Brewerytown: Philly Tutors Uses Fun and Games for Education
Billy Eisenberg always had a passion for learning and passing on knowledge. So, naturally, after college he became a teacher.
In the summer of 2002, while teaching 7th grade social studies, Eisenberg began to tutor on the side. He posted a few flyers around the neighborhood, and was blown away by the response. Parents–a lot of them–were looking to help their children in social students, but also math and science.
“By the year 2005, I realized this could be a business,” Eisenberg said. “So, I got my business license and officially started, and it has slowly gown from there.”
Eisenberg soon discovered he actually preferred working with students one-on-one, rather than in a large classroom. So he left his teaching job to work on the business, Philly Tutors, full time.
“Students need help with study skills as well as the subject area,” Eisenberg said. “A mentor that could guide them and push them in the right direction. I think, myself and my tutors do a really good job of showing tough love, and teaching them down track, but also connecting with them, not as a friend, but as someone they could learn from and trust.”
Located off Poplar Street in Brewerytown, Philly Tutors now has a staff of two, including Eisenberg, and a team of 18 tutors. It’s about learning, yes. But it’s also about providing an alternative activity for kids after the final bell rings, Eisenberg said.
There are many options for the children and their families as well. For the younger students they offer subject tutoring, advising and game clubs, where learning is incorporated into a specific type of game.
Philly Tutors offers other services as well. Caryn Rivers is a part-time tutor and educational consultant who helps families find the school that is the best fit for their child.
“I met Billy last year, and I realized we both had a commitment to making sure children understand and enjoy academics, and helping families feel at ease with that,” Rivers said.
The families Rivers meets with are usually from the area, and her job is to show them what makes Philly Tutors different.
“I like the fact that Philly Tutors combines games with learning,” Rivers said. “I like the fact that Philly Tutors recognizes that sometimes kids just need a break, even just to play. I also like the fact that Billy and the tutors make sure the students are enjoying the subject matter, as opposed to just making the grade.”
Parent Amy Choules said she loves bringing her kids to Philly Tutors, and her kids love it, too.
“The game club is where the boys will come in and play an educational game that just seems fun, but its team based so they’re learning cooperation and how to be with their peers,” Choules said. “So, it’s great. As long as they are learning and having fun, we’ll keep coming back indefinitely.”
It is very important to Eisenberg that the kids he tutors have fun while there. However, it is also important the student is doing their best school work as well, which is why he likes to keep in touch with the families. Billy Eisenberg always wanted a place for kids to go after school to continue learning. “That time after school is crucial because kids could be getting into trouble or they could be doing something productive. That is what is what Philly Tutors is all about,” said Eisenberg.
– Text, video and images by Matt Hayward and Nico Rossi