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Psychology professor right at home teaching at Norfolk Campus

Norfolk native Lara Tedrow is a graduate of Maury High just like her mother, grandmother and cousins.

It’s no surprise that she enjoys teaching psychology at Tidewater Community College’s Norfolk Campus, which is just a few miles from her home.

Tedrow began teaching special education classes in elementary schools, but prefers the collegiate level. “Psychology is relevant to everything in life,” she said. “My students are always fascinated to learn why people do what they do.”

Tedrow joined TCC a decade ago after teaching up to 300 students at a time online at Old Dominion University. But the more intimate classes at TCC appeal to her because she is so personable with her students.

“I’m their biggest cheerleader and enjoy helping them apply what they learn to life.”

Tedrow, who holds a doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology from ODU, teaches a range of classes from introductory and developmental courses to specialty classes such as Abnormal Psychology and Sensation and Perception. She’s often out of the box in her approach. To simulate a loss of senses, she directs her students to wear an eye patch or earplugs.

“Students are always amazed to see how much they rely on the senses for different things like hearing for cooking or sight to feel safe outdoors,” Tedrow said.

Her classroom is interactive, too. Role playing, personality tests, surveys and other activities are part of her lessons. “In one class I have students balance a yardstick in one hand while saying the alphabet backward,” she said. “This demonstrates the hemispheric lateralization of the brain and is a great exercise.”

Tedrow takes a fresh approach, involving students in pertinent discussion on hot topics ranging from racism to gender issues. She teaches online and face-to-face and enjoys the diversity of students at TCC.

“I’ve had a 16-year-old and an 80-year-old in class. Both brought very different perspectives and experiences, making for richer classroom discussions,” she added.

In her free time, Tedrow enjoys reading, paddle boarding on the Lafayette River and films at the Naro. She is the mother of two grown children and enjoys spending time with her dog, Cherry Pie, and cats, Oslow and Lakewood.