Online Tutoring: A Success Story

Online Tutoring – A Success Story

One of the reasons that I became a teacher and later, a private tutor was because I enjoy the satisfaction of feeling like you have helped someone. The teacher pupil relationship is not unlike a parent child in some ways. The parent feels joy when the child succeeds. The teacher feels joy when the student succeeds.

I have been teaching close to 22 years now. There have been countless success stories and countless moments of satisfaction. Recently there was a case study that really exemplifies what can happen with the right situation and the right efforts and the best use of technology.

In 2008, I began working with Cathy. She was in 7th grade at the time in a public school where she had just started after relocating from my area. My office is in the Philadelphia area and she was living in Florida with her mother (as the parents were divorcing). A friend of the family had recommended my service highly and they wanted to work with mAke the grAde, but 1200 miles… How do we do it? I suggested my newly launched (at the time) online tutoring system. The mom was concerned…How could I work with someone that I hadn’t met? How could we get homework done if I didn’t have the book? Would it work? Let’s give it a try. I think we’ll be fine. And so we started…

The technology was adequate (and expensive!!) and frankly, by today’s standards, the system was very slow and occasionally we got disconnected but we made it through. Cathy increased every grade that she had by the end of the year and ended up with all A’s and B’s. We continued to work over the summer to remediate some areas and then right through 8th grade. Same for the summer before High School… as we worked around summer camps and field hockey tryouts and eventually other conflicts. Basic Math and General Science turned into 10th grade Biology and Algebra then as time went along junior year Chemistry and Physics and Geometry and Pre-Calculus. Finally we tackled the prep for the SAT and ACT as part of the college admissions process. All along the online tutoring was our platform for teaching and learning. The technology improved and got faster and more portable, but the basic teaching and the relationship remained the same.

Just yesterday I got this email…

“Dr Greene. Great news. I got accepted to UM[iami] today. I am so happy. This is my first choice and I am all set. I am not even going to apply anywhere else. There is NO possible way that I can thank you enough for all of your help and your support for like the last 10 years. Has it really been that long? I think I would have failed most of my classes if it weren’t for your help and understanding. Can you come to college with me?”

And all this from a student that I still have yet to meet face to face. This shows the power of the teacher-student relationship and the technology that enabled it to happen.

View a sample online tutoring lesson by clicking here

Maximum Education – Preparing for Finals 2 – Creating your study calendar

Preparing for Finals 2 – Creating your study calendar

Finals are often the most stressful time of year for a student at any level.  Not only are the grades important of course, but the volume of information that has to be mastered and coordinated is very large.  Often students get overwhelmed and are not able to work to their potential.

Have a Plan.  Work your Plan.

The best ‘cure’ for finals is actually to keep up with your classes all along, but even with proper work ethic during the year or the semester, it is still critical to maximize your time, and to maximize your study efforts leading up to and during the finals period. The keys to this process are:

  • Time Management
  • Understanding the Scope of the information
  • Working your plan

In Maximum Education, I have explained several techniques that a student (at any academic level) can use to organize information and to execute a successful study plan.  Here is an example of a plan that I recently set up with a current student.

finals prep calendar

You can notice a few things right away.  This is designed just like a calendar so there are instructions concerning what to do on each day.  This particular plan is set up for Math and Chemistry.  The Math final (in blue) covered seven units in the course which are set up to be reviewed, one unit at a time, beginning on the 4th.  The Chemistry (in red) had several chapters which required that multiple chapters would be reviewed on any given study day.

You should also notice that as the student gets closer to the exam dates, the review accelerates and more and more material is covered each day, culminating with a full review of all material right before the test dates.

Of course, additional techniques, such as mock testing, outlining, etc were also used (but not included in this post) as techniques to review, study and master the materials.  These can be many things which will be covered in the next blog post.

What do you think?

What type of system do you use?

Leave a comment and let us know.

You’ll have a chance to win a copy of Maximum Education.

Maximum Education: Preparing for Finals 1 – What to study

It’s finals time.  Some students love this time of year (school is almost over) and some dread it.  These year end, culminating exams are often intimidating and overwhelming for students. The key is preparation and being ready to take the test.

The first step is to keep up with your classes all along.  Cramming is never a best option.  So if you have planned ahead and kept up with your work then you are in a much better situation to begin with.

There are many study techniques in Maximum Education, but one area covers how to prepare for finals (or any larger summary exam like midterms etc).   One key is to organize your information in a way that simplifies the process and at the same time organizes material in a way that makes it easier for you to learn / review it.

Here are some basic suggestions on how you can organize your information. There are many more in Maximum Education.

Think about what information the teacher has given you about the test:

– How long is the test?
– How many questions are there going to be?
– What is going to be stressed on the test?
– Are there any special cases that you have to be concerned about?
– Have you been given an essay question ahead of time?
– Do you know what types of math problems are going to be asked?
– Are there usually multiple choice questions about important dates in history?

I would love your feedback. What is your FAVORITE study trick or finals prep idea.

Put your idea in the comments and you have a chance to win a copy of Maximum Education!


Maximum Education – The Core Mission

Maximum Education – The Ultimate Guide to Optimal Academics

Why did I write a book?

The core mission is to provide students and their families with simple and powerful tools to become more successful. This success includes academic but extends to many other areas of life as well.

As a preview, here is the working copy for the back cover of the book.

Students today are overloaded with school work load, extracurricular commitments, sports, volunteer work and more. They struggle to reach their academic potential and often become frustrated with the process.

Here is the solution…

Maximum Education provides a blueprint for success for students by providing functional tools for time management and prioritization, class note taking, outlines to organize information, test preparation skills and specialized tips for test preparation, standardized tests, college admissions test (ACT, SAT) and term papers.

This workbook also offers access to the mAke the grAde community of learners – an interactive group coordinated by Dr Greene – which allows students to share ideas, ask questions, and collaborate.

A lifelong educator, Dr Greene holds a state teaching certification and has taught at the middle school, high school (public and independent) and university level. In 1995 he establish mAke the grAde, a tutoring and academic consulting company based in the Philadelphia PA area, which provides private tutoring and support for students and their families, specializing in all areas of Math, the Sciences and Test Preparation for the college admissions process.


Maximum Education: To Outline.. let me count the ways…

Making and outline…. sounds pretty simple.  You take the main ideas and put them on the left and then get the supporting information and indent it.  A tried and true way to organize information.  A classic.

From Maximum Education, my soon to be released book which will help you with all levels of academics… “The purpose of an outline is to condense the essential information from a large source into a smaller, more direct, and useful format.”


But, did you know that there are many other ways to make an outline?  In fact, in Maximum Education, you will learn 6 other ways to outline and to organize information.

Which begs the question: Why would I need 7 ways to outline..

Answer: because different types of information should be organized in different ways.

History class is generally factual information.  Maybe a timeline would help.  Or a way to sort people and their contributions to history.

Science class often has topical information and formulas.  A flow chart and examples work better.

Here is just one example of an ‘alternative’ type of outline. This is called a Spoke. The main idea is in the center and the supporting ideas are spokes around the main idea.

spoke outline

To learn more about Maximum Education visit the mAke the grAde community Facebook back or