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Life and Work with Diane Talbot

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diane Talbot.

Diane, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’d wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. My mother had an in-home daycare when I was growing up and I regularly gathered the kids to play “school” and make craft projects with them. When I started college, I veered off and pursued other interests and then married and had children. I was a stay-at-home mom and finished college when my kids were all in school. I decided to pursue art and for a time, I taught art in a private school for twice-exceptional (simultaneously gifted and talented and have one or more learning disabilities or differences) kids. Around that time, my kids were teens, I was in the midst of a divorce and needed a career.

I’d loved working with twice-exceptional students so much that I decided to pursue a teacher-in-residence program and got a job as a special education teacher. This means I went to school to get my licensure at the same time that I was a first-year teacher. I don’t recommend this method, as it is very difficult and stressful but, as a single mom, it was the option that worked for me.

Special Education programs, surprisingly, do not spend much time instructing teachers how to teach students with disabilities, and thus I took a lot of classes on my own trying to learn the best ways to reach these kids. A few years into teaching, I met a woman in a professional development class who had amazing knowledge about how to assess and remediate dyslexia and she told me about the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Teachers (AOGPE.) I signed up for training that summer, taking 60 hours of coursework and continued with 100 teaching hours of supervised practicum. I certified at the Associate level in the Academy and in the process, met many tutors who had tutoring businesses and this became my goal.

I was diagnosed and treated for leukemia (now in complete remission!) and my plans were sidelined though I continued to increase my skills. I earned a certificate as a math interventionist from Adams State University and fell in love with teaching math to kids with disabilities as well. Then, I got a Master’s degree in Education and an endorsement as a reading specialist. I tried teaching full-time and tutoring on the side, but this left me little time for living a balanced and healthy life. Teaching in schools got more and more frustrating because I had no control over how, where, what, and how long I taught students.

At the end of the 2019 school year, a series of serendipitous circumstances pushed me into making the leap into full-time tutoring. I rented an office in Boulder and put the word out among my colleagues and friends. I opened for business the week after school got out with 3 students and have been consistently growing. As I come to the six-month mark of my new business, I am taking names for a waiting list and feel so lucky to use my expertise to teach students in the most effective way for each individual student. I am able to serve students locally and anywhere in the world as an online tutor.

I am achieving the balance in my life that I was unable to manage as a full-time teacher. I am able to seriously pursue my artwork as a member of ClayArt Ceramics Cooperative in Louisville and have an extensive garden. I am even getting back to my yoga practice.

Has it been a smooth road?
It has not been an easy path. As a single mother, then as the primary bread-winner when I remarried, and a cancer patient and then survivor, it is difficult to give up security, a steady paycheck, and health coverage—especially when that independence and security were so hard-won.

My advice for young women is to pursue your passions, remember what is important, be tenacious, and keep learning.

What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I specialize in kids with learning disabilities, twice-exceptional kids and gifted and talented kids—really any kids who are not typical learners and need something more or different in order to be successful.

I pride myself on developing trusting, productive, and fun-filled relationships even with tough kids. I am able to tease out where a student is struggling and find a way to teach them in a way that works for them. As such, I use simultaneously multi-sensory, hands-on, and creative methods when I create individual tutoring plans for my students.

I work with students with reading, writing, math, and executive function skills. I am able to consult with parents to help them understand their student’s IEP or 504 plans and help them advocate for their children.

I also do the academic portion of assessments for 2e Consulting, which provides full assessment.

Who have you been inspired by?
I’ve been inspired by my women friends and colleagues who have encouraged me, cheered me on, and mentored me. Seeing my friends succeeding at entrepreneurship gave me the courage to take the leap for myself.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Aimee Rodriguez, Sarah Rodriguez

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