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High-Quality Tutoring Can Fit Into a Busy Schedule

Feb 15, 2024 01:46PM ● By Emily Freehling

Tutoring has been a central theme of Carol Medawar’s life as an educator.


Starting during her undergraduate years, she would reserve a room at her school’s library to tutor elementary school educators preparing for their praxis—an exam necessary for certification.


After beginning her education career in special education 29 years ago, Medawar continued working one-on-one with students in her off hours. It was a way to bring in extra money, but it also showed her just how much progress students can make when they receive individual coaching from an educator who can home in on their specific struggles.


Over the course of her career, she has worked with learners of all kinds, and in all grade levels from K-12, in many different Virginia school districts.


When the pandemic hit, Medawar, who now works as an instructional math coach for Alexandria City Public Schools and was recently elected to the Spotsylvania County School Board, knew the school closures would leave many students with learning gaps. After completing her PhD in Instructional Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2023, she decided it was time to launch an online tutoring business that could bring the benefits of one-on-one tutoring to more students. That was the beginning of I Coach And Tutor, or iCAT.


“High-dose tutoring has been proven to be one of the fastest ways to help students close learning gaps,” Medawar said. “Some students may come into it reluctantly, thinking it will be just like school—they very quickly learn that it’s not just like school. It’s personalized, one-on-one. We meet them where they are. They can ask questions and build their rapport with their tutor. That’s very different from the classroom environment where some students may be more reluctant to ask questions.”


iCAT’s personalized, one-one-one tutoring is delivered by certified educators, and works simultaneously on content knowledge and developing study skills. After launching in June 2023, iCAT’s team of tutors grew quickly to as many as 20 individual learning coaches—and Medawar is always on the lookout for more.


“In the same way that I have always seen tutoring as a way to use my talents and my education experience to help kids and to provide additional income, I hope to bring this opportunity to more educators,” she said. “We’re small, but we’re growing, and we are always looking for people who are interested in tutoring with us, or parents who are looking for high-quality tutors.”


A customized approach


iCAT does offer limited in-person tutoring slots, but the bulk of its sessions are delivered online. Since most students’ schedules have filled back up with sports and other after-school commitments in the years since the pandemic, virtual tutoring allows students to fit sessions in without needing to drive to one more activity.


The group serves all ages, kindergarten through 12th grade, and can tackle topics from foreign language, to math, study habits and even standardized test prep.


“We run the gamut as far as all the different options,” Medawar said.


As an experienced educator, Medawar puts a lot of time into matching the right tutor to the right student to build a successful relationship. That personalized approach is key to getting results, she said.


“I try to get a feel for each one of my tutors who comes on board—what their strengths are, what they love tutoring the most, or what they are most passionate about,” she said. “When a parent calls me, I try to listen to them talk about their student and really understand what they are looking for. I try to match student to tutor so that it’s a good experience for everyone.”


iCAT tutors work with many students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and can reach out to classroom teachers for collaboration if a parent so desires.


The best of virtual learning


While the pandemic taught us all how difficult it is to deliver lessons to a classroom of 27 students via Zoom, Medawar notes that many educators became adept at working individually with students in the virtual environment. Those skills are now being put to use by iCAT tutors to help families find time in busy schedules for high-quality tutoring.


“It all comes back to matching the right student with the right tutor,” Medawar said. “If you get that personal connection right, then it doesn’t matter whether you’re online or in person. This is not a teacher staring at a screen full of boxes. This is one-on-one, and we use a lot of tools and creative approaches to make it extremely interactive.”


As students enter the second half of their academic year, Medawar says now is a great time for parents to assess whether a tutor could help their child build confidence and find greater academic success.


Parents can call 540-903-7130 or visit and fill out the contact form to get started. Medawar emphasizes that the more a parent can tell her about their student, how they work, and their individual needs, the better she’ll be able to match them with the right tutor.


iCAT offers several different packages for purchasing sessions individually or in bulk. Medawar emphasizes that it can take a few sessions for students to develop a working rapport with a new tutor.


Certified teachers interested in offering their expertise as a tutor can also contact iCAT. You only need to be able to commit to a minimum of three hours per week to join the team.


Medawar hopes to build iCAT into a community education resource. Her goals include fundraising to support nonprofit tutoring work, as well as eventually getting back into the work she started as an undergraduate, helping aspiring teachers to pass their certification exams.


To learn more, visit

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