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Tutor Spotlight: Quelyn Purdie

Every month the Tutor Spotlight will feature a Sunshine Method tutor who has been shining their star brightly and who has gone above and beyond to engage with and inspire students so that they may achieve lifelong academic success.

Meet Quelyn! 

Quelyn is from New York City but is now residing in the Peach State, Georgia! She is a Mental Health First Responder, an Interfaith Clinical Minister, and an author. Before the pandemic hit, Quelyn moved from New York City to Atlanta where she ran her own tutoring service for years alongside teaching in the public school system. A few fun facts about her are that she loves amusement parks and has written a music memoir about how to use music in times of distress and the effect it had on her growing up in foster care. Additionally, Quelyn has written a thesis about music and how to use it in counseling. She is a firm believer that music can play many different roles. 

We had the opportunity to catch up with Quelyn where she shared her passion for helping her students become the best versions of themselves. 

Join the conversation below: 

What is your favorite thing about The Sunshine Method?

I appreciate the quality they command of us and at the same time, I have the freedom to express my personality in a way to get the job done. For me, it’s a two-prong approach. It’s respecting the protocol that Sunshine Method has in place while also having the freedom to teach how I feel comfortable. 

How does the work you do with the Sunshine Method connect to your own personal values?

I’m old school. I’m 61. So I combine old school with the new technology of today. I get the commitment and the standard of excellence the Sunshine Method requires. I appreciate that. Too many of my students are facing issues trying to get the tutoring services that they need. I have like two or three parents going through that right now and it’s unfortunate. 

What role do you think education plays in a child’s life?

Oh my goodness! It’s not even a role, it’s critical, like drinking water or eating. Mentioning my age, it’s important for me to understand where I came from, my ancestors, and what they went through for me to be here. Just being allowed to read is extraordinary. Knowledge is key. No one can take advantage of you when you know who you are and you have the academics under your belt. It’s about how you interact, and how you react to the environment you’re in. Having the education and language to do that is very important. 

What was the best experience you have had working with a child?

There are these 2 brothers that I tutor, one is in 6th grade and the other is in 5th grade. The one in 5th grade is a good learner but there’s a distinction between how the two boys learn and it’s interesting to watch. They’re both brilliant! The boy in 6th grade is struggling with having a different learning style. His brother on the other hand is a little Shakespeare, he is so dramatic! If he doesn’t get something right the first time he puts his hand on his forehead, crosses his hands, and will exit to stage left. It took months for him to get past walking away from me. His parents would yell at him and then he’d come back. He no longer does that now. He understands now that learning is about practice and you sometimes don’t get it right the first time around. This trait would show up a lot in his writing. He’d have a hard time connecting to the prompt and writing in a way that his teacher responds to. We discovered that what he needs from his teacher is for her to say “this is what you are not doing” and “this is what you need to be doing.” By her telling him this, it makes him not feel like a total failure. 

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

In terms of being a tutor, I like to learn their learning style. I also will ask them “how can I help you?” My students all call me Miss Quelyn so I tell them “how can Miss Quelyn help you work through this?” or “what are you really wanting to ask me?” I’ve noticed that students in public schools don’t feel free to ask questions and that lets me know there isn’t a lot of engagement between the two. I want my students to always feel comfortable asking me anything. They’ll tell me and from there we will always work through it together. 

How do you keep a child engaged (especially online)?

I use Youtube all the time to keep them engaged! It is my go-to portal and the kids enjoy it. One of the things that I do is if we’re reading a story about an animal or talking about one, I’ll ask them if they would like to see what that particular animal looks like. I’ll pull up a live video to show them and it makes it more real to them. It’s no longer just an idea but an action. Children are very visual and audio-visual so it’s good to do something they can relate to. 

What do you think it takes to be a Sunshine Method tutor?

A little bit of background in teaching or tutoring helps. Passion for excellence. Passion to help young people get to where they want to be in their own studies. With that passion comes patience too. I see a lot of different students that come in and they are all on various spectrums. You need to know your own abilities. Respect the protocols of The Sunshine Method while still bringing in your own personality and flare to things. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and have an open line of communication with the parents or caregiver. 

What are your hopes for your students in the future? 

My dream is that they can thrive and persevere in any situation at any time. There might be setbacks but because of the education you have under your belt, you can be resourceful. That is my message to my students. 


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