Since graduating from Trinity College in 2005, I have lived and worked abroad (in India, New Zealand, and Europe) and spent the past six years teaching 4th, 5th, and 6th grades at both traditional and progressive middle and elementary schools here in Massachusetts. I earned my M.A. in English at Middlebury College, and I am about to embark on a second graduate degree in Theological Studies at Harvard. As both a teacher and a student, I thoroughly understand the value of loving learning for its own sake.
All children have the desire to succeed, (whether or not they have realized it) and oftentimes the only thing standing in their way is their confidence. It is so easy to give up when faced with a challenge, to fade quietly into the background when we aren't confident, and to put up a wall of disinterest or dislike when we feel frustrated. Unfortunately, the traditional "school model" can be all too conducive to this, making it difficult for many children to love school and learning. My experience working at a small, progressive, student-centered independent school has taught me something very simple but profound: Education is not merely the acquisition of information and facts. Facts are available in seconds at the click of a button. Rather, education is about learning how to really think. Being "smart" no longer means being able to rattle off the capitals of all 50 states by memory- anyone can find that information on the internet. It is about knowing how to read critically, organize and synthesize ideas, reflect, and write analytically.
Writing can be a daunting task for children, but there are so many tools that can be employed to make it not only manageable, but even enjoyable. Whether you're a visual thinker and you benefit from graphic organizers to outline your ideas, or a mathematical thinker and you need a formulaic approach to constructing a perfect paragraph or essay, there are a multitude of strategies that good writers have figured out and everyone can use to their advantage.
Does your child say he or she just doesn't like to read? Perhaps they haven't found the right books, the genre that excites them or the author that "speaks" to them. Perhaps they're reading books that are too hard and getting lost in the language, or too easy and losing interest. Or, they haven't yet figured out how to get enveloped in a story, become attached to a character, and visualize a setting. There are many reasons why reading can be a struggle, but like writing, one size doesn't fit all and it's just a matter of figuring out which strategies work.
The best way to really understand what your child needs is through undivided, individualized attention, and a strong, positive relationship in which they feel safe to take academic risks and ask questions. In most classrooms, the attention of the teacher is limited and goes to students who know all of the answers (because their hands are confidently raised and they are engaged in discussions) and the children who seek negative attention because they are calling out or disrupting their classmates. The one-to-one nature of tutoring affords an incredible opportunity to give your child the attention, support, and consistency they need to succeed. More importantly, it creates an environment in which learning is fun, rewarding, exciting, and satisfying, ultimately fostering the intrinsic motivation that is the key to success.
Trinity College - BA, Religion
Middlebury College - MA, English