A Systems Engineering graduate from the University of Lagos, Godwin Benson is the founder of Tuteria, an online platform that connects tutors with individuals within their community who wish to receive private tutoring in different subjects.
Godwin Benson was one of the winners of Microsoft’s Passion to Empire campaign. His passion to impart knowledge and changes lives has inspired many, including students and job seekers.
In this interview, he tells us more about Tuteria, his passion and secrets to achieving excellence.
Tell us more about Tuteria
Okay, Tuteria is an online platform that connects people seeking to learn anything, with those who live around them and can teach them what they want to learn at affordable prices, as well as ensure safety, accountability and quality service delivery between both tutors and clients.
So it seeks to bridge the gap between the millions of people who want to learn or master certain subjects, skills and exams that matter to them, and those within their own communities who can teach them those subjects or skills to earn extra income.
What inspired setting up Tuteria?
Well, I had a personal experience in secondary school when I taught a man’s two children Mathematics for a month, with stellar commitment and results, after which he didn’t pay me a dime for the service. It took him several weeks to find me, whereas I lived approximately 10 minutes away from his house.
Progressively, I discovered that so many people wanted to learn many different things, but had no easy or reliable way to connect with others who can teach them, especially when those people live within the same community.
On the other hand, a lot of people who are willing and able to teach, had no platform where they may be found by those seeking their services; including other challenges were tutors struggled to collect payments after lessons, and clients who paid for lessons but did not receive full or qualitative tutelage.
So Tuteria is built to provide an easy and reliable way to find, evaluate, compare and schedule lessons with your preferred local tutors, instructors, teachers, coaches or mentors for whatever you wish to learn. It gives people the power to choose the best tutors, manage lesson payments and monitor performance.
How do you assess tutors, to make sure they are knowledgeable enough to teach the subjects they have selected?
Tutors go through various stages of verification and evaluation before they can teach any particular subject; and are also continuously evaluated to ensure they maintain high quality while on our site.
First of all, we manually review every tutor applicant as well as schedule an interview to ensure they have the kind of high quality in personality, passion and communication that can succeed on Tuteria. Those who don’t pass this stage are not approved, and cannot re-apply till after 3 months.
Then for most subjects like academics, languages, music and instruments, various exams like IELTS, SAT, GRE, TOEFL etc., and even skills like Public Speaking, Data Analysis, Programming, Creative Writing, Swimming, etc., we have created standard competency tests which tutors have to pass before they can teach those subjects. The tests are timed, and can only be attempted once per tutor. Those who do not pass are automatically denied.
For other non-testable subjects like Bead-making, Dance, Photography etc., tutors write about their experience and method of teaching, as well as upload samples of their work if applicable which is reviewed by our quality team. If the review is positive, then they are allowed to teach the subject, otherwise their application is rejected.
Beyond that, we also verify tutors’ online and offline identities, facilitate background checks and continuously evaluate tutors’ performance based on reviews from their previous clients, and only tutors who continue to offer great service to clients are allowed to stay on Tuteria.
To get a good idea of what we’ve done in this regard, you can take a look at our trust page, www.tuteria.com/trust
What’s your vision for Tuteria?
Simply put, with Tuteria, I want to help people in every major city of the world to master the things that matter to them at lower costs by learning from others in their own communities. Right now, we’re starting off with one-on-one tutoring in Nigeria, but it will evolve in many interesting ways. We have a plan.
What are the challenges you faced in setting Tuteria rolling?
Challenges? Hmm…well setting up Tuteria wasn’t hard once I got a superb developer friend to join me. The plan was already laid out, I’d spoken with hundreds of people so I pretty much knew what to do. So we simply translated all that into code, and we built everything ourselves so we didn’t spend much money save a few to fuel the ‘face-me-I-face-you’ generator and subscribe for internet.
Having launched now, we’re currently registering tutors, many of whom use various low-end devices and browsers that may ill-affect their experience using the site. So we have had to optimize for these users, and we are learning very fast.
We’re driven by a high purpose and vision, so we literally don’t see anything as a challenge. We just keep fixing stuff, learning and moving.
What part of growing up inspired your love for teaching?
Erm…though people find it difficult to believe, I was actually quite academically backward when I was younger. Was almost always promoted on trial up to primary 3 when my grandma took to teaching me personally on how to read and write, and also told me stories that made me love learning.
And I think I have a natural tendency to take things to the extreme, so once I knew how to read, I literally read everything my eyes could see. I read whole subjects and topics in school long before they were even introduced in class. So I knew a lot; and naturally, I had to teach.
I started teaching my class Integrated Science, Math, Physics, Further Math and Chemistry; and I had the grace of simplifying very complex concepts so that even the dumbest person in class would understand and lighten up with joy. That’s just an amazing experience. Only those who have taught before can know how it feels.
You graduated with a First Class from the University of Lagos – 61 A’s, 10 B’s and one C. How were you able to achieve this with regular campus distractions?
Oh! I see you’ve looked me up! 😀 Well, truth is, I never really experienced any of the “campus distractions” most students have to contend with because I chose what to give attention to and I gave highest priority to God and the service of others through my school fellowship – Lagos Varsity Christian Union.
So I was always around like-minded, forward-looking people. I was often busy with various responsibilities, so I learnt to plan my time and be very organized with my approach towards learning and nurturing valuable relationships. And even though I wasn’t the nerdy, bookie type, I tried to read and stay ahead of the class for most courses, so it wasn’t that hard.
Having recorded outstanding academic excellence, received a number of awards, published educative books and setup a unique startup, I believe you have a secret to achieving excellence. Please share with students and aspiring Entrepreneurs out there.
My secret is not really a secret, because it’s an open secret clearly laid out in Ecclesiastes 9:10a which says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”.
That’s literally how I approach everything I do from academics, to serving God, to writing a book, starting a company, building relationships, solving a problem, dressing, studying a concept, leading a team etc., I strive to do everything excellently – the best possible way it can be done the first time.