I would love to give this company five stars for working there, but there are some problematic structural issues within the company that prevents me from doing so. I don't expect perfection, but I do wish that their system was established in a way that would help their tutors thrive.
Okay, the first thing you need to know about working with Tutor.com is that the training they offer is on your own time, and they expect you to read through pages and pages and documents and documents. This makes it difficult to know exactly what they want, and they use this to their advantage. You become competent enough so that you don't get your account closed, but the "quality specialists" approach feedback on an error basis rather than providing feedback to build skills. The lack of standards they have make it difficult for anyone to excel within the company, and that's how they like it. The less they have to pay tutors to work, the better it is for their bottom line. Make no mistake: you are a freelance tutor there, and you are 100% disposable. After a while, you begin to understand that this is their attitude, veiled through polite communications.
Because their standards are not clear for everyone and the quality specialists are there to make sure they find every single mistake you make and then go off on a rant for it, they then give you a demerit on your evaluations.
It seems I'm not the only one who noticed this trend. I was hired right before the pandemic hit, and while they handled things fairly well through this arduous challenge and supported the tutors well throughout it, I noticed something happening this semester: they couldn't fill their schedule for beans. I'm serious. They claimed it was because of the increase in demand, but they also expressed that they were going to start closing inactive accounts. I suppose many others were just sick and tired of feeling undervalued.
The reason their tutors feel undervalued is because of the way they evaluate the tutors month after month. The quality specialists never, never, never, never, never, never, never, NEVER, evaluate the tutors for their strengths. NE-VER! The tutors might get satisfactory marks on their evaluations, but the evaluator will then go into long, long, long explanations regarding ONE session about what they perceive the problem was, and the feedback is rarely completely on target. There are really ten thousand things that could go wrong in a session, which includes their classroom running inefficiently, and they always take that as the tutor's problem rather than a difficulty of working within their problem-ridden platform. So, it's insulting when you do everything right on every other session, but then they pick up on one little thing that might be slightly off, and they don't ask what happened or why, and they give you a demerit for that skill. Plus, the tutors have NO VOICE in this process. It's all one-way. No questions are asked. They are not interested in hearing from the tutors, ever. They will run a survey every so often, but don't trust that you will stay anonymous. I have had too much experience with other companies. I've seen people get fired over their answers to surveys! The quality specialists simply go through your sessions, pick something out, go off on some rant about this one mistake they think you made, and they do not discuss it to maximize learning, and you just wind up looking like garbage.
As you can imagine, trying to survive as a freelancer at this company is frustrating, and the work environment is highly negative. You are constantly on edge because you know that if the evaluators even perceive an error, they will give you a low ranking on that skill even though you did right 100 times in 100 other sessions.
Honestly, I have worked for other tutoring platforms with excellent training programs, top-rate, actually, so I have an excellent point of comparison, so I hope you will find value in my observations so you can see I'm not just leaving feedback to hurt the company. This is something that every single person considering working for the company should take into account. If you're already working for the company, no, it's not just you! Others go through this too!
There was one company I work for where they provided paid training, and you have a trainer working with you one-on-one and helping you through the process. They have extensive training for their asynchronous and synchronous sessions, including a two-hour training for their audio-video sessions. The culture is a culture of inclusiveness and sensitivity, so instead of hammering away on a perceived error and marking your entire performance as unsatisfactory for the entire month, they instead look at what you did correctly and then add to your knowledge by going over the basics again, highlighting what is important and what to prioritize. They spell out their procedures so that you know what your responsibilities are for any given scenario. They cultivate the best environment for both students and their tutors. The people who trained me had been with the company for over a decade, every single one of them, so they were able to provide me not only with procedural knowledge and expectations, but also advice on how to approach problematic student behaviors. It was great because I felt like I got to work with an expert, and ALL of these trainers literally bent over backwards to ensure I would be successful. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, actually. It is easy to thrive in a company like this, and I have been! I'm doing extremely well there! Their company is filled with excellent, skilled professionals who all seem to have stellar communication skills. It inspires me to be excellent too! I really see the care they take in taking care of the students, and as a result, tutors are allowed to express caring to the students too, and to be excellent. It's difficult to fail with such as strong team of trainers. Plus, there is always someone available around the clock to ask questions during your shifts.
On the other hand, with Tutor.com, you really don't get any of this, and they just can't seem to get it right. They provide a few basics in their manual, but they literally throw the materials at you with what seems like several thousand other documents and then expect you to read them on your own time. With knowledge dispersed over scores of documents, it is really difficult to know what the company chooses to prioritize. It looks like it's all just thrown together. With the knowledge of your job dispersed over scores of documents, leaving you to pick through their document library on which ones to read, mentally, this sets you up to believe that they don't really have any priorities for tutors to focus on during their tutoring sessions.
But then, the quality specialists come in, and instead of emphasizing a unified concept of the skills and goals for how every session should be, they begin to pick away at you for every single mistake, which is disheartening and discouraging. This is the chosen approach from the top down. The type of feedback you get is that out of hundreds of sessions you might have for the month, they will pick out one or two mistakes and then give you the lowest mark possible for that skill. This method of critiquing is systematic and consistent for the entirety of my tenure there. It leads one to believe that they really aren't interested in your success.
This poor attitude filters down to the students. It made me so sad when a student stated, "You know, you are the first tutor here who has ever provided me a compliment for my work."
The other effect of the department's poor culture, attitude, and organization, which again points toward the top, is that their expectation for covering materials during the sessions are completely unrealistic. They really expect tutors to cover the moon and the sun. My quality specialist overemphasized the fact that I am just slow, slow, slow, slow rather than detailed, thorough, and ensured student understanding.
Let's compare another company to Tutor.com again so you can see that their system is not productive. Another company I worked with clearly defined what to cover in each asynchronous session. You take this approach every single time for each session, and expectations are realistic for everyone. Again, easy to succeed here and become an excellent tutor. Not so with Tutor.com.
So, if I were to compare the two companies I covered in this review, the one that provides an extensive training program with realistic, unified expectations is like being in a classroom with the best, most supportive teacher in the world. Working with Tutor.com is like being in a classroom with a teacher who loves putting kids in the corner and making them wear dunce caps.