I am currently a Master’s candidate at Seton Hall University pursuing my M.A. in Diplomacy and International Relations. I graduated in 2013 cum laude at Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.A. in Political Science, and I minored in both Economics and Religious Studies. My academic strengths include:
Writing - I am proficient many forms of academic writing
History - I am expected to understand the political climate, government structure, and contemporary history of as many countries as I can handle
Standardized test prep - I myself have taken many standardized exams
Other social sciences - I took every AP social science course offered
I first started tutoring when I myself was in high school; helping the local middle school students with the homework they were most struggling with. I have two siblings who are now in high school turning to me for tips to succeed. I have also recently helped a number of my frightened peers practice and plan for their GREs. I understand the patience and the process involved in helping someone find their confidence and their mechanisms for success when approaching any subject material.
My hobbies include reading. I read in parks, in cafés, on my couch, on vacation. To me, reading is the biggest luxury, and my favorite activity. When I am on break from school, I read nearly every day. Occasionally I also enjoy walking around the mountains and going to events in the city.
Virginia Commonwealth University - BA, Political Science
Seton Hall University - MA, Diplomacy and International Relations
GRE Quantitative: 156
GRE Verbal: 160
1st Grade Reading
2nd Grade Reading
2nd Grade Writing
3rd Grade Reading
3rd Grade Writing
4th Grade Reading
5th Grade Reading
6th Grade Reading
7th Grade Reading
8th Grade Reading
AP US History
College Level American History
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
Middle School Reading
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
Motivation is often a difficult thing for students. If you just spent eight hours at school, why do you then need to spend several hours on homework? It can often seem daunting and never-ending. The key is to do more than just teach for the test or finish the assignment. Study tricks take practice. Every assignment or exam is an opportunity to make future assignments and exams easier, more fluid, and less frightening.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The most important thing in a first session with a student would be the conversation. What are their feelings about the material? What are their feelings about school? I would ask about how the subjects are being taught, what about that they seem to like or dislike, and what their favorite subjects are and why. If we can pinpoint what makes a student like something, we can create a plan to make the other subjects more appealing.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can't do school for the student. If anything, it's because I already have academic obligations. Every student has to start and end every question themselves. They have to tell me what the question is, what it's asking them, and what their initial thoughts are. This process is about them entirely. I exist to be a supportive aspect to the independent process of learning. I am here to help, not to replace.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Honestly, I think the best way to keep a student motivated is to show that it gets easier with practice. For many students, three hours on homework can reasonably be done in 90 minutes, but the dread of looking at it, and the annoyance of doing it overrides the actual act of finishing the assignment. Giving students tools to succeed means giving them back more of their free time. Free time is just as important to growth as reinforcement of the material.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
There are a couple of ways to approach a difficulty in regards to a new concept, and I would probably employ them all. The first would be to try to explain it in different ways. Even if it doesn't "click," the student may find one that seems to be more familiar to their previous experience. The second would be to do something completely different. Switch from history to math. Take a walk around the house. Get a snack. Recite the alphabet backwards. Frustration can make any process take unnecessary amounts of time. Third would be to have a conversation about it. If a student can start articulating what about the concept-any concept- is so daunting, it will be easier for them to recognize roadblocks and get over them in the future. Fourth, breathing. Breathing exercises are important, especially when frustration takes over. Reinforcement of positive attributes about a person when they are feeling wholly negative is a good way to approach any difficulty. Feelings of failure are not going to make someone magically excellent at grammar drills.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It's important to tell students that they are awesome when they are struggling with reading. Lessons in reading often don't allow people to catch up with the rest of their peer group or find better ways for individual learning styles. Honestly, most adults aren't very adept at reading, but once someone gets into a place where reading is not only comfortable but enjoyable, they aren't likely to lose that. I believe quite firmly that having a good relationship with books is one of the best things a person can have.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Strategies depend on the student. Some students are eager to learn; they just haven't been given tools tailored to their needs. Some students don't believe they can learn. Some students don't believe learning is a worthwhile endeavor. Often, students who end up being tutored have spent a lot of time feeling like everything they do is wrong, and it's not worth trying anymore. Focusing on a student's strengths is just as important as critiquing their weaknesses, and focusing on strengths allows for the person helping them to develop a plan most likely to work across all subjects.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I want to give my students credit. They know what they like to do, and they know what they're good at. Getting a student to say they like a teacher because of "xyz," or say that they find the Revolutionary War interesting because "it's really cool," lends to answers on how to make biology more interesting or medieval history worth studying.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Techniques depend on the student and the material. Is this studying session for a test that's due tomorrow? Let's look at that study guide and see if there are ways to make answers funny, or preposterous. That will trigger more short-term memory. Is this student unmotivated and trying to complete a big and daunting project? That would require a slow, methodical, step-by-step approach. What is the project on? What do the directions say? What was that first part, again? Let us just focus on that first part right now. In that case, I would break it up to make the project significantly less daunting.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
It is really important for the student to feel that they are capable of overcoming their difficulties with the material. This seems really straightforward, but it isn't. Many students believe that they are simply incapable of doing certain things, and that is why they are left behind. Encouragement is a huge factor in motivation.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I ask the student. Giving a student the space to tell me what is hard for them helps them on their journey of making decisions, especially about their learning. If a student feels heard, and then we can work from there, they will already feel more confident that this entire process is about their learning curve.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Ideally, the student should use tutoring as a mechanism to learn studying tricks they hadn't previously considered, and as a chance to practice them until they become second nature. It is more about a student being able to find an answer for themselves, and then being able to use that same approach when faced with the next question.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Materials depend on a student. Some students are visual. Some are very hands-on. Some need many questions to explore all sides of a concept. Some enjoy group work. Figuring out how best to accommodate a student is a process, especially when you have both an online and in-person platform to work with. It depends on the age of the student, the subject, and what they are comfortable with.