Tech and electronics are such a part of our lives now that many of us can’t see ourselves without it. Those of us that use it on a daily basis know intimately that it can be just as much of a hindrance as a boon.
As a tutor on WyzAnt, I’m completely reliant on the Internet, my phone, and my computer, in order to work. I use the jobs board to apply for tutoring jobs, the messaging app to respond to student requests, and the online classroom to conduct lessons (however, this can be finicky, and when that happens we usually need to switch to Google Hangouts).
However, my new phone has very little memory and I haven’t yet been able to go purchase an SD card for it. Right now, that extra $20-$30 just isn’t in the budget. Yeah, I could charge it, but I’m trying to lower the balance on my credit card right now – it’s been higher than I’m comfortable with for significantly longer than I’m okay with.
As a result, I’ve been much more reliant upon gmail on my phone to tell me when I have a new student request. Of course, with how my luck tends to go, this has actually lead me to lose business. Since I pay for data, I have developed the habit of turning off mobile data at night. I’ve got one of the not-mainstream Samsung galaxies (huzzah for Verizon’s pay-as-you-go), which worked perfectly until I had the misfortune of knocking it off my kitchen counter. While it’s pretty good about giving me Facebook notifications, it’s a bit lacking with the email.
Which means that I’ve been missing new students’ requests for lessons. No new students means no new business. No new business means no extra work.
It’s unfortunate, really. WyzAnt has a policy where tutors and students cannot exchange personal contact information, otherwise I would have my phone number listed on my profile to let potential students text and call me. I know why the policy’s in place, and the company has a good reason for it, but technology just isn’t making things easy for me right now.
Having limited access to the Internet at home is part of the problem. If I had Internet at my house then I wouldn’t be having this problem – I could hop online as soon as I got home to log into the website and conduct lessons. But that is not the case, unfortunately. One day, one day…
In the meantime, I’m going to have to get into the habit of checking the website when I’m on my lunch. I’ll also need to change my publicly posted availability from every night in the evenings to weekends. While this might be an initial turn-off for some students, I do have it listed in my profile that I’m willing to work outside that posted availability when given the appropriate notice.
What I can’t help but find ironic, though, is that – as a result of these technological mishaps – I haven’t conducted a single lesson since I raised my rate. When I first became a tutor for WyzAnt, I was still a student myself and only charged $15 per hour. Now that I’ve graduated and have been thrown into the whirlwind that is the adult world, I raised my rate to $25 per hour – an increase that may seem steep to some, but when the average cost of a tutor is $50 per hour (my Aunt Ellen, who’s a teacher, charges $75 per hour, per child) I’m wicked cheap.
Part of the reason why I do that is I really don’t need much more than that at this time. I have my wonderful job at the bank that pays my bills. This is something extra for me. The other part has to do with my wanting to help people – I know that there are tons of kids out there who need tutors, but can’t necessarily afford them.
But it’s a double-edged sword – people seem to have it ingrained in them that something that’s more expensive means it’s better quality. Everyone knows that that’s not always the case. But by making my time and services more affordable, there are inevitably going to be plenty of people who think that means I’m not as good a tutor as someone who’s charging double my rate.
The more students I teach, the more positive ratings I get. Eventually, that will lead to more positive reviews. Those reviews and ratings will be what feeds into more students and parents contacting me. Thankfully, all my ratings and reviews have been fabulous. On the flip side, I don’t have as many of them as other tutors. But that will come with time.
If I can ever get my technical difficulties under control.