After high school, I decided to go on adventures. I had some fun, some boredom and made some mistakes. Then, in my early twenties, I went back to school...and I LOVED it. After my adventures, I missed it and was ready for it. I even forgot how much fun Algebra was! I also found a voice in creative writing and philosophy.
In my Algebra class at community college, our teacher tended to repeat his explanation of an algebraic problem. I found that the same problem had multiple explanations and would raise my hand to offer another way around the problem. He suggested I tutor Algebra through the school. I did. I tutored the smartest woman I have ever met. She was blind and could do complex equations in her head!
I graduated from Bunker Hill Community College with an Associates Degree in Graphic Design and Communication. I spent two years working in a design studio in the North End, Boston, where I learned about design, Adobe print programs and setting up files for printers, aka pre-flight, and even got to go "on press" at the huge printing houses. I learned more on the job than in the classroom, yet both were necessary. Consistency in designing print materials is key. I was able to help my own boss transition from Quark, an old standard layout program, to Adobe's InDesign, which complimented Photoshop and Illustrator very well.
At Umass Boston, I tutored mostly basic math through advanced Algebra. I like the challenge of helping a student come to their own conclusions as well as helping them to see that sometimes there is more that one way to solve an equation.
I currently volunteer at Tutoring Plus, where I am so enthused to be helping a young non-native English speaker to write more concise sentences and improve his grammar. His desire to learn is contagious and this fifth grader has taught me some vocabulary as well! He didn't speak English in January 2012 and is now writing with humor and sophistication that is almost up to par with native English speakers of the same age.
I find that if you can coax the answer to a problem from a student, they will retain that information with deeper understanding than if you just give them the answers. While this doesn't apply to all situations it is rewarding to see the light bulb above their head and the smile on their face. Patience is key, as always, and short breaks necessary, even with older students. Organizing and prioritizing work can turn a mountain into manageable piles. Setting goals within the hour, the week, the month and year can really help reduce the stress. However, instilling confidence in the student and his/her ability to learn is paramount.
back to top