Dreaming Elephants Tutoring, LLC
Dreaming Elephants Tutoring stands out by teaching students that it is normal to fail. Still, it is not customary to allow your failure to define you. Dreaming Elephants Tutoring was founded on the principles of perseverance, dedication, and altruism. We teach our students to learn from their failures and keep studying, working until they succeed. Then once they know the material, we encourage them to pursue teaching or guiding a fellow student who they see experiencing similar or the same struggles. After, all it's the Elephant way!
One of our greatest joys is seeing our students achieve incredible feats after being labeled as failures(even those labeled themselves). We enjoy most being able to attend the graduations of students who were once on the brink of dropping out of school. We appreciate most participating in college move-in days for students who were on the verge of not applying for college because they did not think they measured up academically.
Most of all, we enjoy seeing our former students enter careers where they are directly responsible for other students' education and career advancements. We have had students from academic probation and borderline dropouts(college and high school) to public school educators. This is what pushes us the most.
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Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
With new students, it is essential to get a good feel of their learning styles and problem-solving strategies. To do this, we always have a pretest prepared for our first session together. This pretest allows us to analyze how a student solves problems and gives us a starting point for our future sessions and my lesson plans.
Beyond the academic side of tutoring, we make sure to establish some connection with our students. This connection can be made via familiar sports teams, music tastes, traveling hobbies, etc. Students must be capable of being taught by you. Still, it is also crucial that they relate to their educators and be comfortable during sessions.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Our founder and owner, Thomas Sumter, has his bachelor of science degrees in Biology and Chemistry. He also holds a Master's degree in Public Health Policy. Every tutor we hire has earned at least their bachelor's degree and has at least 3 years of tutoring or education experience with students. Of our 13 tutors, at least 6 have at least a Master's degree in education or a related field. This allows us to tutor students in each of our General Subject areas (Reading/Writing, Math, Science) through at least the Sophomore level of college. Also, each of our tutors receives quarterly training in education and customer service support.
How did you get started teaching?
Our founder began tutoring through his local church when he was 15 years old. That work spread to his high school when he was hired to tutor other students, then from there, he began to teach students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. His passion for teaching led him to continue as a tutor in college and graduate school. When he moved to Philadelphia, he decided to create a company that was equal parts education and community engagement.
What types of students have you worked with?
We have worked with students from all walks of life. We have had students who had excellent grades, and we have tutored students who have been on the brink of dropping out of high school and college. We have tutored students from rich/wealthy families, and we have tutored students who lived in extreme poverty. We have worked with students who speak English natively. We also have worked with students who speak English as a second or even third language.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
In early February of 2021, our company was contacted by one of our founder's(Thomas) first-ever students in Philadelphia. In 2014 this student was on the brink of dropping out of high school in her sophomore year. He worked with this student for the next 2 years. He helped rebuild her confidence and put her on a path to enter her senior year and graduate. In 2016 just before her senior year of high school, this student and her family moved to New Jersey because of her father's job moving. When we received the call in February, that was the first time we had talked to this student in 5 years. The student informed us that she had not only graduated high school in 2016, but she also graduated college in May(2016) with honors! To say the least, a lot of tears of joy were shed that afternoon. That call is the foundation for why we tutor.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
Do your due diligence when pursuing a tutor. The lower price or the quickest availability often doesn't guarantee the best service or highest tutoring quality. It is crucial for you to also find out before agreeing on what comes with the tutoring services.
Tutoring should allow you to learn a subject effectively enough that you won't have to always rely on that tutor. If you have to continue depending on the tutor or your child's understanding of a subject hasn't changed, that is often a sign. This is a sign to find a new tutor that better fits their learning needs.
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
I would first ask teachers/tutors about their experiences (good and bad) with that particular subject. This includes: How long have you been tutoring this subject? Why do you tutor this subject? What are some of your struggles tutoring this subject?