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Riley

I'm a Los Angeles native, and I attended UCLA and received a B.A. in English Literature. I've been tutoring for almost four years now, and what began as a way for me to give back to my old high school and begin a profession to aid me in my college tuition initially, blossomed into a full blow dedication to helping students learn in the face of any academic struggle, whatever it may be. I began tutoring primarily academic writing since I've been an English buff my whole life but I soon branched out into Math and SAT's. My favorite part about tutoring is surely the challenge: every student comes equipped with their own set of obstacles and helping them overcome these obstacles as well as figure out ways to find the fun and the artistry in whatever seemingly droll assignment they're doing is thrilling. With the SAT's, I've had tremendous success with my students, raising every student's SAT score by at least 300 points in between tests. I always approach the student on a personal level, establishing a peer relationship as opposed to a didactic one where I instruct them and they listen. I feel that, like the student, I'm equally open to learning opportunities and I treat each tutoring session like a dialogue wherein I help them achieve a particular goal and along the lines, I discover both things about themselves and better and better tutoring methods.

Undergraduate Degree:

 UCLA - Bachelors, English Literature

ACT English: 35

SAT Writing: 730

Acting, Comedy, Piano, Writing, Reading

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is, first and foremost, discovering what makes the student unique, whether it's a particular interest or a set of hobbies that defines them outside the academic setting. Once we've found that, I help the student find a way to apply their interests to something that seems as irrelevant as homework. It's all about turning seemingly droll homework assignments into opportunities to get creative and focused.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The key to being an independent learner is simply building up the student's ability to find the fun in the assignment. Learning is all self-motivation, and the only way to motivate yourself is to find something in whatever you're doing that makes you want to do that thing. When you like what you're doing, you don't stop doing it, because you're enjoying it. If you can find that enjoyable aspect of the homework or the assignment or whatever it may be, then the rest starts to fall into place.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Sometimes staying motivated is difficult, and try as they may, a student can get discouraged by an incredibly dense workload, or what seems like an inability to break through or comprehend the material. Sometimes though, it's important to take a break, focus on something that takes your mind off of things, and then come back to the assignment at hand. Most of the time, if not all of the time, when the student does this, they approach the material with a clear mind, and a mind that is able to clearly draw the link between the work and the play. In other words, by focusing on something enjoyable, the student can figure out how he or she can relate the prior experience to the homework.

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

Sometimes you just to go over something a million times, a million different ways, until it clicks. That's all there is to it.

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

You have to boil it down to its simplest form. Condense, simplify, reiterate. Sometimes it helps to find an analogous sentence with the same structure that the student does understand, and then compare the sentences side by side.

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

Getting a student to trust you as a tutor is the most important thing. No student wants to listen to a stranger, but a student will listen to a compatriot, a friendly soldier in the same battle. It's about establishing a relaxed environment where they don't think of me as a teacher, but merely as a helping hand.

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

You just have to find anything--it can be the smallest morsel--that relates to something in their life that they connect to. Once you find this, it's like a fish snagging onto the bait.

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

Reiteration, explanation.

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

You start helping them out a bit so they feel like you're helping them along, and then you slowly step back and encourage them to take a risk and make the next step alone. If they fail, you're there; if not, keep going.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

It's a case-by-case basis, so you just have to get a feel for what area each student needs to work the most in.

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

That's kind of an intuitive thing. It really just involves the tutor getting a feel for where the student's at along their learning process, and then once you've discovered that, you try to bridge the gap between that and total comprehension.

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

I usually just come equipped with a computer, a notebook, a pen, and my brain!

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

I already answered that! haha