Every week the Tutor Spotlight will feature a Sunshine Method tutor who has gone above and beyond to engage with and inspire children so that they may achieve life-long academic success.
Judson started out in college wanting to be a history teacher. Halfway through, he decided he didn’t like history that much and didn’t want to be a teacher after all! After graduating with a degree in business administration, Judson was pulled back into the world of education when he saw some of his close friends enjoying their experiences as teachers. Judson switched gears again, this time going back to his first love, teaching.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Judson while he described how he works with his students and sets them up for success and confidence later in life.
Join the conversation below:
Share a little bit about yourself, and describe what motivates you to tutor/mentor children in your community.
I’ve always wanted to work with kids. I just had that feeling about it. Back when I was growing up, teaching was a really noble profession, and you went into it because you felt like it was something you could do and be proud of. My wife and I live right behind the playground of an elementary school, and every day we used to be able to hear the children running around.
With hybrid learning, there isn’t as much going on, which is leading to kids being left behind and struggling. Kids with learning disabilities are disproportionately affected, which makes my heart hurt. What really brought me in was the fact that [at The Sunshine Method] I can work with these kids who are otherwise being left behind.
What is your favorite thing about the Sunshine Method?
There are a couple of kids that I have that truly want to learn things. It all comes down to progress. My favorite thing is seeing kids understand concepts a little better. If you can see how an hour a week leads to slow progress, then once they start putting everything together it makes me feel good.
What kind of long term progress have you seen your children make?
I’ve had one student that I have worked with my entire time with The Sunshine Method, and we have learned a lot about each other. It can serve as a great motivator for a student to be able to go to school the next day and know that his homework is correct and he understands it. The main progress I’ve seen is watching their confidence increase as they start to learn the material.
Describe the best session you have had with a student. What do you believe made it so successful?
I work with a young man who has grown up with his share of problems. He’s had an unstable family life, but I can see him trying to get over this. Given what he’s been through, any challenges he has are understandable. However, he is always ready to learn and wants to get as much as possible from each session. So far, it has been one of the more rewarding relationships that I’ve ever had.
What role do you believe education plays in a child’s life?
I’ve always felt that the formative years for education are for the first three to four years of schooling. That’s when you learn how to read, how to multiply, and so many other essential things. After you get that foundation, you’ll probably be able to succeed through high school and life. If you don’t get that kind of background and teaching in those first years, then you’re going to struggle the rest of the way. Education is very important, especially with technology and the way things change in the world. You need to have a solid background to succeed.
How has education changed your life?
Well, education has enabled me to do things that I enjoy doing. An education just opens the door for you, which is important, but you need to be able to take the steps to go through that door. There is a certain amount of satisfaction that I get from teaching. It makes me feel like I’m doing something good and that I’m helping somebody. Education has allowed me to see that I’m helping a young person to be successful.
What advice would you give to a child that is struggling?
I always ask my students if they’ve looked at the questions they got wrong on an assignment. So many children will get a grade and look at what they got right, instead of figuring out why they got something wrong. I also try to find something that they can relate to, and introduce their interests into the subject matter. If you can relate the work they are struggling with to something they enjoy, it will help them stay motivated and continue working until they understand the concept.
What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a tutor with The Sunshine Method?
There is a mission here, and it has been decided that this is a problem that needs to be fulfilled. If they are interested in making a difference in a young person’s life, and to really help those kids that need the help the most, then this is the place for you.
What are your hopes for your students in the future?
Of course I want them to be productive! I would like to see them be able to handle the fundamentals of education to the point where they are able to get a good job in a career that they enjoy. I want them to be proud of what they are learning and doing. I want them to have a successful life that they enjoy.
Thank you for reading, and thank you Judson, for following your passions and impacting the next generation!