Friday, August 7, 2009

Why I Love What I Do

“Don’t worry we’re a family here, we’ll make sure you start off just right, everything’s going to be perfect!”

I felt the words melting all the worry away from inside me. I had worked at schools as a lead teacher for four years at this point. I worked in the Durham Public Schools system to complement the work I did in education at Duke and I had never heard such things. I worked as a lead Spanish and then Math teacher at a charter school where those words would have never been said.

Those years as a rookie, passionate teacher at a struggling public school have really given me perspective as I think about how strong the community at CPS (Charlotte Preparatory School) really is. The partnerships between parents and teachers, the community of parents, the connections that us teachers had with our students, the fellowship of teachers, and the support of administrators – it was transformative. At CPS I learned the power of positive community, I learned the gift that we give students by being strong, united and caring about them. I learned that the struggling charter school was more hurt by the bickering among teachers and lack of respect towards students than by tight public funding.

I came to New York City three years later to study at Steinhardt and focus on communities, culture, and the sociology of education. I concentrated on what makes a successful student; how we create positive communities, and found that we really have to re-imagine some communities and our opinions of them. I learned that I wanted to be part of creating positive environments and support for children and families.

I started Gramercy Park Tutors considering my experience working one-on-one with students and families. I believe that the hourly tutoring session is useful, but not what really interests me. I built GPT to create a learning community for families, where we become true partners invested together in children’s success. We made the schools our partners, the teachers our partners, we even work to discover other strong, possible partners.

I meet families every day that want to become partners. They want to join a learning community. Their reasons for calling us range widely but they usually have some concern about their children and their future being limited by academic performance. They are looking for an answer on how to move forward. I tell them,

“Don’t worry we’re a family here, we’ll make sure you start off just right, everything’s going to be perfect!”

Strong partnerships and community are what helps kids move forward. One of the big attractions of private school in NYC is the connections that emerge. GPT is a company that understands the value of these and uses an already strong community to make a real difference. We believe that an hourly tutor makes a difference on Algebra tests but that we make a difference by using our expertise to learn about student strengths and becoming expert partners in their success. I think that whatever business one is involved with, you should never underestimate the power of each other.


  1. Wow. I love when someone is so passionate about something. I can tell you are a great teacher who wants to empower and teach children in effective ways. Best wishes to you on your new endeavor! : )

  2. The stuff you said about CPS is so true. It makes me miss our time there together. It really isn't the same there without you!

  3. I know! I miss our time there together too, and one day the three of us will be in charge! They're so lucky to still have you though