Web Site Hopes to Bring Tutors and Students Together
Daily Double Scoop
The internet is big on self-help, so why not use it to find a tutor to help you with your math homework?
That's the thinking behind Tutor2000 [TutorMatch.com was formerly known as Tutor2000], an online database of tutors set up by Chaim Lazar, a New Jersey entrepreneur. There are two dozen searchable subject areas in which to find a tutor, ranging from elementary music to secondary SAT preparation.
Lazar, who works for a large New Jersey Internet service provider, said he got the idea when he kept seeing notices offering tutoring services on bulletin boards in supermarkets and other public places. "I would see a lot of signs that offered help in math or computers, saying, 'Call me.' I thought, Why not extend this to the Internet?"
So far, with virtually no advertising, Lazar claims to have persuaded several hundred tutors to register with the service. There was a free initial sign-up period, and Lazar has now started charging tutors to join. They pay him a nominal fee of $5 a month to put them into his database or an introductory fee of $10 for three months. About 10 paying tutors had signed on at press time. All tutors must have an e-mail address. Some of them have their résumés listed as well.
But while several hundred tutors may sound like a lot, the chances of finding a tutor who can help you solve the mysteries of the Active Desktop or Algebra, and who actually lives within driving distance of your home, is still relatively remote. But Lazar argues that a lot of this can be done by e-mail or by telephone. He noted that he has been corresponding with one Chinese youth who wants to send English compositions to a tutor, who will then correct them, all via e-mail.
"It's a self-containing Web site, so what happens after the tutor and student meet online in a chat room or by e-mail or by phone, it's up to them in which manner they want to communicate," he said. "That's the beauty -- people like to communicate in different ways."
Here's a bit of advice for using Tutor2000 or any other service that puts you or your children in touch with tutors whom you have never met. First, ask for references from people who have used the tutor, and check them out. Also, have your first real-life meeting with the tutor in a coffee shop so you can each get to know one another before you decide whether to proceed.
The Web has already been pressed into service to offer tutoring help. Many of these sites help locate traditional face-to-face tutoring services, but some feature online tutoring specifically.