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I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and was raised in California in the Peninsula and the East Bay. I received my B.A. in English literature from UC Berkeley and my M.F.A. in screenwriting from UCLA. During my undergraduate career, I explored film and screenwriting workshops alongside my film concentration in the English department’s Literature as Film program. I wrote my senior thesis on Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds.
I learned from some amazing teachers and peers at UC Berkeley and UCLA. I also had the chance at UCLA to be a TA and teach my own discussion section of 20 undergraduate students. It was an unforgettable experience, and I learned and grew as a teacher. One of the biggest takeaways I learned is the importance of doing rather than thinking. I also learned that not everything goes as planned and career paths are not always linear. I thought I would live in LA and pursue screenwriting, but due to personal reasons, I moved back to the Bay Area and pursued my interests in entrepreneurship, cooking, health, and wellness. I believe it’s important to pursue what excites you and makes you curious.
My dad is a professor and instilled the value of education in me from a very young age. I’ve always been enthusiastic about learning, especially in the areas of reading and writing. In my first year of community college as an English major, I noticed there was a growing need for English tutors. I was eager to help students in a subject that came easy to me but difficult to them. Thus, I began tutoring students in English, with a focus on literature comprehension and essay writing. I find it interesting when students think they don’t have anything to contribute to discussion around a book or when they find it boring. I find that once I make a book or their current studies relevant to their world today or have them look up the history or context of the book, students have more thoughts to add. I have worked at various times as a tutor at Foothill College, The Reading Clinic, and Ace Academics, Tutor Me LA, and ReadyEdgeGo. I also worked with AJ Tutoring before heading to UCLA for my M.F.A..
My tutoring approach is very student focused. I take advantage of the 1-on-1 format by taking the time to listen to a student’s challenges and needs. I believe in helping students become independent learners, so I believe in the Socratic method: asking students questions in order to develop their critical thinking. A common challenge that students in English classes face is that they don’t find the material interesting or relevant. When that happens, I help the student make it fun by relating it to similar modern day events or finding the underlying human experiences that they can connect to. I also encourage students to do research into the author or historical time period of a book so that they can discuss the broader picture and understand the work in its own context. Students often find books dense and overwhelming, so I help them break down each chapter and section through “active reading”: annotating and writing down responses, connections, and more. These notes will help them immensely when they write an essay on the book, and understanding the end goal encourages students to maintain the habit.
When I am not tutoring, I enjoy cooking, photography and film, and spending time with family.