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Teens Tutor Others Online to Fill Need During the Pandemic


Charvi Goyal, 17, prepares to jump online for a tutoring session she gives to a junior high student from her family's home Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in Plano, Texas.
Teens Tutor Others Online to Fill Need During the Pandemic
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Charvi Goyal is a high school student from Dallas, Texas who helps out other classmates by tutoring them between classes. A tutor is someone who teaches one person or a very small group of students.

When Goyal’s high school moved online last spring because of the coronavirus crisis, she decided to also take her teaching online.

The 17-year-old junior and three of her fellow students created TutorScope, a service that offers free tutoring services to other children, including younger ones.

TutorScope started with a small number of tutors who helped young people in their city. But it has grown into a group of 22 tutors from Texas, Arizona, and Ohio. They have helped more than 300 students, some from as far away as South Korea.

Goyal said she expected that schools would go online. She also believed online classes would face some problems. For example, she felt that communication between students – and between students and teachers – would be weakened.

FILE Charvi Goyal, 17, gives an online math tutoring session to a junior high student Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in Plano, Texas. Goyal is part of a group of high school students that put together their own volunteer online tutoring service to help k-12 during the pandemic. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
FILE Charvi Goyal, 17, gives an online math tutoring session to a junior high student Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in Plano, Texas. Goyal is part of a group of high school students that put together their own volunteer online tutoring service to help k-12 during the pandemic. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

TutorScope aims to give the one-on-one help that teachers have traditionally given while walking around their classrooms. But now, many teachers cannot provide that one-on-one support because they lack time or have issues with technology.

Sarah Newman said her children, 7-year-old twins, have had helpful TutorScope experiences. The service has freed up her and her 17-year-old son to pay attention to their work. “With these tutors, I realize they have time,” she said. “I think they are very patient with these younger kids, which I do not even have as a mother. I have patience in other things, (but) I don’t have patience” for teaching. TutorScope is not the first nonprofit to give online tutoring.

People around the world have come up with ways to educate children during the coronavirus crisis, from a teacher in Nigeria who grades homework to a so-called sidewalk school in Mexico.

What makes the TutorScope effort special is the connection between the teenage volunteers and the other students they are helping.

The group accepts donations from adults but limits volunteers to students.

Now in their third semester, TutorScope has received nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS.

The group has also gotten a software company to give them free use of a system to set up tutor meetings. Sixteen-year-old Jessica Ding runs the website with student Angelina Ehara, who works on public communication and social media. Another student, Kaustubh Sonawane, runs the signup process.

In addition to helping others, the tutors also get experience themselves that will look great on a college or job application. The service can also help them decide whether they want to teach full-time or run a business or an NGO someday.

New tutors get limited training from recordings. Goyal’s main hope from possible volunteers is that they truly want to help the kids that they tutor.

Although the pandemic has forced many students to look inward, Goyal said that working with others on a big project has permitted her to look outward.

“My confidence level has increased,” Goyal said. She added that she has made friends with other students from her school. She said one of the best things about running a growing nonprofit is that it “does help with the boredom” of being stuck at home.

I’m John Russell.

Cedar Attanasio reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Bryan Lynn was the editor.

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Words in This Story

twin n. either of two babies who are born to the same mother at the same time

patient adj. able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people

donation – n. something (such as money, food, clothes, etc.) that you give in order to help a person or organization

status – n. the official position of a person or thing according to the law

application – n. a formal and usually written request for something (such as a job, admission to a school, a loan, etc.)

confidence – n. a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something

boredom – n. the state of being bored (or uninterested)

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