Sylvan Learning Centers

  www.educate-inc.com
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Sylvan Learning Centers Reviews

Updated Jul 16, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.1 169 reviews

68% Approve of the CEO

Sylvan Learning Centers CEO Jeffrey H. Cohen

Jeffrey H. Cohen

(65 ratings)

57% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • working with students and families(in 8 reviews)

  • The director of education and the administrators were extremely accommodating and helpful(in 7 reviews)


Cons
  • Full time meant that we ran on a school schedule for the school we worked for so we only averaged about 33 hours/week(in 10 reviews)

  • If you are working as a part time teacher at Sylvan, your hours are in the hands of the parents(in 8 reviews)

169 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
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    Tutor

    Tutor (Current Employee)

    ProsThe other tutors and students are great. There are no parent conferences or paperwork to complete. You just tutor then leave.

    ConsThe pay sucks. I made more without a college degree. This job is just for pocket change and the love of teaching.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

     

    Good Teachers, poor management

    Tutor/Teacher (Current Employee) Palmyra, PA

    ProsFlexible extra income around traditional school hours. Enjoy helping students succeed.

    ConsRate of pay is very low for a tutor. Very difficult to give adequate support to multiple students. Expensive for families- profits not filtered to the teachers who do the daily interactions with the students

    Advice to Senior ManagementHigher wages; more individualized programs. iPad programs are very generic and do not meet the needs of every student that comes through the door.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

    1 person found this helpful  

    Sylvan bends over backward for families--by taking advantage of teachers

    Teacher (Current Employee)

    ProsI enjoy working with kids of all ages, from beginning readers to high schoolers. If it weren't for the kids, I would have been out of here long ago. My coworkers really care about the kids and do their best. Unfortunately, even the best teachers are working within a massively flawed system.

    ConsEverything else about this company has been a professional nightmare. Here are my biggest concerns:

    INCONSISTENT AND CHAOTIC SCHEDULE
    Sylvan's primary work hours are after-school, about 3-8pm. Kids are able to reschedule their sessions at a moment's notice, and while it's great that Sylvan accommodates this, the short-notice system totally takes advantage of teachers. For example, though I have permanent weekly hours, I daily receive phone calls asking me to come in early, stay later, or work extra days. These calls come the day before if I'm lucky, and, more often, just hours before I'm expected to be at work. I have also worked several 14-day periods without a break due to all these daily call-ins! I told my supervisor it wasn't possible for me to work so long without a break. She gave me a puzzled look, explained that she had no idea how I'd been on the schedule that long, and STILL proceeded to ask me if I could work for the next three days!

    Several times, though weekends are the ONLY dates scheduled weeks in advance, I have been asked to come in Saturday mornings to work with students on particular upper-level subjects. Even though the students called in last-minute, the schedule is changed with no consideration for the events and appointments I've had to miss--ones that have been on my calendar for weeks. Again, when I bring these considerations to my supervisor, I'm met with a half-hearted apology and a, "Well...you can still do it, right? We really need you."

    There have also been several times I arrived to work after a kid had cancelled, leaving me with nothing to do, and I and other teachers had even been sent home early because kids didn't show up! When someone complained to the supervisor that she'd driven half an hour to work only to be sent home, the supervisor said, "Well, it sucks, but that's the nature of the job." Unfortunately, "the nature of the job" always seems to take precedent over employee care. Teachers are expected to bend over backward to serve families who don't have the foresight to plan more than a day ahead, and we're made to feel guilty by supervisors who change the schedule without a thought, then spend half the shift frantically calling teachers to fill in the gaps.

    In short (and I realize this wasn't short), Sylvan's scheduling system is an absolute nightmare! It seems to work well for retirees or part-time workers who just want to pick up a couple hours a week, but the full-time teachers who follow their school day with night hours at Sylvan are entirely burned out, and those like me (who wanted part-time hours without realizing how very part-time and sporadic they'd be) are sucked dry and expected to give, give, give, even when they have nothing left.

    TEACHING MULTIPLE SUBJECTS/SUBJECTS NOT QUALIFIED TO TEACH
    Sylvan purports to provide optimum learning experiences with a 3:1 student/teacher ratio. Sometimes, three kids per table works just fine. Usually, though, the students are of varying ages, working on totally different subjects, and if there's a particularly uncooperative kid at a table--guess who gets all the teacher's time? For parents who are paying over $1/minute for these services, a 1:1 ratio would be much more appropriate! Your child is rarely getting a teacher's undivided attention, and the generic iPad lessons (not to mention numerous iPad glitches) are not targeting areas of children's needs as specifically as the company claims. No, a private tutor might not be able to offer Sylvan's testing, but any perceptive educator could provide a better, more specified learning plan.

    There's also the problem of teachers teaching outside their subject areas. Math teachers are hired to tutor the upper-level maths, but teachers with inadequate math skills often end up teaching above their ability. Poor writing and study skills students especially get opposing advice from teachers (as they rotate tables with no rhyme or reason, often splitting even a two-hour session between two different teachers). This lack of continuity leads to kids revising papers they've already been revising for weeks, editing out something another teacher just told them to leave in, or having repetitive discussions about clean backpacks and filled-out planners. Several kids I work with get so irritated that their teachers never know what happened during the previous hour!

    THE PAY
    This job requires both an education degree and a teaching license (expired or current). Starting pay at our center is $11/hr, hardly competitive against other jobs in the area that require no prior experience or degrees! Add this to the fact that teachers are working only 2-4 hours at a time yet driving to work multiple days of the week, and the pay barely covers gas money.

    --

    As a parent, I feel Sylvan is ridiculously expensive for what they offer and would recommend a private tutor, who'd be much more affordable and give your kid the one-on-one time he/she really needs.

    As a teacher, I feel completely taken advantage of! I have given a year to this company and feel constantly stressed, underappreciated, and underpaid. I have kindly brought my concerns before my supervisors and was shown little concern, other than a few short-term rearrangements that ultimately did nothing. And this is in a center with low teacher turnover and a very organized boss! Other circumstances have kept me at this job for nearly a year, but I am actively searching for a way out. If you're looking to work with kids a few times a week, have a very flexible schedule, and don't care about the money, Sylvan might be an okay gig. If you're hoping for a steady schedule, free evenings, and supervisors who respect your time, look elsewhere!

    Advice to Senior ManagementFilter your high tutoring costs down to the teacher paychecks, revamp your glitchy website, revise your 3:1 policy to ensure optimum teacher-student interaction, and create some sort of protocol limiting last-minute schedule changes that affect the entire center

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
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    This is a good place to work and enjoy using improved skills and training young students!

    Tutor (Current Employee) McKinney, TX

    ProsThere are many reasons to teach and help students but I think overall the training and potential to help others here with their own personal situations is rewarding! All people who work here are dedicated as a team!

    ConsThere is sometimes a frustration in helping students overcome some of their personal struggles. I wished I could help them to achieve their goals a little faster.

    Advice to Senior ManagementI do not see that happening for me here.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
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    • Senior Management
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Sylvan learning center is a great place for students to learn and teachers to teach.

    Teacher (Current Employee)

    ProsI love working with the students. It is fun to interact with them and the atmosphere of work is very positive and upbeat. I rarely have had a bad day.

    ConsSometimes you do not get enough hours working at sylvan. Several weeks I have worked less than 10 hours. This is difficult if you do not have a full time job as well.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPay teachers a little more.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
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    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Wonderful company to work for!

    Director of Education (Current Employee) Atlanta, GA

    ProsReally get to see the children learn and grow academically. These are parents/students who strive to be better and are really vested in education.

    ConsThe schedule is tough when you have to always work until later in the evenings and on Saturdays, but it goes with the nature of the business.

    Advice to Senior ManagementKeep it up!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    easy going, strond program

    Tutor (Current Employee) Charleston, SC

    Proscan give tons of individual help to children, wonderful staff,

    Conslow pay, possible to move up because no one can live on $10per hour part time....otherwise I will be forced to leave My credentials deserve $40 per hour

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

     

    Sylvan is a great place to work at. Especially if you like working with kids!

    Tutor (Former Employee) McAllen, TX

    ProsGreat atmosphere, lots of resources and accomodations, kids are awesome to work with.

    ConsHave to tutor up to 3 students individually every hour due to the 3-to-1 ratio, Poor pay, hours also may not be enough

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Not good. If I was a tutor, I would do stick to private tutoring - find clientele on craigslist or care.com

    Secondary Mathematics Tutor (Former Employee) Austin, TX

    ProsNot much. I enjoyed the people I worked with, minus a few who have been there a long time and think they know everything there is to know about how to teach. They have a lot to learn about multiple learning styles, especially in low income areas. I did appreciate the planning period where I could get some of the million paper-work/busywork sheets that they make you do. Every tutor will tell you this is the most tedious system ever.

    The E.C's are allowed 3 events a semester where I think 3 tutors are allowed to go to events such as basketball, football, volleyball games, etc. to show support for the school and earn hours. This is probably the only altruistic thing outside of normal pay that Sylvan has done for its tutors. Although, it's only for 3 tutors, and only for 3 events.

    ConsWhen they claim that you'll be working "full-time" you should inquire about exactly how many hours you'll be getting. Full time meant that we ran on a school schedule for the school we worked for so we only averaged about 33 hours/week. This meant that I was making about the same I was making at my previous job I left when I saw the ad for "$15/hour plus benefits to tutor math." It's a huge scam in the grand scheme of things when they are making $80+ an hour per kid at the Sylvan Center itself and no telling what they're charging the schools for push-in or pull-outs. Either way, it's a monopoly and we're not getting the good end of the stick.

    They give you "tokens" as an incentive to ensure you've signed in/out correctly and they can be redeemed for $5-10 gift cards when you achieve a few hundred, which would take months. It's all based upon whether you enter your time correctly in three different spots - once on a sign in sheet, once in their ADP system, and once where you have to check the ADP system and the sign in sheet with a Google document. Horrible system if you ask me. I would rather they fix this system of clocking in/out and instead of giving me some bologna tokens, give me a bonus or more pay instead like real companies. For Christ sake, you give the students the same tokens - are we your students/children too?

    After you enter all of your students grades and behavior "grades" on paper after each lesson, you also have to spend your time putting them in online. This system needs some work.

    Lessons are not planned out well - people teach however they want so when tutors are absent and kids are with other tutors, they get behind on work and don't understand what's going on.

    We have absolutely no authority over the students, so kids can come to class and act a fool and we can basically do nothing about it because the principals and AP's aren't doing anything to stop it either. Our E.C's realize this and let the really bad kids sit at their table and do no work, while everyone else does moderate amounts of work. Tell me how this system is good again? Oh, right. It's not. Discipline needs to be enforced here.

    Management doesn't follow the rules of absences - the rule is "as long as you let your E.C. know 24 hours in advance of your absence it becomes their problem, not yours" - well it has happened to me and others before where our boss has told us, "sorry, I need you to work, I can't find a tutor for you."

    They give you 5 absences total - your entire lifetime with Sylvan. I think that's kind of ridiculous if you ask me. I was sick 1 day during the holidays and went to the doctor 2 of those days. I went to an interview for 1. By the time I left Sylvan, after being there for only 3 months, I had used 4 of those absences. They say they'll have a "talk" with you about letting you go after that, but honestly, they're constantly hiring new tutors because there is such a high turnover rate, I doubt they'd fire anyone.

    Also, be aware! Schools in Austin have lots of planned in teacher development days and holidays, and recently snow days - which means you WON'T be getting paid for those days. That also affected my pay a lot. Sylvan doesn't really do anything about this because they don't seem to really care about their tutors like they claim to. If they did, they'd host an inservice for tutors, planning future lessons, going over methods to remain consistent, or do something to give tutors hours.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCons outweigh the pros here. I suggest a large revamping of all of your systems in place beginning with management and how you run your business, if that's what this is even.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

     

    Some pros, some cons

    Teacher (Former Employee) New York, NY

    ProsI learned a lot about teaching and testing. They liked to promote within the company, so there was room for growth, especially if you wanted to work on the business/managerial side.

    ConsSome of the teaching materials felt out of date. Students now need more multi-sensory engagement. Hourly rates for teachers were quite low.

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf pay for teachers can't be improved, perhaps some other benefits can be provided. Teaching materials that were a little more visual, aural, and tactile, even for older students, like computer based programs, might be helpful.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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