Janet M.
IB Language Arts/ Art and Drama Tutor, Holds a Bachelor Degree of Arts, Elementary Education with 30+ Years of Teaching Experience
Bachelor of Arts, Northern Arizona University
Additional Coursework in Art and Education, Arizona State University


As an anthropologist’s daughter, I grew up on the Navajo Reservation until I was nine years old and then lived in New Mexico. I was surrounded by another beautiful culture: the Hispanic culture. I have thirty years of experience teaching yoga and many years of experience exploring art and theater.

Teaching Experience

I worked as an MYP art teacher for five years at Desert Garden Montessori, one of the world’s top five Montessori schools. Before that, I worked as a private teacher for skateboard athletes training for the Olympics and X-Games. I also have ten years of experience teaching 2nd and 3rd grade and several years of experience as a drama teacher.

IB & Montessori Art Teacher, Curriculum Design at Desert Garden Montessori, Phoenix, AZ, I created an original art curriculum for Montessori and IB programs for elementary, middle school, and high school. Participated in weekly interdisciplinary team meetings. Facilitated student projects for school auctions and art shows.
Taught: painting and drawing skills, multimedia, cultural art, and art installation.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe the right questions inspire original ideas and curiosity. We live in a world filled with information that can be accessed at the click of a button, but the human mind interpreting that information leads us into our future. I want my students to be reflective, inquisitive, and inventive. Therefore, I serve as a guide and support the process of taking risks, trying new things, and moving into more profound understandings. Project-based learning far exceeds essential rote learning. This includes higher-level thinking skills like synthesizing and analyzing to create completely original content.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

The first session involves establishing academic goals, assessing the student’s learning style, and clarifying where help is needed.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Students need to learn how to learn. Necessary skills of organizing, researching, and processing material into original content give students the confidence to be life long learners.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Students should be passionate about the content. When the fire is lit, motivation is easy. I believe the questions and content need to relate to the student for success to occur. Simultaneously, a clear path needs to be laid out so that frustration levels are kept low.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I will try new approaches if a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I use art, acting, writing, and discussion to help students improve reading comprehension.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

A good relationship is essential to the student’s success. The student should feel seen, heard, and supported, and clear that the teacher is the leader.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling with?

Relating content to a personal experience sometimes helps students feel engaged. For example, a history lesson on war might be related to a fight the student had with a sibling. What causes conflict in human beings? Why do they fight? What peaceful resolutions could be used instead? Universal questions can be powerful tools for what might otherwise be dry content.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Typically, I have students write, present, or create art to express their understanding. When a student can interpret content with original material, I know that they understand.

How do you build a student’s confidence in a subject?

Verbally noticing the things a student does correctly is beneficial in building confidence. Beyond that, it is essential to explain confusing material and offer guidance until it makes sense. Typically, this involves demonstrating, guiding, then asking the student to practice independently.

How do you evaluate a student’s needs?

Typically, students will tell you where they are confused and want help. More challenging is when a student thinks they understand something, but they really don’t. The IB rubric system is designed to help clarify weaknesses and work on them. However, I have found that the rubric often needs an additional explanation for the student to fully understand academic goals.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student’s needs?

I am an intuitive teacher. Step one is developing a positive rapport. Beyond that, I believe it is important to be flexible and willing to spend as much time as is needed for content to sink in.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

Depending on my teaching, I might use a process journal, art supplies, search engines, books, and visual aids.

Teaching Skills

Subject Skill Level
Visual Arts
Visual Arts HL
Visual Arts SL
"Be a house with a foundation and roots strong enough to leave the windows open for differing opinions to pass through." Gandhi

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