Substitute Teaching/Tutoring in Cleveland?
September 8, 2012 9:58 PM   Subscribe

My mom is a retired elementary school teacher (in Cleveland, Ohio). She is hurting for cash a little more than she expected she would, and would like to teach again on a substitute/tutoring basis. How does she go about doing so in a manner that she can earn a decent salary?

Hi all!

My mom, a former elementary school teacher, retired a little over a year back. She is happy as a clam regarding her decision, but a few factors are making her want to jump back into teaching - this time on a substitute/tutoring basis:

1. She is more strapped for cash than she thought she would be.

2. She loves teaching, and is itching to get back into the field.

3. She is playing too much Words with Friends! (okay, this one is mine)

She had a very comfortable salary (above $70,000) before retirement, and is now making around 66% of that. She would like to ideally make the extra 34% through part-time teaching to bring her back to that salary range.

She is most comfortable teaching elementary school students, but would be okay with tutoring adults in simple subject matter. I recommended teaching perhaps ESL, but I don't know what qualifications, if any, are required.

She has been trying to use online websites, but is not very internet-savvy. The one tutoring site she found takes over a third of the money she would make per lesson, so she is not satisfied with what she would bring in through that method. I would be willing to do the searching for her, but I'm rather clueless about post-retirement teaching as well. Is Craigslist a good idea?

Any help would be appreciated, MeFites!
posted by Kamelot123 to Work & Money (15 answers total)
Has she contacted school districts in her area? My mother's a retired teacher and regularly subsitutes in her former school district; it's certainly quite common.
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:10 PM on September 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yeah, for subbing it's all about relationships with the districts.
posted by SMPA at 10:15 PM on September 8, 2012

My mom is an elementary school teacher planning to retire in a few years, and she is considering participating in her school district's program where experienced (often retired) teachers become part-time mentors for new teachers and underperforming teachers. Her district calls this "PAR" - Peer Assistance and Review. Might be a fulfilling alternative to look into if your mom's local district has a similar program.
posted by dreamyshade at 10:17 PM on September 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

To make the kind of money she's looking for, she needs to become a consultant with the district. When I was working in a district office, there were a fair number of retirees doing this (although budget cuts are making this harder). She needs to work her contacts.
posted by smirkette at 10:25 PM on September 8, 2012

A couple of things to look into:

- Subbing, though that alone isn't going to do it money-wise. It will help with 2 and 3, though.
- Does she have unique curriculum materials that she can package and sell? I know that there are websites that facilitate this, but I'm not sure exactly which they are.
- SAT tutoring can be very lucrative. So can the tutoring required to be available to students at schools not making AYP; I saw ads for those positions (mostly elementary) in the $25-30/hr range. Check Craigslist; this is about the right time of year, too.
- Is there a university near her with an elementary education program? Perhaps she could teach a class or two.
posted by charmcityblues at 11:15 PM on September 8, 2012

It's not clear to me whether your mom taught in Cleveland or whether she taught somewhere else and just wound up retired in Cleveland, so some of this she may already be aware of . . . .

The actual City of Cleveland school system has been in serious trouble for years, academically, organizationally, and especially financially. I know people who've moved on to other careers because they were just put on a waiting list of, "Well, we'll give you a call whenever we get some money to actually hire, around about the Fifth of Never." I know others who've taken a whack at subbing just to get their foot in the door and absolutely hated it - a last minute call with four inches of snow on the ground, and there's no actual teaching involved, just being a warm adult body in a room full of unruly kids. And the money wasn't good.

So if she wants a nice, well-paid teaching environment, she might want to try some of the closer suburban school systems (Lakewood, Rocky River, Westlake, Bay Village on the west side, Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, University Heights, Beachwood on the east side) or some of the private schools, many of which have religious affiliations, especially Catholic.

OTOH, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District has a new CEO, and he's got a plan to transform the schools, and he's young & enthusiastic & sharp. I saw him give a presentation recently on his plan, and he's got a lot of good ideas, and one of the things that he wants to address is a lack of experienced teachers, so, (especially if your mom was already a teacher in Cleveland), they might be really enthusiastic about getting someone with her experience on board again, even if "just" as a tutor or sub or mentoring/training other teachers. Money might still not be great, though.

The big name in "continuing/adult" education around here is Cuyahoga Community College a.k.a. Tri-C. I'd bet they're always looking for part-time teachers and/or tutors.
posted by soundguy99 at 12:23 AM on September 9, 2012

Just want to add that the colleges need teachers who are the liaison between the college and the student teachers and are the student teachers' supervisors. Back in the dark ages when I went to BGSU, we could student teach in the Cleveland area and there were locals who supervised those who were student teaching there.
posted by Flacka at 4:38 AM on September 9, 2012

Just a data point, when I substitute full time, I make about $2000 a month after taxes. At 9.5 months of school a year, my theoretical max is $19,000 per year, but that doesn't include the many no school days per year, or any days I can't work for personal reasons.

Every school district has it's own substitute pay rate, of course, but I don't see her making up the money she needs by subbing unless she subs every single day, which doesn't sound like my kind of retirement.

Student teaching supervisor might be a good fit. All of the supervisors I can remember were retired teachers or administrators. She wouldn't be working directly with kids, but... it's not easy to make $24,000 working part time with kids.
posted by that's how you get ants at 6:38 AM on September 9, 2012

I suggest private tutoring (under the table). When I was at my financial lowest of the low, one of the only things that kept me going was tutoring. When I started, I charged $30 an hour (and over the years eventually got up to $50 an hour) for one-on-one tutoring in the child's home - the busy parents LOVED that I came to them and they didn't have to drive to a tutoring center and wait for their kid. You can try to call around to other tutoring centers to see what they charge to find a good price for your area.

I started with a sign in the local grocery store with those little tear off slips with my qualifications and phone number on them (we didn't have email or options like Craigslist back then) and eventually I got a lot of word of mouth business as well: "OMG, my child loves Miss Nora! He's doing so well in math now! You should give her a call." You can also ask local elementary schools if they have lists of tutors that they provide to parents and if you can be added to them. If she sees 5 students a week at $30 an hour, that's $150 for five hours work- less than a day- and certainly enough for groceries for the week.

I don't think she'll like subbing very much. I did a stint of it between elementary jobs and I hated it. I didn't adjust well to a job that I had to wait until that morning to find out if I was working that day (I personally needed more structure and guarantee of income). Anyway, I found it to be just babysitting; I wasn't getting the things I love about teaching - planning cool lessons, having students that I know on a daily basis, watching their growth over the year - stuff like that. You just go in, do what they tell you and go home. And as someone noted above, the rate isn't all that great for all the work you do.

Good luck to her!
posted by NoraCharles at 7:44 AM on September 9, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses, everyone!

Just to clarify - She worked for the Cleveland school district, and has applications in for subbing with Cleveland and other suburban districts. She is living around the Westlake area.

She told me that Cleveland pays $138 per day, and some of the other suburbs pay between $75 and $90 a day.

I've showed her the messages on this site so far. Apparently, subbing is right up her alley, she has no qualms with just babysitting/being called in with short notice/etc. She also has no problem with going in every day (I think she really misses teaching). I think she just really wants something that can keep her busy while making money. So far she particularly likes the Catholic school idea.

On a side note: She spent the majority of her career teaching behaviorally/learning disabled students, so she is perfectly fine in a high-stress environment. Maybe that's why the spontaneity of subbing doesn't really faze her.

Also, I was just told by her that she just needs $800 extra a month to get to what she was making before. I think my numbers were messed up previously. Of course, she would be happier making more than that!
posted by Kamelot123 at 8:49 AM on September 9, 2012

For what it's worth, I subbed in Avon for the 2002-2003 school year. The going rate then was $90 per day, but there were districts around that paid more than that. Avon had a policy then where they hired "building substitues" for each of the school buildings. For the high school they hired subs for language arts, history, math and science at the beginning of the school year.

They came in every day. Got paid every day. Subbed on days when teachers were out, but would work as aides to the teachers in their content area on days when no one was out. They also helped as proctors during standardized testing, assisted in the library, etc. They probably ended up teaching two days out of the week on average. It was mostly new teachers when I was there and while I know they had the program for high school and middle school, I don't know about the elementary schools.
posted by shesbookish at 9:11 AM on September 9, 2012

Have her look into adjuncting/lecturing as well. With SpEd experience, (and does she have a masters?) she may be able to get a lecturer position at a college, community college, or as Flacka said, work as a supervisory teacher for student teachers. Education as a field does value our practitioners, especially the ones with a lot of experience.
posted by oflinkey at 10:58 AM on September 9, 2012

This is a little different, so I'll share it. A teacher here had to leave full-time teaching, and he became a daily tutor, working from 3-5 pm. Rather than have a single kid during that period, I think he ended up with 12-15 whose parents would rather pay to see them working with an instructor than being latchkeys or going to day care after school. Grades substantially improved, kids are not running around loose or bored, and all homework gets done. Teacher makes plenty money with that many kids using the program.

It was originally set up at the Community College, which just happens to be right next to the Elementary School, so location wise, it was a rare gift. Maybe this could work with the Catholic School, too. I bet they already have all of the day care licensing in place.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 12:09 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I recently saw a post on a mom's group where someone asked how they could find a "mature" nanny- someone who raised their own kids and could help out with childcare and some cooking, house care sort of stuff- if your mom wanted to do something like that I am sure she could get top dollar and most likely work part time, after school. Even if she didn't want to do the house stuff I am sure she could find something similar where she is home with school age children and help them their school work.

In addition, in my district (Boston) there are also tutors who work with students who can't go to school for what ever reason, maybe she could find something like that?
posted by momochan at 6:35 PM on September 9, 2012

Totally an idea off the top of my head - look into the possibility of tutoring through one or more of the local library systems.

I'm not in school and don't have kids, so I don't really pay much attention to this kind of thing, but I'd swear I've seen various posters & bits on the websites about the libraries offering tutoring and/or test prep services.

Most of the suburban libraries are branches of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, Lakewood library is its' own entity (but not very far from Westlake), and of course Cleveland Public Library.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:45 AM on September 10, 2012

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