I received my Master of Arts in Philosophy and Humanities from the University of Chicago in 2012. As I was completing my philosophy studies, I had the honor of presenting two research projects at philosophy conferences hosted by SUNY Oneonta and the University of Chicago. After completing my graduate studies, I gained teaching experience as a Citizen Schools teaching fellow. My main responsibilities included teaching two sections of English, three small-group guided reading tutorials, and a Sci-Fi Screenwriting course that I taught during expanded learning time. I tutor in a variety of fields in which analytical writing and critical reading skills are essential. Some of my tutoring fields include English, Expository Writing, Literature, History, Social Studies, Psychology, and Philosophy. My test prep fields include STAAR, PSAT, and GRE Analytical Writing. I also help students with college essays, essay editing, and public speaking. Writing tutorials are what I find to be the most enjoyable. I see more student growth in writing, not only because the skills we build are the most holistic, but because growing in writing and self-expression helps one grow as a person.
I am a laid-back and casual person that enjoys sharing some good jokes and making some small talk about the latest movies. Outside of the classroom, I spend most of my time writing, rehearsing, and producing music with my band. I also enjoy writing screenplays, writing comic book scripts, and seeking creative inspiration from my favorite authors, musicians, and filmmakers.
University of Denver - BA, Philosophy
University of Chicago - MA, Philosophy and Humanities
GRE Verbal: 162
College Level American History
College Level American Literature
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
High School Level American Literature
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that there are three skills that drive learning. Those skills are critical thinking, analytical reading, and expository writing. Experts do not simply memorize facts about their field or work according to a formula. Experts think creatively and critically, and when it comes to expressing what they know, they do so clearly and succinctly. Every learning experience aims to build expertise, and for that reason, I think it is never too early to begin thinking like an expert.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
While I try to not think of the first session as radically different from any other session, I do find myself working harder to learn more about the student I hope to tutor.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Becoming an independent learner is about developing a certain kind of character. The two character traits I find most widespread among scholarly people are skepticism and commitment. An independent learner does not need to be prompted to learn. An independent learner yearns to discover what's new.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
A lack of motivation is the biggest obstacle to learning. Unfortunately, motivation is not something a tutor or any teacher can force or imprint upon a student. What a tutor or teacher can do is to put both long-term and short-term goals into perspective. Focusing on specific goals has a huge impact on overcoming 'learning inertia.'
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student has difficulty learning a concept, my first move is to 'repeat' my original move. If the difficulty still persists, then I investigate my student's learning process by prompting metacognition. Students need to think about how they are learning. This usually helps me discover what concept they find difficult. Once I know the difficult concept, I work to demonstrate the concept differently, perhaps multi-modally.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Depending on the reading level of the student, I employ different guiding reading practices. To develop fluency, my students and I usually read together. To develop analytical skills, I usually start by showing students questions I have when I think through a text, and I encourage them to gradually take on that responsibility. Finally, I like to have my students write penetrating responses to what they read. Putting what we read into writing is far more effective than answering arbitrarily selected multiple choice questions.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I frequently check for understanding during my lesson. While sometimes this looks like just talking, by engaging my students in dialogue about our lesson content, I can see what their practical grasp of the content is. The key to being a good student is not to remember what you learn but to apply what you learn.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Free-writes are a huge part of my learning plans. Free-writes help me see where a student's overall command of language lies. After the student's use of grammar and mechanics are proficient, we can then discuss the finer points of writing (how to stick to a topic, how to add detail, how to make an introduction that will hook a reader, etc.).