Tutor At 13? Again At 45? Follow Childhood Happiness Into Adulthood!
Several years ago, one of my childhood friends reminisced that when she would sometimes knock on my parent’s door to ask me to play, I would politely decline. “I’m reading,” I’d say, content to return to my room with Pippi Longstocking or Laura Ingalls.
After learning about Susan Cain’s work (of course, by reading her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking), I’ve discovered that my childhood preference wasn’t a sign of anti-social tendencies, but rather a trait of my occasionally introverted nature. (I’m what Cain calls an “ambivert,” someone who displays signs of both extroversion and introversion.) I was happy to read alone in my room while my friends played hopscotch, kickball, or with Barbies.
As an adult, though, the world of work slowly sucked me into the world of 24-7 extroversion. Once the intense studying of college (something I loved!) ended, full-time teaching required me to be “on” all the time. Attending to the academic and emotional needs of 60 – 125 teenagers (not to mention colleagues and administrators) left me drained by the end of each day. Friday afternoons were reserved for passing out from exhaustion on my couch, decompressing with pizza, wine and Ghost Whisperer re-runs.
While I love teaching, I didn’t realize until I founded my tutoring company, Crimson Coaching, that that level of extroverted activity was too great for my ambivert nature. The time I now spend writing the blog, creating social media graphics, or reading up on the latest research in how we learn, not only engages the writer, artist, and thinker in me. It also allows the introvert in me the time alone that I need to recharge, so that when I am in front of a classroom, I can be my best self.
Tutoring, I have also discovered, is the perfect teaching vehicle for me. As Cain explains, introverts are not anti-social or even shy. Many enjoy social interactions, but they prefer them on a small scale. As a tutor, I work one-on-one with students (and parents), forging deeper intellectual connections with each one than I could do while teaching a class of 25.
Though I formally established Crimson Coaching in 2014, I’d been a tutor since 1985, when I was just 13 years old. It turns out that I’d always enjoyed teaching others one-on-one, I just didn’t realize that I could do so for a living until I’d gained the confidence and skills that come, perhaps, with middle age.
My hope for my students is that they don’t have to wait as long as I did to discover the profession that will make them truly happy.
Pay attention to what your child is doing right now. Youthful inclinations often contain nuggets of truth that lead us toward our adulthood passions. Parents can play a crucial role not only in developing those traits and interests while their children are young, but also in reminding their adult children of what made them happy years ago.
This February, I’ll explore the theme of LOVE as it relates to children in the Desk to Nest blog. To receive the latest issue delivered straight to your inbox each Thursday, click here. To get answers to your questions about your child’s education or how to nurture your child’s self-love, tune into Facebook Live February 28 at 7pm. If you’re busy at that time but would like me to answer your question during the broadcast, email it to me now. It’ll be like having your own tutor in your living room!