Chess at Three is delighted to announce our June Tutors of the Month!
We proudly honor Katie Mitchell from Kentucky, Jake Silbermann from New York, Adam Trodd from Alabama, and Kevin Doyle from Ohio.
Each one a seasoned educator, these tutors have years of teaching and thousands of hours under their belts. As four of Chess at Three’s best, they will be working and living out east in July and August to operate our summer Hamptons program.
Despite the confusion and uncertainty of these unprecedented times Chess at Three will begin offering in-home lessons in the Hamptons during July and August. We’ve designed a comprehensive strategy to ensure everyone’s safety, including daily temperature checks and high-quality PPE for every tutor. We’d love to share our plans in more detail with you or discuss any concerns you might have. In-person lessons will only take place if both parties (parents and tutors) feel comfortable. Chess at Three has always held every tutor to the highest standards of health and safety, and we will continue to do so throughout the summer months.
We are currently running discounts for daily blocks of lessons: Reserve a tutor’s time for 2-4 hours a day! If you are interested in setting up group or private lessons during July and August, either online or in-person in the Hamptons, please let us know. In addition to chess, our tutors also offer fun, engaging lessons in music and other subjects.
Feel free to pass this along to a friend! It’s important to keep our children engaged and stimulated while implementing structure and a bit of normalcy during this season of alternative learning.
Now let’s learn more about our June Tutors of the Month and what makes them special!
Favorite chess story from our curriculum?
Katie: I love both of the queen stories. Chess has always been male-dominated and it’s so important to create the space for little girls to feel confident in their chess game. I love that Queen Bella and Queen Allegra are such positive role models for my students!
Favorite moment with a student?
Adam: One Halloween a student of mine decided to go as a rook. I was proud of them for embracing chess, and seeing that student “chessed” up like a rook really made my day.
Favorite online teaching moment?
Kevin: I finished up a lesson and told the student they should keep playing! An hour later I looked at my student’s profile and could see that they were still playing games online.
What was your “ah-ha” moment working for Chess at Three? When did you realize this wasn’t just a job but something you loved to do?
Adam: I had my “ah-ha” moment during my first week. Chess has been an integral part of my life since I was three, and being able to share the game in a fun and engaging way is as much a joy as it is a responsibility.
What makes you a great online teacher?
Kevin: It seems like a lot of students are used to looking at a screen so I try to make sure I can make the student laugh and make the experience more than just a lesson. Whether it’s silly voices or asking if I can have a bite of their snack, I love doing whatever I can to remind the student that there’s a real person on the other side of the screen.
What’s the best part of teaching in-home lessons for you as a teacher?
Katie: Being able to physically shake a student’s hand and say good game! I always try to give their hand a little squeeze and compliment my student on something they really excelled at during the lesson. I miss connecting with them in that way so much!
Are you a better online tutor or an in-home tutor?
Kevin: They both have their pros and cons. Nothing will take the place of in-person interaction. But I have learned more about chess since doing online lessons than I have in years. It is so fun to use puzzles and computers to challenge myself as well as the student. It’s a special experience to be on a ‘team’ with your student and use your wisdom as a teacher to be the team leader. That way, we can find solutions and answers together, as teammates.
What’s the best part of teaching online lessons for you as a teacher?
Jake: I love all the chess variants and the puzzles! I appreciate that I can go between them so quickly.
Do you think your students retain more through online or in-home lessons?
Adam: In terms of theory/skills, I’d say they retain more online, though I do think there is a camaraderie you get with in-person lessons that is hard to replicate online. Who knows though? As we redefine the learning experience, it may end up being equally important to develop healthy online interactivity.
Your record has proven you’re an amazing tutor, what is your secret?
Katie: I am genuinely so interested in what makes my students special. I love hearing about their interests, their joys, and their feelings. Kids have an interesting and honest way of looking at the world and I love chatting with them about it!
What spot in NYC are you excited to visit when we are allowed out into the world?
Adam: Blitz Chess in Washington Square Park with the chess hustlers. Easy question.
What book or show have you loved during the quarantine?
Jake: The winner of quarantine is, hands down, Normal People. It’s the best show of the year in my opinion!
What is helping you feel sane during this time?
Kevin: Pour over coffee, the comfortable leather chair I teach from, and a good, old-fashioned phone call.
What’s your favorite part about living out east?
Jake: The sea and bay air. The pace. The energy shift from the city. I love it.
Where is your favorite spot to eat in the Hamptons?
Kevin: Grilling in a backyard beats any restaurant in my book.
Do you have a favorite beach to visit?
Adam: I like going to the bay for evening campfires. Really evokes a classic Americana vibe!
Classic, but we gotta know. Which do you prefer: Clam Bar or Lunch (now known as The Lobster Roll)?
Jake: The Lobster Roll has the better lobster roll, but Clam Bar is a nicer hang. Really hoping they are both open for pick up this summer!
What’s your favorite Hamptons Saturday activity?
Katie: We love to have what we call “perfect day”. It’s been a Chess at Three Hamptons tradition since we started teaching out east seven years ago. It’s pretty simple: farmers market, beach day, lobster rolls at Lunch, evening beach bonfire, and late-night clam pizza. It’s going to look a little different this year as we all try to live as safely as possible but I really hope we can still do some of those things!
What’s the best recreational workout regimen for the summer?
Kevin: A long run, 8-10 miles. With a mask on, of course.
It’s an honor to be appointed a Chess at Three Hamptons tutor; what sets you apart from all the other amazing tutors that Chess at Three works with?
Kevin: I have some students I have been working with for over 5 years. I have seen some of their school plays. I made a film with a student about a young chess player who beats a world champion. I wrote a joke with a student that I performed on stage in my comedy act and then showed the video to them. Any opportunity I have to make a personal connection with a student is a joy. And I take every opportunity to encourage students to explore whatever they are interested in.
Adam: My mother, a Montessori teacher, has always encouraged me to “think outside the box”. I attended a high school called Indian Springs School where the motto is Discere Vivendo which means “Learning through Living”. Using these themes, I aim to create game-changing experiential learning opportunities for students of all ages and backgrounds. I don’t know that this “sets me apart” from the other tutors, but I think that’s a good thing from a company culture perspective. When we empower our students through education, we build a better tomorrow for society.
Jake: I think I understand what parents are looking for while also remembering what it’s like to be a child. How I wanted to be treated at that age. I also understand how important praise is!
Katie: I understand the privilege and responsibility we carry as tutors. We have the ability to be a positive force in a child’s life and I never want to waste that. There is something really special about figuring out how a child learns best and tailoring a lesson to fit their needs. I strive to make each individual lesson special and I so value the relationships I have built with my students and their families. I feel incredibly thankful to play a role in their lives!