day, he just didn't need me. When I started with him, he barely could get a C. Now he's an A/B student.
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. I'm hard of hearing. It doesn't affect my ability to teach, but clients should know about my hearing impairment.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I was a summer camp counselor when I was attending college. I loved the kids and thought spending a career working with them would be a fun job. I wasn't disappointed.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. A high school student working on her personal statement for college wrote a great essay, but the grammar and syntax needed work. After editing her piece, she submitted her college application and was admitted.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. All the time. I read articles on education and parenting as well as write an advice column for parents and kids for the Los Angeles Examiner at: http://www.examiner.com/academic-success-in-los-angeles/michael-thal
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. Magnet and Charter schools are the rage, but there are still so many children falling through the cracks needing remedial work. As long as parents can afford my services, there will always be business.
Q. Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.
A. My most recent project was with Nicky. She needs work in Chemistry, but the efforts on my part is to teach her how to study. She's moving along nicely and is now down from 3 visits a week to one. Pretty soon, she won't need me at all.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. It's pretty simple. If you come to me, I charge $40 per lesson. Remember, a lesson is the time needed to get a concept over to the student. An average lesson is about 90 min. If I drive to your home, I charge $50.00. I'm flexible, so call and we can negotiate.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. First, finish four years of college. I completed graduate school earning two master's degrees in education, but that's not necessary. Just make sure you know how schools function and the expectations they have on their students.
Q. Write your own question and answer it.
A. Do you offer any bonus services?
Yes, one of my students is interested in American Sign Language (ASL). Since I'm fluent, I spend time with her after each lesson teaching her ASL. I don't charge for the mini lesson, and have fun teaching her. She's like a sponge.