Tutoring their fellow students

Biz matches teens with younger kids to help with school

Noelle Georgeff has had an entrepreneurial spirit since her days as a squeegee kid growing up on a farm with no running water near Brussels, Ontario.

“As a treat we would get to go to the drive-in movies — we’d get in our pajamas before we’d go — and we’d have our Windex and our paper towel and we’d go around to the cars and clean their windshields,” she says. “They thought we were so cute they’d pay us like a dollar, which was a lot back in 1973.”

After running several small businesses over the years, including a gymnastics company and a home staging business, the Beach resident recently launched a new tutoring endeavour.

Through The Teenage Tutors, Georgeff pairs honour roll students Mia Shabsove, Cassidy Timlin, Emma Clarke, Luc Ainsworth-Wiebe and her daughter Veronika, with younger children for one-on-one learning and homework help in subjects like English, math and science.

“There’s more of a rapport with someone that’s a little bit older,” she says. “Say it’s a girl in grade 6 and here’s someone in grade 11 on the honour roll, on the cross-country team, they want to be just like her.”

Through the sessions, she hopes the learners become more confident and get better academically. Since they started in February, she says parents have already told her they’ve seen a noticeable transformation in their children.

“I’ve received great feedback from parents,” she says. “Danielle feels more confident reading, she’s picking up a book now as opposed to turning the TV on — I think that is huge.”

In addition to the teenagers serving as role models, she says they also gain work experience as tutors, which will help them apply to jobs in the future since it’s a challenge to find employment without experience.

Timlin, who is in grade 12 at Malvern Collegiate Institute, says tutoring is a good job opportunity for teenagers who want to do something other than babysitting. She grew up in the neighbourhood and says she likes how the community supports small businesses like The Teenage Tutors.

“There’s a little girl I tutor in English and writing, when I first got her it probably took her about 6 minutes to get through one page in a book, now she’s definitely improved and is getting faster,” she says. “Someone outside of her family giving her support has allowed her to improve and want to read.”

Her coworker Shabsove, a grade 11 student at Malvern, says it’s been rewarding to see the progression students have made over the last few months and how happy they are with their grades.

“One of the students that I’m tutoring with math, it’s great, she came back with her math test and got 100 percent on it,” she adds.

The younger Georgeff, who is also in grade 11 at Malvern, says she enjoys being able to work with kids as both a tutor and a tennis coach.

“Whether they need help in math or science, we have different strengths and I think from those strengths we’re able to pass on our knowledge and help other students with what they’re struggling with,” she says. “I think for me, the most rewarding part of it is seeing the success. It’s just really satisfying.”

About this article:

By: Ann Ruppenstein
Posted: Jun 6 2012 5:45 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto