Mom Interviews

Joan Rooney

Vice President, Provider Management, Tutor.com

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Our services are open seven days a week and my job is always there. It is very challenging to balance work, family, housework and... leisure? (What’s that?)

How does tutoring online work, exactly?

We offer a unique service. We provide live, on demand, online tutoring. We market this service to libraries and other institutions and also directly to families. Kids who are having difficulty with say an algebra problem, can log on any day of the week between 2:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. Eastern and meet online with a real tutor to get help with that problem or homework question. They communicate using a chat format and an interactive whiteboard that both the student and tutor use in real time so that the tutor knows where the student is struggling. They can send files back and forth and they can visit a website where they could review a diagram that clearly explains a concept. The interaction is always one-to-one and always anonymous. We offer the service to kids in grades 4 – 12 in all math subjects, all sciences, English, essay writing and social studies.

Do you have any tips for our readers about how to get teens to do their homework every night without standing over them?

I can certainly say from experience that nagging does not work all that well! I think having a clear routine set up does help. My son and I have an agreement: He gets some homework done everyday after school. He can take a break before dinner. And then he needs to pick up again by 8:00 p.m.. He knows that TV and video games are not available after dinner unless all of his homework is done. I also try to sit down with him on weekends to get a sense of his longer range assignments and help him create a calendar listing when he will work on each of them. (The occasional offer of an incentive comes in handy too!)

What's the toughest part of being a working mom? What's your favorite part?

Clearly trying to find a balance in life – trying to have a life - is the most challenging part. I am a single mother and that adds an additional set of responsibilities to the equation.

I have two favorite aspects about being a professional mom. The first is that my son is proud of me. When I received my last promotion, I overheard my son telling his friends, “My mom is vice president! “ My second favorite aspect is the help we provide to everyone else’s kids. I have been there at 6:00 p.m., having worked all day, trying to get supper prepared and listening to the loud sounds of frustration with a homework issue coming from the other room. I know how valuable it is for parents to be able to provide a service for kids that lets them just log on and get help right at that moment with whatever homework problem they are struggling with. It takes so much pressure and stress off of parents, kids and the parent-child relationship.

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