Tutor of the Year 2018 Global Finalists
Sam Marshall - Australia & Africa Regional Winner
Some people have a never-ending passion for learning and Sam is undoubtedly one of them. Averaging six students per week for over a year now, Sam is currently studying for a primary school teaching degree. Even with his busy schedule, Sam has always made himself available to take on new students.
A naturally gifted teacher, parents constantly send in glowing feedback about Sam’s unique instructional style. Sam is known to be extremely calm, patient, and unobtrusive when tutoring. For these reasons, even the most struggling students feel at ease around him.
“My 10 year old daughter was really struggling with her confidence in school for math, English, and science, to the point where she wouldn't even attempt to answer questions or complete tasks,” says the mother of one of Sam’s students. “Since tutoring with Sam, her teachers have reported a completely new found confidence. Now, she is actually excited to take on the challenge,” she smiles. “We are very grateful for the work Sam has done. He really seemed to understand my daughter’s learning style and how she picked things up.”
Everyone learns differently, and the most effective tutors are able to adapt their instructional style to each individual student’s strengths and weaknesses. Sam is an expert at this and embodies why one of Tutor Doctor’s core goals is to make sure students and instructors are appropriately matched.
“I would say the matching process that occurs between students and tutors is one of the best things about Tutor Doctor. It eliminates any of the common issues that arise when parents blindly select a tutor,” says Sam. “Depending on the needs of each student, Tutor Doctor matches them with a great tutor. It’s a truly worthwhile learning strategy.”
Sam is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Education. While his classes are challenging, it’s clear that Sam was born to be a teacher.
“Every afternoon that I have tutoring sessions I thoroughly look forward to working with my various students,” says Sam. “Each of them are unique, and it is yet equally rewarding to aid in their learning.
Urmi Joshi - Canada Regional Winner
With over 18 years of teaching experience, Urmi is extremely committed to all of her students. While she focuses primarily on chemistry, math, science, and language, Urmi understands that teaching isn’t always purely academic. In fact, Urmi has been known to go above and beyond to find solutions for students that need extra help.
“I worked with a student who had difficulty with fine motor skills and was also struggling with anxiety,” says Urmi. “I didn't just assist him with chemistry, but I also helped him to overcome his fears by recommending yoga and meditation counseling. It benefitted him not only in his work performance, but also in his ability to manage anxiety,” she explains. “I was able to help him to gain confidence in his abilities, and as a result, he was able to succeed in his studies.”
Urmi has a critical understanding of what makes a great teacher - the fact that learning is a mutual experience means that the instructor, as well as the student, should both benefit from the learning process.
“Teaching makes me a constant learner,” adds Urmi. “I’m more optimistic, persistent, and philosophical.”
Urmi has exhibited a strong commitment towards her students during her time working with Tutor Doctor. Although she started working with us in 2015, when she relocated Urmi felt so strongly about our core values that she asked to be recommended to her new local Tutor Doctor branch.
For Urmi, teaching is rewarding in more ways than one. She has a natural gift of instruction and a genuine love of learning.
In Urmi’s words, “It brings me eternal happiness to know I’ve made a difference in my students’ lives.”
Daniela Galvez - Latin America Regional Winner
Based in Peru, Daniela now works with over 10 students - and she’s in high demand! With her cheerful personality and glowing smile, it’s easy to see why students simply adore Daniela. In Peru, many students are taught in English. This additional language barrier sometimes causes them to struggle. Fluent in both English and Spanish, Daniela’s bilingual abilities allow her to connect with students in both languages effortlessly.
“Daniela worked in a spectacular way with my 16 year old son, and it has helped him to learn what he could not understand in school,” says the Mom of one of Daniela’s students. “But the main thing that has helped him is the emotional support, making him feel confident in his ability to learn. My son learns visually, and Daniela took that into consideration from the first day,” she exclaims. “Now he uses markers, colors and visual pictures to help him learn material and stay organized!”
Perhaps Daniela is able to connect so deeply with students because of her own experiences with adversity. Daniela understands how important self-confidence and assurance is to a growing mind. “Being part of a vulnerable population, such as the LGBT community, makes it even harder for us to seek help at work due to fear of not being treated equally,” says Daniela. “Nonetheless, I have received nothing but full support, understanding and care from Tutor Doctor.”
Daniela is a biologist, having graduated from the prestigious National Agrarian University in Lima, Peru. Although biology may be her passion, Daniela’s breadth of knowledge allows her to tutor students in a wide array of subjects. In addition to biology, Daniela also instructs students in chemistry, physics, math, and writing.
As we believe at Tutor Doctor, learning is for life. Daniela recognizes this better than anyone, and understands that learning is a mutual process.
“Being a tutor has, ironically, taught me so much. I have learned about topics I never imagined students would ask me to help them with, but I have also learned about my strengths and weaknesses as a tutor,” says Daniela. “It has made me realize that I may not always have all the answers, and that’s okay! There is nothing to be ashamed of, for we are all here to learn through our whole lives, from ourselves and each other.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Chris Hinsley - UK Regional Winner
Chris works exclusively with students who have disengaged with education in a traditional framework. Chris has an amazing, dedicated perseverance to work with students that do not believe in themselves and may not have the support in their home life to encourage them to achieve success. He never gives up on them and is always willing to take on students who will benefit from his understanding that education is not just about helping students to pass exams, but also to aid them in understanding the world around them.
In the area of teaching, some of the most challenging situations involve are working with students from troubled backgrounds, some of whom may have suffered neglect and even abuse. These children can require more creative and innovative strategies and intensive support to engage with their studies, as they have often given up their drive for education and lost faith in their own potential.
It takes a truly remarkable person to work with students who are facing personal challenges - and that’s where Chris comes in. Since starting with Tutor Doctor, Chris has worked with only the most complex situations and individuals, never declining a student even once. Chris believes that with a positive attitude, a great tutor can reach any student through creativity, patience, and persistence.
Private tutoring allows Chris to approach students in a unique way that wouldn’t be possible in a classroom environment. “Some of the students I work with can barely read, write, or speak,” says Chris. “They are struggling in a world where communication is the key to everything,” he explains. “If I was a teacher, I would have my hands tied to the curriculum and be forced to teach them Shakespeare. As a tutor, I can concentrate on helping the student to interact with the world and get the best out of life.”
We talked to a senior case worker Chris had the opportunity of working with. This is what he had to say:
“Chris constantly goes above and beyond in the best interest of the young person. Chris has been adaptable, relentless, and very understanding in all he does given the troubled background of his students. His creativity holds no limits as he constantly finds innovative and imaginative ways to help engage and motivate the young person.”
Chris embodies some of the best things about Tutor Doctor, most importantly our core belief than learning is possible for everyone.
Emily Bacon-Picardi - US Midwest & Northeast Regional Winner
A teacher by day, Emily’s passion for learning reaches far beyond the classroom. While she loves being on campus, Emily recognizes that individual tutoring allows her to form a closeness with her students that simply isn’t possible in group environments.
“Being a tutor has made me a much more effective classroom teacher,” says Emily. “When I work 1 to 1 with struggling learners, I learn strategies, interventions, and new programs that I can then apply to my own classroom of learners.”
Without a doubt, Emily has produced some remarkable student transformations. A mother of one of Emily’s students tells us how grateful she is that her daughter now constantly reads books. In the past, her child hated reading and was desperately struggling to keep up. The school counselors even recommend summer school.
Emily changed all that. Now a loyal client for over three years, mom is happy to report that her daughter currently reads above grade level. All of the parents Emily works with have similar stories, saying that she is a naturally gifted instructor and genuinely cares about seeing her students succeed.
Even with challenging tutoring situations, Emily has managed to prove time and time again her calm, patient demeanor and unique approach to learning is certainly something special. A year ago, a student that had gone through multiple tutors and learning centers was matched with Emily for SAT prep. The student was diagnosed with a sensory disorder, and previous attempts to raise his score just weren’t working. After working with Emily on SAT preparation, he was able to raise his score by 200 points.
At Tutor Doctor, our goal is to connect students with educators that have a true passion for teaching. Emily has a remarkable ability to apply her skills in varying environments, always making sure the student comes first.
As Emily says, “I believe every teacher should start as a tutor, to learn more deeply about how to effectively serve the struggling students in the classrooms today.”
Jan Hurst - US South Regional Winner
Jan has been working with Tutor Doctor for over three years now, having tutored more than 30 students. As a high school AP English teacher, her specialty is test preparation. Jan understands that teaching is more than just a job - she believes in Tutor Doctor’s values and the relationships she builds with the clients she meets are something special. Jan likes to keep in contact with students even after they move off to college. It’s no surprise that her students are eternally grateful towards her, as she averages an incredible 6-8 point increase in English and reading on the ACT.
“I love to see students of all levels succeed,” says Jan. “It isn't just about the big exam for me. I want students to feel confident in their abilities again. Oftentimes, they are so defeated that the first objective is to get them to once again believe they can achieve academic success.”
As we always say here at Tutor Doctor, learning isn’t just about the now - we believe learning is for life. Jan understands this better than anyone - tests and exams are only stepping stones to a student’s future.
“College is expensive,” Jan explains. “I primarily work with kids on the ACT and SAT. Helping them raise their score is only the tip of it. By raising their score, they qualify for scholarships that may very well be the only way they can go to a certain school or even at all. The long term impact is what pushes me to keep going.”
Working with Tutor Doctor allows Jan to work with a wide range of students, each unique learners with diverse learning styles. But more importantly, Jan understands how learning must be a two way street. As a single mom, Jan believes tutoring has boosted her own confidence due to her positive impact on the community.
“Professionally, I have grown tremendously as a teacher through my experience with Tutor Doctor,” says Jan. “I can't say enough about how appreciative I am of the opportunities Tutor Doctor has given me.”
Clarissa Romez - US West Regional Winner
Clarissa has a true passion for teaching and the bonds formed between her and her students are truly remarkable. When her students have moved away, her local office always hears the same request: “Can Clarissa keep tutoring, even if it’s online?”
Patient, loving, encouraging, focused, and reliable. These are the words Clarissa chooses to describe herself, and they align perfectly with Tutor Doctor’s core values.
Clarissa exemplifies this on a daily basis checking in with school offices, parents, and teachers to ensure everyone is on the same page. Organization as Clarissa believes, is a key to success. Time and time again, Clarissa has managed to succeed with even the most difficult of students and the transformations we’ve witnessed are nothing short of magnificent.
“Toward the end of the school year, I was matched with a student who had failing grades in an Honors Chemistry class. I discovered that he would need to achieve at least 80% in every single assignment, lab, quiz, and test, as well as the final exam,” says Clarissa. “I devised a plan. We started to study together for every quiz and test doing four hours of tutoring per week. The results started to show; he started to answer questions correctly and then the day came when he scored his first 100% on a quiz. He ended up passing his class, and I was incredibly impressed by the transformation he went through.”
Clarissa holds a Master’s Degree in Animal Biology from the University of Brasilia, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree and teaching license in Biological Sciences. While attending university, Clarissa received a 4.0 GPA. It’s no surprise that many students rely on her expertise in specialized areas – AP biology, molecular biology, anatomy, genetics, microbiology, chemistry, and statistics – just to name a few.
When she’s not helping students, Clarissa spends her free time giving back to the community. As a volunteer at the Turtle Bay Museum, Clarissa remains hands-on with her passion for animal biology. She also aids local tutor recruitment efforts and was recently interviewed for North State Parent magazine.
In Clarissa’s words, “Tutoring changed my life because it grants me the privilege of seeing transformation daily through the lives of my students, and my hope is that this will make a change in the world.”