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I’ve been an online reading and writing tutor for more than 6 years now. I used to have conversations like, “We use a video conferencing tool called Zoom. Have you ever heard of it? Um, no, no, it’s different from Skype, but similar.” Within a couple of years, I was ready to use my skills as a certified Orton-Gillingham tutor to offer full OG lessons online. It was hard to find anyone who was
I rolled along, teaching online reading and writing lessons part-time while teaching special education, and later reading intervention, in local schools. And then our schools closed in the winter of 2020 and within a couple of weeks, my schedule was jam-packed with existing and new students. We were all just trying to figure out what to do with ourselves that winter, remember?
My kindergartener needed a parent at home the next year, until his school reopened. So all of a sudden, I wasn’t a teacher with a side hustle. I was suddenly a full-time entrepreneur! Starting anything new can be nerve-wracking, but starting a new business in the upheaval of 2021 was a real nail-biter! But I love it! I am making a stronger connection with students and make more of a difference than I could when I was working within a school. I’ve been invited to apply for a few school-based positions, but nothing has tempted me to go back.
That brings us to 2022…
As we come to the end of 2022, I am looking back with gratitude to all the families I’ve been able to work with and all the professionals I’ve connected with. I’m looking ahead to expanding our reach to more students and more schools in the coming year. Here’s where we are now:
Things I want to keep doing in 2023
Working with students – When I was a teacher, some parts of my year were consumed with standardized testing, meetings, chaperoning field trips, paperwork, paperwork, and more paperwork. As a private Orton-Gillingham tutor, I’m able to spend most of my work hours actually supporting students!
Learning about the English language – I’m in the middle of an advanced OG course and I’m so excited to learn more about the origins of English words and how that impacts spelling. Knowing what word parts come from Anglo-Saxon, Latin, Greek and other languages feels like a cheat code for spelling and vocabulary and I’m looking forward to sharing more of this with my students in 2023!
Connecting with schools – I used to be chained to my school’s schedule. I was totally in tune with marking periods and seasonal activities. These days, knowing the school schedule is an afterthought for me. But this year, I am teaching a few students during their school days, and supporting a team of teachers in another district as they implement Orton-Gillingham interventions. I am excited to keep connecting my Orton-Gillingham tutoring to teaching and learning in schools because that will have a bigger impact on my students.
Things I want more of in 2023
Reading – I spend a lot of time thinking about books for my students and my own children. I am not even sure how many times I’ve read Fahrenheit 451 and Of Mice and Men. But I would love to do more reading just for myself. I’m working on it now and I’d like to keep growing my reading time (professional and frivolous!) in 2023.
Rest – As a business owner, mom and educator, I find it hard to say no to people in need. When a parent calls and describes their child’s reading difficulties, and I know exactly what I would do first to help, it’s hard not to do it. But in 2023, I want to grow our team of online reading and writing tutors so that I can offer resources to parents without putting them on my own schedule. I am committing to finding more time for rest in 2023!
Professional Community – Working as an online Orton-Gillingham tutor can be a little bit lonely, sometimes. Sure, I have my students, and it’s nice to work at home with my husband, and be here when my kids get home. I do miss working in a school and chatting with colleagues over lunch. Luckily, I work with some excellent tutors here at Deep Roots Learning Solutions, Inc., and I am part of some lively communities of literacy teachers online that I can always bounce ideas off of. In 2023, I plan to connect with other professionals more often. I’d also like to attend at least one conference in person.
Is helping your child improve their reading one of your goals for 2023? Contact us for a free consultation to see if online Orton-Gillingham tutoring is the right fit for your family.
Things I want less of in 2023
Rushing – there are some spots in my schedule where I run in the door from some errand and get right on to Zoom. Maybe I can grab a glass of water in between, but not much more. In 2023, I want to build a schedule with more breathing room.
Repeating myself – there are some lessons or concepts I teach the same way every time, both to students and adults. I’m wondering if I can turn some of those explanations into videos or documents that will let people get the information they need at their own pace. That will let me spend more time on specific challenges or new learning in live meetings.
Looking for lost papers – my dirty little secret, that no one can see on Zoom, is that I have a Pile. Not just any pile, a Pile with a capital P. Don’t mess with my Pile, because everything important is in it! …Somewhere… In 2023, I want to use a better system for minimizing and dealing with paper. As an online reading and writing tutor, most of my work is virtual these days, but it’s surprising how many pieces of paper show up anyway!
Here’s to a happy, healthy, 2023!
It’s fun to look back at 2022 and see how far we’ve come. There are some beautiful parts of this year I want to keep going into 2023. There is also always room for growth and change. The end of the year is a great time to take stock of what you enjoyed this year and what you are ready to leave behind.
What goals do you have, for yourself or your family, in 2023? Drop a comment below and let me know what you are hoping to carry into the new year!