About the Staff

MELISSA SMITH – OWNER/CURRICULUM CONSULTANT

Lifelong Learners is a labour of love for Melissa that began with two secondary age clients in 2011 and has grown to cover all age groups and curriculum areas.

Melissa is a fully qualified teacher who holds a double degree in Education and Social Sciences as well as a Masters of Education (Behaviour Management and Literacy Development). After spending a number of years teaching in government, Catholic and independent schools throughout Western Australia from years one to twelve, she started Lifelong Learners to assist those students who get “left behind” at school. The completion of her Masters led to the realisation that there are many students who struggle at school but do not benefit from one-on-one tuition as they are too intimated, often suffering from low self esteem or anxiety. These students feel they are failures every time they step into a classroom.

Nearly all of Lifelong Learner’s clients have tried traditional tuition in the past and found that the student either disconnects or becomes extremely distressed and/or oppositional in each session. The goal of Lifelong Learners will always be to develop the students academic skills in a supportive and engaging environment that encourages them to become confident, intrinsically motivated learners.

Melissa’s tutoring highlight: A year 5 student began tutoring with us as a bubbly ball of energy (we simply could not get her to stop talking in the tutoring classes) however she would flat out refuse to participate in her classroom environment as she felt “too dumb”. After a few months of slowly building up her confidence and her understanding of maths concepts, she came running up the driveway one day shouting at the top of her lungs that she had volunteered to answer a question about multiplying fractions in class and gotten it RIGHT! The smile on her face and the pride in her voice was unforgettable.

As of mid-2014, Mel is consulting with Lana and Michelle on all individual education plans, teaching programs and curriculum content but is not participating in the face-to-face tuition classes.


LANA LUU – HEAD TUTOR

Lana began working with Lifelong Learners in February 2013. She is an experienced, enthusiastic education assistant who has a Certificate III in Education Support as well as a Certificate III in Disability and is also able to speak fluent Vietnamese (English is her first language). Lana has worked intensively with students with many different learning needs and her patience with reluctant learners is remarkable. Lana is particularly experienced in developing literacy and numeracy interventions for students at educational risk.

Lana works with each individual student to identify the personal extrinsic motivators to engage that student with their learning. Over time, these motivators are slowly removed as the student becomes more self motivated and invested in their own learning journey.

Lana’s tutoring highlight: We tutored a student who was a very oppositional pre-teen. Beautiful personality but at the age where she would rebel in any way that she possibly could, so it became a weekly battle to get her to do any form of homework. Even the offer of prizes had no impact. The week where she did her homework voluntarily and was then able to sheepishly admit that she could clearly identify how completing it had helped her do better at school that day was a real milestone.

Lana currently runs all of our weekly tuition classes in her role as head tutor.


MICHELLE ELSEY – WRITING WORKSHOP COORDINATOR

Michelle began working with Lifelong Learners in 2014. She is an experienced education assistant who has a Certificate III in Education Support and currently works full time during the school term supporting students with special needs at a local high-school. Michelle has worked in an educational support context in WA schools since 2006.

Michelle runs Lifelong Learners holiday writing workshops. These involve students ranging in age from 6 to 14 years attending a full day class to work on their character development, language skills and creative writing. Michelle combines her passion for learning and her understanding of working with students at different levels to create an engaging and supportive learning environment.

Michelle’s tutoring highlight: At the conclusion of each full day writing workshop, when your feet are aching and your voice is hoarse, there is nothing more rewarding as an educator than watching students excitedly run up to their parents to show off how much they have written or proudly announce how many points they scored in the word games played. That sense of personal achievement is something I want every child to leave with.

Michelle currently runs all of our school holiday writing workshops.

FINAL NOTE FROM MEL AND LANA ABOUT WEEKLY SMALL GROUP TUITION CLASSES:

Whilst working collaboratively with small groups of students is the most effective way to foster their learning experience and self esteem, it is also important to target individual strengths and weaknesses. Each student (no matter what age or subject) will have an individual education plan developed to work through whilst participating in Lifelong Learners weekly  tutoring service, our goal is to give students the skills and the desire to enjoy learning whilst addressing their individual learning needs in an interactive environment. These plans are written in line with the Australian Curriculum standards.

We would love to discuss your child’s learning needs with you because we understand that every child is different and finding a tutor who is the right fit can be a stressful experience. Please feel free to contact Lana on 0431 467 964 or at lana@lifelonglearners.com.au at any time.