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Sally

Hello and thank you for considering me as your tutor! A little about myself...I am a 2009 graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. A degree from USNA is unlike any other. Though I was an English major, my degree is a Bachelors of Science. All Midshipmen (what students at USNA are called) take classes like Calculus, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Chemistry, Thermodynamics, and more to help them prepare to be well-rounded Naval Officers. You better believe I have developed some really useful study skills from all those classes! After graduation I attended flight school in Pensacola, FL and put those study skills to good use, graduating first in my class. I then served as a Naval Flight Officer (or NFO) aboard the Navy's P-3 Orion aircraft. P-3s use a combination of techniques and technologies to fulfill their mission of hunting submarines and providing reconnaissance information. This may not sound like it relates to tutoring, but my previous career taught me three things that make me an ideal tutor: I think quickly on my feet, can approach a problem from many different angles, and I value excellence, precision, and effort above all else!

After leaving the service, I pursued my graduate degree in Diplomacy from Norwich University. Having always been a bit of a foreign policy "nerd," I enjoyed learning about the history of modern diplomacy and the international system, modern methods of conflict management, and theories on the future of international relations. I am a member of Sigma Iota Rho (the honor society for international studies) and graduated with a 4.0. Norwich helped me sharpen my writing and editing skills significantly. I've always been a strong writer, but my professors at Norwich helped me take my skills to the next level. I'd love to help you do the same! Currently, I write and edit for the Center for International Maritime Security. Topics of interest to me are NATO and the Arctic.My work has been featured by CIMSEC, the US Naval Institute, and Real Clear Defense.

So, after all that, why should you allow me the opportunity to tutor you or your child? First, I exercise what I like to call "Educational Empathy" at all times. I get it. I SO get it. I have been a student, and nothing quite matches the frustration of being confused by a topic or working hard and not seeing results that are commensurate with your effort. That's where I come in! By attacking the problem from a place of understanding and with plenty of enthusiasm, I'll work with you or your student to nail that tough subject, write that perfect essay, or get those top scores. I believe all students are capable of understanding and progression, and that frequently the issue is not with the learner themselves, but the approach to learning.

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read my statement and letting me share a little about myself and my approach to learning. Don't hesitate to contact me at any time if you have any questions!

Very Best
Sally DeBoer

Undergraduate Degree:

 U.S. Naval Academy - Bachelors, English

Graduate Degree:

 Norwich University - Masters, Diplomacy

GRE Verbal: 163

Running, Reading, Writing and Editing, Playing with my pets, Traveling, Volunteering

College English

College Level American History

College World History

Comparative Literature

Elementary School Math

High School English

High School Level American History

High School World History

US History

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is "educational empathy." I get it! Not understanding something can be incredibly frustrating. It can make a student want to give up. By understanding that frustration and helping a student work through and past it, I help students find clarity, understanding, and the satisfaction of learning success!

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I believe in "learning how to learn." I can help students find their clarity when things look frustrating and confusing, and together with the student, come up with a plan for approaching difficult problems and frustrating situations. That way, when they encounter problems on their own, they have a "toolbox" to draw from and a place to begin.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Nothing is more motivating than a feeling of complete understanding or solving a difficult problem correctly. I don't quit until a student knows not only how to solve the problem in front of them, but also completely understands the concept. Feeling like you "get it" is a wonderful motivator!

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

In accordance with my philosophy of "educational empathy," I would approach the topic or concept from another example. Another tool I have found helpful is to use relatable examples to illustrate difficult concepts in a familiar way. Often students' issues lie not in the problem itself, but how the problem is being approached.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Students who are struggling with reading comprehension often benefit from adjusting their perspective on "how to read." Developing note-taking strategies, ways to connect information from the reading together, and re-reading passages strategically can be transformative.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I believe the most important place to start when helping a student is to let them know you understand their frustration and that they are NOT alone and CAN do this!

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I think the best way to approach unfamiliar, confusing, or even "boring" topics is to make them relatable to a student's everyday life or interest. For instance, when talking about economics, perhaps I might relate the concept of supply and demand to a basketball team's roster (if the student was a basketball fan).

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I believe the best way to assess comprehension is to ask the student the same concept from a different angle. When a student truly understands, they won't be rattled by a different presentation of the idea or a word problem (like they might see on a test at school!).

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Little victories are everything in learning, and I believe in celebrating them! By emphasizing small successes, I can help students build not only confidence but a desire for further understanding.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Student's needs are best evaluated in two ways. A) by talking to the student and assessing their trouble areas, frustrations, and needs and B) reviewing previous work to see where any "hang ups" might be.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Progressively. If one approach fails, I move to the next, or attack the subject in a different way. Everyone (including me!) learns in different ways, and I appreciate that!

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I believe in the power of a pencil and paper. Sometimes understanding comes from writing things down. For math, grammar, or writing mechanics, I love bringing a personal whiteboard to practice. For more basic math concepts, I will often call on blocks or other topic-specific tools.

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

During a first session, I'll introduce myself and really strive to get to know a student. A brief review of their work and/or discussion of their current level of understanding helps me know where to start. But I don't just want to know where they struggle. I also want to know what they enjoy and love about school, learning, and life! By relating learning to a favorite subject, sport, team, or pet, I can make things more fun and engaging down the road.