If you think that tutoring or supplemental education could benefit your child—or even yourself!—it may be difficult to figure out which tutoring service to turn to. Look Local spoke with a handful of local tutoring services to find out what sets them apart, what programs they offer, and what their mindset is when it comes to education.
S.M.A.R.T. TUTORING AND TEST PREPARATION SERVICES
owner: LOU-ANNE MCPHERSON
What sets S.M.A.R.T apart from other services?
S.M.A.R.T. Tutoring is dedicated to our community. For the most part, our S.M.A.R.T. tutors are teachers who are looking to get full-time contracts or gain experience. We want to be the stepping stone for young teachers in the area. We are also members of the Barrie Chamber of Commerce, we’ve partnered with the City of Barrie in previous years to facilitate their educational camps, and we are also the official tutors for the Barrie Colts Triple-A Midget Hockey Club. We want to make sure that we continue to grow with our community.
Can you tell me more about your Career Aptitude Test Preparation services?
We have specific curriculums for Firefighter Aptitude Tests and Police Constable Testing. I love helping community members get into their career, whether it is a tutor becoming a teacher, a fire or police recruit getting a full-time position, or a military member entering their trade. We are game-changers; we help people achieve their dreams. There’s no better reward than getting a follow-up call from someone who says, “Hey, I got the job.”
KUMON MATH AND READING CENTRE (BARRIE MAPLEVIEW)
centre director: HUMBERTO DOMINGUES
What sets Kumon apart from other services?
We concentrate on self-learning. Our students learn by example instead of being taught. If a child has a question, I show them an example of a finished question and ask: Why does this work? We’re not really a tutoring company—we’re here to help guide students to help them learn on their own.
Some parents might feel that tutoring is just for kids who are struggling. Is that true? How do your programs challenge even exceptional learners?
A lot of kids are exceptional learners who want to be challenged. We see where they’re at and challenge them by not giving too much work, but giving them feedback and asking them questions. We want to challenge them by giving them something new. There are so many things they might not be taught in school: about helping the community, how to help their peers, study skills—there’s so much learning you can do outside of the actual subject material.
AARDVARK LEARNING ACADEMY
owner: JEFF HAWKINS
How do your programs challenge even exceptional learners?
Half of Aardvark students are gifted or have parents that want their child to be engaged and challenged more in the requested subject. It’s truly remarkable when a gifted student in Grade 8 Math meets a tutor that loves math as much or more than they do. There is a strong connection—and almost a sigh of relief—from the student once they realize their tutor is equally gifted in teaching the subject.
I noticed that you offer online learning. Do you offer in-person tutoring as well?
We tutor at home in Barrie, Midland, and online. In the digital age, online learning has become more prevalent, and we do offer online programs for Grades 9-12 and adults. For adults, online learning offers flexibility to balance study, family, and work around a hectic schedule. But, ideally, we like online learning to be in mixed mode with face-to-face interactions with Aardvark tutors.
TUTOR DOCTOR (ORILLIA)
centre director: ERIN WRIGHT
What sets Tutor Doctor apart from other services?
Tutor Doctor knows firsthand that one of the most important components of student success is access to one-on-one teaching and instruction. At Tutor Doctor, we make sure that we find professional tutors that don’t just have the right qualifications on paper, but have a passion for what they do and possess excellent people skills. We want tutors who can build relationships with and support each individual student.
Do you offer group tutoring or primarily private tutoring and why?
Every student benefits from one-on-one attention and curriculum tailor-made for their education level. Large group tutoring sessions make it difficult for tutors to really provide one-on-one attention and identify when students struggle. This is why Tutor Doctor provides private tutoring to help students develop in these areas to ensure they conquer educational feats with confidence.
by Emily Bednarz
S.M.A.R.T. Tutoring and Test Preparation Services
Kumon Math and Reading Centre (Barrie Mapleview)
Aardvark Learning Academy
Tutor Doctor (Orillia)