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Alden

I am a graduate of the Simmons College MAT program and have taught at Phoenix Charter Academy in Chelsea, MA since January, 2014. This spring, I am taking the SEI course. I am currently licensed in History (5-8 and 8-12) and English (5-8 and 8-12). My ability to build positive relationships with students and peers, variety of teaching experiences, and ability to integrate Common Core standards and writing across curricula will enable me to be an asset to your student's academic development.

At Phoenix Charter Academy, I have taught a variety of subjects and developed, and implemented a Psychology course. I constructed lesson plans for Psychology, Biology and Writing using Common Core standards for clear and objective learning goals. Lessons included activities designed to target a variety of learning styles and address Bloom’s levels of learning. With my department I developed scaffolded and differentiated learning plans for my students to serve their varied needs; much of Phoenix Charter Academy’s students have been out of school for an extended time and benefit from individualized work plans.

Before teaching, I worked as in-home support professional for children with special needs, and collaborated with a team of clinicians and social workers to design and implement behavioral and academic improvement plans. This experience has made me well attuned to the varied needs of my students, and willing to try a variety of different tactics to improve their engagement in learning both in and outside the classroom.

I truly believe that learning is a lifelong adventure, and would love to share this passion with your student to help them reach their academic goals.

Undergraduate Degree:

 Simmons - BA, History

Graduate Degree:

 Simmons - MAT, Secondary Education

SAT Composite: 1280

Loves swimming, hiking, bicycling started an impromptu kickball league

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that a solid foundation in positive relationships with students is essential to great teaching. At Phoenix Charter Academy, I have had the opportunity to practice this philosophy. Many of my students struggle to trust adults, so building that trust is a necessity. One particular student gave me a lot of trouble at the beginning of the year. When I found out that this student loves animals, I seized the opportunity to find common ground, sharing stories about my cat and about the snakes my cousin raises with him. Over time, that student began to seek me out. When he was struggling with other teachers, I started jumping into circlebacks with him as an ally, and made sure I "caught him doing something right" as often as I could. Quickly, he and I built a positive, trusting relationship, and he began to thrive in my class. Now, as we begin our fourth quarter, he is one of my best students. In the classroom, I use my humor, compassion, and authenticity to create a warm and inviting classroom environment. I take the time to know my students and to laugh with them, and that makes them want to be in my class. Even if a student tells me that they do not like the subject I teach, I am able to push them to the edges of their comfort zones because they feel comfortable and supported in my classroom. I am frequently in contact with both my students and their adult supporters, and I am relentless in my efforts to get students to school, and keep them there. I set up meetings before school, after school, and during lunch to get truant students up to speed in my classes, and I frequently check-in with our Student Support Center to make sure I am serving my students in the best way possible. Knowing my students means that I know what they need to thrive in my classes. Because of my relationships with my students, I am better able to differentiate and scaffold assignments to meet their needs while maintaining rigor. In my History classes, I can suggest research projects that appeal to students' interests while they are still in line with the teaching goals I set out at the beginning of each quarter. In my science classes, I can give examples and draw comparisons that are relevant to my students, making technical vocabulary and critical thinking skills accessible to all of my students. More than anything, I care about seeing my students thrive. Every step of the way, I look for ways to better serve my students. As your child's tutor, I will gladly bring my passion, humor, authenticity, and compassion to tutoring sessions.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

During a first session with a new student, I like to get to know the student and their goals for tutoring. This may involve getting to know their likes and dislikes, their academic performance history, and where they see themselves at the end of the quarter, semester, or school year. Knowing both where we are starting and where we are looking to end up, I can help that student backwards plan their path toward reaching their goals.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

When my students feel supported, they can begin to feel comfortable struggling. I do not believe in simply giving students answers; they must be able to find the answers for themselves. This means that I am going to allow my students to struggle with difficult problems, and I am going to push them to examine the "why" and "how" questions. If a student can become comfortable with these things, they can begin to delve into the higher levels of learning and become truly independent learners.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Part of my process is having the student set their own goals and benchmarks. By setting clear, measurable, achievable goals, I can push students toward loftier goals and help them build intrinsic motivation.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

My "go-to" is bringing the skill or concept into the "real world." If a student can make a tangible connection to their own life, then they are more likely to hold on to that skill or their understanding of a given concept. I want to create lasting understanding, not simply knowledge that will help students pass a standardized test.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

With reading comprehension, I like to start students off on subjects they find personally interesting; many students are simply intimidated by reading itself. After having built up the student's confidence with the idea of reading comprehension, we move on to passages more like those one might see on a standardized test.