I have always been high achieving academically. I attended an elite private high school, Yale University, and I'm currently a student at Smith College School for Social Work. Nevertheless, I have still benefited from the help of tutors. Part of the reason for my success is not being afraid of seeking extra help from friends, teachers and tutors. From personal experience, I know what helped me in a tutor, and what did not. It was important for a tutor to facilitate understanding concepts, not just encouraging memorizing. The best tutors catered to my personal learning style, to help me see where I was messing up. The other key was compassion and patience. Tutors who got impatient with me decreased my confidence and ultimately decreased my performance in that subject. Tutors who helped boost my confidence were the most successful.
In the past, I've done tutoring in an inner city elementary/middle school and at a school for boys in a residential psychiatric treatment facility. I've informally worked with friends in various subjects, particularly foreign languages (Spanish, Italian, French and Latin), and coaching essay writing. I've spent a lot of time working with a friend who is dyslexic, helping her with writing she needs to do for her job, and I've helped a lot of friends with cover letters and with graduate school admissions essays. One friend in particular tells our other friends to make sure they get help from me. She tells them, "Emma got me into nursing school."
I've worked with all kinds of students, but across the board, what they need most is confidence. Confidence comes first, practice comes second. As an aspiring social worker, building confidence is also a forte of mine. By remaining attentive to each student's individual needs and learning styles, and also insecurities. I'm patient and compassionate, and I've seen students become motivated to take the risk of trying after my working with them on their confidence.
My ultimate goal with a student is to help them overcome barriers so they'll be able to reach for the stars and make it there.
Yale University - Bachelors, English
Smith College - Masters, Social Work
SAT Composite: 2260
SAT Verbal: 770
SAT Writing: 800
GRE Quantitative: 151
GRE Verbal: 168
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
1st Grade Math
1st Grade Reading
1st Grade Writing
2nd Grade Math
2nd Grade Reading
2nd Grade Writing
3rd Grade Math
3rd Grade Reading
3rd Grade Science
3rd Grade Writing
4th Grade Math
4th Grade Reading
4th Grade Science
4th Grade Writing
5th Grade Math
5th Grade Reading
5th Grade Science
5th Grade Writing
6th Grade Math
6th Grade Reading
6th Grade Science
6th Grade Writing
7th Grade Math
7th Grade Reading
7th Grade Science
7th Grade Writing
8th Grade Math
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Science
8th Grade Writing
9th Grade Math
9th Grade Reading
9th Grade Writing
College Level American Literature
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School Chemistry
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Introduction to Fiction
Introduction to Poetry
Middle School Reading
Middle School Science
Middle School Writing
SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening
SAT Subject Tests Prep
What is your teaching philosophy?
I like to use the Socratic method, asking students questions about the subject to aid their progress in solving a problem. I like to use visual models to demonstrate concepts, and I like to give examples to help give a comprehensive understanding of the material.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Figure out what their goals are, identify the areas where they are struggling, and see what I can learn about their individual learning style.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Teach them strategies for solving problems. Help them learn to identify a starting point to build from, and how to identify next steps.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
One, I would remind them of the bigger picture, that their current struggles are part of a stepping stone towards something important to them. Two, I would teach them how to self-motivate, and help them figure out their own strategies for that. For example, when I was applying to grad school, I rewarded myself with 45 minutes of TV for every two hours I spent studying. Three, I could set up a token economy system.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It depends on the individual learning style of the student. My strength is using a visual aid, such as drawing a picture of a concept. I also like to use examples and give a foundational understanding, as opposed to just having them memorize rules.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Figure out what the barrier is. Some people are simply intimidated by the text, and really just need confidence. For some, they need to be able to read it "aloud" in their head. Others need to slow down. And still others may have a learning disability that they need specific strategies to overcome.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Be kind and patient. Let them know that I'm not their teacher and they're not getting grades. When they're working with me, they can take risks and get the wrong answer, and that is just as valuable as getting the right answer. Building confidence and self-esteem is just as important as building skills and knowledge when it comes to academic achievement.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Find a way to make it relatable. When I was studying calculus, what kept me motivated as a literature student was realizing that this math was telling a story about how the entire universe works. Seeing that in my homework kept me engaged. So I would figure out what excites the student and help them place the difficult subject in that context.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
One, use the Socratic method. Ask them questions about the material to see if they've moved beyond rote memorization and/or blind inference. For example, in Latin, give them the sentence: "Lupum mordet Marcus" and see if they look at the endings to figure out who's biting whom rather than word order or assumptions. I would also have them do practice problems, summarize a story, translate their favorite song lyrics, or something similar to make sure they can function independently of a text book.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Praise their efforts. Make sure they see their successes. Show them how much progress they've made. A lot of times, a student is struggling only because they lack confidence--a girl may feel she's bad at math simply due to societal stereotypes. A student may not be putting full effort into reading comprehension because they assume they're going to fail.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By talking to the student. By getting info from parents/guardians and/or teachers, if possible. Have them take practice tests. Have them show me what they're already doing in the area we're working on.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I listen and pay attention so I can get a good sense of the student's individual learning style. Then I can adjust my strategies accordingly, using online resources or getting advice from friends/family who are teachers if necessary.