John Emerson - Learning Skills

After many years of teaching in public schools, I had the opportunity to become a learning skills tutor at Dublin. It was a perfect time in my career to make a change as I had taught math and science in middle and high schools in which class size made it increasingly more difficult to connect with students on an individual basis. The change for me has been a very positive experience as the whole Dublin community focuses on helping individual kids learn about themselves and about their strengths and weaknesses.

I have often felt that true learning can only take place when a student feels relaxed and supported in a way that allows them to take risks and not be penalized for making mistakes. Learning from mistakes is especially true in the area of math as this is an area in which I find myself doing a lot of my tutoring in. Getting the wrong answer too often puts a negative stigma in a student's mind and soon develops into an ingrained attitude of "I can't do this." In my tutoring I try to help my students feel OK about themselves and try to develop in them a sense that making mistakes is the first step in learning. (Having four grandchildren who are all at or near the age of learning how to walk only reinforces my feelings.) Still the important point is I try to help students overcome their feelings of frustration and to help them gain confidence in themselves.

I find this attitude permeates much of the Dublin community as well and it is one of the reasons I enjoy working here. From kitchen help to grounds crew to teachers and coaches, there is an overriding concern about kids that I have not found many other places.