Why does Sylvan pay so little!!!!?

I am currently a substitute teaching all over the place, have my teacher certification, and thought I'd try to make some extra money by working at Sylvan. Little did I know they wanted 3 hours of my precious time (UNPAID!!!) to take tests, watch videos, etc. Then, when I was asked to come back the following week, I thought, "Good, now I can start getting paid." Duh, silly me!!! I'm supposed to do 10 hours of unpaid observation time AND then I"m supposed to be observed teaching. I'm sorry, what the heck was my teaching credential all about?????? Was the CSET, CBEST, RICA, Student Teaching all for naught??? They "need' to observe me and try me out??? I worked hard for that credential only to find out that jobs are scarce and the ones that are available (Sylvan!) pay only a little more than minimum wage. Why do we receive so little compenstation for working harder than the average person?

9 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Teachers are not necessary to their program, really. They provide their "service" in a very consistant way. It is a franchise. I don't think there is much room for differentiated instruction. Sylvan began as a means of getting and keeping kids on the "giftedness" fast track.

    ~Tots on the fast track

    Tuesday, July 25, 2006




    Payton Stills, 3, working on the alphabet with his parents, Deirdre Ifill-Stills and Eric Stills, and Teaneck Junior Kumon director Gail Hurlburt.

    Mawutor Fiavey gets tutored weekly and has homework every day – flash cards, worksheets and books to explore. His mom gives him grapes or bananas when he sits still. That's not easy for him – he's not quite 3.

    Mawutor joined the growing ranks of the tutored in the spring at the tender age of 2½. His mother, a nurse, hopes one-on-one sessions at the Kumon Center in Teaneck will build on his regular preschool classes and help him thrive in kindergarten. "I'm hoping he's able to read a little ahead of his class,'' she said.

    In today's wildly competitive world of child-rearing, tutoring draws a crowd fresh from naptime and the sandbox. Parents who sign up say they want to give their preschoolers an academic edge, plus the confidence that comes from achieving ahead of the curve. Many parents are anxious to help kids start to read before kindergarten, which is widely viewed as the "new first grade." Some also worry that overburdened elementary teachers no longer have enough time to cement basic skills.

    Skeptics warn that such early tutoring can be risky; if it puts too much stress on children, or makes them feel frustrated by failure, it could sour their natural appetite for learning. They argue this is the age when children learn best through play and hands-on exploration rather than formal instruction.

    "It's only a matter of time before we see neonatal reading units,'' complained Maurice Elias, a Rutgers University psychology professor and co-author of "Emotionally Intelligent Parenting." "The quest for an edge never stops. Once Billy and all his classmates graduate Harvard Prep Preschool, Billy will have to learn ancient Sanskrit and mountain climbing in order to stay ahead. It's an unhealthy cycle for the family and for society."

    Other experts see pros as well as cons. "There are certainly benefits to more one-on-one time with an adult,'' said Alan Simpson at the National Association for the Education of Young Children. "On the other hand, some of these programs may be a sign of parents feeling too much pressure and passing it on to their children. Parents should realize that early learning isn't a race ... and there's no reason to believe that because your kid is at the head of the class in kindergarten he's more likely to be at the head in 12th grade."

    Despite such concerns, tutoring small children has become big business. It has piggybacked onto a K-12 tutoring market now estimated at $5 billion a year by investment analysts at ThinkEquity Partners.

    Junior Kumon, launched in 2003, teaches about 21,000 preschoolers nationwide, including about 800 in northern New Jersey. Sylvan Learning Centers, which last year rolled out programs for kids as young as 4½, reports tutoring about 4,000 preschoolers nationwide. Both companies say they launched these plans after clients with older children begged for lessons for their younger ones, too. Score!, a division of Kaplan, said its pre-K set has grown steadily as well, and makes up 9 percent of its New Jersey students, or almost 300 preschoolers.

    Tutors say some parents pay for services in hopes of getting their kids into private schools or gifted programs, while others seek a preventive step to ensure their children won't be the ones falling behind. Some immigrant families sign up their youngest to help polish their English skills and get more exposure to their new country's culture.

    Eric Stills, a pharmaceutical salesman in New Milford, said he enrolled his son, Payton, a bright and friendly 3-year-old, in Junior Kumon last month so he could get more individual attention than he would in his regular preschool. Payton had once been diagnosed with a slight speech delay, and his parents want to make sure he won't be labeled when he gets to public school. Kumon, a Japanese method of daily drills and self-discipline, costs about $80 to $110 per subject per month, and students typically come twice a week.

    During a recent lesson, Payton matched a lower-case letter to its capital and his dad, who was watching, gave him a high-five. "People who have been involved in this have done very well in college, both getting into good schools and performing,'' said Stills. "It gives children a clear advantage.''

    Stills discounts concerns about too much stress. "If you let them do it at their own pace and make it fun, they'll do the task,'' he said. "If you start them early, you get them in a routine.''

    Andrea Pastorok, Junior Kumon's education consultant, said the curriculum aims to foster the foundations of math and reading, such as recognizing patterns and letters' sounds, but it doesn't prod kids before they're able. She said it actually staves off pressure by showing parents how to praise their kids properly as they practice at home. "If we're faced with parents who push too hard, we train them to back off," she said.

    Making learning fun

    All the pre-K tutoring programs say they make learning fun, and they motivate students with prizes ranging from stickers to dolls to gift certificates. They also say that if a child is clearly too immature to cooperate and concentrate, they'll tell parents to hold off.

    "Nobody's saying a 4½-year-old child should be sitting in formal classes for hour upon hour ... but a couple of hours a week is perfectly reasonable," said Richard Bavaria, vice president of education at Sylvan. "If a child sees an older sister reading Harry Potter and she wants to read also, and she's ready, then why not?"

    Sylvan enrolls children over 4½ for its Beginner Reader program. Parents typically bring in preschoolers for an hour session with a teacher two or three times a week. Tutoring averages $40 to $45 an hour.

    Score! takes a different tack by setting kids up at computers that lead them through exercises. Sessions cost $20 to $25 an hour.

    One recent afternoon at the Ridgewood branch, 5-year-old Ayila Houngbo sat at a computer with a headset on while a singing cartoon starfish asked her to spot the "ish" floating on her screen. As her little legs dangled off her chair, her pink flip-flops not reaching the floor, she clicked her mouse on cue.

    "Good job, Ayila!'' said Jamie Hayman, regional manager.

    She grinned. Ayila scored well enough that she earned four shots at an indoor basketball hoop, where success also racks up points for prizes.

    Her mother, Patricia Houngbo of Maywood, said she signed up Ayila in April because she felt her older children had benefited, and Ayila said she enjoys it. Houngbo said the K-12 curriculum has speeded up so much that it's wise to start kindergarten with a leg up.

    Even so, she wants to preserve balance for Ayila and make sure she has enough time to play with friends.

    "This is the world of challenges,'' said Houngbo. "All the good colleges and universities take just the best. ... Children don't have time now to be children. She is small but we have to prepare her for this new future."

    Staff Writer Ruth Padawer contributed to this article. E-mail: brody@northjersey.com


    ~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 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.

    ~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.

    ~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.

    ~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.

    ~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.

    ~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!

    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.

    Lots more on this blog.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Sylvan Learning Centers offer the same help that you or a private tutor can offer. The benefit is that they have programs designed for each age group for each subject. You would have to spend a lot of time to research the material and tutor your child to match their service. The cons are: price, and I have heard from 2 friends personally that their child really hated Sylvan Leaning Center. The whole process only frustrated and didn't really improve their childrens' long term ability to learn. So, if you have the time, then tutoring your child yourself is probably best. There is also a new learning technique based on recent brain research that 'guarantees' improvement in learning abilities permanently. The technique is called Physio-Neuro Therapy. It stimulates the brain with easy exercises in order to develop the brain in certain weak spots and makes learning easier. I believe the company that discovered and promotes this learning disability program charges less than your estimate at Sylvan. Although, you should research and think your decision through before spending money on programs that help your child fix learning difficulties. Best of luck in whatever you choose. If you have the time, your child will probably appreciate you as a tutor more than Sylvan.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Both previous answers are correct and I share your frustration when I first moved here I needed a summer gig and w/a Master's the pay was squat. What makes it even worse is that they tell the parent's that they have CERTIFIED teachers working with their children to justify the 40.00 or more per hour they charge them. People take out loans to send their children there. Slyvan's system doesnt require you to TEACH because of the way they have it set up w/the notebooks and all but as a teacher its kind of humiliating to be used that way. Maybe you could drum up some business as a tutor on your own. The sucky pay is because teaching is still a female dominated profession. I am very sorry that you are having such a hard time sweetie, I have been in the same boat, it wont sink but you will get pretty wet, keep your chin up and good luck

    Source(s): Teacher -13 years,2 states,2 degrees, 3 certificates
  • 1 decade ago

    Sylvan's are mostly franchises and franchises tend to be micromanaged and amateurishly managed, with the owner doing most all the work. Franchises have established operating guidelines so they see employees as expenses rather than as assets. They cringe on hiring outside their own family since that means having to disburse wages. Wages kill a company's bottom line. To minimize the fallout, they just pay you very poorly with the excuse that you're "doing something good" towards society. Honestly, they couldn't care if you had multiple Ph.D's, you aren't going to get paid more than someone who's still in college.

    The bottom line is that you've been an unfortunate victim in the quest for an owner's chance to stuff their own pockets. Move on and don't take it personally even though it hurts. Do not question your own competence because, as I mentioned, it had absolutely nothing to do with your credentials. Life lesson for you that school doesn't always teach!

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  • mbm244
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Sylvan is a business, and their goal is to make money. They take advantage of teachers in your situation. I would recommend doing your own private tutoring. You may have to spend a small amount on advertising and tools, but you will make much more than you would at Sylvan. I charge $25 per hour. Good luck!

  • Arrow
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Because Sylvan is, first and foremost, a FOR PROFIT enterprise and someone will do it for that little. They believe they have a system in place that does not require all of your training and experience, so nearly any warm body who is willing to be trained will do.

    I share your frustration, but that is the marketplace. I hope you find something more fulfilling and profitable to do with your time!

    Source(s): Life as a teacher.
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    7 years ago

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    7 years ago


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  • Dexter
    Lv 5
    5 years ago

    sylvan pay

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