Teacher, Tutor, New York City
Susan (or Mrs. Welsh as I know her) has always carried a "wow factor" for me. Not only has she been the ultimate mama bear to her kids, but also a passionate teacher/tutor to countless kids, prepping them for the SATs. Her personality, and contagious sense of self, is just plain inspiring. Her daughter and I are great friends, but I appreciate Susan just as much as I do her daughter.
2. Where is your hometown?
New Rochelle, NY
3. What is your profession/career/title/self-label/designation?
Math SAT/ACT tutor.
4. What was the journey like to get where you are (career wise)? When was the mental shift to start the journey?
So there have been some times in my teaching career that stand out because they were unusual and I think truly funny. One time that still gives me pause and a huge smile when I think about it… My first teaching position was in a school for kids with learning disabilities and emotional problems. I had the older kids, 16-18 years old. My first day, I was so well prepared! I had been going through my lesson plans for days and was so excited I ran them again all the night before. I was ready! The next day, after a couple of hours of teaching and getting to know the kids, I was up at the board, doing a lesson. I knew I was losing them. Paper airplanes flying, notes being passed, one young man drumming in the air. I knew if I lost them, I was done for the rest of the year. I don’t know what gave this 23 year old brand new teacher the courage or the insight to do this.. but I sat down in my comfy chair, opened the bottom drawer of my desk, put my feet up, and started to read to myself. Not even two minutes, the room became quiet… and then I heard “Hey Teach, whatcha doing?” So I looked up and said “Yes, Mr. Hoffman, is there a problem?” And after I heard how I was supposed to be teaching them, not reading, I told them this. That I was being paid whether they learned anything all year or not. I really wanted to teach them so much, to make them smarter at the end of the year than they were now. To make them know things like the kids in the schools they had come from. I never had another issue with them all year. I loved these kids, and kept in touch with some of them for years.
I think the biggest challenge for me was to stop thinking of myself as a special ed teacher, which I had been for all of my professional life before having children. I always felt I was doing such important work, teaching kids that many couldn’t or wouldn’t bother with. But the tutoring was private, easy, my own hours, and I could work it into being a good mother.
5. Biggest accomplishment since making the (physical/mental) move?
My biggest accomplishment has always been, and forever will be, raising the two children I have raised, they are my gift to the world.
6. What was biggest disappointment and plan to overcome it?
When I was in high school and college, and for me years classroom teaching, I wanted to own a small special ed school and make it extraordinary
7. Advice for other women?
Count your blessings, even if you haven’t done everything you’ve set out to do, you’ve probably done some amazing things. Most of us have so much that we don’t take the time to look at. I feel extraordinarily blessed and lucky to have my wonderful husband, my partner thru life, my kids, my good friends, my teaching, which most of the time doesn’t feel like work.
8. Where in the world do you feel “tallest”?
When I am surrounded by my family, when they are happy and fulfilled, I feel like I have the whole world in my hands.
9. What extra-curricular activities/hobbies are you most proud of? Why?
I was actually most proud when we owned the horses and I would cantor up the hill. I am not the bravest person, and this was something so different for me, brave and exciting. I felt that Blue made me a more interesting person.
10. What is the future goal/challenge (career and/or life goals in 5-10 years)?
I would like to be healthy and strong of mind.
11. What fears are you still hoping to overcome?
I’m sorry, I can’t think of a fear that I think I can overcome. My real fears involve my children’s safety and health. Sorry Sabrina and Adam.
12. Anything you'd do differently (if you had another go at life)?
Nope. Except maybe try to save some money weekly, which I didn’t do.
13. What inspires you?
Brave women who really make a difference in the lives of others.
14. What are you reading now? (what books do you gift most and what are your favourite reads?)
My favorite of all time is the Outlander series. I read the eight books in succession, couldn’t leave the story, and have found everything else for the last year unfulfilling. I couldn’t even tell you the title of the book I have upstairs that I’m reading… it’s just something to pass the time until the ninth book comes out. Pretty pathetic!!
15. Who is a “WOW Woman” in your life who inspires you (and why)?
My WOW women are many…my daughter is one. She’s strong, generous, caring, and successful in a rewarding career. I am in awe of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court! And Hillary Clinton, despite many flaws (who doesn’t have those?) has done so much, made such a difference in the lives of millions of children, women, families. And she has stood so strong against thirty years of people trying to tear her down. With dignity. I might have crawled away and hidden. And her marriage has survived and they go to visit the grandchildren together. Remarkable achievement, a gift to each other and their daughter.
16. Where can others find you/your work (links to websites, blogs, etc.)?
No where please.