Eric Earle believes in tutoring. He’s seen it work so many times. Eric Earle was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. In his early twenties he thought about hundreds of different career paths—and thus studied nearly every subject under the sun. When he was 22 he started tutoring a client in communication skills. He taught him how to shake hands, express himself, and ask people questions about themselves. He worked with this client for several years. Eric stated towards the end of their years of tutoring that he had really enjoyed working with them. The mother agreed. Then she said, “though, Eric, I’ve really seen you as more of a mentor than a tutor. Thank you for working with my son.” This gave Eric an idea. Portland was in need of more mentorship. It needed more mentors to help coach our youth and move this city forward. So Eric founded an education company called: Mentor Portland. Eric quickly began working with several clients. He hired others and began doing more leadership. Eventually, Mentor Portland rebranded as Tutor Portland—to focus more on tangible subjects. However, at Tutor Portland, we strive to keep an element of mentoring in everything we do.
Eric’s background had always been in liberal arts. In undergrad, he studied communication, psychology, and writing. He used these skills in founding Tutor Portland and working with his first group of clients. Eric hired other tutors who could help with mathematics and chemistry.
But Eric’s own education wasn’t finished yet. Eric decided to enroll in pre-medical coursework after a life-changing volunteer experience at a Neurology Clinic in India. At the time, Eric’s math was so bad that he wasn’t granted access to college-level math courses. So he hired a math tutor from his own company. Eric quickly began to improve his mathematics skills. He and his tutor poured over geometry and high school algebra. They worked through practice problem after practice problem. He also started working with a chemistry tutor. He did hundreds and hundreds of sets of problems in order to learn and master significant figures. “Most students don’t understand sig-figs,” his tutor had told him, “and that’s why they fail general chemistry.”
Eric was learning the ins and outs of education. After the tutoring he received, he was ready to start taking college level math and science courses. He started in math 95 and worked his way up to calculus. He discovered that he truly loves and enjoys mathematics. “The concepts of calculus are so important,” he now says, “rate of change — accumulation,” he continues, “these are powerful ideas that everyone should be thinking about.”
Eric excelled in his coursework. He earned over 100% in Calculus I and Calculus II. He also earned over 100% in General Chemistry and various Biology courses. He was able to do this through the power of tutoring and hard work.
Eric realized — after countless hours both tutoring and being tutored — that kids these days are struggling. They are working through challenging concepts. Often, the resources provided by the school aren’t adequate. And often the students weren’t fully applying themselves either.
However, Eric took in more data. His research began to show data that students from elementary school to high school who worked with an in-home tutor were much more successful. Eric also learned that students who did more hours of weekly tutoring were more likely to be successful. So Eric created the Tutor Portland Membership. He offered an Unlimited Membership Plan because he didn’t want a student’s help to be limited to a certain number of hours. He then backed this membership with a Better Grades Guarantee. He created a handful of other memberships ranging from 3 to 1 hour(s) per week.
Some of his most successful clients started with three, four, or five hours per week. Their children turned it around. The students just needed the right guidance from a trusted tutor.
When he started Tutor Portland, Eric sought to hire educators he could trust. Eric hand-selects each tutor. The first thing he looks for is trust and integrity. He also ensures that the tutor knows the subject material very well. However, Eric goes beyond that. He once hired a tutor who had a Ph.D. in chemistry. The guy was so smart. But he couldn’t teach it. He was almost too smart. He was so intelligent that when he tried to impart his knowledge on others, some of it got lost in translation. Eric had to let the tutor go. From that moment on, Eric realized that he needed to hire tutors who could explain subjects in five or six different ways. He remembered back to the time he was learning math and science: the tutors who taught him best were able to adapt and change their approach in being able to help Eric grasp certain ideas and concepts.
(Read more about our story, and get free educational advice on our blog.)
Tutor Portland is dedicated to raising the grades of every student in Portland. Our most popular neighborhoods are Eastmoreland, Lake Oswego, and West Linn, but we will work with you no matter where you reside in the Portland area to help make the dream of better grades a reality.
Updates from The Founder:
8/23/21 – I’ve been thinking about this questions lately: what if you only had one year left to live? In fact, it’s an exercise I’ve been doing. I’m pretending as if I only have 363 more days left to live. If this were the case… what would I like to do with my life? Partly, I would love to learn to surf. But I would also like to continue working—I’d like to build something. So eventually I came up with 4 habits I would do everyday. 1 hour meditating, 30 minutes reading about economics, 30 minutes preparing for medical school, and 30 minutes creating a national math tutoring company with a hyper-local focus. My goal was to replicate the model I’ve been using here in Portland, and expand it to other cities. Not for any gain for myself. But because I believe in our mission. I believe in what we are doing. And I want to share what we are doing with the world. Since we say “Keep Portland Weird,” and that phrase was actually developed in Austin, Texas—I decided to start there. That’s why I founded mathtutoraustin.com. You can check it out. My goal is to help as many families as possible!