RIDGEWOOD, N.J.– Tanya Panossian-Lesser still remembers the confused look on her Ridgewood High School classmate's face back in 1990.
"Out of the side of my eye, I saw that Rob, a usually boisterous guy seated next to me in our US history class, was uncharacteristically frozen," Panossian-Lesser told Daily Voice.
For weeks, Rob hadn't paid attention to the lesson – focused around Franklin D. Roosevelt's plans for WWII – but Panossian-Lesser filled him in.
"He breathed a sigh of relief, scribbled something and almost smiled at me," she recalled. "I was happy to quietly tutor him for the remainder of the year."
Thus was born The Ridgewood Tutor .
After working for The Princeton Review and as a Social Studies teacher in Ossining, N.Y., she returned to the village in 2011. She got a job as a teaching assistant at RHS, aiding chemistry, geometry, and Algebra II courses.
She longed to return to the classroom full time but opted for a math certification.
"I started to register to take the remaining required classes for certification and at the same time began working through the College Board SAT book in 2012, completing each test and getting better with each section," she said.
Panossian-Lesser began blogging. A fellow Ridgewood resident took notice and asked about tutoring.
"Her family was the very first Ridgewood Tutor client," Panossian-Lesser said.
She has provided ACT, SAT and GRE tutoring at the Ridgewood Library ever since and gives presentations to student members as well.
Although the SAT format has changed since she first took it, Panossian-Lesser earned an 800 in comprehensive reading, 790 in math, and 800 in writing, over the two times she took them in 2015.
"Strong scores don’t always necessarily translate into good teaching," she said.
Her classroom experience instead helped her develop the necessary planning skills.
"I have organized lessons for the SATs, ACTs and GREs from wonderful resource material that I hand-picked after much trial and error," Panossian-Lesser said. "Each student has strengths and weaknesses, both academically and motivationally, and I aim to bring out the best in each one."
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