I have been teaching for over 5 years, and I love being a helping hand to students of all ages. In my career as a middle school teacher, and now as an online tutor, I have had the opportunity to help kids understand and come to enjoy a variety of subjects including: art, technology, math, writing, social studies and Spanish. I am dedicated to assisting students in understanding concepts in fun and creative ways so that they are able to reach their full potential. I like to make sure that each session is stress-free for the student, that they leave having a clear concept of what was gone over and feel positive about the learning process and their progress!
I am a teacher with a strong background in classroom teaching, school counseling and working with a diverse group of students. I am state certified in core subjects thru middle school, with a specialization in teaching English/Language Arts. I have a bachelor's degree in English Literature, along with an M.S. in School Counseling and M.A. in Education. I provide a learning environment that is both supportive and challenging, and tailored to meet each student's individual needs. I am experienced in working with a wide range of curriculum, from home school to public and private sources, and I can provide both support and enrichment depending on each student's needs. I value the diversity of each student, and seek to empower them to become confident learners and successful young people. My methods are positive, uplifting and fun, and I seek to inspire our young learners to build solid foundations in every subject.
I started my career in education as a noon supervisor on the playground. My responsibilities were to watch students during lunch and recess to ensure safety. This included conflict resolution and building relationships with students. After two months I became an instructional aide in a K-3 SDC (mild to moderate) classroom. During this time I worked with three students to identify struggles/disabilities, guide behavior, implement techniques for self-help and self-regulation, and tailored teaching techniques.
One of my students had trouble focusing and social/emotional deficiencies. I worked with him on recognizing triggers and cues, calming techniques, and how to select and use distractions to his advantage. Not all distractions are bad, some can be used to create better connections in the mind. For example, if we are discussing a subject and the student is distracted by others this is a negative distraction. It removes focus from what they need to be focusing on to something else. In this instance, I redirect the student back to where the attention needs to be. Positive distractions occur when we are discussing a subject and the child interrupts with a personal connection; sometimes clearly related, others not as obvious. However, everyone’s mind works differently and while I may not instantly recognize the connection, after a brief discussion/explanation by the student I gain understanding. This is important in allowing them the opportunity to relate the material on personal level to reinforce their personal understanding of the information. It is important to help guide them in understanding the difference between the types of distractions by letting them know when one is appropriate versus the other not being appropriate. The was also a kinesthetic learner and offering things he could manipulate with his hands was important. Things such as counting cubes, dice, flash cards placed on the floor however he liked, physically using his fingers to count on number lines, etc. He did show improvement, however, continued intensive support was needed.
Another student was autistic and was unable to identify letters or write at the age of 7. After identifying where she was at, I implemented tools and techniques to help develop the abilities needed. We worked on letter identification by rehearsing the alphabet using visuals while reciting. For help in writing we had to start at the most basic levels of pen control. For this I purchased a book on tracing basic lines such as straight, diagonal, zig zag, and loops. As her pen control improved, I purchased a dry erase alphabet book for her to start working on tracing the letters. By the time I left she was able to trace with ease all letters of the alphabet as well as starting to write some on her own.
The third student I worked with was a third grader reading at a kindergarten level. Each day we would read a book, the same one for one week. Because his reading level was so low we had to start with phonemic awareness. As I would read to him, I would point to words and sounds within the words to help him identify what letters make what sounds. He would then read the book back to me. I would allow him the opportunity to recognize, remember, and try sounding out the words before offering help or support (such as starting to sound out the first letter(s) of a word). There was improvement, however, continued intensive support was needed.
I worked in this position with the above children for five months, during which time they each made tremendous improvements given the time I had with them. After five months I had acquired my substitute teaching permit and began working as a substitute teacher. I worked the in-house suspension classroom at two different K-6 schools in the district. During this time I helped to create and implement plans and procedures for one of the schools. This ranged from social/emotional support to tutoring kids that were struggling in class to keep up. I also worked a long-term position for a 5th grade class before the closure of schools. During this time I created lesson plans and projects at the principles request. It was a difficult time for the students having felt abandoned by their teacher. However, I remained consistent in my expectations as well keeping them motivated and engaged. The projects I created and teaching style I implanted seemed be a hit with the students.
At the beginning of July I was offered to return with a 30 day assignment at the start of the school year. However, a few weeks later the governor put our county on the watch list and put schools into distance learning. I was no longer needed in the classroom and have begun to seek tutoring opportunities. I enjoy helping students who need that little extra (compassion, help, understanding) to succeed. This is my life path and a true pleasure.
After serving in the United States Air Force as a medic, I earned my degree in psychology. This led me to work with youth with behavioral, mental health, and academic deficits in a residential program. I enjoy seeing the underdogs win. Often the students I worked with had every reason to quit and often were told they would amount to nothing. However, encouragement, and capitalizing on their strengths served them well. Students went on to earn their GED, graduate, and attend college. I hope to help others in the same way.
Doreen Lwanga is a special education and early childhood educator with over two decades of teaching students from PreK to graduate school. Doreen started teaching right after high school as an Adult English Tutor to Bangladesh immigrant women in Uganda to facilitate them to work alongside their husbands in family businesses. As a college student at Makerere University in Uganda, she worked as Human Rights Trainer, mentoring student volunteers as young human rights activists for prisoners and refugees.
In graduate school, Doreen was a Research and Writing Tutor to fellow students, providing help in developing and producing their research proposals, including research design and methodology, data collection, and analysis. Simultaneously, working as a Teaching Assistant for an undergraduate Political Science class on Africa International Politics.
In 2014, Doreen explored teaching PreK-12 in school districts within Pocono Mountain of northeast Pennsylvania as a Substitute Teacher in general and special education. She has gained competence in implementing teacher-designed lesson plans, incorporating her own academic and professional expertise, as well as state standards, curriculum materials, and other education best practices. She also works as an Online Writing Tutor with students around the country from PreK-college. In March 2020, following the COVID_19 emergency shutdown, Doreen started "When Kids Teach," to help students across the country complete teacher-assigned activities. For students in the South and Midwest whose schools closed, Doreen designed lessons and learning activities for them.
Doreen obtained a Master in Law & Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, a Bachelor's of Science in Special Education and Early Childhood Education from the East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor's of Arts in Sociology, Geography & French from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Doreen has also studied in Norway and The Netherlands.