Helping Business Professionals To Improve Their Job Performance With Advanced English Communication Skills & Innovative Ideas. Meet Business Owner, Laurel Archer of Laurel’s Learning Lab & Cary Tutor.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue tutoring as your career path?
LA: My father was a professor and scholar, and I followed in his footsteps as a teacher for many years but never found my perfect job at any level. However, I really enjoyed teaching kids individually, so I decided to start my own tutoring business in 2010 to have the autonomy to pursue the students and subjects that I wanted to work with.
Q: Are there subjects that you specialize in?
LA: Yes, I specialize in English and ESL (English as a Second Language), and really enjoy working with students who are learning (or refining) the American Accent for business or daily life. I also help students with SAT English prep and French for school or business.
Q: What are your teaching philosophy and strategies?
LA: I think teaching should be interactive and not just listening to me talk. I love silly idioms and puns, and teaching in a fun way, so they remember the lessons. I am very relational to my students (especially the adult ones), so they learn cultural and social lessons as well as academic knowledge.
Q: How do you manage work challenges?
LA: I keep a calendar and stay organized that way, so I can see which students I have each day and spend time managing my business and marketing online and networking in the community. The biggest challenge is having enough students to make the business profitable, and the marketing is key – finding out what works for your area and who to connect to. I know that word of mouth & referrals are an awesome way to get students but it takes a while to build your reputation. It’s also challenging to do social media effectively, but I have a presence on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
Q: What are the core skills and qualities do you think parents look for in a tutor for their children?
LA: Someone who is friendly, professional, and affordable. I think people want a tutor that they can believe in and will give their child the best learning experience possible. I think having experience with all ages helps me be flexible and adaptable to many different situations and needs.
Q: How old is the youngest and oldest student you’ve ever had?
LA: Youngest is 5 years old – a son of a previous student – and oldest is 72 – a mother of a student.
Q: Can you share a student success story with us?
LA: My favorite testimonial is a letter I got from an adult student from Brazil that had recently moved to the US – it was so sweet that I have hanging on my wall – this is part of what she said to me after working with me for about 6 months - “I’m so thankful you were a part of my journey in the USA. You’re an amazing teacher with the kindest heart! You have a very unique way of teaching, which motivates and engages the students. You inspire learners to embrace the English language. I know your enthusiasm and the love you show for your ESL students. You’ve been a huge encouragement to me, helping me to build confidence in myself.”
Q: 2020 was a crazy year for everyone, how did Cary Tutor do?
LA: It was a tough year for me since all of my students quit for a few months at the beginning of the pandemic. I had to adapt to an online platform and decide to concentrate on my international students and teach for free a lot – but as I did, the whole world opened up to me and I met so many students that I would never have if I had continued the traditional way. I fully believe that “challenges are opportunities” and we have to find ways to overcome any obstacles through innovation and creativity.
Q: What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
LA: I think the greatest fear is “am I good enough to do this? Can I actually make enough money to keep working for myself or do I have to quit and get a “real” job?” I think the most important realization for an entrepreneur is that you ARE enough, and your motivation to continue is more important than going back to the 9-5 routine.
Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments your career?
LA: When I was awarded the Ambassador of the Year award from the Cary Chamber of Commerce. I was so amazed because it was a total surprise to me! I got the award at the Annual Banquet, and I look at it every day to remind myself why I do this.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
LA: Believe in yourself and your ability to do whatever you want to accomplish in life! Don’t let anyone stop you if you have a dream to make life better for you and those around you. You can do it!
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
LA: I think women are still trying to figure out what is most important to them – can I “have it all” – work and family too – and how does that work? For each woman, it will be a different story of what they strive for and what they give up to make it happen.
Five Things About Laurel Archer
1. What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I love playing music with my husband – we actually get paid to sing in restaurants in our local area sometimes, and have music on YouTube and our new Patreon channel – I combine it with my love of English – “Learn English Through Music” with Laurel’s Learning Lab.
2. What’s the most amazing adventures have you’ve ever been on?
I’ve been to many countries in Europe, thanks to my dad’s work as a translator when I was young. I also went to France, England, Italy, and Mexico on my own or for trips with school or church.
3. Among your friends, what are you best known for?
A listening ear and willingness to help them.
4. What’s your favorite app on your phone?
I am presently working to make an app for Laurel’s Learning Lab that my students can access and use anywhere in the world to learn English.
5. What TV shows did you watch when you were a kid?
I watched “Schoolhouse Rock” and then “Little House on the Prairie” every week as well as “Happy Days” and lots of 80’s movies as I got older