Natalie Mangrum is a teacher turned founder of Maryland Teacher Tutors, a tutoring company based in Baltimore, Maryland. Natalie and I met up for quesadillas and chatted about our ambitions, education, and our futures. Working on Successful Wom*n this past year has taught me the importance of a simple conversation and encouraging each others aspirations. Reach out to someone in your community who inspires you. We can always learn from each other and we can all be teachers to each other.
Why Maryland? Where did you grow up?
I’m originally from Pittsburgh, PA and yes, I’m a Steelers fan. Let’s just get that out there and be upfront about it. I’m married to a Ravens fan, though! I came to Maryland through an organization called Teach for America. Essentially, TFA’s mission is to recruit the nation’s most promising leaders and send them out to the front lines of the movement for educational equity. In other words, hire really smart people who are change makers and put them in the schools that need them most. When I went through the recruitment and hiring process for TFA, it was harder to get into than Harvard! Once I moved to Baltimore, I never left. I got married and the rest is history.
How did you come to start Maryland Teacher Tutors? Have you always been interested in teaching?
I founded Maryland Teacher Tutors when I was a classroom teacher. As one of my Craigslist side hustles, I was hired as a tutor to work with a family privately. Quite frankly, I was surprised by the hourly rate that they wanted to pay me. I agreed (obviously) and that child made really major progress. They referred me and when my schedule got filled up, I brought on another tutor to help me. 1 tutor turned into 5 turned into 15, etc. The biggest we’ve been is 35. Right now, we’re at 25 and I think that’s our sweet spot. For now.
What types of students do you tutor?
We work with a variety of students, but the two most common situations are:
A. The student who is struggling with subject specific content, like algebra, for instance. This student is a prime candidate for hourly tutoring.
B. The other kind of student we work with is doing fine in school in terms of grades and test scores. They benefit from support with organization, structuring their assignments, time management, and self-advocacy. This student is a prime candidate for academic and executive coaching.
How do you define success in your life?
I’m still learning and honing what my definition of success is. Some days, it’s knowing that I’m providing a service with integrity and excellence and I’m helping different groups of people. I’m helping parents have peace of mind. I’m helping classroom teachers make extra income, thus providing jobs. I’m helping students achieve academically, which sets them up for a bright future. Other days, I’m driven by things like revenue, financial freedom, and ending generational poverty for my children and their children. Ultimately, it’s important that I live my life in a way that honors my faith, my family, and my values.
What advice would you give another woman seeking a successful life?
The advice I would give another woman seeking to live a successful life is to first identify what success looks like. If success is traveling the world in an RV and working remotely so that you can raise your kids and travel the world, then start setting goals! Create a plan and then execute. If success is living a simple quiet life with a thriving online blog that brings you passive income, then my advice is the same. Create a plan and execute it!
Has being a woman affected your success? If so, in what way and how have you dealt with this?
Early on, I had a man call and ask me if in addition to tutoring, I could clean the house and cook dinner in little clothing. I would say that was definitely a result of me being a woman. Maybe he would’ve asked a man to do the same thing. Only he knows. 🙂 In general, I have not found that me being a woman has presented any obstacles that I don’t believe I can overcome. Sometimes I don’t even notice that people see me differently because not only am I a woman, but I’m a minority. Other people are often the ones who point it out to me. I’ve only ever lived in this skin so stiff-arming ignorance and challenging the status quo comes naturally for me.
What is the most important lesson you have learned thus far in life?
The most important lesson I’ve learned in life is that everything is a lesson. I try to learn from every experience, good and bad. When things are going horribly wrong and when things are going unbelievably well, I try to reflect. I consider what’s happening and respond with gratitude and a solid belief that there is a sovereign plan in place for my good. I rest in those lessons because I learn about myself and others in the process.
All images © Rachel King, 2018