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North Castle Daily News

Teachers to tutors
From Vet School to Teacher to Tutor: It’s All About Learning
By Alice Levine

March 30, 2014
For Gina Curran, owner of Armonk-based Teachers-to-Tutors, the path to teacher and tutor had anything but a traditional start.

As a child Gina had often dreamed about becoming a veterinarian. Shortly after graduating college, she began her studies at Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine. While she had always loved science and found the material fascinating, Gina felt something was missing. “After about a year and a half at Cornell, I decided this was not my true passion. I think one of the key missing pieces was working with kids, and I knew that becoming a veterinarian would lead me down a different path. It was time to make a change, as scary as it was at the time,” Gina said.

She decided to pursue a master’s degree in teaching, and soon after she began teaching, Gina knew she’d made the right decision. “Going to veterinary school turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It reminded me how fascinating science is and it also let me have a chance to live out my dream. If I hadn’t done this, I probably would have had regrets. But teaching quickly became my new love,” said Gina.

After teaching Regents Earth Science and Honors Biology at Byram Hills High School, Gina left on maternity leave and was approached by several Byram parents with the hope that she would tutor their children for the Biology SAT 2 exam. Within the first two months of maternity leave she was working with 13 students, and soon, Teachers-to-Tutors was born.

Gina feels she owes so much to Byram parents for encouraging her not only to tutor privately, but to offer test-preparation classes as well. “I am so grateful to Byram parents for their support. And the transition from teacher to tutor was so natural. As a teacher you learn effective ways to grab students’ attention and get them genuinely interested in the material. And you also quickly learn what can put kids to sleep. Yes, grades are important but I also want my kids to love learning,” Gina said.

For Gina the satisfaction in tutoring is twofold: She has the opportunity to watch her students develop pride and confidence in their work and she, too, has the opportunity to learn from her kids. Gina added, “It’s an amazing feeling when you know your kids have become confident learners, especially since that confidence stays with them. And I learn so much from my kids, especially thanks to their curiosity and questions. It actually makes me see science in a new light.”

As far as the future is concerned for Gina, she is very excited about the advancements in technology and their positive impact on the world of tutoring. She laughed when referring to this past winter and how, fortunately, it didn’t slow down her work as a tutor. “None of us could have anticipated a winter like we’ve had this year. I was so lucky to be able to take advantage of smart boards, Skype and ichat with my students. We never fell behind, in spite of the weather, which was great.”

While Gina could not have anticipated how quickly her company would grow and how busy she would become, she still loves the flexibility afforded by tutoring. She added, “As a mom of three girls it’s great to spend time with my family and still do what I love.”
 
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Teachers-to-Tutors Offers Prep Classes for BHHS students in Armonk
By Alice Levine

February 25, 2014
Gina Curran, owner of Teachers-to-Tutors, will be offering a prep class for Byram Hills High School students planning to take the Biology E/M Subject Test (also known as the Biology SAT 2 exam), in addition to providing several Regents’ prep classes in math and science for both middle-school and high-school students. The Biology SAT 2 classes, which Gina will be teaching, will begin mid-March and the Regents’ prep courses are scheduled for late April.

Gina, a former Byram Hills High School teacher in Regents Earth Science and Honors Biology, started Teachers-to-tutors in 2004 after her first daughter was born. She earned her graduate degrees at SUNY Potsdam’s School of Education and Long Island University’s School Administrator and Leadership Program, and she has permanent NYS teaching certification in biology, chemistry and general sciences for grades 7-12. 

Tutoring was a natural progression for Gina when she left full-time teaching. “I love working with kids and tutoring offered me a great way to continue teaching after leaving the classroom. And it’s been about 10 years now that I’ve worked with Byram kids and we’re still going strong,” said Gina.

Tutors-to-Teachers offers private tutoring and test prep classes, specifically, in science and math. Their goal is to help students improve their grades, raise test scores and increase confidence, while also enjoying the learning experience. Class size is about 10 students, which is significantly lower than those at many large tutoring centers.

The Biology SAT 2 class, Gina explained, is a fast-paced, 10-week class that goes beyond the curriculum to prepare students for the exam in June. “I’ve been very fortunate working with Byram Hills’ students. They come in very motivated to learn and it’s my job to make sure they’re in great shape to take the exam.”

Teachers-to-tutors is excited about returning to their new location at Congregation B’nai Y’israel in Armonk. The temple has spacious, air-conditioned classrooms and its convenient location on the corner of Route 22 and Banksville Road is hard to beat.

With many tutoring centers available to students in Westchester County, Gina explained what makes her classes successful. “I always look for teachers who are experienced, high-energy and genuinely love to work with kids. And I also gravitate toward teachers who know their subjects inside-and-out and can keep the kids interested in learning the material. A high-caliber teacher is so important to ensure the kids are prepared for their exams. And we are also a little different from other centers since we keep our classes small and limited to math and science.”

Teachers-to-Tutors is now accepting registration for their spring 2014 review classes. You can visit teacherstotutors.com for more specific information on test prep classes. If you have any questions, feel free to call Gina at (914) 719-2111.
Sponsored Feature

Ten Ways to Help Prep for SAT/ACT Tests
By Gina Curran

Taking a SAT or ACT exam is like running an academic marathon. Here are the top ten things you can do to help your son or daughter prepare for test day:

#10. Gather Up Test Materials

The week of the exam, students should make sure they have everything they need to bring to the test center:
        
-  Acceptable Photo ID (school ID or a valid passport)           
-  Admission Ticket – Log into the student's SAT or ACT online account and print out the admission a few days before the test. Double check the date and location to make sure your child is definitely registered for the exam. Print out an extra copy so you have one to keep at home too.     
-  Three sharpened No. 2 pencils and a soft eraser (mechanical pencils are not allowed)           
-  A watch without an audible alarm - Consider buying a SAT or ACT watch via www.testingtimers.com
- An acceptable graphing or scientific calculator

#9. Exercise & Rest Up

To help them relax the night before the exam, encourage your child to go for a long walk or jog with you. Exercise will help clear their head and get rid of that nervous energy so they can get a better night's sleep.  Students should not take practice tests or try to cram material into their head the night before the exam.

#8. Eat a Nutritious Breakfast

Students should make time to eat breakfast the morning of the test. They should eat something with protein and healthy carbohydrates and avoid excess sugar.
Ex. Eggs or cream cheese on a whole wheat bagel

#7. Dress for Success

Students should not go to the test wearing the same clothes they wore to bed!! They should make time for a quick shower. Remind them to dress in layers because you never know what the temperature of the room is going to be. 

#6. Relaxation Techniques

If students feel themselves getting anxious, they can try these exercises to help them relax:

(1) Deep Breathing – Close your eyes, inhale deeply through your nose, hold your breath for 10 seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat as needed.

(2) Chair Pulls – Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and press your back against your chair. Drop your arms to your sides and grab the bottom of your seat with both hands.  Press your hands into your seat and pull up with your arms. This will stretch the muscles across your shoulders and neck.

(3) Squeeze Fists – Tightly squeeze and hold your fists and forearms for 5 seconds then relax for 10 seconds. Repeat. Most effective when combined with deep breathing.

#5. Pop a Peppermint

Along with that "Good Luck" hug and kiss, hand your child a pack of peppermints as they head off to take their exam. The smell of peppermint stimulates the trigeminal nerve and will make them more alert, will help them focus, and will improve their energy.

#4. Hydrate

Encourage your son or daughter to drink one large glass of water the morning of the exam. They should also bring a water bottle with them so they can sip on water throughout the test. Students should avoid caffeinated drinks that will cause their mind to race. Plus they shouldn’t be distracted by a full bladder during the test.

#3. Pack a Snack

Students should bring along a high calorie snack that is a combination of both proteins and healthy carbohydrates – Ex. fruit and nut trail mix

#2. Know your Test Center & Arrive on Time
Arrive at the test location at least 30 minutes before the start time. BHHS is not a test center so make sure you know exactly where you are going!!

#1. Picture Success

Remind students to believe in themselves and to be confident in their abilities. They should visualize what success looks like for them and always keep a positive attitude.

Good Luck!!

Gina Curran
Director, Teachers To Tutors
teacherstotutors@gmail.com
www.teacherstotutors.com
(914) 719-2111

Sponsored Feature 

SAT SAMPLE QUESTIONS

 2016 SAT QUESTIONS
Teachers-to-Tutors

#4 - Biology SAT Question

What is the maximum number of amino acids that could be incorporated into a polypeptide encoded by 15 nucleotides of messenger RNA?

(A) 3
(B) 5
(C) 15
(D) 30
(E) 45


Answer: B


Math 2016 SAT
Math SAT 2016
Teachers to Tutors for Sat Preparation
Five Steps to Better SAT Scores

1. Work with experienced, knowledgable tutors.

2. Practice, practice, and more practice. Use “real" exams and time yourself.

3. Be a careful reader - pay attention to the details.

4. Predict the answer before reading the choices.

5. Immediately skip difficult questions and move on.

Teachers To Tutors' Key to Success

Start the College Process in Freshman Year
By Gina Curran

Republished February 29, 2016
It’s never too soon for students to begin thinking about which colleges they want to consider. Ideally, they should start focusing on the college process during their freshman year because it will affect their selection of courses and help determine the standardized tests they will need. For instance, ACT or SATs or both? SAT subject tests, and if so, how many? Which SAT subject tests should they take?

Parents should seek advice from guidance counselors, college advisors and parents with older children, who recently went through the college application process. Fortunately, it’s easy to visit the website for each college and to check out its admission requirements.

I can't tell you how many students, especially freshmen, I turn away every spring because they waited too long to register for my Bio SAT-prep classes. There are a limited number of qualified tutors and test prep courses in the area, and everything fills up quickly!

http://www.teacherstotutors.com/