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Online Tutors - A Parents' Perspective

Jul 16, 2008
We were at nearly wit's end. Both of us were working, and given the circumstances that are prevailing, we had no choice but to continue working.

Meanwhile, my children - we have two - were having difficulties with their studies. At the PTA meeting we were told by each of the children's class teachers that they were bored, unable to concentrate on any subject and even on the subjects they had excelled in. We were pointedly asked whether there was a family rift, which could be perhaps interfering with their attention span or nervousness! Probing further, and on learning the truth, it was pointed out that other children too had the same problem, and that they were getting tuitions done to come up in their grades.

We too scouted around for tutors, and to our genuine surprise we found that the tutors came expensive! $ 30 to $ 40 per hour! That was something that would really break the back of our finances, given the circumstances we were placed in. We already had had two mortgages on the house, we had dispensed with one car and were pool riding when we could and so on.

And yet, we wanted somehow to get our children's schools' rating up. We spoke with the children, explaining our circumstances, and they promised to do better. But the younger one piped up and said, if you are not around, we get distracted and the elder puts on the TV or goes away leaving me alone, Mom, and you know I don't like being alone!

So to add to the financial trouble we now had to additionally cope with the stress that our children were going through when both of us were running late. Working on our schedules for about a week, to have at least one of us around in the evening, we found we could not really manage.

Taking the bull by the horns, I took an appointment with the Principal, and asked her what I could do under the circumstances, of being circumscribed by money for tuition on the one hand, and time on the other.

He was very understanding, and he recommended that I talk to another parent - who does not want to be named - who faced a similar crisis and had found a way out.

Off I went and with an appointment and met that parent. It turned out that their situation was very much the same as ours. The difference was that they had instead of the usual search for tutors, used the Internet for scouring the world for tutors who could teach the American syllabus, and they found quite a few. After trying them, they plumped for one, i.e. www.transwebtutors.com

It appeared that on this website, there were tutors available for every subject, and the hourly rates were about $ 12 - $ 18 per hour of coaching, and it was on real time, online basis. The children had just to key in their work problems or use an on board screen their problems, and the tutor would respond immediately by showing how to solve them! Frankly, I did not believe it. It was too good to be true.

Well as they say in adversity, every effort counts, we also sat down and looked up the website, and after scrolling through the website, had a virtual chat with one of the counselors. The person was very friendly, and to our pointed questions, the counselor had ready answers, and seemed to know intimately the syllabus and marking system in the educational system. And they gave us a free trial, without any strings attached! So we said why not this?

With some trepidation we mentioned this to our children. They were curious, inquisitive, and seemed to be fascinated by the process. We put them online, and with a tutor explaining to them, the basics of how they would be taught, what was expected of them as students, and how to ask questions of the tutor and so on, the die was cast.

We began the process the very next day. The first day we came back home, tired and anxious at the same time, expecting them to be watching TV or horsing around. To our surprise we found no sound emanating from our house! We could hear some noise as if some people were fighting. We went inside only to find the two quarreling and that too about who should get the first turn in getting tuition!

Anyway, slowly they sat down, after an agreement between all of us - by a toss of the coin - who would be first on the system the first week?

When we saw their results the next time, we were not altogether surprised to find that their grades had improved! We were complimented by the class teachers at the next PTA, and asked how this change came about. Not willing to disclose it, we evaded the issue.

Certainly online tutoring seemed much better than the normal system and much less expensive. Whoever did come up with this idea deserves kudos from working couples with children as well.

On weekends, we would sit with them, and the children were happy to show what they had learnt during the week. Certainly, it has made our lives easier, and brought our family closer.
About the Author
Kim Wilzon, Texas For more info & online tutoring resources, please visit http://www.transwebtutors.com
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