Group aims to alleviate stress of homeschooling for healthcare professionals with children

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has left a large portion of society working and learning remotely, healthcare professionals must continue to venture into work, where they are on the front lines, engaged for many in some of the busiest and most stressful periods of their careers. At the same time, many healthcare professionals also have children, so with schools closed, they are left having to homeschool their offspring in addition to working their shifts. To help alleviate some of this burden, a group of McGill medical students have formed a group offering to help with the children’s education for a few hours per week through virtual tutoring, known as the Teletutor Outreach initiative.

Volunteer tutors creatively develop and cater lesson plans for each student through a combination of online resources, any school materials provided by teachers, personal experience, and the interests of the student. The tutoring is usually offered through platforms such as Skype or Zoom. “With an open platform to communicate, we have been able to collaborate, share resources, and exchange advice to best help each other and the students that we tutor,” explain the students. “The telecommunication platforms themselves have also been well-utilized, from spelling out new phrases in chat boxes to screen-sharing word conjugations to using the camera to demonstrate how to make an origami crane.”

The tutoring service, offered free of charge, is open to children of all healthcare professionals. Tutoring is available from grade 1 of primary school to CEGEP in all relevant subjects, including Math, French, English, History, Geography, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Computer Sciences, and Art.  There are currently 59 medical students who have put their names forward as volunteer tutors.

While the service currently requires children to have access to a computer, webcam and wi-fi, the student volunteers are exploring ways to expand their services to children of low-income households who may not have this access, and who are perhaps feeling the biggest impact of school closures during this pandemic. The students explain that for these children, they are brainstorming with school teachers and getting in touch with local community organizations to find a solution and make education available to them. These services will remain free to the children, though they are looking into potential needs to fundraise in the future in order to keep this service sustainable for our volunteers.

Parents interested in requesting a tutor for their children can do so by completing the form available here, specifying the subject, school level and language of instruction. Alternatively, an e-mail can also be sent to

Students wishing to volunteer as tutors can do so by signing up here.

May 11, 2020