Capable

What does the word capable mean to you?

I recently became a certified personal trainer in order to grow my ability to help others, in addition to the tutoring I provide. My day job is IT sales, which I enjoy greatly, but I truly shine through the additional roles I provide others.

I love helping people, whether it’s through helping a student raise their SAT score or helping someone achieve their wellness goals. And what better time than the new year to start helping people get back into shape? I’m not only capable but also willing to work with you to help in any way that I can.

When I think of the word capable, I also think of the word strength. And this is the image that comes to mind:

lioness-2

I’ve created a new blog for my personal training business. Please follow it HERE. Thank you!

 

School is back in session

As school starts up again, and I receive more and more emails regarding ACT test prep, I can’t help but think about more important things other than ACT.

Don’t get me wrong, ACT is important. You have to take the test in order to get into college. Depending on what school you want to go to, you have to get a certain score. But I think this test is over-rated. It is difficult, and timed in a way that no other test in your life is timed. Without fail, many of my students end up feeling very anxious and sometimes have panic attacks over this test. Is this test worth it? No. There’s more to school than a test.

I came across this article recently: CLICK HERE

I love how this school is using art and other creative outlets to develop their students. Their students are learning more and more, and not by taking mandatory tests. I think it’s important to let students learn in multiple ways. A mandatory, national test is not the only way a student can learn. Some people are bad at test taking, but this doesn’t mean they’re not smart. Some of my brightest students struggle to get over a 24 on their ACT score, which is a score that some schools will take, but other schools require closer to a 27 or 28 to be accepted.

How do you feel about art and creativity in schools? Do you think standardized testing is the best measure of our student’s knowledge and understanding?

School’s out – Summer’s here

Now that school’s out and the next ACT test isn’t until September, you may be left wondering what there is to do this summer. Especially if you’re happy with your ACT score and don’t plan to take it again. While it may seem like spending the summer sleeping in and doing a whole bunch of nothing in addition to just having fun, the summer is a great opportunity to start adding to your experiences outside of school if you haven’t already.

If you’re a High School Senior (starting this Fall) and have yet to work any sort of job or internship, I implore you to pick up a part time or even full time job this summer. If possible, find something related to what you’re interested in doing as an adult. If you’re unsure what you want to do, feel free to find any decent paying job for the summer that you feel you’ll enjoy.

When I was in high school, I worked part time as a Kennel Assistant at a local animal hospital since I had plans to study Animal Science/ Veterinary Medicine in college. Having this experience helped me land other jobs throughout my college and after-college experience. It even helped me build a great, comprehensive resume.

What are your plans for the summer? Are you going to study, work, or just have fun? If you’re looking for a job, I recommend using indeed.com as it’s a great search engine for jobs near you.

 

School's out – Summer's here

Now that school’s out and the next ACT test isn’t until September, you may be left wondering what there is to do this summer. Especially if you’re happy with your ACT score and don’t plan to take it again. While it may seem like spending the summer sleeping in and doing a whole bunch of nothing in addition to just having fun, the summer is a great opportunity to start adding to your experiences outside of school if you haven’t already.

If you’re a High School Senior (starting this Fall) and have yet to work any sort of job or internship, I implore you to pick up a part time or even full time job this summer. If possible, find something related to what you’re interested in doing as an adult. If you’re unsure what you want to do, feel free to find any decent paying job for the summer that you feel you’ll enjoy.

When I was in high school, I worked part time as a Kennel Assistant at a local animal hospital since I had plans to study Animal Science/ Veterinary Medicine in college. Having this experience helped me land other jobs throughout my college and after-college experience. It even helped me build a great, comprehensive resume.

What are your plans for the summer? Are you going to study, work, or just have fun? If you’re looking for a job, I recommend using indeed.com as it’s a great search engine for jobs near you.

 

ACT and improving your score

While the ACT is a test that is offered several times a year, the mandatory test is the April test during your Junior year in High School. With this test looming over students, they are often left with a choice: to take practice tests before April, or wait until the April test to see how they do then determine if they need to take the test again. Over the past few years, I have tutored many different types of students who have chosen many different strategies to take on this test.

No matter what they choose, I have found some key similarities that are almost always true. The more practice tests that you take and review, the more your score increases. The more time you spend reviewing ACT subjects and tips, the better prepared you are for the test. The more time you put towards the ACT, the higher your score will be.

Another thing I’ve learned is that it is rare to raise your score by more than 10 points. While this is rare, it is not impossible. For example, one of my students raised his Reading score from 11 to 23 (a 12 point increase!) after meeting with me only once and learning some very valuable reading tips and tricks.

So to all the high schoolers out there preparing for the ACT: keep plugging away and practicing. And if you get stuck, seek out help. Teachers, tutors, classes, older students who’ve taken and done well on the ACT – any of these options are helpful. And if you’re in the North/Northwest Chicagoland area, I can help you. Reply to this post if interested in meeting me and learning what I have to offer.

Halloween costumes along with candy banned at Chicago schools

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20151028/loop/can-your-kid-wear-halloween-costume-school-most-younger-ones-can

Many Chicago schools are doing away with Halloween costumes and candy. While I understand the candy part (trying to have healthier food options for children) the costume part breaks my heart. Most schools now-a-days have costume rules, i.e. no masks and nothing that can block the view of other students. These are very reasonable and should be implemented at all schools. However, the idea of no costumes at all is awful.

“A former Peterson parent said the policy was built out of respect for the broad range of cultures and faiths represented at the school.”

I never knew Halloween went against any particular culture or faith. I feel like Halloween is such a great holiday that kids of all backgrounds can come together and enjoy, and yet they are taking it away due to different backgrounds. I remember dressing up for Halloween in school when I was a child and I remember it being one of my favorite days of the school year. I do hope that most schools continue to allow their students to dress up and don’t take the holiday away from the children of Chicago.

How do you feel about costumes going away for the children of Chicago? Are your children affected by these new policies?

halloween

Practice – The key to success

As the new school year starts, parents and children engage in similar activities: school clothes shopping, school supply shopping, and checking out classroom and scheduling assignments.

This time of year holds a mixture of emotions for parents and students alike. Anything from excitement and eagerness to nervousness and apprehension. But one critical factor will play a large role in the success of each student: practice.

Next to curriculum and curriculum delivery, the degree of practice holds the largest impact on success. Without practice, no one could get better at anything. If practice is not present in the classroom, it may appear as drill.

How can you tell what type of practice is in your child’s classroom? See the following checklist which can help determine the extent to which robust practice procedures occur in the classroom.

This article is based on an article posted on Linked In which can be seen HERE which dives further into this.

Using this checklist, teachers can make sure they are using the correct type of practice in their classrooms. The type of practice that helps students achieve success in their studies.

How do you help your students practice more and stay focused?

Six Steps to Better Grades

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This blog post is based on another blog post that can be found at this LINK.

Over the past few weeks, I have received numerous emails from parents in regards to their children receiving a bad grade in their science or math class looking for a tutor who can “confidentially” raise their child’s grade from failing/nearly failing to a B. There are numerous issues going on with these parent/child combinations that I, as a tutor, coming in at near the end of the school year with only weeks left do not feel “confident” enough to raise their grade out of the failing range and into the above average range. And quite honestly I don’t know any tutors who would be able to do that with such short notice and not much other information in regards to the situation surrounding the bad grade to begin with.

The worse part is that all of this could have been avoided. Parents, teachers and tutors all need to be involved in a student’s life in order to help them achieve better grades. And not only at the very end of the school year. Parents need to act right away, once that first bad report card is given. The longer the parent waits, the further behind the student will fall, and the harder it will be to get the student back up to speed in order to achieve in the class. Here are a few easy steps parents can do in order to create an environment that supports growth and learning.

Be supportive

Having a supportive family who believe in you is the first step to improved academic success. Believe that your child will improve and focus on the positive. Help them to set realistic goals and be their most enthusiastic cheerleader.

Get involved

Parental involvement is one of the key pillars to student success in academics and in life. Find time to help with homework, help out at school and to get to know their teachers and friends. Speak with their teachers about ways in which you can support their growth at home. Their teachers know what they need and can give great advice on how you can help at home.

Get a tutor

Remember what we were saying about building blocks? An in-home tutor (i.e. me!) can work with your child to find those missing building blocks in their knowledge and fill in the gaps. Not only can a one-on-one tutor bring your child up to speed, but they can actually help them to move ahead. Ensure that you select a tutor who also teaches executive skills. I ensure to teach my students executive skills and help them plan their study time, especially when they have a big test coming up or a large project due.

Executive skills are key

To excel at school, your child needs to have study and organizational skills which are known as executive functions. They have to be organized enough to ensure that homework and assignments are done on time and that they are sufficiently prepared for exams and tests. They also have to prioritize tasks and manage their time effectively to balance school, life and sport. Teaching executive functions will equip your child with the skills they need to succeed. This is something that I work with parents and students on in order to help the student develop and maintain excellent executive skills.

Learning styles

Children don’t all learn in the same way; some are visual learners while others are auditory or kinesthetic learners. Find out which learning styles your child responds to best and then help them to convert information so that they can study smarter, not harder. I use this handy learning style tool to help determine which learning style is best for each student on an individual level.

Routine maintenance

Start a routine. This will help your child to be organized and manage time effectively. Pick a time for homework when your child is rested and ready which means not right after school and not too late at night. Create a quiet environment free of distractions and siblings where your child can do homework in peace. Ensure that they are fed a healthy diet with tons of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Encourage them to exercise every day and get outside as often as possible. I remember playing outside often as a child and utilizing my imagination much more than when I was inside playing video games. Even encouraging sports and/or martial arts is a good idea to help children get healthy exercise.

Life Work Balance and fine tuning it

As a person with a full time job that I love, and a part time job that I love even more, I find myself struggling with the appropriate life:work balance. Not only do I notice it, but so does my husband, when I over-work myself and leave no time to relax/play. While at first glance, you may think to yourself that this doesn’t really apply to the education field, I disagree. I feel like all throughout my education, during both undergraduate and graduate school, I worked part time, then full time, and studied full time as well. As far as a life:school:work balance? Well there was no life, only work:school balance with a little reprieve once in awhile (mostly summers). So once I was done with school and only had one full-time job, I found myself with an overwhelming amount of “free time.” I also started a vigorous search for a more applicable and higher paying job, and in the mean time started tutoring on the side mostly to pay the bills. Long story short, I landed a better job and fell in love with tutoring and education so decided to continue tutoring despite no longer needing to.

This has led me to decide on limiting the number of students I take on. I currently have two students who I tutor maybe once a week at most. Sometimes less. And I have been telling any new student inquiries that I am too busy to take on any new students. While this is sometimes true, it isn’t completely true, and if I really wanted to I could take on more students. It would be a simple matter of scheduling my time better and organizing with my current students and the new students. But when I think about being away from my husband even more, or having even less time to relax or exercise or do anything fun, I shake my head and stand firm in my decision to not accept any more students.

The idea of taking on more students was brought to my attention by my current student’s parent. When I mentioned to my student’s parent that a classmate of her daughter’s reached out to me regarding the same biology test that was coming up (and that we were studying for) she said why not take on more students, if I were able to manage my time and their time wisely enough, then my earning potential would increase. She also said that she would recommend me to any parent who needed a tutor for their child. I thanked her for the compliment and started thinking logically about the potential of adding on more students and making more money. While the thought is nice (who doesn’t like cash??) my schedule is tight as it is, especially since I work until 5:30 pm and it is hard for me to begin tutoring until 6:30 or 7, and if I have two students in the same night, one would have to wait until closer to 9 pm. While I wouldn’t mind the late nights, most parents/students wouldn’t want to be up that late studying. This would force me to see my students on separate days, potentially the weekends as well, leading to more time away from home.

Let me know what you think in regards to life:work balance: are you someone who overworks themselves due to enjoyment of your job, or perhaps the money, or are you someone who underworks and tries to live life to the fullest outside of work? Or maybe somewhere in between?

“Free” community college

In an effort to help struggling students help pay to further themselves in their educational journey, President Obama is toying with the idea of offering free community college. This plan is called America’s College Promise, and even if it gets approved, it will be years before it is actually applicable and available to students. The interesting part about this plan is that it would help both traditional and non-traditional students. So even if you work full time and go to community college part-time, you can get your tuition down to $0.

Of course, there’s been a mixed reaction to this idea. Some people think the young generation already has it great and shouldn’t receive any more handouts. Our parents and their parents all had to work hard to go to and pay for school. If “kids” are handed everything up to and through community college (a.k.a. Associate’s Degree) then they will learn to expect things, and become spoiled to some degree. It will also not help them learn the cost of living, the cost of education, etc. Also, while the plan covers community college, what about the non-traditional students who don’t do well in traditional schooling? What about trade schools? Or internships, where some people say that you learn the most on-the-job rather than in a lecture hall.

While the idea seems like a decent one, especially for those people who want to better themselves and yet don’t have the means to, I still think the future of higher education is going to look completely different. Student-centered learning is the direction that higher education is moving towards. While the regular traditional colleges and universities are throughout the US and many other countries, these types of schools don’t cover every and all topics, and their teaching styles don’t always apply to each and every field of study. I believe a mixture of classes and work/internships are required to fully learn and understand of field of work. I also don’t think it’s necessary to spend high dollars on tuition nor have to be where your teacher/professor is in order to learn from them. Online learning is the way of the future, especially for the underprivileged countries which don’t have as many universities, or a lack of funds for students to go to school.

What do you think about Obama’s free community college plan? Do you think it is for the best or not? Why or why not?