Duo launch tutoring business for children



Natalie Lee, left, and Colina King started their own tutoring academy called the English Maniacs.


When starting a tutoring business, it’s OK to be a maniac as long as what you’re crazy about is teaching.


Every day, Colina King and Natalie Lee draw upon every resource they have — their passions, skills and own backgrounds — to help children make the most of their academic potential by running the English Maniacs tutoring academy.

English Maniacs offers lessons on all scholastic subjects — including English, math and science — to students from kindergarten to Grade 12. Tutors, who range from recent graduates to working professionals and certified teachers, travel to students’ homes within their own living area to teach kids in person. Lee says the most common qualities shared by tutors English Maniacs hires are an exceptional ability to parlay their own expertise to other people and a deep-rooted desire to better the lives of kids.

“There’s always a pattern with the teachers — it’s something they’ve always wanted to do. It takes a lot of passion to be a good teacher,” Lee said.

The company started in 2003 as a home-based operation with just one tutor and a single student; today, English Maniacs employs 60 tutors who teach more than 300 students. Amazingly, 90 per cent of their business comes from referrals from current students, a fact King and Lee believe stands testament to the quality of the program and the dedication of its tutors.

“Teachers are the source of our success. They’re very dedicated,” Lee said.

Parents get monthly reports on their child’s progress and English Maniacs asks parents to send in their kid’s school report cards so tutors can tailor lessons appropriately.

When hiring new tutors, King and Lee interview every single candidate and look at their qualifications, attitude, desire and experience. Potential tutors also need to pass a security screening, a criminal background check, and a behavioural test. On the flip side, King and Lee make sure to personally visit clients’ homes to ensure they provide a safe environment for tutoring. English Maniacs supports new hires by conducting workshops for tutors on how to develop lesson plans and connect with students better.

“The tutors we hire don’t just go in high and dry — we provide tutoring for them and support. We’re always finding new ways to teach,” King said.

Lee says even though English Maniacs is a business, the best rewards come from watching kids learn and grow.

“It’s a business where you get a lot of feedback and interaction with your clients and you can impact their lives in meaningful ways. It’s very rewarding to see the lives of children change,” Lee said.