PASADENA, Calif.  – “I want to see if you can figure it out on your own, OK?” said instructor Andrew Molina to his student via online chat.

It’s one thing to read to your kids every night, but quite another to teach them math. It’s an issue many parents face right now as schools remain closed due to COVID-19. 


Molina is used to overseeing a classroom full of students, and though times have changed, the need to teach math has not.

“You have a lot of parents that are very concerned about their kid’s education and you know, number one, parents that are very busy,” said Molina. “Number two, you have a lot of parents who they themselves can’t actually teach the math and number three, you have a lot of parents who just don't even want to necessarily work with their kids because their kids don't want to work with them.”

“13,” answered student Stella.

“Awesome. So 10+13?” continued Molina.

Molina grew up in South Pasadena wanting to be a teacher and is now the Center Director of Mathnasium, an after school learning program specializing in math. He typically oversees 40 students and a dozen instructors and creates a personalized curriculum for each student to succeed.

“Teaching one-on-one, I like to a certain point,” said Molina. “When you have a couple of other students and the instructor can kind of leave you for a second, it encourages you to actually even make mistakes and find ways to correct them.”

Once schools closed, interest rose in after-school programs, but Molina was forced to close Mathnasium's doors. Luckily, they were already developing software for distance learning, so once Safer At Home was ordered, they decided to expedite the online platform and roll it out to all their centers.

Not surprisingly, it was easier for the students to get the hang of it than it was for Molina.



“How do you delete the circle, Stella?” asked Molina.

“On the top where you choose your color. Next to that, there’s like a box that says select and move shape,” said Stella.

“Nowadays, students are so much more technology adept, it’s a lot easier for them to transfer over to the online platform of it,” explained Molina.

And though Stella is more accustomed to studying math on paper, she’s been enjoying the online experience. For Molina, the concept of teaching hasn’t changed at all. 

“You want to be more of a guide,” said Molina. “You don’t want to be pulling them. You want to just be more kind of helping them along the way. You know so they become very self-sustaining.”

Stay in school while you’re safer at home.