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Does teaching kaplan pay enough to live off of?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by parliamentarian, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. parliamentarian

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    I'm considering trying to teach for kaplan during my off year, but is this really enough money to pay for an apartment + bills etc? I know lots of people on here teach so do you guys have other jobs as well?
     
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  3. linguini

    linguini Hopeful member
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    I don't think that everyone who teaches has the same budget. It largely depends on your living expenses. Consider what the rent (+utilities possibly) is like where you live, what are your own spending habits, do you have loans to pay back, will you be supporting anybody else with your paycheck, do you want to live paycheck to paycheck or do you want to save some money.
     
  4. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    I wouldn't rely on it as a primary source of income. If you can teach 2-3 courses at a time, you could probably scrape by.

    I teach 1 course now and it basically pays 1/2 my rent. They hook you in with the salary for teaching, but mind you there will be plenty of other stuff you have to do at a substantially lower pay.

    Send me a PM if you want more specifics on how much to expect as an MCAT instructor/tutor.
     
  5. beachblonde

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    It largely depends on what you're teaching. If you can pick up two simultaneous classes, you could teach anywhere up to 6x/week (during the summer). Fall/Winter/Spring classes tend to only run 2x/week, so then you might be teaching 4 times a week at the max. Mind you, this is working with the assumption that you'll teach all subjects. If not, count on less class time.

    If you do some rough math, you get 3 hrs class time per session, with an hour for prep. So each class might pay ~$70 (rough estimates here). With only a few a week, it's not much. Kaplan courses are in the evenings (weekdays) so you could get another job to balance it out.
     
  6. aznb0y129

    aznb0y129 Oh hamburgers!
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    I currently am training to be a Kaplan MCAT instructor but I am definitely not relying on it to support me financially as I have a full-time job as well. It's nice to have on the side though.

    If you are an excellent teacher and can get those $5 raises with regularity and teach full-time, you could probably make a decent living, but if you're just starting out, you probably want to consider it as a secondary option.
     
  7. bashir

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    I'm sure it varies according to which center you're at and how many classes it runs at a time, but at my center there's no way I'd be able to get in enough teaching time per week to live off of. Your actual teaching time per hour would probably be enough to scrape by on if you were working anywhere close to full-time, but I have a hard time picturing how anyone could do that; you'd have to teach like five classes at once, which I'm not sure is even possible given scheduling constraints. You could do it in theory if you had a few tutoring students who you could meet with during the day.

    Though I like teaching and enjoy the extra money, I'm frequently tempted to quit solely out of principle. It's criminal what they pay us given how much they extract from the students. In all likelihood that will never change (regardless of how much they brag about the new incentive program) because saps like me (and you ;)) let them get away with it.
     
  8. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    I also would love to quit. I have no idea why I just signed up to teach another course.
     
  9. aznb0y129

    aznb0y129 Oh hamburgers!
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    To those who are currently teachers for Kaplan, can you describe your experiences, both positive and negative, for those of us (read: me) who are in training and probably going to be starting our first classes soon?

    If this doesn't belong in pre-allo, you can PM me as well.
     
  10. DrJD

    DrJD Junior Member
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    Alright, what everyone said above is right on but let me summarize for the OP.

    DEPENDS. It depends on how much it costs you to live and how many classes you will be teaching. If your question was truly, could I live off of teaching Kaplan? The answer is yes. Minimizes your monthly expenses and teach as many classes as you can. Could you live teaching 2 nights a week? No... But if you pick up as many classes as you can you could absolutely make enough to live. Guy I knew worked "full time" aka just taught a lot of classes and made near 40k a year...

    As far as goods and bads, I'd say that overall i had a good experience. Teaching students is awesome, but I don't like having to shove the "kaplan methods" down peoples throats. Making sure you say "test day" and Kaplan methods 5 times per page gets really old...

    All that to say, it is nice and I think a great part time job but I just got frustrated with the curriculum some. I think they should focus more on content and general strategies rather than 30 point Kaplan methods for everything...

    Also depends on whether you use the Kaplan methods though you know? Personally I think having a "method" for verbal is stupid, I say you read it and then answer the questions. So having to spend hours talking about this strategy that I thought was stupid got old, and having to act excited about it was hard.

    If you have any specific questions let me know!
     
  11. bjb305

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    i taught (and am still teaching) kaplan for the 3rd year now
    as a negative.. at first i was nervous for a class of 30, but that goes away quick and to the plus side, i think it helped my public speaking cause i have no problem getting in front of a big group anymore.. as for the classes, some are good some are bleh, depends on your students.. i've had a couple classes where we all became friends.. i've had others where the students REFUSE to talk, even when you call on them, they just sit in silence till you give them the answer
    overall tho i like it.. great part time job
     
  12. bjb305

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    oh and for the OP.. unless you are mega cheap, and you get EVERY class you can possibly teach with some tutoring hours, you may wanna get a 2nd job
    it's just hard when all the classes are the same time, and it's only 3 hours of work to make enough to live off of
     
  13. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    I agree with you. I enjoy teaching, but I feel like I'm doing more recruiting future students than I am teaching kids how to take a test. And for the hourly rate they're paying, plus the recruiting of future students I'm doing, I feel like you should be paid a lot better. When some kid is paying $150/hr for tutoring, why not let the tutor get more than $21/hr?
     
  14. bjb305

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    ah i love it! totally agree!
    i think we should be able to teach with leniency and not force us to do it a certain way.. my students seem to appreciate my honesty when i talk to them about certain things
     
  15. DrJD

    DrJD Junior Member
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    Seriously! Like I when I recommended Examkrackers 101 Verbal passages to my students :)
     
  16. Food

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    Yeah - I agree with you guys. I've been with Kaplan for about a year now, but I really depend on this job to pay bills. It's a pretty good part-time job if you're an undergrad - since the work is mostly in the evening. The thing is that the turnover rate for Kaplan (and probably other prep companies) MCAT instructors is so high that they are constantly hiring and training teachers. This is because most MCAT teachers teach during their senior year then go off to med-school. I took the MCAT early so I worked for them my junior year and now my senior year. It can be a somewhat stressful job if you are teaching multiple classes at once - but I think it pays well. I do wish we'd get paid more though. Here is some quick math:

    For one full Kaplan course - you teach roughly 18 sessions (I think? - I should know this). You make ~70$ each session you teach (give or take a couple bux). So multiply that by 18 - it comes out to around 1260$ you make for the entire course. Now consider that each of your students is paying around 1500-1700$ just to take the course. So we aren't even earning as much as the cost of just ONE course. That kinda ticks me off a bit sometimes. But whatever - my supervisors are really nice and flexible. Anyway - you can't rely on a part-time Kaplan job to pay all your expenses, you definitely need another job. With that said - I'm going to try to teach 2-3 courses this spring (before med school starts) to pay off about $5000 of credit card debt.
     
  17. bjb305

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    haha yea i heard that was good.. i've never used it but i sure have suggested it!
     
  18. Food

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    As far as teaching along with Kaplan's curriculum - I agree. You have to be honest after a point. I mean I still stress the major strategies but I do point out where I think one should draw the limits. Personally - I used passage mapping for verbal from the start and I thought it was instrumental in my succeeding in verbal. So I had no problem telling them about it. It's just hard to advertise a strategy when you haven't used it with much success. I find passage mapping to be harder to apply to the sciences - and I tell them that it is natural - but give it a try anyway. If you tell your students that passage mapping is loosely defined anyway - it depends on the way you think and perceive, they are more likely to use it.
     
  19. beachblonde

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    Hands down, definitely my least favorite thing about teaching for them.

    Especially with the MCAT, they know that they're taking the test. The course cost them $1,800, I promise you that they know. Saying "MCAT" every few minutes makes me want to gag sometimes. Especially when I get this look from my students that says "seriously? you're mentioning the test again?"

    I also think that they don't pay enough. I got $12/hr at one point. I'm sorry, Kaplan, but that was ripping me off. Examkrackers pays more like $40 an hour. Too bad my contract's with Kaplan, silly non-compete agreement.
     
  20. armybound

    armybound urologist.
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    Their salary advertisements are also pretty misleading. I had some kind of expectation that I'd be making $30-35/hr, given my education and teaching experience.. turns out it's a non-negotiable $18-21, and that's only when you're actually teaching, and an utterly insulting $7 when you're doing the tons and tons of "out of class" things they require of you.
     
  21. iheartsnow

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    I did SAT tutoring for a while with Kaplan. (I was going to do MCAT, but then decided that training for it would be too reminiscent of studying for the thing in the first place). I agree with what a lot of people have said.

    1. The pay is just too little when you consider all the time you put in. With tutoring in particular, you have to travel to their apartments. In NYC, that can be an hour each way. Plus, to be a good tutor you have to put way more than the recommended prep time in, which you only get paid like $7 an hour for.

    2. It is very difficult to get their raises, especially if you are a part time tutor. I thought I would easily be able to increase my salary, but there are so many stipulations, including the number of "high score guarantee" students per session, near-perfect evaluations, score increases. A lot of this is beyond your control.

    3. I did not buy into the Kaplan methods, at least for the SAT. And teaching already overprivileged high schoolers how to outwit the SAT doesn't make me feel like what I'm doing is worthwhile. In addition, you deal with ridiculous expectations about how you are miraculously going to turn someone's lazy C-student into a genius. You probably wouldnt face these issues with MCAT, since most people are already pretty self-motivated, and they don't have their parents call you to complain (I hope).

    Overall, I find it doubtful that you would be able to make enough money teaching for Kaplan. In addition, I would be very wary of putting yourself in the position where you HAVE to work for them for a living. There is a reason the turnover rate is so high. Some people love working for Kaplan, but they seem to be in the minority.
     
  22. Loon

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    This was EXACTLY what I felt teaching for Kaplan.

    Another issue I had was that I hated giving 3 hours of lecture. It was like being on autopilot for 3 hours, but having to monitor it closely. The only times teaching was fun was when the students would ask questions. Otherwise, I was parroting someone else's curriculum and method.

    And one of my students called me out on constantly saying "Kaplan says"

    That said, I really like working with the students. I just wish I could be honest and say "Kaplan can't tell you how to get better at Verbal. Just go read a lot."
     
  23. DrJD

    DrJD Junior Member
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    That is so awesome, I wish I could have had that be my Verbal 1 class and be done after 15 seconds...

    Kaplan's pay is definitely not very good... Not only do they expect you to prep for 7 bucks an hour but they also want it to only take you a few hours to prep the class. You can do it, but if you really want to be a good teacher then you end up having to do prep that isn't paid.
     
  24. DrJD

    DrJD Junior Member
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    No students ever called me out on the "Kaplan Crap" but sometimes I felt like they would look at me funny when I'd say "test day" so often... You gotta say the "day that you take your test" sometimes just to keep from going crazy.

    I want to second what someone said above too, the students make a huge difference. If they are a good class it can be really fun, ask questions, answer questions you ask, etc. But sometimes they really do just stare at you like you are crazy.
     
  25. pianola

    pianola MS2
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    ...were. :( We'll see what's in store coming up...
     
  26. beachblonde

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    I'm glad to see this has turned into a "why I'm ambivalent about being a Kaplan employee" thread. :laugh:

    The unpaid, but necessary, prep time also is very frustrating. If you have other stuff going on in your life (like, say, school) it can eat up a lot of your time with zero reimbursement. But it's absolutely necessary so in class when a student asks why answer B to Q4 is wrong, you don't stare at them and go "uhhhh..."

    I enjoyed some of my groups of students far more than others. I had one small class of 8 people that was a blast to teach. The larger classes with 30 students or more get tiring because there's a bunch of blank faces staring at you, waiting for enlightenment.
     
  27. midwesterner

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    What happens if you don't say "Kaplan methods" or "test day" all the time? Does anyone from Kaplan really know/care?
     
  28. Bartelby

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    I taught a Kaplan class two nights a week, three hours a night. It paid okay (great for saving up for summer travel), but my daytime research job paid the bills. I certainly couldn't have lived off of the Kaplan pay; maybe if you were able to teach a whole lot you could scrape by.

    Check out Princeton Review, though, some classmates of mine have told me Princeton pays way better!
     
  29. Bartelby

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    Seconded on BeachBlonde's "glad to see this has turned into a 'why I am ambivalent about working for Kaplan' thread" comment! I couldn't bring myself to mention "test day" or some of the other things five times a page, so I didn't. I found, though, that I really did not like acting enthusiastic about methods that seemed pretty dumb to me. I studied on my own, and honestly did not agree with some of the methods I was teaching as a Kaplan instructor. That lack of enthusiasm showed, and although I tried my best I think that someone who believed in and used the method would have been a better choice for course instructor than I was.

    When I give my own presentations people often tell me they are very impressed (a few jokes + speaking without notecards = brilliant!), but when I had to teach by the Kaplan book my presentations were less well-received.
     
  30. beachblonde

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    You won't make it out of training, for one. They quite literally grade you based upon the number of times you say those things (among others), and if you don't score high enough, you flunk.

    Once you're in the classroom, unless you have somebody observing you, then I guess you could get away with saying "test day" less. But of course, the students have the opportunity to evaluate their teachers, and some of the evaluations are based upon "test day focus" and similar criteria.
     
  31. DrJD

    DrJD Junior Member
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    Haha, I kind of like what this thread turned in to as well... I'm not a fan of how structured the lesson plans are. I always tried to ignore all of the little bubbles telling me what to say. The thing is that if you are following the TEL too closely then you sound robotic and they don't want that, yet they write it out in such great detail!!

    And yea, unless you are being observed they won't know how many times you say "test day" etc, but I was always afraid they would find out some how... The best was subbing for one class here and there because then you have more freedom because you know that the students won't be evaluating you!
     

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