Hello! I am a current PhD student in Sociology with a B.A. in Urban Studies with a concentration in Environmental Science from Barnard College at Columbia University and MA in Teaching Earth/General Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. Having gone to a liberal arts college, I am well-versed in a multitude of subjects. I entered college with at least a semester's worth of credits from my AP exams and explored topics such as linguistics, comparative literature, history, anthropology, conservation biology, and environmental science. After college, I became a NYC Teaching Fellow and taught NYS Regents Earth Science, Chemistry, Living Environment, and AP Environmental Science in a Brooklyn high school for three years. I had a great time, teaching students at various levels and starting a school garden, conducting engaging lab lessons, becoming head of the department, and taking part in professional development sessions (especially with College Board) throughout New York State. I would also have students in my room for History and English tutoring. Now, I have moved to Boston and am working on a PhD in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University. My focus is on environmental health and justice. I love to teach and hope to keep pursuing this passion through tutoring. Consider me upbeat, optimistic, and knowledgeable about teaching, whatever the subject.
Barnard College - Bachelors, Urban Studies, Concentration in Environmental Science
CUNY Brooklyn College - Masters, Teaching Earth Science/General Science Grades 7-12
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
AP Art History
College Level American Literature
Elementary School Math
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Urban Design and Development
What is your teaching philosophy?
As an inner-city teacher for the past three years, my aim has always been to provide each student with the resources they need in order to think and act on the issues that our society faces. As young voters and individuals that influence the trajectory of our society, technology, and culture, it is necessary for students to learn how to approach problems with a critical perspective and empower themselves to make important decisions for themselves and others in the future.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, I will give them a diagnostic assessment on the topic at hand. If the topic is interdisciplinary, like Environmental Science or Anthropology, I will assess both reading and math skills as well as general topic knowledge. During this assessment, I would like to review their course or assignment requirements (if applicable) and create a strategic plan outlining goals and content/skills that need to be covered.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Resources are incredibly important. I act as a "librarian" and connect students with ways of gathering information they are unsure of from credible sources and help them in understanding how to analyze and interpret data on their own. Through study and research skills, students can learn anything.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
For most students, motivation comes with genuine interest. I frequently connect abstract concepts to concrete real-life examples. This is also where learning styles come in- both the student and teacher need to be aware of the way they take in information. I have discovered that not every student is a visual learner like me, but some can better gain knowledge through auditory learning, hands-on demonstrations, or hypothetical scenarios.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Students that have difficulty learning a skill or concept need it to be taught in a different way. So many teachers make the mistake of repeating the same information over and over while the student still does not fully understand it. This is where the awareness of personal learning styles and well-thought out analogies come in. I also have learned to scaffold questions, starting with basic questions for the student and working our way up to the key concept at hand.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Usually, I have found that students who struggle with reading are either auditory or visual learners. I either have them read a passage out loud or draw a concept map of what they think about when they read it. We go through passages systematically, looking up any words we are unsure about after using context clues to guess the definition. I also like to give students articles from the New York Times and relevant magazines or news sources that address their personal interests.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Assessment is key. I find that students learn best from making mistakes, so I let them make as many mistakes as possible in a diagnostic test. Then, we correct them together. Once I understand how the student learns, I can become creative with strategies. For auditory learners, I like to have discussions and find podcasts. With visual learners, we look at a lot of pictures and diagrams or drawings. Kinesthetic learners can expect a lot of modeling clay and making/engineering models or videos. I definitely find ways to incorporate technology into my teaching.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Coming from an interdisciplinary background, it is my job to understand how different subjects connect to one another. I can see connections in art with science and math and connections with history and science, and I incorporate literature into all of the core subjects. My job is to figure out what a student is interested in and incorporate their interests into what they're struggling with. As somebody who has always been strong in the arts and humanities and weaker in math and science, I figured out how to incorporate these subjects in order to better enhance my understanding.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Assessments such as multiple choice and short answers on exams are one way to determine whether a student understands the material. I do not stop at this point. In my experience, a student has not fully mastered the material until they can teach it. I commonly make mistakes in my explanations on purpose and ask a student to check my answers. I also ask students to fully explain concepts to me. Through correction and demonstration, I know that a student understands a concept or skill.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
When a student can fully explain a concept in a particular subject, we both know that they have mastered it. With these explanations and demonstrations on their end, they become confident in their subject. It's also important to show students statistics that reflect where they stand in relation to other students across the nation, especially in answering standardized test questions.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The diagnostic assessment will show a student's strengths and weaknesses. Once this is completed, I focus on where the student is the least confident and where they need the most tutoring. These areas are often unexpectedly separate from each other. I try to address both aspects and then strengthen areas where they are already strong. This is where it's important to prioritize their needs.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I love dry-erase boards! They are great for student work and ideas. One main message I try to get across to students is, "It's okay to mess up." With a dry-erase boards, they are given freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. I also like to grab articles from recent newspaper editions and journals. Depending on learning style, I might bring clay or relevant paintings or photographs. Altogether, note cards and post-its are a definite must.