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Conversations with Kaitlin Wall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaitlin Wall.

Hi Kaitlin, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Growing up, I had always dreamed of becoming a teacher. I would force my sister (until she cried) to play school with me, obviously allowing me to play the teacher role. Not only did I have many teachers that inspired me along the way, but I also had a passion for helping others, and the idea of being able to change the lives of so many was something I knew I always wanted to do in life. My favorite movie is “Matilda,” mainly because Matilda’s teacher, Miss Honey, was my role model and the teacher I knew I wanted to become someday. After graduating from college (Go Towson Tigers!), I moved across the country and started my teaching career in Owasso, Oklahoma. Sadly, after my first year of teaching, I decided to move back home to Howard County, MD-where I was born and raised. After moving back, I landed a job with Howard County Public School System, where I spent the next few years teaching English at both the middle school level and then eventually at the high school level. It was clear and evident that teaching was my passion, but the stresses that came from the pressures put on teachers by the school system was harsh enough to find myself throwing in the towel on my dream that I spent so many years pursuing. Students and families had a hard time accepting the fact that someone so passionate about educating others was leaving and begged me to reconsider. For once in my life, and better late than never, I decided to put my health and happiness before everything else and do what was best for me.

My family raised me to never give up, and no matter how hard life got, to always keep my head up and hope for better days. After receiving an overwhelming amount of requests from former families and other families in the community to tutor their children, I decided to start my own local, small tutoring business (Off the Wall Tutoring, L.L.C.). Within just a few months of operating under my new title, I was placing families on a waitlist, with a full schedule and tutoring for families all across the county. I started with not knowing if my love and passion as a former teacher and now tutor would be enough to sustain a steady income, to not having enough hours in a day and days in a week to be able to serve all the families that were wanting my services.

Fast forward just a few months, and little did we all know, but a pandemic would come through and sweep away any sense of normalcy from our lives. The population affected the most would be our younger generation, as learning in a classroom became a thing of the past. My tutoring services became essential, as families in a stage of panic had reason to be filled with fear that their child would fall behind in the core subject of English. It was almost as if the pandemic had the purpose of clearing the path of success that I was so desperately craving. I had started the year with not understanding why things had to be the way that they were, to finally understanding why things ended up the way that they did- I had a purpose and a plan, I just didn’t know it at the time, but sooner rather than later, it would all start to surface and remind myself why I never gave up in the first place.

With a wide-range of classroom experience in teaching, I also have a background with school counseling (started my Master’s) and experience with teaching students with special needs and learning disabilities. With just under two years in business under my belt, I can proudly say that I support over 30 different families in the community, serving students starting in Pre-K all the way up through 12th grade. Not only do I do general reading/writing academic tutoring, but I also have services geared towards helping students prepare for college (College essays, applications, scholarship searching) and SAT prep. I consider myself to be more of an academic coach/mentor, as I focus on building relationships with students and families as a way to motivate them to be successful not only in the classroom but as a person in society as well. As a way to show my support, this will be my second year of giving out a scholarship to a graduating high school senior.

I am always looking for ways to improve and build my practice to include new ways of learning and to give back to the community in any way that I can. My current dream that I am working towards fulfilling is converting a small bus into a mobile classroom on wheels, where I can physically and literally bring the classroom to the front step of the families that I serve (think Ms. Frizzle from Magic School Bus). I plan to make it into a community project to include some of my students to help transform my dream into a reality so that they can take credit for contributing to new ways of learning for future generations to come.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Overall struggles:

– Being doubted.

– Lacking self-confidence in myself.

– Creating a business that would have enough income to claim as a salary.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am proud to serve such a large portion of the community. I love that I can personalize my lessons to meet the needs of each student (not the one size fits all approach). I love that I can work with students continuously without having to “pass them off” to the next English teacher, so I get to really witness their growth-physically and academically and build that relationship that we all look back on with our “favorite teacher.” I am also blessed that I get to do more than teach reading and writing, but instead, I get to work with kids of all ages to support them in general life skills and ways to be successful in the real world. I go over and beyond to give kids the support that they need to overcome the struggles that come with learning how to read and write at all different levels. I offer a prize box for my younger students, with all kinds of cool raffle items that they get to visit after filling up a sticker chart. In order to get stickers, students have to complete homework assignments, complete reading assignments, and other various tasks, so it truly does motivate kids to do the work, even if “it’s not for a grade.” I am known for helping to take the struggle and stress of school away from the parents and instead of helping to teach students how to become independent of their own learning and responsibilities. In doing so, parents can eliminate the headache that comes from arguing with their child over doing their homework and improving their grades. I help monitor that for parents and provide them with the necessary resources needed to help fill in those gaps. This also helps prevent parents from having the rely on the school system and the teacher to fulfill those needs.

** Parents pay for the session by the hour and time (or 1.5 hour session), so whether it is SAT prep, general writing support, whatever, it is all the same. Some tutoring companies charge a higher rate for SAT tutoring than they would for just an hour of regular academic support. I provide my families with all materials, including the books that I recommend.

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1 Comment

  1. Marissa

    July 22, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    Would you take your mobile on wheels bus to help low income students in your Baltimore community who can’t afford the Howard county prices for a tutor? That would be a great way to give back and help students whose parents cannot afford a tutor.

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