Bay Area born and raised, I earned my BA in English and psychology from UC Davis. From elementary school to university graduation, not a year went by where I was not advised by at least one person, “Janet, you should be a teacher.” Even as a student, there wasn’t a single class I attended where I wasn’t observing, analyzing, and building off of each professor’s pedagogy. How does an instructor impart information in the most optimal way? By what means does the human brain absorb, consolidate, and apply incoming information and skill sets? How do motivation, stress levels, and social experiences improve or interfere with that? What are the most successful techniques to bridge the gap between the learner and the instructor? Degree in hand, I set out with the goal of attending graduate school in clinical psychology to apply these principles as an adolescent therapist.
Although mentorship, validation, and guidance come naturally to me, it was quickly apparent that educating students, rather than patients, was my true passion. I began with a focus on guiding seniors through their college application essays, and over the next four years expanded into teaching the SAT and ACT, AP Language and Composition, AP Psychology, and of course, English writing. What fascinated me about English classes at the middle and high school levels was not just the content taught, but the range of vital skills that English classes hone: written expression, communications, discovering one’s own opinion and expressing it accurately, self-awareness, empathy, even an introductory approach to psychology and sociology. Although I taught summer and after school classes on rhetoric and healthy social-emotional habits during adolescence, I found myself returning again and again to individualized tutoring, which focuses as much on skill building as it does on content.
Each student has their own unique strengths, challenges, and personal goals. The beauty of individual tutoring lies in creativity and personal support. It allows us to meet any student where they are now, build a roadmap specific to their needs, and adjust from there. To achieve mastery, my focus is to help students adopt a growth mindset, overcome the nervousness of stepping outside their comfort zones, and apply creative approaches to any snags along the way. I always strive to inspire my students to cultivate their own growth beyond the classroom. What are their goals? Who do they want to become? With these questions in mind, we set a path forward together.
In other news, I develop recipes instead of baking them, play video games on casual mode, and chase my extremely silly cat. My sport of choice is men’s figure skating, and I am the kind of person who watches video essays analyzing movies and shows I’ve never seen.