Late in the winter of 2003, I left Baylor University for Spain, where I would spend the next semester studying. When I arrived in Madrid, I was unfamiliar with the city and had to rush to catch the bus that would take me to my university, several hours to the north. Confused, tired and not at all proficient in Spanish, I chose the incorrect station. A kind cab driver, noticing my confusion, insisted he accompany me to find my bus. When it was obvious that I had chosen the wrong station, he took me to the correct station and again accompanied me inside to ensure I found my bus. Over the next four months, I repeatedly encountered such kindness and support from the university and community. These advantages helped improve my fluency rapidly and fostered an interest in linguistics and language, enriching my stay with cultural experiences I would not have otherwise had.
I moved on from undergraduate study to a Master of Arts in Publishing and Writing at Emerson College, shifting my focus to design and visual interpretation. As I progressed along my professional track in educational publishing, my mind often returned to my time abroad; I chafed at my inability to regularly use the skills and interests that I acquired in undergraduate study. I also felt disconnected from my community and my frequently returned to my education experiences—particularly those in Spain—which were essential in my personal growth. With that in mind, I made the decision to leave the publishing industry and pursue a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Ultimately, my degrees will prepare me to work with English Language Learners but I have wide-ranging personal interests and the interdisciplinary degree I received at Baylor University has given me a great foundation for tutoring in a number of subjects. I'm excited about working on students of all ages and levels on reading, writing, literature, and Spanish. I also am interested in helping students develop the organizational habits and study skills essential to academic success. Finally, I love working with students on test prep; giving students the skills they need to demystify exams such as the ACT, SAT or TOEFL is really a rewarding experience.
When I'm not tutoring or working toward my degree at UMB, I enjoy spending time with my family—my husband and I have one small, silly dog (eight years) and one small, daughter (six months). I'm working on several knitting projects to keep all three of them warm in the coming winter and riding my bicycle as much as I can while it's still warm!
Baylor University - Bachelors, University Scholars Program
University of Massachusetts-Boston - Current Grad Student, Applied Linguistics
ACT Reading: 34
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that teaching should be a dialogic process--students have knowledge and skills that are important to helping them make sense of and take ownership of the content and skills they need to master at school.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would take a little time to get to know the student and establish what she or he wants to accomplish through our tutoring session. Then, I would try to get a feel for how the student is most comfortable learning and try to start some work to see how we work together and find areas where I might need to adjust my style to suit the student.