I am a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. I received multiple-major degrees at U.T. including a Bachelor of Arts in English, History, and Philosophy and a Bachelor of Science in Communication. At Texas State I received a Master of Arts in Communication. Since graduation, I have traveled extensively, tutoring prep students in numerous subjects (with a focus on composition and public speaking) and coaching improvisational comedy which I've been studying since 2008. While I tutor a broad range of subjects, I am most passionate about English, Literature, and Communication. I am a firm proponent of continued education, believing it to be absolutely necessary for an improved quality of life, and I try to impart this appreciation to all of my students. In my spare time, I'm a musician and actor. I've recorded about a dozen albums and acted in a couple of dozen movies and television shows.
The University of Texas at Austin - Bachelors, English, Communication
Texas State University-San Marcos - Masters, Communication
What is your teaching philosophy?
My general teaching philosophy is that everything is simple if you simplify it. Simple, right? Too often we're hoping to know everything all at once, and that can be overwhelming. By breaking down every step of a process, we can start at the beginning and, when we get to the end, as the Mad Hatter says, we stop. It's a basic concept, but I feel like most obstacles to learning are borne of fear and only need to be broken down into their most basic elements.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session I would like to talk about the big picture, the entire breadth of the material we'll be studying, and then start to organize that material into smaller, digestible sections.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Especially with composition and public speaking, once a student learns that there isn't really a "right answer," and that the most important tool in the process is their own voice, they find a great deal more freedom to express themselves and continue forward.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Always remind students that they're not trying to accomplish everything at once. It's much easier to get motivated to move forward when you don't feel overwhelmed by the task at hand.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Simplify the skill/concept to its most basic element, and re-frame the material using analogies and subject matter that the student is more familiar with.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Make it fun. Read as much as possible out loud. Read a little, and then get off of the page and write the next paragraph yourself. Then ask questions about the original material.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting the student to talk is the best way to keep them engaged. It lets them know that they're not being judged or lectured at.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Try to frame the subject in a way that interests the student. Also, create smaller victories. Conquering "2 + 2" is satisfying. Thinking about conquering calculus is daunting. But the latter begins with the former.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Ask the student questions similar in nature to the original material. Ask the student questions a few steps removed from the original material. Have a conversation about the material off of the page, face-to-face.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Talk about their confidence with the material out loud. Encourage the smallest of victories while moving forward.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Obviously, you would ask a student where they stand with the subject and then narrow down where the specific trouble spots are.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Remember that addressing the needs and trouble areas of the student is more important (in the long run) than getting correct answers.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Papers and pencils. :)