Welcome back to another team member spotlight here at AJ Tutoring! This week we wanted to highlight the amazing contributions of the one and only Chelsea Greene! Our head blog writer sat down with Chelsea to learn more about the work she does at AJ.
Interviewer: Hi Chelsea! Thank you so much for sitting down with me today! Can you tell me a little bit about your background and current position here at AJ?
Absolutely! I studied biology and philosophy at UC Santa Barbara. My parents are both engineers, so there were a lot of math camps and nerdy hobbies in my upbringing. I have been with AJ Tutoring for almost 9 nine years, and I am currently the South Peninsula Regional Director.
Interviewer: Whoa! That is a long time to stay in one place and it seems like you have grown a lot here at AJ.
I have! AJ is like a second home to me and that has really allowed me to grow as an educator and individual.
Interviewer: I feel like a great work environment can have such a positive impact on our individual growth, the same way a really great teacher or coach can. Can you tell me a little about your favorite teacher when you were growing up?
My high school swim coach, Ben Bethune, was also my precalc teacher my junior year. I was very lucky (thanks, Parents) that precalc was actually the first time in my math education that I really hit a wall (woo trig identities). To this day, I can vividly remember getting my quiz back and feeling my stomach fall out of my chest as I saw the score. I was embarrassed, ashamed, you name it. Worst of all I thought my teacher was going to be disappointed in me and that I would never be a “good student” in his eyes ever again. Well, as you can guess, that wasn’t the case, and when he took me aside to review the material his only priority was making sure I felt confident and could knock it out of the park on the test. I am happy to say that I now love trig identities and no longer hold the idea that you are only a good student if the material comes easily to you. I also just have to say, he was one of the kindest people I have ever met and in ways no one else would ever really know. I asked once why he didn’t take the nice parking spot towards the pool when we arrived at a meet, and he simply answered “I’ve got good legs, I’ll leave it for someone who might benefit from a shorter walk.” I think about it often, and while I do love to find the best parking spot possible I also try to put as much kindness back into the world as he does. Double thanks, Ben!
Interviewer: He sounds like an amazing teacher and mentor! One random act of kindness does go a long way. You talked about the impact he still has on your life and choices, what about books you read growing up? Any of them stand out?
If I could go back and tell high school Chelsea one thing it would be: READ MORE! It’s so fun, a fantastic way to experience other perspectives and learn about the world (and yourself), and the best tool to improve your personal vocabulary and writing. I am so bummed that I didn’t get into reading for pleasure until college. Since college, I have become an avid reader and while I could never pick a favorite book I can almost reasonably say that my four favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson, Terry Pratchet, Jim Butcher, and N.K. Jemisin :). My brain loves puzzles, so I gravitate towards epic tales where characters and their stories evolve over hundreds of pages. I realize (and have been told) that not everyone wants to commit to these types of tomes, so I will just say that Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman are really fun reads that I would emphatically recommend to anyone.
Interviewer: I like the idea of having favorite authors and recurring characters instead of favorite books necessarily. Speaking of favorites though, what is your favorite time of year?
Spending time with family and friends really recharges my batteries and brings me joy, so it’s a toss-up between summer and the holidays. I grew up in the Bay Area and then went to Santa Barbara for school, so when it gets cold or rains for more than a day, you’ll find me pouting under a blanket with a warm cup of tea (probably a book in hand for good measure).
Interviewer: Spending time with family is something we don’t always understand the importance of until we are older. Looking back to your younger days, you said you wished you would have read more. If you could give one piece of advice to one of our high school students, what would it be?
I think it’s really important to remember what we are doing here: learning how to learn! Yes, you probably won’t need to find the derivatives of logarithmic functions or how to balance chemical equations every day, but the act of taking in a bunch of information, distilling it down to what you need to know, and then applying it will be invaluable! I’ll also say that comparison is the thief of joy. You are uniquely you and that is AWESOME! Spend your time doing what brings you joy and don’t worry about what others are up to!
Interviewer: Great advice, Chelsea! How about a parent who is thinking about coming to AJ?
In my role as Regional Director, I have the unique privilege of getting to know and monitoring all of the tutors in Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Mountain View. I absolutely love my role because I get to hear all of the phenomenal work that our tutors are doing with students and see the pure passion these educators bring to their sessions. My advice then is to talk to our tutors. I know all our tutors are working hard to enhance the experience of each student, but if something isn’t quite right they are also super excited to experiment and iterate.
Interviewer: Well, Chelsea, I really appreciate your honest feedback and insights! It has been a lot of fun getting to know you a little bit better and thank you for sharing your advice!