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About me: I have recently moved to the NOVA area to complete an internship and look for full time work in human rights. I have strong beliefs about children and youth's ability and right to learn, and, having come from an achievement-oriented family, know the pressures that weigh down on students competing for opportunities that come through education. Every student I tutor comes for a different reason and with different motivations, strengths, struggles, pressures and goals. These might agree or contrast with those of their parents, teachers or peers, and I like to provide a neutral space for the student to build her skills, confidence and self-knowledge.

My schooling story: Several years ago I looked through an old booklet of drawings I made for kindergarten art class. Many showed the same picture of a child at the bottom of a ladder that reached the sun; they belong to my first memories of my trouble in school. I often couldn't hear the teacher call out instructions on what the class was to draw during art time, or maybe I wasn't listening. But I was too shy to raise my hand to ask, and so on the days I couldn't hear I would draw the same picture over and over, wondering what it would be like to climb a ladder all the way to the sky. My kindergarten teacher eventually called to tell my mother that though I was a creative and bright child, I did not pay attention or speak up for myself. Later, I started to forget or lose assignments and leave my school work to the last minute. I struggled all the way through high school to remember due dates and appointments, to organize my school life and my essays, and to hand things in without losing my mind. Despite it all, I finished in the top 15 of my class, scored a 33 on my ACT and placed as a finalist for the National Merit scholarship. It has been six years since I started college, and I still don't know if what I gained in academic achievement was proper reward for the stress, but I do know that somewhere between then and now, I overcame, with my own strength, the madness that plagued my high school academic experience. I can write papers without pulling my hair out, I know where my keys are (most of the time), I value both my strengths and weaknesses, and, most importantly, I have confidence that I will rise to jump any barrier I meet with just my own two feet. Now I am in a rare position to help other students to build the same confidence in themselves, and to do so much earlier. Every child is complex, but as a tutor, my job is simple: to arrive with a student at the answer, whose path he navigated using just the tools already inside himself.

My experience and education: I have tutored groups of children in English, worked with college students in the final stretches of their senior theses, prepared high schoolers for standardized tests and helped students in all grades through tough homework assignments. I am a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's business school, where I earned my B.S. in International Business and enjoyed, even more than my major, studying cultures, writing, literature and religion. Some of my favorite courses were: Grimms' Fairy Tales, Historical Buddhism and Japanese History and Culture. I also speak conversational Korean and have taught ESL and well as test prep in the States and in Korea.

Undergraduate Degree:

 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Bachelors, International Business

ACT Composite: 33

ACT English: 34

ACT Math: 30

ACT Reading: 33

ACT Science: 34

SAT Verbal: 730

SAT Writing: 750

Yoga, tea and lattes, reading, writing, my cat (Poong). What I'm reading: The Picture of Dorian Gray. What I'm watching: Cowboy Bebop

What is your teaching philosophy?

All students are able to learn and have all the tools necessary inside of them. The tutor's role is to bring the student to the answer by showing them how to access those inherent tools.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I want to get to know you. What are your favorite books to read? What makes you feel energized and excited? What do you like about school? What do you hate? Do you have a sense of your strengths? These first questions are some of the most important guides - more than the answers to any practice test question.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

My job is to show you that the world has much more to offer than school, and the best way to experience this vastness is to delve into yourself: What are you excited to learn about? It is vital to play to your strengths and to get to know them intimately. This is the gateway to thriving as an independent learner, no matter your age. The other side of independent learning is getting to know your weaknesses just as intimately, and learning to simply work with them as they are rather than fearing them.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Practice, pep talks and good snacks.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Learning is about repetition and building confidence. The more you do something, the less scary it is. To move past the frustration of struggling with a concept the student just can't understand, we work through the difficulty rather than avoiding it. It is important to consider a student's thought process to understand where he is getting confused, but even more important is building confidence to work with those problems that give him trouble.