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Tutor Spotlight: Chrissy Stump

Each month, the Tutor Spotlight will feature a Sunshine Method Tutor who has gone above and beyond to engage with and inspire students to reach their fullest potential. Read on to meet our change-makers!


Meet Chrissy!

We had the opportunity to speak with Chrissy about her passion for tutoring and the importance of tailoring sessions to individual child's needs. She understands how difficult learning can be for some children and wants to make her sessions a place where they can have fun and learn at the same time! Her goal is not only to teach her students what they need to know in school, but to teach them things that will benefit them in adulthood. 

Join the conversation below: 


Hi Chrissy! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, how long you've been a tutor?

So a little bit about me. Oh, gosh, where to start? I've been married for almost 15 years, and I have two kids, a boy and a girl. I've been tutoring for about, I want to say, this is my 8th or 9th year-- somewhere in that range. It started right around the time I started homeschooling my own kids and I just decided I wanted to become a tutor at the same time. I started on my own and then I eventually found the Sunshine Method and I love you guys. You guys are awesome! 

I have [great] relationships with all the kids I tutor. It is just so pleasing to know that I am making a difference. I have so many stories. 

Fun fact about me. I am a huge Harry Potter person. So, everyone I talk to when I'm doing my Zoom meetings always asks, “What is that on your wall?” And then I have to tell them, “It's around my entire office. I have all this Harry Potter stuff” and they're always like, “Wow, that's kind of cool!” 


What's your big motivator for tutoring children in your community? 

What motivates me is knowing that I am there constantly for [each] child, because a lot of these kids don't have [consistency].  

My goal is to make the kid very, very happy. Wanting to come in and wanting to see me. I have a lot of kids, but they're all usually fairly happy. They usually want to come in and be with me. We play, we have fun, and we learn. One of my things is to teach the kids what they need to know, and also to make sure I am that constant, where they see me every week and it's not like, “Oh, Miss Chrissy, we haven't seen you in a week or two or three.” They know I'm going to be there. So, it's a good feeling. 


That's great your experience has been so positive! How does the work you do with the Sunshine Method connect to your own personal values? 

I want to teach people what they need to know and why they are learning it in school.

They're a little bit less resentful of the fact that they need to learn it because I have a lot of kids that sometimes start pre-Algebra and they're like, “why am I learning this?” and I have to explain it like, “Listen, the reason that we learn pre-Algebra is for a couple of reasons.” Then they're like, “oh, I understand why I'm learning it now. I'm still not going to like it, but at least I know why.” That's a big thing. The parents that I talk to all the time are in my same shoes where they want their kids to learn everything, but they also ask, “Why are they learning this?” And then I have to talk to the parents and explain.  

My personal values are to teach kids as much as I can, and all the things they need to know so they can grow into an adult-- because that's the goal. They're not going to be kids for that long. I like schools, but the schools are not teaching kids what they actually need to know as an adult.  


Can you describe the best experience you've had working with a child? What do you believe made it so successful? 

Oh my gosh, there's so many! 

One of my students is in 6th-grade. He's on the autism spectrum, and I've been with him for about six months. Right about the time, I got this really awesome message from his mom - “He's on the honor roll this quarter in math and reading.” I love this moment, because in math and reading comprehension, he's in special education, but they're moving him back to general education for a lot of his other subjects. At the time, I was teaching him on grade level, and he was actually understanding a lot of the things I was teaching him. He got onto the honor roll because he was actually able to understand [the material] and I wouldn't let him give up. He has a tendency of saying, “Miss Chrissy, I can't do it. I can't do it.” And I'd tell him, “No, you can. And let me tell you why.” I break it down for him until he'd be able to say, “Ohh, OK I get it.” Then he does it and he's so confident in himself and he's just so happy!

The other impactful experience was with a young girl I was tutoring. When I first got to her, she was able to read Kindergarten Level-A, like ‘I go to the beach.' Very, very short little pages. And this was an amazing feat nonetheless, but she was just learning to do it. She didn't have the whole sentence quite yet. I started working with her and when she left me, she was able to read grade Level-4 books. Now, of course, there are some words that were big, and that's just normal with everybody, but she was actually able to read and understand them just fine.  


You've been with us for some time now, what do you think it takes to be a Sunshine Method tutor? 

Don't give up. 

That's the biggest thing. These students want someone that's going to be there. Now, I know things happen and I get that, like with health issues and things like that, but they really become attached to their tutors, and for the kids to start out with someone and then just leave and not even say anything-- they get really, really discouraged. They think it's them. One of the biggest things about being a Sunshine Method tutor is definitely stability. 

Be stable for the kids. Be willing to go outside the box.  

There are some sessions where I have not even taught because the kid is having some kind of problem, whether it's personal or in their house, and they need to talk to me. They cannot focus.  

So, a big thing about being a Sunshine Method tutor is knowing when to say, “OK, no tutoring today because you have something on your mind or we need to talk about this or we gotta figure out a way to do it that's fun” because it's not always about getting them to learn. It's about building relationships. Again, the kids depend on you as a tutor, as a mentor, or whatever you want to call it. They depend on you to see them every week. 


What advice would you give a child that is struggling or having difficulty with a subject? 

The biggest thing with struggling in a subject is practicing, and here's what a lot of kids don't do. 

Number 1: You have to practice that struggle. You have to practice what that subject is.  

Number 2: Ask for help. That's a big thing, too. And if your parents don't know, which is a big portion of people I talk to, you have to find someone who does. If your teacher is not willing to do it, you have to find someone who will. 

Thank you Chrissy! Do you have any tips or strategies when you're working with children online to keep them engaged? 

Yes, every student is different, so you'll have some students that are willing to do drills and do the actual multiplication tables. Other ones need that interaction, so I have a bunch of interactive sites that are educational based games for my kids who love video games. They have time to play it and it also does all these lovely educational questions. That's one thing. It's not just regular learning that we go through. Most of the time we talk, we chat, and we have a great time.  

Tailor your session to the student, because again, not everyone is the same, and not every day will be the same.  


What advice would you give to other tutors? 

You have to be honest with the children. You cannot lie to a child. They are very smart.    

Also, understanding that there's going to be a day where they didn't sleep so well and you have to just go with the session. You're gonna hear about Bakugan, or you're gonna hear about this girl who had a crush on a boy, or whatever it is-- you're going to hear about it. 

And that's part of the relationship building with a tutor. It's not just going to get the job done. It's building that relationship with the students. 

They look at you as a friend, as a person who's going to teach them, and you have to have that relationship before you can even teach. Because here's the problem. If you don't have that relationship before you teach, they come in and they look at you like, “Yeah, I don't really know who you are. I don't want to have anything to do with you.” [Then] they will realize that you're honest, that you're coming in, that you're friendly, you want to get to know them, and you're stable. 


That's great advice! What are your hopes for your students in the future? 

My hope for all of my students is that I hope to get them to the point, as much as I hate to say this, I hope I get them to the point where they don't need me.  

They're going to outgrow me and that is OK. Once they outgrow me, I know I've done my job. And then they go on to something else and maybe one day in the future, they'll remember Miss Chrissy, their tutor. 

Thank you for reading, and thank you, Chrissy, for your contributions and impact on the next generation!