Hi there, my name is Sophia!
One of my greatest passions is to help people find the unique ways THEY learn and function-- be it visual, auditory, kinesthetic, verbal, or otherwise-- and empowering them to tackle their subjects with confidence! I've worked as a teaching artist and tutor for many years, in a variety of areas, and with a variety of students, and one thing I can say with confidence is this: no two people learn the same way, or at the same rate.
I remember struggling in school growing up, because I am a kinesthetic learner, and that never translated well into the classroom environment. I thought I was dumb for not learning or understanding the same way other kids seemed to. In college, I discovered it was not a matter of my inability to learn, as much as it was about finding the unique way *I* learned-- and harnessing that power and energy to learn the way I do!
When I'm not teaching or tutoring, I work in theatre, and also as a freelance artist. I've done work as an actress, writer, musician, composer, designer, director, stage manager, lighting technician... I love it all!
The best part of what I do is watching my students succeed. When we find their special niche, whatever it may be, nothing seems impossible to them; all that work that they could never figure out is a breeze, because we're using the right tools this time. There is nothing better than watching somebody become (and understand) more of who they uniquely are.
Sophia has been so excellent with our son. He trust and connected quickly, therefore is more eager to put in the effort. She even let him borrow a keyboard and help teach piano via FaceTime. Such a great, positive outlet for him. We love Sophia!
My process for working with a new student always begins by getting to know them on a personal level, and allowing them to get to know me-- it's difficult to let someone help you succeed if you don't trust them.
I like to know what's important to my studnets, what they do and don't enjoy doing, and observe how they best retain information. In turn, I share about myself, and devise some reward-based activities we can work towards when work gets accomplished.
I studied Religion, Theatre, and Philosophy at Calvin University. In this compilation of fields, I focused on the relationship between storytelling and community; I believe that by using story in education, we not only have the power to engage various generations in learning, but also help create and exercise key elements in development and education: critical thinking, analysis, and empathy.
I have a standard rate of $30 for an hour of tutoring, if: (1) My student comes to me, (2) It's an online/Skype/Zoom lesson.
If I go to my student, rate increases depending on the length of travel time, etc.
I got started teaching when I was just fifteen years old-- I became a piano, guitar, ukulele, and music theory teacher out of my home. I've been teaching music ever since. In college I began tutoring in various academic areas, and moved to Chicago where I worked at the Chicago Children's Theatre, teaching music, performance, writing, and dialetcs, among some other things. Back in Grand Rapids, MI, I worked as an Instructional Aide mostly with elementary students, before all schools closed due to COVID-19. I still connect with my students weekly.
I have worked with students ranging from two years old to thirty-six years old! Some of my students have had English as a second language, various forms of trauma and PTSD, Down syndrome, Autism, and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophe.
Recently, my brother and sister and I repainted my mom's kitchen as a surprise to her! It was a lot of work and I was covered in paint, but she was so happy, it was worth it.
The advice I would give a student looking to hire a teacher in my area of expertise, would be to look for someone who is a masterful communicator. You can find the best mathematician, linguist, or musician in the world, but that doesn't mean they'll be able to explain math, English, or music to you in a way that you are able to comprehend and retain-- and that's ultimately what's most important.
Before I ask students for their questions, I ask for their stories.
(1) Think of a time when somebody made you feel comfortable and at-ease when you were working. Tell me that story.
(2) Think of a time when somebody explained something difficult to you, and you understood. Tell me that story.
(3) Think of a time when you felt really proud of yourself, and you accomplished something awesome. Tell me that story.
(4) Think of something that you might know, that I might NOT know. Explain that thing to me.
(5) Think of a time when you were trying really hard at something, and you were struggling to succeed. Tell me what that was, and how you delt with it.
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