Caitlyn Louchard

Academic Tutor

My teaching career began when I was asked to teach Shakespeare Camp with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. Exploring Shakespeare with young people was wildly fun: each student brought their own truth to the text and taught me to hear it in new ways. I coached students to trust in the language to carry them, to be brave, to take up space, and use their voices. 

Inspired, I continued to teach theater in a variety of settings, and I pursued a master’s degree in education at Mills College, along with a credential to teach upper school English. I did my student teaching at Berkeley High School, where I had the opportunity to teach AP English to a group of fabulous juniors. My favorite part of that year was working with students one-on-one as they grappled with their college essays.

I grew up in Palo Alto and graduated from Gunn High School before heading to New York for drama school at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. I earned my BFA in theater, and I began a decade-long career as a stage actor in the Bay Area. I worked mostly with theaters focusing on experimental interpretations of Shakespeare and other classics, and eventually started my own radical Shakespeare company in Oakland. 

Before falling in love with theater, however, I fell in love with language and story. I wrote my first short story in second grade: I remember feelings of freedom and connectedness–not just with those who would read my story, but with the vast field of imagination and possibility I’d stumbled into with my number two pencil. Writing is still an important part of my life, and is one of my favorite things to teach.

Persuasive writing was a challenge for me in high school, even though I was an avid poet and a devoted reader. I resisted the structure and the pressure to organize my thoughts into cohesive logical statements. I’ve since learned that communicating complex ideas clearly and succinctly is empowering and deeply satisfying, not to mention good for our brains. I want my students to feel that sense of empowerment as they learn to engage authentically with all kinds of writing, using the constraints of each form as a creative puzzle.

The college essay in particular asks the writer to be vulnerable and precise, and many students are taken by surprise when faced with the task—which story to tell, and how to tell it? My approach is all about helping students lean into intuition and trust in the value of their own lived experience. Just like at Shakespeare Camp, I coach students to trust in the language to carry them, to be brave, to take up space, and use their voices.

When not tutoring with AJ, I spend my time running outdoor creative writing workshops for small groups of homeschooled tweens and teens, and I enjoy taking long walks in the Oakland hills with my dog, Merlin; knitting hats; gardening; and dreaming about the Permaculture farm I’ll build someday.

Subjects Tutored:

Academic English
AP English Language and Composition
AP English Literature and Composition




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