Local parents look to online tutoring to bridge education gap caused by COVID-19

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Recent surveys from the Shelby County school district have suggested the “vast majority” of parents will choose to keep their children home this fall and go with virtual learning, but how?  

Tutors could be filling the gap.

School will look different this year. Parents will have to choose between in-person learning or online school. The dilemma is enough to stress any parent out.

“I need the structure of them sitting in a class from being with a teacher one on one. But then I also have to make a sacrifice,” said local parent Tameral Johnson. “Do I pick my kids health over their learning and how so?”

Then, Johnson saw a relative struggling with COVID-19, and the decision got a lot easier.

“And to watch her fight literally for her life the last couple of weeks. It was like it was a no brainer, like I was so afraid of sending them back to school because of the unknown,” Johnson said.

But multi-student on-line learning can still be complicated.

“Because, you know, you have multiple children all on the screen, and there is muting and people getting up and moving around,” said Molly Bowie Cook of the Bowie Center.

This is why the phone has been ringing off the hook at the Bowie Center and other professional tutoring schools across the Mid-South.

“We offer services in the areas of math, science, English,” said Casshauna Davis with Think Space Tutoring Academy.

Nina Johnson and three other friends decided they could put their teaching credentials to work and tutor in northern Mississippi.

“Because parents were reaching out to us and they were just wondering, would they have any extra support, especially if they did have their students to stay at home,” Nina Johnson said.

“Some of them didn’t feel like they were equipped because they were not teachers themselves,” said Arleda Sawe with Think Space Tutoring Academy. “And so, they were just going to need a little extra push. And so that’s where we come in.”

Furthermore, a lot of working parents don’t have time to teach.

“A lot of times, my husband and I, we’re at the office till 10 and 11:00 at night,” Tameral Johnson said. “So, to be able to have extra resource for them, if they needed it, I think was, you know, something good.”

“Even if they were apprehensive at first, they’re loving it now,” Cook said. “They can be at home and cooking dinner while their child is you know, being educated. And it’s safe. And so, they don’t have to worry about in-person.”

These tutoring sessions can run as little as $10 an hour to a whole lot more, but we’re told the best advice is to look for licensed, credentialed, professionals.

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