Richmond student launches English tutoring business during pandemic

Veronica Xia admits that finding a job – particularly one that matches her skillset and interests – is a challenge during COVID-19. 

Instead, she decided to launch her own tutoring business

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“During the pandemic, finding a job was hard,” said the recent Steveston-London secondary grad, adding that she had been applying to “high school standard” positions in retail or fast food, but was also less interested in those positions.

Xia said she loves learning – especially math and English – and during high school, was often helping out other students in math class or with editing work for group projects.

“I’ve always known that I’ve love tutoring, I’ve always loved teaching people. So, I started reaching out to people.”

And while math tutors may be more common, Xia said her love of English has helped her find a “niche” in the tutoring market.

“There’s a lot of math tutors out there (and) math is generally easier to teach because it’s more formulaic,” she said.

“English has more variance. There’s a million ways you could approach editing your essay or working on tone…And even if someone is going into sciences, having strong English skills is so important for being able to write really good lab reports or things for an (academic) journal.”

Reading is one of the best ways to improve English skills, said Xia, so she often pulls up an essay or article and goes through that with her students.

Xia also tutors for SATs, working off her experience of taking the test herself.

She began the business in late May, and currently works with five students.

Due to COVID-19, the sessions take place over Zoom – which Xia said was met with some trepidation from parents.

“There’s some hesitation because it’s non-traditional, and they are concerned students won’t pay attention," she said.

“Yes, I can’t always see exactly what they’re doing, but I think as long as the students are engaged and that I’m able to find content they’re interested in, I’m able to keep their attention,” she said.

“And the fact is, people my age, we’re all super comfortable with using technology like that.”

Xia said the technology also enables her to continue tutoring once she heads off to McGill University in the fall.

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