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Sometimes Struggling Students Make the Best Teachers

Sometimes Struggling Students Make the Best Teachers
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For those who knew me in high school, it might be a surprise to hear that I now teach and tutor science and math. Neither of these subjects were my best classes in high school, and in fact, I struggled quite a bit with math. I had completed grade 10 advanced math and was failing in grade 11. My parents were worried this would affect my overall average and held a meeting with the school’s principal. “Well, all you need to graduate is your 10th grade advanced math and you have enough credits,” he said, “if you like, we can give you a spare class, but you would need to make good use of it and tutor or be a teacher’s assistant.” 

The notion of having a spare class instead of math was very exciting. The future teacher in me was also very excited about tutoring other students! “What subject would I tutor? English?” The principal looked at me and said dryly, “Math.” 

I looked at him like he was crazy!

Did he not listen to what I just said?

I was struggling in math, why in the world would he ask me to HELP other students? Sensing my disbelief, he said “The best teachers are the ones who have struggled with a topic. They can empathize with their students and know that there is not only ONE way to explain something to someone.” 

His words stick with me to this day. Today, I teach and tutor science and math almost exclusively. For some of my student’s success in these subjects come naturally and for those who struggle, I want them to know that teachers are human, too! I have been where you are, and I will do everything in my power to make sure that you learn in a way that works for you. 

Note:  Samantha attended high school in Quebec, where students graduate in 11th grade prior to beginning 2 years of CEGEP. Following CEGEP students complete their undergraduate degrees.


During 2018 – 2019, Samantha will be teaching the following classes at OTA:

Can You Dig It?  Intro to Archaeology  

Into the Wardrobe:  Journey to Narnia

A Class 65 Million Years in the Making:  Intro to Paleontology

Don’t Trust Atoms… They Make Up Everything –  High School Chemistry

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star – Intro to Elementary Astronomy

Geology Rocks – Intro to Elementary Geology

Design is a Journey to Discovery!  Intro to Interior Design

French 1

Bonjour! Je m’appelle… Elementary French


Samantha Star, OTA InstructorSamantha Star was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education (with Distinction) from the University of New Brunswick, as well as a certificate in Experiential Jewish Education from Yeshiva University. She is currently completing a Graduate Certificate at McGill University in Teaching English Second Language. 

Samantha has been teaching English online for nearly two years and has taught over 1000 classes with children in China. Samantha believes that good teachers have empathy and patience and can put themselves in their students’ shoes. In order to understand what her Chinese students were experiencing, Samantha began to take Italian classes online. She feels that being an eternal student will help make her a better teacher.

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