Hi! My name is Tess, Iâ€™m a bookworm and ballet dancer from the far-left-of-nowhere Massachusetts, and I canâ€™t wait to meet your student! I was born in Seattle but have spent most of my life in New England with my crazy family and our even crazier labradoodle puppy. When I was three years old I fell in love with ballet, and at fourteen I moved away from home to pursue my dream at a performing arts boarding school. I intended to dance professionally after high school, and I never thought about pursuing higher education, but while I was training in ballet, pointe, modern, and jazz pre-professionally, I was also falling in love with something new: books. Because of some wonderful teachers who I had the privilege to learn from, I realized that college was the right path for me. I know it sounds cliché, but it really was because of these inspiring teachers that I became so passionate about tutoring and mentoring, and realized the transformative power of education.
So, it comes as no surprise that Iâ€™ve spent much of my high school and Princeton careers teaching, planning curricula, tutoring, and mentoring. I have worked with a wide variety of students in a wide variety of venues: from second graders to high schoolers, from dance studios to prisons. From the high school students in the Princeton/Trenton area who I work with as president of Princetonâ€™s College Counseling Project, Iâ€™ve learned how to teach focus: find something (anything!) that motivates your student, latch on to that motivating force, and use it as momentum through the parts that are most difficult for him or her. From the prisoners I tutor, Iâ€™ve learned how to teach algebra to someone whoâ€™s never seen a negative integer before, how to connect with someone as a human being first and a teacher second, and how to tutor effectively with virtually no resources. From the seven year olds in my dance workshops, Iâ€™ve learned that learning has to be interesting â€“ a class of bored second-graders is a disaster waiting to happen (and if you arenâ€™t engaging your students, whatâ€™s the point?) I think I can safely say that my students have prepared me for anything.
More recently I had a fantastic experience interning at an NGO in Uganda where I taught SAT Critical Reading, SAT Writing, and ESL extensively. I wrote syllabi, planned and taught lessons, and worked individually with students. Here I was also a college counselor; I helped many students navigate the international university admissions process, guiding students through research and advising students on their application essays.
College counseling is a special passion of mine: I know that I would never be at Princeton â€“ or at college at all â€“ without all the help and support I had, and my goal is to provide that support for other students. This unique area of expertise gives me nuanced insights into the challenges high schoolers face and the goals they are trying to reach. My knowledge of what skills colleges values â€“ including strong and persuasive writing skills, the ability to learn independently, and the ability to manage time â€“ help me see the big picture as a tutor. Completing your math homework is never just about completing your math homework: it is about developing reasoning skills, building the necessary knowledge base for standardized tests and university courses, and taking charge of your own learning outside of the classroom.
When Iâ€™m not tutoring and mentoring, you can usually find me in the dance studio enjoying ballet class, rehearsing with my student dance company eXpressions, or performing on stage. In my free time, I love to read, write, write about what I read, try all the frozen yogurt on Nassau Street, watch (and rewatch) How I Met Your Mother, and have long, meandering conversations with friends.
Iâ€™m looking forward to meeting you and your students! I know that academic roadblocks can be extremely frustrating, but few things are more rewarding than watching everything click when a student â€œgets itâ€. Thank you for giving me the opportunity and privilege to be a small part of your studentâ€™s education!