Confirmation of Interest Questionnaire: the Organization for Psychoeducational Tutoring
Thank you very much for your interest in helping a child or some children, using the methods of psychoeducational tutoring. Please copy this document, fill in the answers right on the document, save it, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, Joseph Strayhorn, M.D.
These confirmation of interest questions are meant partly to help people decide whether they really want to pursue becoming a psychoeducational tutor. The post requires a great deal of careful, patient, enthusiastic, and dependable work, in return for not very much money. Two major factors that can make the pro/con ratio come out favorably are the chance to really help someone in ways that few other jobs provide, and the chance to learn more about what we consider life's most important ideas. If you haven't done so already, you might take a look at the section on pros and cons of being a tutor, at the optskills.org website. If the pro/con ratio doesn't come out high enough for you, please know that we are nonetheless honored by your even considering working with us. Please write in the answers to the questions below, just below the questions. Please let your answers help us get to know you better. These questions also are designed to help potential tutors understand the nature of the commitment required, and to do some soul-searching as to whether they can fulfill it.
1) Please write your full name, today’s date, your email address, and your phone number.
2) We are obligated first and foremost to the children who receive our services. The process of selecting tutors who will faithfully, skillfully, and joyously carry out the duties to the children is an arduous one. There are several stages in the selection process, each of which involves some time and energy invested on the part of the applicant and ourselves; it is very possible that a candidate could invest a good amount of time in this process and still not be selected to be a
tutor. What’s your reaction to this? Is this OK with you?
3) The lives of many tutor candidates are planned on a fairly short term horizon. In the best circumstances, tutors can work with the same child or children for years, not weeks or months. We are looking for people who have decided they do not want to go abroad for significant periods of time during the duration of tutoring. We are looking for people who can make a long term commitment. We officially say a minimum of one year, but some tutors have really elicited the maximum benefit after two or three years. At the same time, the tutor who makes such a commitment has to be ready for the possibility that the family may decide to terminate the tutoring at any time. Please tell us about the issue of long-term availability, and what your thoughts are about maintaining a commitment despite possible major changes in your own life situation.
4) There are two elements of the “ball and chain” commitment demanded by this project. We’ve talked about the long-term commitment. The other is the day-to-day necessity to keep appointments. Are you already in the habit of keeping very close to 100% of the appointments you make?
5) Please imagine yourself as a Psychoeducational Tutor. What happens if you have an evening appointment with a child, and you get an invitation to do something with someone that evening? What happens if there is a big exam to prepare for that will occur tomorrow? What happens if a big social event comes up? What if there’s a sports contest that occurs during the window during which the child is available? What if you have another job that demands that you work overtime?
What if you get a job that leaves you depleted in the evening and not wanting to interrupt your only free time with a scheduled appointment? (Are you looking for other work in addition to this? If so, can you predict how demanding or exhausting it might be when you find it?) What if you get into a relationship with someone who wants to spends evenings with you uninterrupted by telephone tutoring? What if you decide to run for office or take on some other very time-consuming project? Many people are unsuited to be psychoeducational tutors only because their life styles are too packed with activities that don’t permit taking a half-hour break for the tutoring session, or because they may move into such a life style. Please reflect on your own life style, and please comment on the degree of sacrifice that it would necessitate in order to keep a consistent half-hour appointment, six days a week.
6) Could you please summarize, from what you’ve read or heard so far, what you understand the Psychoeducational Tutoring intervention to be, and how it purports to make life better for children? (If you haven't done so already, please take a look at www.optskills.org.)
7) Could you please tell about your own motivational structure regarding this project – in other words, why are you interested in doing this? It’s fine to have self-seeking motives as well as altruistic ones. “What is in it for you?”
8) As a condition of our getting liability insurance, it may be necessary to do a “background check” before applicants are offered employment. This has to do with getting a qualified company to access databases regarding criminal records and child abuse records and so forth. This application does not contain all the details of this, and there will be a separate consent form. If you have any reaction to this at this time, feel free to write it if you wish.
9) The sessions in this project are conducted entirely by telephone, and thus it’s necessary for tutors’ voices to be able to convey enthusiasm, joyousness, positive reinforcement, excitement, and friendliness in wide-ranging degrees from moment to moment. We want tutors’ “phone voices” to have lots of enthusiasm and expressiveness, and not to convey diffidence, aloofness, hyper-authoritarianism, or any of a number of other tones that people may not even be aware of conveying. Are you willing, no matter what your current assessment of your vocal intonation skill, to put some training time into practicing different tones of voice (in ways that could feel either fun or embarrassing, depending on your enjoyment of acting and role-playing)?
10) This job is by necessity very much part-time, because children are available during the school year only in the after school hours. Usually the most that any tutor is able to work into a schedule is three students. The majority of tutors so far have worked with only one child. For those who work with one child, the arithmetic works out as follows. Let's imagine a month where you hold half-hour sessions for 25 days out of a month. You have interrupted any other evening activities nearly every evening! 12.5 hours times $17 per hour comes out to a paycheck of only $212.50. When taxes are withheld, the actual amount of the paycheck will come out even lower than that. By this example we hope to make clear that this job can't furnish a major means of meeting life's economic needs. For some people, this is not a problem. For only one of several possible examples, it has proved quite satisfying for some students who want a position that won't take too much time away from studies but will furnish extremely valuable experience. If the economic arithmetic is not a problem for you, could you please explain why not?
11) Thanks again for your interest in working with us and in helping a child or children through our organization. Before we finish here, we'd love to know a little more about you. Could you please write anything more that you would like, that would help us know you better?