'Parents think the kids are struggling if they’re getting B's': $175-an-hour private tutor lifts lid on pressured after-school life of New York's richest children
22:39 GMT, 28 June 2012
A private academic tutor to wealthy children in New York has spilled the beans on what the job really entails and the kinds of families she works for.
Unidentified in a tell-all account for Buzzfeed, the tutor, who we will call Mona, reveals the challenges of working with children who don't really need help, and the overbearing parents who throw histrionics if their children get B's.
Calling the work 'unrewarding' she says: 'It's weird to even call this tutoring. You’re managing workflow. It's what other parents call helping their kids with homework.'
Study time: An anonymous tutor has revealed what it is like to help the children of the wealthy avoid Bs and deal with impossible parents
Charging $150-$175 an hour for her services, Mona goes to the houses of the city's most affluent families where she explains, tutors are regarded as 'the help' rather than as a professional educator.
Parents will pay up to $1000 ahead of SATs and while they are not allowed to ask teachers at their children's school for outside help, there is nothing stopping them from asking someone from a private school down the block to nip over at the end of the day.
And the more unavailable you are as a tutor, she explains, the more determined the parents are to hire you.
But half the students don't really need the help at all, Mona believes. They may get B's and C's but it's a far cry from the low-income kids who she also helps.
She writes: 'These are not struggling students! If I brought my remediation materials for them they'd be insulted.'
Struggling would seem a laughable adjective to describe the children whose excuse for not doing work is that they 'left stuff at the beach house'.
But while Mona watches them ship their bags to Vail and listens to conversations about country estates, she says, it's hard to fault the children for their privilege when it's the parents who are pushing them to succeed.
'These are not struggling students! If I brought my remediation materials for them they'd be insulted'
'You can't hate on these kids – she wasn't saying it to brag,' she writes of one girl who asked if she wanted to see a picture of her pony. 'She said it in the same way a normal kid would ask if you wanted to see her favorite doll. But they have whatever they need, and much more.'
Mona originally found work through a therapist friend whose job it was to evaluate the students whose parents and teachers felt were under-performing and needed help.
She would give them a list of tutors and Mona's name would be on it. Now though, it's all about word of mouth as eager and competitive parents thrust money at whoever they believe will help their teenaged child.
'Most of the dads are in finance, and none of these moms work,' she explains. 'They're mostly home in the afternoon, and there's also a housekeeper and/or babysitter. They all live in fancy buildings – their living rooms are the size of three apartments.'
And she adds, it is 'assumed' that they all have houses in the Hamptons or upstate in Bedford.
'The kids are so stressed,' she concludes. 'They know the parents get pissed if they don't do well. The parents were really hard on their kids. But the kids want to do well. They're not like, oh god, the tutor's here.'