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Laura

I have an incredible passion for teaching and learning. I first began tutoring in college as a flexible side job. I taught private french lessons to a 3- and 4- year old brother and sister. This first experience taught me a lot about tailoring my lesson plans to my individual students' interests and pace. In addition to tutoring in college, I was also a nanny and worked with a lot of children with special needs. This helped me learn the importance of patience and rewarding the small steps that lead towards a larger end goal.

In college, several of my essays were used as example papers for my professors. I have written scholarly papers that used collegiate level research, as well as many persuasive essays, creative pitches, and plays. My proudest moment was presenting a paper to Terrance McNally, a 4 time Tony Award winning playwright. My curriculum in most of my theatre classes focused on breaking down plays into their themes and relationships. I took two semesters of Shakespeare, and would love to help students see how wonderful and brilliant these plays are. Last fall, I had the incredible opportunity to teach Shakespeare to at-risk elementary school students. Literature, even when it is as classic as Shakespeare, is meant to be accessible to the public and not just the upper class. Helping literature come alive for my students is a true blessing.

I would love to work with you or your child on how to make learning fun!

Undergraduate Degree:

 Chapman University - BFA, Theatre

Crafting, baking, acting, and watching independent films

College English

Comparative Literature

Conversational French

French 1

High School English

Other

Social Sciences

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Summer

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that it is imperative to approach the subject matter in a way that speaks to the student's interests. How can a student be expected to learn if he or she cannot relate to the material?

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

My first session is always an assessment of what the student knows already and how he or she approaches material. Whether it's having a simple conversation in French or outlining a mock essay, I need to know what the student understands of the material before I can move forward in improving his or her skills.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I try to focus more on giving my students skill sets and exercises that make learning exciting. In French, I try to make a game out of the lessons so that learning vocabulary and grammar is less tedious. In English, I want my students to have an algorithm that they can use to approach any essay question they receive, whether I will be guiding them through it or not.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

When I work with children, I like to use sticker charts, high fives, and fun videos that relate to the subject matter as a rewards system. Older students can still benefit from a traditional rewards system for short-term encouragement. However, I think being able to chart long-term progress is really important in helping the student feel successful. It's all about baby steps-- a C+ on a test might not seem like a big deal to the class as a whole, but moving from a D to a C+ is a major achievement for that student.

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

I like to break major concepts down into components when a student is struggling. Slowly, we can work through each component of the concept until we discover where the student is having trouble. Working together on that one component will help the student remember in the future how to work through his or her problem.

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

This is another problem that requires breaking a larger picture down into its components. I would begin by identifying how the student best absorbs information- whether orally or visually. From there, the student will either read aloud or listen to me read aloud. Then, we would break down each plot point of the passage and identify themes and concepts.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Working slowly is what I find most successful when working with a new student. It is always possible to speed up a lesson. However, if the student is already confused and frustrated, they can become very difficult to reach.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I try to make connections between the student's interests outside of the subject matter. That way I can create exercises that utilize these interests so the student becomes more interested in the subject matter. For example, when I was teaching French to a student who was not interested in learning the language, I made flashcards for vocabulary of subjects he was interested in outside of French. His grandmother texted me the next day saying that her grandson wanted to review his flashcards for the first time since he had begun lessons the year before.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

Assessments are always the simplest way to test knowledge, but I find a lot of students respond negatively to testing. I think having the student break down how they would solve problems in their own words allows for me to assess their knowledge in a relaxed, realistic way.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

I reward small achievements and encourage making mistakes. When a student feels shame over a mistake, he or she often misses the information that they just gained by making the mistake. When students make mistakes while I am teaching them, I give them positive reinforcement for making the attempt and then ask them to either try again or identify what is wrong in the problem themselves.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Talking to the student directly, reviewing his or her past work, and working through practice problems together are my favorite ways to evaluate a student's needs. In my first few lessons, it is imperative that I do an evaluation so that I can create an educational plan tailored to the student's specific needs and abilities.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

During my first assessment of the student's needs, I identify how the student learns best and try to create exercises that address their needs using their learning style. Throughout our time together, I make sure to keep checking on the student's work in class and with me to see if I need to adjust the student's educational plan.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

It depends on the student and the subject. For example, if I have a French student who is a "hands-on" type of learner, I would use more movement based activities in the lesson. However, if my student is an aural learner, I would use more songs and stories in the lesson. In general, I use pencils, paper, a computer, and flashcards in my lessons. If the student needs tutoring that is supplemental to in-class instruction, I need to see some of their past work from that class.