Alumni Portraits: Tai Sassen-Lang

Brandeis University, Class of ’09
Major: Linguistics, minor in Computer Science
Activities: Free-running club, running a high school linguistics olympiad

When Tai isn’t headbanging at the latest metal show or whipping up some homemade oreos for his friends, he’s hard at work in the classroom, making a difference in the lives of every student he meets. Tutors for All caught up with Tai to see how he’s been.

What are you doing these days?
I’m currently finishing up a year-long commitment as a MATCH Corps tutor, a full-time tutoring position at the MATCH charter high school in Boston.

How does your job relate to the work you did at Tutors for All?
Tutors for All shares a lot in common with the MATCH Corps program.Every freshman and sophomore student at MATCH receives a mandatory two hours of one-on-one or one-on-two tutoring, and sophomores receive an additional 4-hour block of MCAS tutoring on the weekends. Tutors for All’s belief that tutoring is an effective tool to help students thrive academically mirrors our own, and both programs share a sense of urgency and that there’s not a moment to waste. The similarities between the programs have helped me make a smooth transition to my position as a MATCH Corps tutor.

Did TfA help to prepare you for the work you’re doing now?
The skills that I learned from 3+ years with Tutors for All help me every day as I work with my students. Through Tutors for All I learned how to be a “drill instructor with a heart of gold” – pushing my students and demanding nothing but the best, but always letting them know that I believe in them, and that I care about their success and future.

Words of wisdom for tutors today?
Be patient. Always remind your student about why it’s important to do their best, and why the tutoring program is such a great opportunity for them. And when the going gets tough, remind yourself why you’re doing what you do. Tutoring can be a tough job at times, but programs like this make a direct and lasting impact in their target communities, and your work is important in making these programs succeed. Don’t forget it!

Fondest memory of Tutors for All:
In 2006, I started tutoring at City on a Hill’s MCAS program. After the semester concluded, I figured that I wouldn’t ever run into my students again, but two years later, one of them signed up to work for the program! Having a former student become a colleague and seeing him contribute to a program that helped him succeed on the MCAS was definitely the highlight of my Tutors for All career.

We wish you the best of luck!

Thank you for your service!

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