We accept cash, checks, PayPal, and money wires. We might arrange credit card payments, if you wish. You may pay on a class-by-class basis, pay by the week, or pay by the month. Some people choose to pay ahead for a month or six, some pay by the class. We have no contract, so you may come and go as you please.
You can reserve a day(s) and time(s) every week if you use the time most every week. After a few cancellations, the time could be taken by someone else who is willing to be consistent. While we will do more for those who have a higher level subscription or level of device, we aim to be fair to everyone, and will not give up someone’s time slot because someone who pays more wants the time someone else has. If the two clients agree to switch times, then it could be arranged; we will do the contacting at set up the swap: you do not have to.
Last minute cancellations will be billed as normal hours. Please let us know by noon of the previous day if you need to cancel. Exceptions are made, of course, for emergencies and situations beyond your control: illness, death in the family, car accidents, bad traffic you cannot get through; in these cases last-minute cancellations or delays are necessary and proper, and no charge will apply.
Changing class/session time
We can reschedule your regular time if possible. We try to maintain some flexibility for changes in your schedule that might come up from time to time, but it is not always possible. To change your time might mean shuffling around everyone else that day, which cannot not always be done.
Refunds will be given on a prorated basis for those who pay ahead. Refunds will also be provided on a case-by-case basis for individual classes, when things did not go to my satisfaction. For group classes, you will be expected to finish out the month. Any payment beyond that will be refunded.
We should make this a mutually beneficial, win-win situation. We should both get value out of the tutoring and classes.
What are your credentials?
Michael Gold has been teaching and tutoring for over 20 years, has a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin, and has Texas Teacher’s Credentials in Secondary Mathematics from the University of Houston. For more information, see the About Me page and the Testimonials page.
Where do you have tutoring? Where do you meet?
Tutoring locations are, most often, in your home or at a location such as a Starbucks, Panera, Beck’s Prime, local coffee house, or local library. We could also meet at home via the Internet. (See The Online Virtual Classroom.) Where we meet will depend, in part on logistics: where we are and where we can be at a particular time.
What are your rates?
How do we pay?
You may pay by the session, pay every two weeks, or pay ahead by the month or six-month period. You may pay by cash, check, PayPal, or wire transfer. We do not usually take credit cards, but, if need be, we could set something up.
How much tutoring do we need? How many days? How many hours?
How much tutoring you do will depend on your schedule, goals, and pocketbook. You need to consider what time you have available given the demands of all your children, their activities, your work, maybe a spouse’s or significant other’s work and life, etc.
In terms of your goals, you need to ask what you want from tutoring. Do you want only homework support? Preparation for tests? Something more?
To prepare for a test, you might need only one or two hours a week. To provide homework support, you might want to schedule one to three days a week, an hour each time.
To make a difference in a student’s thinking skills, we’d probably have to plan on a few hours a week.
Remember, students are in school about 35 hours a week as it is; then they have homework to do after school. A few hours is a drop in the bucket by comparison. But the payoff is big.
As one of my students said “I learn more from you in an hour than I do in school in a month.”
But you must consider what you can afford and what is worthwhile. Health and a good education seem to be the most important things in life, as they make possible the others. A good education is worth the price.
Do you have any references?
Yes. References are available upon request.
Rarely or Never Asked Questions
Do we even need a tutor?
All can benefit from a tutor: those who are failing and those who are making As. There is always improvement to be made and enrichment to be had. The goal is to live life at an optimum, not just to get by. The goal is to thrive, not merely survive. The goal is to make the most of oneself and to realize one’s dreams, not to accept mediocrity. But you must have a rational tutor/educator help you.
Are all tutors/teachers the same?
No! Teachers and tutors are not interchangeable! Some are vastly better than others, which means a different life for you or your child!
The Value of Teachers, by Nicholas Kristoff, discusses the economic impact of good teachers and bad teachers, but there is a lot more beyond that: influences on success, happiness, psychology, decision making, awareness of the world and self. How can you calculate the value of someone who can teach a child to reason and who can show the child how?
How are you different from other tutors? Why should I choose you?
In simple terms: we aim for conceptual understanding, not rote acquaintance. As it arises naturally in our classes or tutoring sessions, we will work to improve each student’s logic and reasoning skills.
You or your child will learn thinking skills useful in all areas of thought and life, from science to law, from philosophy to art, from history to nutrition, from reading to analyzing everyday claims. To make it easy for each student and to properly build his or her knowledge of a subject, we teach in a step-by-step, logical manner.
Some students, however, resist doing anything but what they are taught in school and what they have for homework, and some have already become averse to mathematics from years of a bad approach to mathematics, and maybe knowledge in general. These students we help work through their homework (but we do not do it for them), trying to nudge them into understanding and having a wider perspective. We are willing to help on homework and studying for tests, as long as the student, not us, does the work, and as long as the student makes some effort to understand a subject and why it is important in human life.
In terms of fundamentals: unfortunately, most tutors are influenced by the philosophers Plato, Immanuel Kant, and John Dewey, leading them to misunderstand how we really learn and reason. Some consequences of their ideas are the questions “When am I ever going to use this?,” “Why is this important?,” “Why does this not make sense?,” “Why is this so hard?”.
As for Kant, Kant said that there was no objective reality, that truth was a social construct. If people wanted to believe that 1 + 1 = 5, then it was so. Absurd such a doctrine should have any influence, but, when couched, as it was, in complex, obfuscating theories and ideas, and when coming in context of the history of human thought, it was not so obviously wrong to many people.
Dewey followed the ideas of Kant, and introduced them into American thought. Dewey played a major part in the widely researched and reported “dumbing down” of American education. He believed such absurd things as that Aristotle’s logic worked for so long, that it now had to be wrong.
When following the methods of Aristotle, Kepler was, as David Harriman has observed, a great scientist. (Kepler was conflicted: he was straddling the methods of Middle Ages “science” and modern science, having one foot in each camp.) Galileo, Newton, Darwin had an Aristotelian approach to science and mathematics. That is why they were successful.
They thought inductively and put the evidence of the senses first; they did not, like Descartes, make up some idea that allegedly had to be true and pretend to deduce everything from that premise or some limited group of axioms.
As it is a key to science, math is a key to induction, and should be taught with that in mind.
So here we have a fundamental difference between Gold Academy and many other tutors: we have an approach that is, as much as possible (we still need to develop a full, proper theory of the philosophy of mathematics), inductive and focused on the real world we live in. We are inductive, because induction is objective and gives us certainty; it is the fundamental, valid, cause-effect process of finding knowledge.