I graduated from the University of Northern Colorado and earned a B.A. Special Education Teacher k-12. I also earned an M.A. for teaching grades k-12. I worked a full time teaching position for the Hartford public Schools. My classroom was self-contained that was composed of ASD,PDD students, and many had severe behavioral issues. The students in my class were deemed "un-teachable" With the exception of one child all of my kids graduated in the mainstream! I am a very strong reading and math teacher at the elementary and middle school level. I use a multi-kinesthetic approach which enhances memory; while additionally we are having a lot of fun learning. I know my core curriculum and special needs is definitely a strength for me. I teach with a passion, and the kids always love me. I am also dependable, honest, and punctual. I have been able to reach several children, where others have failed.
University of Northern Colorado - Bachelors, Special Education Teacher K-12
Central Connecticut State University - Masters, Special Education
What is your teaching philosophy?
"You get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." I like to present materials in an upbeat positive manner. I use a positive reinforcement programs, which vary, depending on the child. A professional attitude is essential. You have to be kind and compassionate while using a strong behavioral management technique. Teach with a passion that flows to your students. I also like to make myself available to my parents.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would have already gotten the information of where he needs tutoring. I would make up a story about how "I struggled in the exact same thing! I felt really dumb but a friend showed me a trick to make this easy. Would you like to see the trick or tricks you need to do? This it is really easy. Let's do the first one together..." In that first session I get a baseline. This allows me to plan appropriate lessons for the child. I would also ask a softball of a question to ensure the child's success! I am very enthusiastic when a child masters a task, and we end up having a laugh, as it really wasn't that hard after all. It would be very important that a child's first interaction with you is a positive one!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would use a technique called "fading." It is a slow, gradual program where a child eventually needs less and less attention. You slowly reduce the number of prompts and cues. The child slowly becomes an independent learner!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would offer a secondary reinforcer that the child can earn by mastering the task. I was also a born cheerleader, and celebrate each step mastered by the child. This reinforcer would be something like a doll or silly putty. I also like this approach, as nothing is ever taken away from a child. They either earned it or they didn't.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try a number of things. Perhaps this child needs less material on a page, or to use the information and put it into a multi-kinesthetic approach to enhance memory.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
There are several strategies. First, I would go through the reading passage with the student. Then, we would go through the passage together and highlight the important comprehension pieces.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to establish a rapport with a student first. We play a game called "my favorite things to do" while we were alternating responses, and make a connection through a shared activity. Then we talk about the activity, and finally get to work tutoring.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Sometimes I ask a student to help me in the same area. Sometimes I use humor, and I always use positive reinforcers at each new task mastered. They are always eager to show you what they know!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I might make a visual task chart. Teachers talk and talk, but the majority of children are visual rather than auditory learners. I would then have the child show me how to do the material to check for comprehension. If they can teach me, I know that the child gets it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I always start a child off below their actual functioning level to ensure success and confidence. I also use lots of verbal praise. The kids all desire to be good and successful.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Once again, I would start off with "low ball" material so the child has initial immediate success. Then I follow curriculum until the child reaches their ceiling. I am also very proficient at interpreting testing data. I also might just give the child an achievement test. Observation is also a key way to help evaluate the child's needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I am very flexible. For example, one child might find it overwhelming to read and then write answers, so I might write for them. I would also adjust curriculum to his visual or auditory learning style.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to show up with an array of paper, pencils, crayons, highlighters, graph paper,.... This allows a child to choose his/her tool to work with.