Many of us who begin private tutoring may ask this question, should I invest in supplies? The simple answer is yes. As educators, we should always have pens, pencils, paper, dry white boards, Expo markers, a calculator (specifically a T1-83 or T1-84 when working with Geometry, Algebra 2 and Trigonometry students). In my opinion, we should always be prepared for our sessions (make sure that you know the material as well).
Now, another question tutors (especially first-timers like myself) may ask is, should we purchase books built on the criteria for a certain grade such as Common Core Math. My answer again is yes. We are preparing our students for continued success in Math (and other subjects) and to receive high standardized test scores (for those students who are a part of school districts who measure them based on their performance on these exams). I understand that these types of books can be expensive, but, they are well worth it.
If you are a tutor who can't afford the basic supplies needed for tutoring, here are some tips for purchasing these supplies on a budget:
- If there is a Kroger, Fred Meyer, Target, Walmart, Meyer, and/or Office Depot near you, sign up for their rewards card and email alerts. There are always coupons ready to be used at these stores
- Buy in bundles. I know that Office Depot in particular always notebook paper, graphing paper, and pencils on sale. Stock up. You will not regret this
- If there is a wholesale store near you, I highly recommend you to get a membership. Sam's, Costco's and Ollie's Army (for those who live in Georgia) have the basic supplies in bulks. You can probably really save at these stores.
- If you are looking for additional material for your students to work on either during your sessions or afterwards, I recommend you to go into a bookstore that has used or discontinued books for your particular subjects. I can honestly tell you that I have saved over $100 just by doing this. (You can also hit up some garage/estate sales to find old books and supplies. Yes, people have school supplies at these sales)
- If you have a library card, use it. There are tons of resources at the local library for your specific subject(s).
- If you haven't already, I recommend you to use both Khan Academy and Math XL. Khan Academy covers all subjects and the best part, it's free. All that you and your students would need is an email, Facebook, and/or Twitter account to sign up. (With Math XL, they have limited free resources, but they are still good.)
- Google, Bing, and Yahoo Search are your best friends. There are tons of resources (worksheets, interactive games, etc.) on the web, and if you guess, for FREE.
I hope this has helped someone who is struggling with making the decision to invest in materials for their tutor-tutee sessions.