Fourteen years ago, I accidentally became a teacher and fell in love with the work. Since that time, I've worked with just about every age group and helped all kinds of people to read, write, hear, and speak English. More recently, I've made a switch to teaching pre-schoolers, which means that now I'm also helping people learn to count, sing, breathe deeply, hold a pencil, treat others kindly, and all sorts of other new things.
If I had to summarize what I've learned so far from all of these teaching experiences, I'd boil it down to this: A good attitude accounts for at least 75% of learning. If you feel you can learn it, and you're not afraid of making some mistakes along the way, then you will ultimately learn it. Whom I have encountered regrettably often, however, are students who don't feel that way. So a major part of my work is not only to make the learning easier, but also to demonstrate to a student how far he or she has already progressed along the journey. It's easy to see where we need improvement; ironically, it can be much harder to be able to take stock of our success. But the balance is critical—sometimes I feel that if I can just help a person improve their self-confidence, then the rest will practically take care of itself.
As far as my own motivation is concerned, it's as simple as this: I like people, and I like getting to know what makes them tick. To me, teaching is no more or less than a process of getting to know somebody, as mediated by whatever learning goals are before us. If I can help you gain a skill or attain to an achievement, it's because I learned enough about how you think and work to help guide you there. Learning about who students are is its own reward for me; after all, how can people not be fascinating?
In my free time, I like to keep things pretty quiet. My favorite thing to do is to make music, and you can listen to the results on my SoundCloud page. I've been a keyboard player since age 5, and a self-taught guitarist since 15. Another avid habit of mind is to practice mindfulness meditation; this is something I was more or less driven to as a result of my years in the public schools, which are environments where it's really really hard to pay attention. In the past few years, I've started sharing what I've learned with others as a mindfulness coach, and it's very gratifying to see people make leaps and bounds in their attentional skills within weeks or months that it's taken me years to see in my own practice. More information about this can be found on my website, equanimizer.com.
Thank you for reading. I am looking forward to helping you meet your challenges!
Wesleyan University - Bachelors, East Asian Studies
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first step is to clarify your short- and long-term goals.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There's a fancy word for this: metacognition. It means taking a step back and thinking about your own thinking; as you learn to see your own mind at work, you become more independent.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Many times we don't see the progress we're truly making. I make a big deal out of showing students just how far they've come, especially when they can't quite see it for themselves.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Break it down. How can the big problem be analyzed into smaller, more manageable problems? How can we take it one step at a time?
What is your teaching philosophy?
The best teacher you will ever have is yourself; therefore, the basis of my job is to help you understand more about how you think, learn, and work most effectively.