Friday, August 22, 2014

3 Tips for Successful Students!

When I followed God's call to be a full-time tutor, He didn't provide me with a magic lamp with a genie ready to grant me 3 wishes...

So here are my 3 tips/wishes I have for all of my students!

My elementary kids are usually pretty good with this one. Have your paper and pencils lined up before I walk through the door. Be ready to hand me your homework and/or if you had questions, those questions written out. Use my time!!! I am a willing resource! Please ask me questions, tell me your silly story that helped get you through the day, and ALWAYS have extra batteries for your calculator, pens, graphing paper, etc. If we finish our lesson early, you better believe I'm gonna push you to the next level! :)

2. Have a positive attitude!
When I walk into a room and you greet me with a big smile and telling me a joke you heard...Man! That is CONTAGIOUS! We'll be making math puns all through geometry! And even when it is "one of those days," we can still have a great session! I have wiped away a few tears before a session starts and I know what it is like to just need to BREATHE! Just be honest with me and I'll do what I can to help you succeed and push through our tutoring session so you're as successful as YOU can be! :)

3. Be willing!
In order to tutor with me, the student must be willing to be tutored, have a desire to try, and be respectful. A willingness to learn, explore, and be creative is NECESSARY for life-long success. At some point, every single student (not their parent, friend, teacher, etc. but his/herself!) must realize that if he/she is going to succeed, he/she has to work for it.

And as a student of life, I hold myself accountable for those three tips as well!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

This is not a long post, but one I felt I needed to write. Be aware, it is more personal than professional--as his death hits home.

Robin Williams had an amazing skill that is necessary for our educators and students today. Robin Williams was a mastermind at improvisation, he could change his voice, his personality, and his words to enhance any situation. Such amazing skills are needed when we teach students ANY subject. Let's remember to help our students come out of their shells, be silly, and run with their mistakes.

As a former comedian myself, the news of his passing really hurts. We do improv comedy using the "greats" as our models, Williams often topping that list. But oh, if I could count how many "outgoing", "funny", and "creative" people I've met that battle depression or some type of derivative (self-harm, eating disorder, bipolar, drug abuse, etc.)...

As an educator, I am an extra set of eyes to look for signs that might be stemming from a health issue such as those above. I am also an extra set of arms to give hugs, handshakes, and high fives. Both are necessary if we are going to help.

I tell my students that I pray for them--because really, that is the most important thing anyone can do for someone else. Robin William's death is a reminder that no one is immune to sin's hold. Be careful (and I am speaking to myself as well), nothing in life is worthwhile if it is not through Jesus Christ.

I've been down that road and if it had not been for that moment I sat in my kitchen February 2010 where I admitted to myself and to God that I actually 100% believe that Jesus Christ is God and that I would have to live my for Him and not my own pleasures... it could have been me as the deceased comedian. Praise the Lord that we all still have a chance RIGHT NOW to realize how small we are and that there is a loving God (Jesus Christ) that doesn't want us to be hurt. And if you have questions about what I am talking about, please feel free to email me and/or visit this page HERE.

I don't know William's relationship with the Lord, I hope he knew Him. And I pray Christ is glorified as He comforts his family, friends, and the world through the loss of a very inspirational man.

P.S. And I hate to have to write this but we all know what the internet is like. If you have a negative comment to say, please reconsider as people mourn this man's passing. If you still want to mention something to me that might be taken negatively, please contact me privately.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Home Office Style plus a FREEBIE!

Oh yes, summer is STILL technically around... but all these kids back in school sure shortened it! haha

My summer project is now... COMPLETE!! I have finished organizing my husband's desk into my home office! It doesn't look super creative, and it sure is still a work in progress, but I am very happy to have things organized and easy to find!

I have back to the future all over my office, because... I LOVE BACK TO THE FUTURE!!!!

My brother gave me a painting of the time machine delorean adapted from old hotel art. It is titled "Makin' Like A Tree". Then I of course have the remote control time machine that my husband used to propose to me :) The ring accidentally fell out so I knew he was about to propose! haha

And I have a gift I gave to my husband for our first anniversary. A shadow box including my veil with a picture of us from our wedding day with our vows. It's a good reminder that my first priority is always the home; even while working on my own business.

And my cutest part, organized binders for all of my small business needs! These are up on Teachers Pay Teachers for FREEEEEEEEEE! They each have a verse on them that reminds me to be humble, honest, and trustworthy in all of my dealings (yes that includes taxes! haha). I've also included the side tab for each binder! Definitely take them!! If you want a different color, just let me know and I can change the chevron colors for you :)


Here is what they all say:

"Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Mark 12:17

"And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches." Proverbs 24:4

"For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife." Hebrews 6:16

"Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due: custom to whom custom: fear to whom fear: honour to whom honour." Romans 13:7

"Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." Ephesians 4:28

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2

Friday, July 25, 2014

Back to School Tutoring 101

Hey everyone!

I had a great vacation with my husband and now it's time to get back to work! My college students are rocking their finals this week and my summer tutoring kids are getting used to all the fun review games we've been playing! I have seriously played Spanish charades at least twice a week!

Just like teachers who have to prep their classrooms, tutors have to start getting their fall gear set up! Here are a few projects I am working on to get ready for the crazy fall rush!

1. Closing summer with a pretty bow!
I did not have any "down" time this summer with tutoring! My schedule was almost as busy as the school year. So instead of rushing through this semester and scrambling into fall, I am making sure I give closure to all of my summer students. This means checking up on their finals, doing summer rap up math games to make sure we've accomplished our goals, and reassessing students with (I love them! Read more about them on their website!)

2. Speaking of Lets Go Learn...
As I start the new school year and begin seeing new math students, I will keep stepping toward making informed quantitative decisions with my teaching. So all of my math students will be offered a assessment. It is an inexpensive way to get loads and I mean LOADS of information on math and reading skills. One test is as inexpensive as $20 and the price goes down with multiple tests or with the occasional coupon. Not only do I discuss the results with the parent (and student if desired) but I also take qualitative notes to get a well-rounded picture of my students before we tackle tutoring. The statistics nerd in me gets sooooo happy with Lets Go Learn! :)

3. Piling Papers in Pretty Piles!
I am on a mission to organize my home office before the fall semester. The real reason (other than cleaning my home) is to be ready for the new students I will be receiving and the old ones that will end tutoring this year. (My seniors... gotta hold back dem tears!!) Everything from business receipts to my Teachers Pay Teachers material, it all needs to be printed, shredded, organized, piled, and ready for the incoming 2014-2015 paperwork storm that is a-brewing!

4. New Scheduling Methods!
I know I am not the only one that wishes they could clone a receptionist out of themselves! My schedule has to be my most important tools (other than my brain and Bible of course!). I am working on a new scheduling system that will allow parents and students to CHOOSE the time they would like to meet! So we don't have to wait hours for an email response or call back! Check out the details on that soon!

5. Food and Family Frenzy!
As many of you know, my struggle to eat a warm meal is very real since I don't have a microwave in my car. So along with all of the above, I am making sure that I am able to put my God-given responsibility of taking care of my family first! This includes scheduling times to EAT a warm meal during my busy schedule, having enough time to take out my dog, and keeping a CLEANER house for my husband. Work gets so busy, I know that we can all say we have neglected something because of work--so I am trying to make sure that doesn't happen too often this year!

Those are the 5 things I am doing before school starts! Of course, school starts after Labor Day back home in California... so I'm giving myself that deadline instead of the first week of August! haha

What are you doing to prepare for the school year as a teacher, tutor, parent, or student? I would love to know what's on your list!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Welcome Jennifer

Who is this Jennifer you speak of??

Well, you might know her as the Overstimulated Teacher! And not only is she an AMAZING teacher here in our Peach state but she is now the first official G-Iron Tutor TUTOR (aside from me, of course)!

That's right! I have just expanded my business to south of Atlanta for all primary subjects from Kindergarten through 5th grade under the intelligence and direction of Ms. Jennifer!

What does this mean for G-Iron Tutor?
It means G-Iron Tutor is growing and expanding! Praise the Lord for the exciting changes God is bringing on! I greatly appreciate your prayers as we help students learn and succeed!

What does this mean for Ms. Jennifer?
I'll let her explain that on her blog ( in more detail (she is on vacation right now). :) But she gets to see even more kids grow in knowledge than she would in just her regular classroom!
And while you're at it! Don't forget to follow Ms. Jennifer on social media to get a better feel on her personality and teaching style!

What does this mean for Irma?
This means I have more time to focus on my current students as well as take care of all of my business-schtuff with a little less stress (yes...believe it or not owning your own business comes with a tad bit of stress).

This picture taken right after we found a scorpion on the ground. EEK!

If you are ready to help your child/student succeed under my guidance or the guidance of Ms. Jennifer, please CONTACT me through my webpage! I am so very happy and ecstatic that I can rely on such a God-fearing lady like Ms. Jennifer, with my precious students!

Ready to start? Visit my website for more information on my policy and prices to get started!!! Woop woop!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Georgia Peachy Blog Hop

Hey hey! Welcome to our Georgia Bloggers Blog Hop! Be sure to pick up some peachy ideas from all of us GA bloggers :)

Enter for a chance to win a BASKET full of amazing prizes!! You can enter once from each person's blog! You have to LIKE my Facebook page to enter :) Rafflecopter is at the bottom of this post ;) Oh...and pick my FREEBIE!

I tutor face-to-face in good ol' Hotlanta! But I also tutor online to anywhere in the United States or Canada!! :)

Originally a Southern California girl, I was no stranger to heat! And having lived in Western New York, I was no stranger to humidity. But the one thing I was not prepared for... was this AWFUL NOISE: (It's 3 minutes long, just 4 seconds is enough!)

We have now been married for almost 2 years (less than 1 month away!) and every Wednesday at noon, I hear that beautiful sound! I praise the Lord I've only heard it in real action three times. Preparing for a severe storm like a tornado was something I did as soon as we moved in! If you live any where in tornado alley or where thunderstorms abound, I highly recommend the Red Cross Tornado App! It gives you real time updates on storms and even has a fun quiz to see if you are prepared for a weather emergency!

I am still a little scared of tornadoes (okay, a lot), but I know that Jesus Christ is with me through his saving power and He is the controller of the storm! What comfort!!
Here are some tips from the Red Cross on tornado preparedness:

Now Download my FREEBIEEEEEE!!!!
I am taking up clip art as a hobby! So check out my newest set of Cellular Buddies! Download the FREEBIE on my Teachers Pay Teachers store here:


Now enter through the rafflecopter for your chance to win a basket full of AMAZING-SAUCE prizes!! 
You have to LIKE my Facebook page to enter :)

I am giving away 15 MINUTES of FREEEEEE online tutoring in the 3+ Basket!! That is 25% off a full hour! Fo' realzies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The GIFT of Dyslexia

Hey ya'll! (I'm becoming southern!)

As some of you may or may not know, I was tested for dyslexia in college after years of struggling with reading. Even though I was an honor roll student throughout high school and college, I still struggled to study because reading gave me headaches and my writing often flip flopped itself.

When I was tested, not only did I have some dyslexic qualities but also leaned toward ADHD! And to top it all off, some of my quirky habits were actually attributed to OCD. Phew! All of sudden, everything made sense in my academic career.

I thought everyone's eyes darted rapidly back and forth while reading a small text. I thought everyone needed to readjust themselves in their seat every 10 seconds. I thought everyone needed to scratch their fingers at a perfect rhythm while typing. Welp, guess not! Haha!

I learned to overcome a lot of my struggles on my own through my desire to succeed. My mild cases of each of the above categories was a true blessing in disguise. As a tutor, I work with many brilliant students! Some of them showing their success in academics and others not so much. The Tutor House had a great interview with Beth Shier (working with the Davis Learning Strategies). This great center helps students with learning difficulties and reading problems. From there, I took their advice and bought the book The Gift of Dyslexia by Ron Davis.

What an amazing book! Every single description I totally connected with! The way the explain symptoms and the brilliance of this learning difference shows the beauty that can be achieved by people that use their brain differently! I bought this book to help a student who has a few dyslexic tendencies. and it sure is FUN!

I am in NO way connected to the Davis Learning Strategies site or company. I just needed to review their book because of the brilliance of their book! Check out the webinar posted by The Tutor House to learn more about how people with dyslexia and other learning differences think.

Friday, May 23, 2014

New Student Butterflies!

I get an email from my website or through one of the various tutoring services I am part of, and after a series of communications, a date and time are set!

Oh, it's the new student butterflies!! Here are some things I always do to prepare for a new student:

1. Check my Availability
Didn't I already check my availability when I booked the student? Well yes, that is exactly what I mean! Availability isn't about having an hour in between each student. Do I have time to take out my dog? Do I have time for traffic? Do I have time for MY OTHER STUDENTS?? 
Too often, the idea of an extra couple bucks can seem so attractive, but it is extremely important that I make sure I have enough time to answer questions my students may have about their homework and that I have enough time to prepare for my next session with them!

2. Study and Review!
Okay, I don't review basic arithmetic for my 3rd graders, but I do review test taking strategies, fun games, and software information! I make a living out of KNOWING things and TEACHING those things to others--it only makes sense for me to review the material or supplies I will be working with if I plan to get paid for my services. And yes, I do have to review for college and high school courses! I don't remember every single reagent used in organic chemistry or every single irregular verb in Spanish, so STUDY STUDY STUDY!

3. Prepare my Bag
If you are teacher, you know the importance of a good school bag! Recommendations would be nice actually! I need a new one! It is the responsibility of my students to have paper, pencils, homework, math books, etc. not mine. But of course I have extras! I make sure I am stocked with those essentials and whatever else I am working with for the entire day! Currently I have pens, alphabet cards, bouncy balls, and plain computer paper in my bag/car. You never know when that perfect activity will come to mind! So be prepared for any and all activities!!

4. Revisit my Website
Okay, this isn't a plug for myself! But I really do review my policy and prices listed on my website. Having booked a new student, we have already discussed pricing, location, etc. but something new might pop up (and it almost always done!). I have to be ready with knowing my up to date policy information as well as the ins and outs of my business. The first meeting is the best time to ask about my tutoring style, personality, and policy. So I have to be ready to answer any question a student or parent may have!

This is not just some selling point! I really have to smile when I meet a new student! I am so blessed by Jesus Christ to have my own business--and booking a new student means I am expanding! I smile not only with my students (who are nervous to be meeting with a tutor), or with parents (who are nervous about a stranger teaching their precious baby), but for myself! Even if I just came from a session where a student did not try or want to learn, a new session is a new chance! What an opportunity to serve the Lord through education with multiple people every single day! If that don't make ya smile, I dunno wut will!

Have fun preparing your students for summer!!! Take the sun as an opportunity for new adventures in the tutoring world!! :)

Friday, May 9, 2014

I'm Not a Great Tutor

I'm not a great tutor.

Before a test or final as I pack up my things from a session; I turn to my students to let them know that I will be praying for their exam. And the wonders of this past week have shown me that I am not responsible for my students' successes.

I praise God He has allowed me to retain knowledge from my past and given me the ability to share it in an engaging manner. And I praise Him for helping my students recall information and apply it. No, I cannot say that I am the reason why my students are rocking A's and B's this semester.

This past week has been our revival week. Two nights ago, our guest preacher Bro. Darrell Hayes spoke about how we need to just trust Christ that everything will work according to His plan for our good. And I can say that this message has wrung true on so many different levels with my students.

I want my students to know that when I say I will pray for their test, exam, quiz, etc. I am praying for more than just that. I cannot enter a business endeavor with someone without lifting them up for a blessing. Because my students are such huge blessings to me!

If you are one of my students please know that I pray for your grades, your health, your safety, your family, your future goals, any specific requests that you tell me, and most importantly, that you would trust in Christ wholeheartedly as Savior.

I do this in private, I do this alone, and I keep my specific prayers only between the Lord and me. You are not alone in your journey through education. You have a prayer warrior any time of day in someone unexpected--your tutor.

Because I am not responsible for your success, no, I lead you to the One who gives the entire victory :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Activity!

I have a student who always says, "No, I don't want to do that!" It doesn't matter what the activity is. Her mom has hired me to help her in Language Arts and Science (occasionally Social Studies). She just has a "no" attitude. I'm sure you have a few of those students yourself!

When I studied to get my Masters, we used fancy terms like "cooperative learning" and "scaffolding". But let's be real, I have to trick her into learning! Even if I say the word "read" she automatically pouts and does not want to do anything. So yesterday I had to do an impromptu activity.
My improvisational comedy career really does help with teaching!

I saw some blank sheets of paper and knew we had to practice our adjectives and spelling words. So a quick tutorial later, we made these:

They are Mother's Day Origami hearts! They were so easy to make and before I knew it, we were spelling words, and even added a verb section (because my student wanted!).

On the left flap we wrote adjectives that describe our moms--"Smart" "Pretty" and "Awesome". On the other flap we wrote and drew verbs--so activities we want to do with our moms--"Sing together" "Buy stuff together" and "Draw together".

And on the inside we drew and wrote big vocabulary words that describe a situation that has or will happen with our moms. My student turned in the inside into an airplane with different airline words.

This was such a fun and easy activity! With CRCT over and only a couple weeks until the end of school, we really needed to come up with something fun to keep everything we've learned all year in our brains!

Watch the link below or click the picture to follow the tutorial I used to make these adorable origami hearts!

Easy origami hearts for Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Finals and the "Flu"

This is finals week for many of my students. So why am I at home typing a blog post instead of making sure my students got their facts down and their critical thinking caps on? Because I have had the lovely stomach flu for the past few days.


Don't worry, I'll spare you the wonderful details. Though today is the first day I feel able to sit up and concentrate to write anything. So I wanted to mention the ways that I am keeping track of my students while I am physically quarantined from most of them.

"Stomach flu" is a misnomer; it is actually called Viral Gastroenteritis. Usually caused by a Norovirus.
Because I am much more technologically connected with my college students than my K-12 students (for obvious legal reasons), I have been texting, emailing, and calling them to make sure they have their details correct. I usually charge for technology tutoring--but it is neither their fault nor mine that I am sick, so they get access to me via technology for free during the time slot we should have been tutoring. Can I hear a WOOP WOOP!

Thankfully, my elementary and middle school students have two more weeks before the end of the school year and they JUST finished CRCT! So good timing for them! Since the pressure to meet with them is much lower, I have an open line of communication with their parents to contact me. I am always an email or text away if their student has a question. A few of them have taken the opportunity to talk about summer sessions! Woop woop!

Good thing that happened even though I haven't tutored: one of my students aced her final! Proud tutor over here!!
Bad thing that happened: I had to miss my teaching English as a second language class at my church. I love that class so much and we've been on a month long break due to out of control circumstances and we won't have class for another 2 weeks... So only two more classes until summer break for them! I have so many ideas and I'm just so excited for these adults that I just want to teach and teach and teach!

Finally, I just want to say thank you to my wonderful husband who has waited on me hand and foot these past days! Seriously, God is so good to have given me such a loving husband (and he's rather good-lookin' too) :]

Off to eat/drink more clear fluids. Yay!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lockdown at KSU

I was just telling myself yesterday morning how I haven't written a blog post in a while. And lo and behold, I have something to write about NOW!

Unlike other tutors, I do not have a "place of business". I drive to all of my students. I am a frequent visitor to Kennesaw State University to tutor many students in the biology and chemistry departments.

Well, today, I went to tutor Sally, one of my most dedicated students. We were studying for her Organic Chemistry final next week and planning study dates for her Genetics final the following week. After 2 hours, I got up, said my goodbyes and walked up stairs to leave the library. I tried push open a door and it won't open. I try to push another door and the mass of students I apparently did not notice laugh at me. One of the library staff informed me that campus is on lockdown for a suspected gunman on campus!

Sally was excited she got free tutoring until I could leave campus! Haha

I respond with "Wait, how long has this been going on?"
"Over an hour and a half! Where have you been?!?"
"Downstairs tutoring!"

We never had anyone make an announcement to the students on the basement level about the lockdown. Then I remember seeing two (maybe three?) police officers walking around--not campus safety but fully armed policemen.
I go back to the basement inform everyone downstairs. Some people are surprised and others wonder how I did not know. About 10 students in the basement and I talk about the situation and our experiences with lockdowns in the past.

My alma matar, Rochester Institute of Technology, had a number of lockdowns. One of them became wildly popular... campus safety mistook an UMBRELLA for a RIFLE! (No, I am not kidding. Read the article. It was pretty ridiculous.)

Click the picture or HERE to read the article.
Praise the Lord no one was hurt. Sally and I discussed some more resonance structures and functional groups before someone came downstairs and said the lockdown was lifted. Getting out of the parking lot was not a fun experience but I made it ON TIME for my next tutoring appointment! Win!
I did run out of caffeine during the lockdown though.

So what is the moral of the story?
When you hire me as your tutor, not even dangerous gunmen can distract you from learning! I'm that good ;)
Totally joking. But in all seriousness, I really do praise the Lord that everyone was safe and the situation ended rather quickly. Thank you to KSU for protecting its students.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Relay for Life

One of my college students, Sanam, asked me to join her team for Relay for Life.

Relay for Life is a fundraising activity from the American Cancer Society. We volunteered to help survivors enjoy their night.

The weather got in the way of the events starting early, so we started setting up for the Survivor Dinner a little late. The theme was Mardi Gras and celebration! The event was able to host about 50 survivors, each with a different story to tell about their amazing road to recovery! It was a fun experience being able to set up, decorate, and do a small part to make the night memorable for these brave people.

Sanam and a few other people put together the center pieces and I helped get tables set up as well as get the buffet area organized.

Then we all tried to tie ribbons on helium balloons... It took a little while to get used to doing it by yourself. It was a team effort for the first half, haha!

We had to leave early unfortunately but it was a great time! That was my second Relay for Life event. They are always so much fun! Next time, I'll have to stay overnight.

Tutor and Tutee :) Our faces don't usually look this weird... Okay maybe they do...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Right Brainers in Business

The very lovely Jennifer Lee, author of two books, has started a FREE online business conference for the creative at heart.
Visit Jayne's blog here :)

My sweet blogger buddy, Jayne, shared a link for the Right Brainers in Business video chat session and I am totally getting the encouragement I need to keep working toward this zany tutoring business I've dived into (doved? diven? idk)! I was really excited about doing it (especially since it is free!), but I totally forgot to sign up for it until half way through! So I unfortunately missed the first week, but saw some cool highlights. I did finish up the second week.

Some of the topics covered included Pinterest for business, how to stay encouraged, and the wait for repeat customers. Here are some of the biggest things I've taken from the videos:

  • Use social media as a way to be genuine. I started a blog to keep my clients up to date. But it should be so much more than that. I should use every platform to share my love of education and teaching to communities for the glory of Christ. Without that very real relationship between my clients, my friends, my parents, my PEOPLE, my business cannot prosper!
  • Knowing that as a creative soul, I'm not alone in trying to be practical and realistic. Christine Kane really said everything I needed to hear about making money when that isn't the REAL goal of my business. Check out Christine's website! She was definitely my biggest inspiration during the conference
  • Learning how to say "No". It is a struggle to say "no", especially to my students. I have learned to say "no" without being mean and without lying. I do have a busy schedule but it cannot be my only excuse. My God-given duty is to be my husband's helper, so sometimes I need to clean my house, sometimes I need to spend time with my dog, sometimes I need time for ME. And that is okay! I can't be successful in business if I am not excited about what I am doing in business.
  • My ambitions of someday having a team of people that bring my tutoring business to a larger scale doesn't seem as unrealistic anymore. I've only been in business for just over a year and it may take 50 years but if the Lord is willing, I will be obedient

What a great conference. I really wish I had kicked myself in the butt and started the conference at the beginning! Next year!! Can't wait to keep up with the creative ideas and the business adventures!