I recently graduated with honors from Lehigh University with a B.A. in English and a minor in French. Even prior to tutoring professionally, I was always a huge proponent of individual tutoring because of its ability to uniquely tailor difficult subject material in ways that play to the strengths of the individual student. The one size fits all approach to learning that takes place in classrooms leaves plenty of room for misunderstanding and ambiguity because not every student's mind works the same way. My tutoring style emphasizes an individualized approach for each student that seeks to either fill in the gaps in the student's understanding of the subject material or to present it in entirely different ways and work from the ground up. I have experience tutoring students from a wide range of ages and whether I'm reinforcing reading and writing skills or I'm helping a student to prepare for the SAT or LSAT, I ensure a relaxed and comfortable teaching experience that helps to counteract the inherent frustration and anxiety that can accompany difficult subject material. I also enjoy building a connection between my students and me so that I can relate subjects to their interests, use personalized teaching methods that appeal to them and work most effectively, and motivate them to reach their academic potential. I primarily tutor the logical reasoning and reading comprehension sections of the LSAT, the reading comprehension and writing sections of the SAT, anything writing and essay related, academic subjects related to literature and writing (including IB), French, and anything related to reading. My favorite subject to tutor is essay writing because it is something that at first often feels very daunting to students, but with a little bit of guidance frequently turns into a labor of love. I enjoy tutoring test prep because I enjoy being a part of the "aha" moments that test prep brings about. Both the SAT and LSAT can seem intimidating, especially because of their roles in determining where students will pursue further education. I like converting standardized tests from a source of anxiety on college/law school applications to a source of strength and confidence. Lastly, I tutor English and French because of my love of language and literature. As a successful IB student in high school and an English major with a French minor in college, I have picked up a wide variety of teaching techniques and approaches that make these courses not only manageable, but fun and fulfilling. When I'm not working as a professional tutor my interests include music, soccer, writing, reading, and video games. Throughout high school and college I played the bass in many bands and played music of many genres including rock, hip hop, and jazz. I love talking about music, and whatever books I've recently finished reading.
Lehigh University - BA, English
SAT Verbal: 740
SAT Writing: 770
SAT Subject Test in Literature: 710
High School English
IB Language A: Literature
IB Language A: Literature HL
IB Language A: Literature SL
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy centers around a personally tailored approach to each student's lesson. I try to relate the subject material to something that the student is personally interested in whenever possible. I always keep in mind the student's overarching goals, whether that comes in the form of improving the student's grades or instead building confidence in the subject material, as is often the case in language tutoring sessions. In my experience as a student receiving tutoring, I noticed that even though my understanding and mastery of a difficult subject might grow, this growth didn't necessarily translate into better grades. As a tutor, I make sure to work directly with the material provided from the student's class to ensure that everything we cover works in conjunction with the teacher's expectations so that both the student's mastery of the subject and academic confidence can grow. Conversely, if the student is not confined by the need to academically improve, as is the case in some private language tutoring, then I center my lesson plan around relating the subject to what interests the student, because the more interested the student is in the lesson and material, the more material the student will retain.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I typically use the first tutoring session as a sort of diagnostic to determine exactly what the student is looking to gain from tutoring sessions, and to determine where the student's strengths and weaknesses are related to the subject material. To do this, I might go over some of the fundamentals of the subject to see what needs to be fleshed out and re-examined. In addition, I like to talk a bit about what interests my students so that I can start to build a personal relationship with them and relate subject material to what interests them. I find that building a friendly and conversational relationship between me and my students helps to ensure a relaxed and comfortable learning environment and makes difficult material feel less intimidating. I also ensure that the student organizes his or her material in some way, so that I am sure that we are not neglecting any aspect of the student's lesson plan in school. Lastly, I would make sure that myself, the student, and his or her parents are on the same page when it comes to scheduling tutoring sessions and my availability.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I like to provide the student with a list of additional resources related to their subject, so that they can continue learning whenever they feel the urge or the necessity. If any resource is particularly useful or ambiguous to use, then I might give them a brief lesson on how the resource operates and its strengths and limitations. Unless the student has too demanding of a course load, I usually give the student some type of homework and relate it to their interests whenever possible. If, for example, I'm tutoring a student in French and the student tells me that they like soccer, I might assign an online newspaper article about French soccer written in French. I also teach my students the learning techniques that I used to master the material, so that they can use these techniques, too, if they seem helpful.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I help students stay motivated by always emphasizing the positive aspects of their work, and frequently reiterating what they did right. I try to make any difficulties that arise feel very manageable so that students can learn from a place of confidence and encouragement. Also, if a student is struggling with a concept or problem and is starting to feel a bit discouraged, I often offer them a few minutes to take a break. This helps students to keep their minds fresh and not overwhelmed.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First I would approach an explanation in a way that I feel would benefit them most, not necessarily in the same way that it is taught in class. If this doesn't work, then I generally try alternate ways of explaining the concept. From there, I usually begin using a few examples so that students can see this explanation in action. Throughout this whole process, I make sure to continue to encourage the student and emphasize what he or she has done right in his or her approach to the concept. If by the end of the session the student still doesn't feel confident in the subject, I would most leave them with a written step-by-step explanation in addition to more examples for them to study at home. I might even include additional online resources for them to study.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
To help students struggling in reading comprehension, I first tailor the reading material to the student. After all, a student is more likely to comprehend and retain information about something the student is interested in. From there, I analyze where the ambiguity in the student's mind arises. Gradually, we would move on to more advanced passages and to passages that the student might have less interest in. This ensures that the student can apply his reading comprehension skills outside of his interests. Also, I initially have students annotate important lines in the passage as they go, which helps them to retain and absorb information more willfully rather than simply skimming and forgetting aspects of the passage. Depending on the student's age and reading comprehension level, I might also incorporate passages and multiple choice comprehension answers drawn from standardized tests, so that students are able to both improve their general reading skills and can get some test prep in the meantime.