In 2003, Kathryn Beisner gave herself a birthday present. She began studying Spanish at Front Range Community College’s Westminster Campus.
“The world is a big place and I realized that learning another language really mattered to me,” she says. Over the next few years, she continued to progress in her Spanish studies and eventually, an instructor encouraged her to become a tutor. Since 2009, Kathryn has worked at least 10 hours a week through FRCC’s Office of Special Services, tutoring both accounting and Spanish students. “I absolutely love it, and I really work to connect with students. I think it is helpful for them to hear that I have struggled with many of the same issues that are challenging to them.”
A Natural Teacher
An accountant by education and career, Kathryn is a self-described lifelong learner with a wide range of interests. And FRCC isn’t her first time in an instructional role. She’s been teaching and inspiring others since 1995, when she began working as a motivational speaker and writer. She speaks and runs workshops at organizations as diverse as the Air Force Academy, Lucent Technologies, and a variety of nonprofits. She also continues to do contract accounting and tax work.
Tutoring students, Kathryn says, is a fit with her personality. “I enjoy it because I love to learn and I love helping other people learn, too,” she says. “I get to work with so many different types of students and help them overcome challenges and build study skills and life skills. And I get to do it at a supportive school with dedicated staff and faculty.”
An Honor to be Part of Students’ Learning Process
Kathryn’s good work hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Kevin, a Denver-based manager at a multinational technology and consulting company, came to FRCC when his company required him to take an upper-level Spanish course in order to be eligible to move into an executive role. He struggled with the material and sought tutoring help. “I was fortunate enough to get paired with Kathryn, who is an amazing example of the types of value adds that FRCC offers,” he says, adding that he met with Kathryn once a week for the duration of the class. “She set expectations with me from our very first meeting and taught me how to help myself learn and retain the knowledge I needed to.”
For Kathryn, it is an honor to be a part of students’ learning process. She helps her students pinpoint the concepts with which they are having difficulty and create a practical plan to raise their grade—embedding lessons of time management, too. “The students each bring something different and elicit something different from me,” she says. “They teach me the many ways that people learn.”
Credit Where Credit is Due
When they succeed, students often try to give her the credit, Kathryn says. It’s flattering, but her real happiness comes from helping students realize their own success. “I’m always happy when the work we do in a tutoring session makes the subject matter click for a student,” she says. “But the success is theirs, not mine. I’m not taking their exams. I’m not the one doing the work.”
What Kathryn does, however, is equip students with the techniques, motivation, and confidence to overcome their struggles. As Kevin put it, Kathryn “put her heart and soul” into helping him.
“I’ve had a lot of successes in my life, but earning a B in my FRCC Spanish class was a high moment in my life,” he says. “And I know in my heart I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish that without Kathryn. She gave me the structure and support to succeed.”