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Getting an education was never something that was optional to me. Growing up, my parents instilled its importance, but never let me forget that it was mandated. I wouldn't say that I loved school, but I didn't hate it. To me it was pointless to hate something that I knew I had to do. But in all my years of growing up, you could have never told me that I wanted to be an educator. Like many kids growing up I wanted to do things with medicine, sports, or law, but it wasn't until after college that I realized I was meant to work in education.

Upon graduating from USC in 2011, and realizing there were virtually no jobs in the field I wanted, I had to make a decision. I took the CBEST, and began working as a substitute teacher with Compton Unified School District in 2011. I had no idea what to expect, but I was immediately thrown into the mayhem of facilitating long-term in an urban classroom at Cesar Chavez Continuation High School. I didn't even have a teaching style yet, and to be honest I was a little intimidated. Not too long ago, I was sitting where these students were, so how would I be able to get them to not only listen, but respect me? Did I have what it took to command a classroom of 16-18 year old students, which many of whom were on probation, and teach a lesson where students would actually learn? I've always had a strong and commanding presence, but dealing with this caliber of students what a completely different ballgame.

My first teaching assignment led to my light bulb momentI'm supposed to be an educator. The stories I shared with my students, the lessons we learned together, the tears we cried on each others shouldersthose moments made me realize what I'm supposed to do with my life. I developed a teaching style that is firm, engaging, and relatable to students.

I learned a lot about the areas I need to improve upon as a communicator and leader amongst urban youth. Prior to this, I had not considered the power that negative and positive reinforcements within the classroom affected the lives of students outside of the classroom. I've learned that my demeanor of being relatable and easy-going with students has sometimes hindered my responsibility of ensuring that they take the lessons I give seriously. I'm currently taking use of the professional development that the school site offers and learning from other teachers on how to navigate the fine line between "friendship" and the responsibility of ensuring they are meeting the requirements as a well-rounded student.

I've had dreams of doing many things, but being an educator is what I feel I should do and need to do. The community that I serve is in need of people like me who are passionate about creating positive home and educational environments. Having spent time in the classroom at all 3 levels of the K-12 system, I've been able to gain valuable insight on what challenges students are facing in the classroom, and I know that my passion and experience will continue to be an asset as I work with students.

I am currently pursuing my Master's in Social Entrepreneurship at Pepperdine University. Upon graduating I plan to pursue a doctorate in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Social Justice.

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LaShawn’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Southern California - Bachelors, American Studies and Ethnicity

Graduate Degree: Pepperdine University - Current Grad Student, Social Entrepreneurship and Change


Politics, mixed martial arts, basketball, football, reading, traveling

Tutoring Subjects

ACT English

ACT Writing

African-American History


ASPIRE English


College Essays

College Level American History

Comparative Literature


Essay Editing

High School Level American History

Homework Support


Middle School Writing




SAT Prep

SAT Reading

Study Skills and Organization

Test Prep



Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Learning isn't a privilege, it's a right.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I would open with an icebreaker, learn about their academic plans, and set goals with them for their tutoring sessions.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By encouraging them to take ownership of their learning.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Encourage them each time they get an answer correct. The boost in confidence will, over time, lead to excitement over mastering the subject.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I use the "I do, we do, you do" method to ensure the student has plenty of examples and opportunities to see how the the work should be done.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

By encouraging them to try again, and by providing praise when they improve upon an area where they previously struggled.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

By paying attention to where they struggle, and tailoring the sessions to address those needs.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

Computer, example handouts, pen/pencil, calculators, paper, and an agenda.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Continue helping them in that concept by exploring an alternative method.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I would incorporate note taking strategies along with repetitive speech tactics.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I've found that asking students about their successes and areas of struggles allows me to get a sense for the type of student they are and how my experiences can help them.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I pay close attention to areas where students are struggling and incorporate strategies to address them in future sessions. I believe adapting to a student's need is more important in the long run versus solely finishing an assignment.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

By revisiting the goals they set for themselves in the first session and showing them how much they've accomplished.

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