24 July, 2021

E-Student + Virtual Patience = $10,000,000

Is there a Miss Grundy in you? Online tutoring is the new twist to BPO. Wake up at 5 am and teach a kid in Montana.

Saibal Das
E-Student + Virtual Patience = $10,000,000
Eashwer—that’s a pat name for an online guru. He’s with TutorVista.com, an e-learning firm in Bangalore. His day begins at 5 am, just as his students in the US are getting ready to do their homework. Today, at exactly 5.59 am, he logged on to his computer for his session with Geetha Sukumaran (name changed), an 11th grader in Memphis, Tennessee. The computer is equipped with special software that enables audio-visual interaction between the two.

As Geetha logs on, Eashwer—or, if you want the name his American students know him by, say Gary Rogers—says in emollient tones that are obligatory for an outsourced service provider: "I’m sure everything is going fine for you, Geetha." And she, in typical American teenybopper drawl, shoots back: "Why’s that?"

Eashwer has been trained to deal with such cultural anomalies and he smoothly veers the dialogue to the mathematics topic of the day—rational expressions. Commendably, he manages to keep his cool and sound encouraging despite his student’s shaky knowledge of the subject. He has picked up a bit of slang too....

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