Sylvan Learning Centers Reviews | Glassdoor

Sylvan Learning Centers Reviews

Updated January 14, 2019
503 reviews

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3.8
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John McAuliffe
24 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • "Not full time, hourly pay is capped" (in 25 reviews)

  • "Poverty wages, no benefits, you get paid to "tutor", but really, you're teaching classrooms full of kids with behavioral problems" (in 15 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Excellent and satisfying work environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Tutor in Lake Charles, LA
    Current Employee - Tutor in Lake Charles, LA

    I have been working at Sylvan Learning Centers part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Aiding troubled students and furthering a student's ability to succeed academically.
    - Providing S.T.E.M. fundamentals to engage students in the technical side of their education, while promoting innovation and creativity

    Cons

    To be honest, I could not think of any aspect that I would consider a con to being an employee for Sylvan Learning


  2. "Don't be fooled"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director of Education
    Former Employee - Director of Education
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Sylvan Learning Centers full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Working with kids, working for a small business (most Sylvans are franchised), corporate support

    Cons

    I found that the biggest hurdle was the large discrepancy between our product and what we asked parents to pay for it. My center charged nearly $50/hour for a program designed to help students with remedial work. The number of times I had to field unhappy customers who didn't realize that, at that price point, their child still wouldn't receive 1:1 attention, was astounding.

    Sylvan sets up their directors to have to lie to the face of their customers. We were expected to doctor student test results in order to appease parents. We often had to come up with excuses why, at $50/hour, their child wasn't making the progress we had promised. As the face of the company, to these people who have invested sometimes thousands of dollars to help their kids, we took the most abuse when the miracle we promised just didn't deliver.

    I am not disparaging the product - but it isn't the miracle we advertise, and Sylvan's aggressive marketing and approach didn't work in the lower-income area where I worked. Maybe if you can afford to send a child to tutoring three or four times a week, it might take. I was there for nearly five years and that was a real rarity.

    More often than not, the kids who made significant progress at the minimally-recommended two hours per week were kids who weren't engaged at school, but understood the material well enough to do the activities that would get them prizes at the Sylvan Store.

    There was also very little work/life balance, as a director. Between our two directors, we each worked 10-hour days, and on early nights I still wouldn't be home until almost 7:30pm. We were only allowed half-hour lunches, and expected to be on-call if something came up on the weekend or outside of scheduled hours. There was never any discussion of hiring another set of hands.

    Advice to Management

    Be realistic. Sylvan is supplemental, outside-of-school tutoring. Don't promise a miracle. Talk about results in a realistic way. Every kid is different -- we charged way, way too much to promise every parent that we'd succeed. The center I worked at did hefty refunds three or four times a year because of this.

  3. "Burnt out quickly"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Sylvan Learning Centers full-time

    Pros

    The kids, families, and schools were amazing to work with

    Cons

    Too many asks from owners and not enough hands or hours to get anything done


  4. "Tutor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Sylvan Learning Centers part-time

    Pros

    Part time work in evenings to supplement my partial teaching contract. You really get to know the kids. NO lesson planning! Spiral curriculum helps kids master skills.

    Cons

    Prescribed and scripted. Can take some getting used to. Sometimes management isn't professional.


  5. "Full time employee to help"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Hunt Valley, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Hunt Valley, MD

    I have been working at Sylvan Learning Centers full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Share joys of seeing success with kids

    Cons

    Strange hours, expectations are tough to meet


  6. "Although the work itself is rewarding, my Center's training, compensation, and management style outweighed its worth."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher/Tutor in Kenosha, WI
    Current Employee - Teacher/Tutor in Kenosha, WI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Sylvan Learning Centers full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You will have many opportunities to positively impact students who truly need your guidance and wisdom within a controlled and collaborative teaching environment. Also, I found my co-tutors friendly, inspiring, and highly competent in their craft.

    Cons

    Training in my experience was simply a one-time surface-level overview: "Here, do this...this...and this... you're good" and did not utilize Sylvan's robust online training courses nor followed up with any kind of enhanced development to further support staff pedagogy. Compensation from my experience was about one-fourth of an hourly charge to the client. Management style from my experience at the time would vary between laissez-faire, to reactive, fear-based, and assumed the negative about the activities of the staff. Also, as casually as a weather report, a member of the management team would offhandedly reassure me not to fear when they might yell at me sometime during my employment because they do that to all the staff now and then.

    Advice to Management

    My advice would be 1) Pay Tutors at least 50% of hourly charges to the client (since Sylvan's success is actually founded on the tutor's direct involvement with the clients, not simply the curriculum). 2) Take all the developmental knowledge, tools, and philosophy that is applied to the clients and also leverage it to progressively train and develop their own employees as they work (since we too are Learners and at varying stages of development within our craft and we too each learn in unique ways). 3) Become a Deliberately Developmental Organization as described in An Everyone Culture by the Harvard Business Review.
    4) Finally, reassess tutoring methods & curriculum in light of new findings in cognitive science (specifically Universal Design for Learning).


  7. "Micromanaging at Sylvan Learning Centers is worse than ever!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Sylvan Learning Centers full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Impact the lives of children by helping them grow academically.
    Perfect for people who prefer micromanaging
    Always hiring due to the turnover

    Cons

    Horrible work/life balance. Directors have a mandated 45 hour work week with no breaks, frequent public shaming, and toxic upper level management to deal with regularly.

    Advice to Management

    Coach directors toward excellence like you expect us to do with our teachers. If someone asks a lot of questions, try answering them instead of firing them.

  8. "Regional Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Regional Manager in Lincoln, NE
    Current Employee - Regional Manager in Lincoln, NE
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Sylvan Learning Centers full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    They really care about students and their families! Such a rewarding career getting to change lives with a great team! Culture is huge, and the culture within our organization is hard to match.

    Cons

    The hours can be tough, but if you love what you do, you make it work!


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Program Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Hunt Valley, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Hunt Valley, MD
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Sylvan Learning Centers part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    flexible hours, interactions with children

    Cons

    travel to multiple sites

    Advice to Management

    Management was great


  10. "Sylvan"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Tutor in Columbus, OH
    Former Employee - Tutor in Columbus, OH
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Sylvan Learning Centers part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I worked for three different owners and I loved the first two owners. They knew how to hire the right office staff and everyone knew of proper education practices.

    Cons

    Management/owners make or break the center. I loved working with Sylvan before the last owner took over. The current owner of the New Albany, Ohio center hired non-professionals to work in the office and they knew nothing about education and proper scheduling.