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Kids hope to get an educational boost from tutoring program

Owner Lauren Molloy is an East Coast transplant who was looking for an alternative to full-time teaching in an institutional setting when she moved here.

“I was lucky enough to have teacher friends in the area,” she said, “and they would pass off students who they felt were having difficulties. All of a sudden, it was four students, then 10. Finally, it just built up to where I couldn’t take any more students, and I had to ask more tutors to come on board. It just kind of spiraled.”

Molloy said the Jewel was the perfect place for her to set up shop. One of the main reasons was its close proximity to so many local schools.

“It’s so central,” Molloy said. “The Bishop’s School, La Jolla High, middle and elementary schools are right here. Kids can walk here for lunchtime tutoring. Or they can come in after school, spend two hours here and, by that time, their parents are ready to pick them up from work.”

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Molloy prides herelf on being a

generalists, able to help any student with any educational problem. Many times, the instruction isn’t remedial. Often, parents just want their children to get a head start in an increasingly competitive educational environment.

“What makes our service so great is we will tailor any program to meet the needs of that particular student,” Molloy said. “Convenience is the key to today’s family. Parents, students get the choice of coming to the office, meeting at a library or the ever-popular in-home meeting.”

Molly said Teachers as Tutors works with students on anything from homework to test prep to study skills.

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“We have specialized tutors for subjects like math, Latin, science and Spanish,” she said. “We also have a super SAT test-prep program.”

David Weber with Teachers as Tutors taught in Canada for 15 years before returning to the San Diego area to get his Ph.D. in education. The program was perfect for him as an experienced teacher who needed part-time work while doing research.

“It’s a great program, since kids need help after school and, often, parents can’t help them with the higher-level courses,” said Weber. “Having a teacher as a tutor is different than a non-certificated person since, as teachers, we often teach for learning. Most tutors teach kids so that they can do well on tests. As a teacher, I know the standard to which I want my student to rise, so I will make them work that much harder, do that one last problem, show them the theory behind the concept.”

Client Dara Guess said her daughter, Brittany, has benefited from the program. Guess said tutors become necessary for a variety of reasons, particularly if a student is sensitive or has special needs. That’s where the one-on-one relationship between tutor and pupil really pays off.

“Lauren is really patient,” Guess said. “She can slow it down to a level where the kid can understand it. I would definitely recommend her to kids who are in need of a scholastic tutor.”

Brittany Guess agreed with her mom, adding she progressed as much on a psychological as a scholastic level from personalized tutoring.

“I didn’t think I could do a lot of things I really could,” she said. “Lauren showed me different ways to to do my work where I knew I’d be able to get it done well and get good grades. She’s very positive. It was a reinforcement.”

Tenth-grader Brittany Guess said tutoring assistance from Molloy really helped build her self-image.

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“She understands teachers because she was one,” Guess said. “I’d complain about a teacher, and she’d tell me why they did what they did because she understood.”

Another student who worked with Molloy for a couple of years, Stephanie Edwards, said Teachers as Tutors methods are supportive.

“I was having trouble organizing myself, and Lauren really helped to organize me,” she said. “I tutored with her for about two years. She’s a wonderful tutor, not only with your education, but she’s like a mini support system. If you’re having a bad day, she’ll comfort you, help you get through it. She always has a positive attitude, and I would recommend her to anyone.”

All of Molloy’s tutors are trained in all subjects. They were hired after an exhaustive process. Molloy interviwed 100 applicants before hiring six.

Teachers as Tutors charges $65 to $75 a session, which typically takes an hour. For more information, call (858) 752-0200 or visit www.teachersastutors.org.