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James (Jim) Frankenfield - About Me - Trust

Expertise - Experience - Authority - Trust

Is your tutor or teacher trustworthy? There are a growing number of reports of trust problems today on both sides of the student-tutor relationship.

I have worked online selling items for 30 years, and more recently courses as well. When I began it was difficult to get a merchant account because the only ones accepting and making money were adult sites. (This was before Google, before Facebook, and before the mess we call the internet today.) So I have a long history of doing online business honestly. Many accounts (paypal, ebay, etc) have existed for many years in good standing. Although trust also extends beyond the financial realm as well.

The greatest source of trust problems seems to come when students pay for solutions. There are many unscrupulous "tutors" out there who will do homework for you, or even take an exam for you, for a price. Sometimes the student does not pay them, especially for anything less than an A. Whether that was promised or not. And sometimes the student pays in advance and receives nothing. Paying somebody else to do your work is not recommended to begin with and is unethical, and if your tutor does this (for others or for you) beware.

A second trust issue is whether the tutor accepts work they are not qualified for. I do not tutor subjects other than math, physics, and some engineering. And even within those fields it's possible I would decline some requests. (For example, I do not tutor statistics.) If you see a post on Facebook by a math tutor and then search their post history you'll often find the same tutor offering a wide variety of other subjects in other past posts. Or tutors who claim to cover K-12 math (or other subject). Primary teaching is much different that secondary subject teaching. If the tutor's background is in primary education (through middle school, say) should they really be tutoring precalculus and calculus? I see this all the time. Likewise a brilliant math tutor at the higher levels is unlikely to be trained at the primary level. So be sure you trust your tutor at the level they work at, and that you can trust them to say no when it's appropriate.

The final trust issue is whether a tutor is interested in educating the student or more interested in building a lucrative business. I see tutors ask how to set their price and a common answer is to figure out how much income they need and go from there. This often leads to very high rates and is not based on a fair or accessible price for the student. I also see tutors upset because their students don't keep paying through a break period. This infringes on the financial need of the tutor, never mind that the service is not needed temporarily. You can trust me to charge a very fair rate by market standards and not to be bothered by breaks or missed lessons. (Provided I receive advance notice, of course.)

When you look for a tutor you should consider whether they are truly trustworthy. Concerning ethics and payments, rates, honesty about what they can tutor, and issues such as schedule changes and breaks.