Hello! My name is Erin and I am a Special Education teacher in Brighton, CO. I previously taught 4th, 5th, and 6th grade Special Education in the suburbs of Chicago for 3 years before relocating to Denver. I have had the pleasure of teaching students with learning disabilities, ADHD, Autism, and serious emotional disabilities. I particularly enjoy instilling a love of learning in my students. I also enjoy helping them build confidence in their academic skills.
In addition to teaching, I was a Library Assistant for nine years in the children's section of a public library. There I created and implemented reading and art programs for community children. I have also been a Co-Leader for Girl Scouts for four years and I have just finished my first round as Team Manager for a Destination Imagination team.
In my free time, I enjoy many hobbies, including volunteering (Habitat for Humanity in particular), hiking, camping, kayaking, reading, drawing, and playing musical instruments. I also enjoy traveling and outdoor photography.
Northern Illinois University - Bachelors, Special Education
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in providing students with the skills to pursue opportunities beyond their expectations in order to be successful, fulfilled, and productive members of society.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, the student and I would take a few minutes to get to know each other. We would quickly discuss our strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Building a rapport is an important part of the tutor/student relationship. However, time is valuable during a session, so we would then quickly turn our focus on to the area of need.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
As we build our tutor/student relationship, the sessions would move from a tutor-lead experience to a more student-led experience. As the student builds their skills, he or she would gradually attain more ownership of their learning. As the tutor, I would also impart strategies for the student to use for independent practice. Also, I would foster a "can do" attitude with the student.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would help a student to stay motivated by setting them up for success. I would have the student initially complete tasks that are not frustrating for them which would build their confidence level. Also, I would maintain a positive "can do" attitude.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, I would teach towards the student's strengths and learning styles. For example, if the student is a visual learner, I would reteach the concept using visuals, drawings, graphs, etc. Additionally, it can take several repetitions before the student has that "ah ha!" moment. We would not give up on the concept. Instead, we would practice and try different methods until the concept is mastered.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I tend to begin with finding high-interest reading materials for students. That way, the student will be engaged in the material we read. I also make sure to find reading material that is at the student's reading level. Next, I find activities geared towards pulling information from the text. I guide the student in referring back to the text in order to complete comprehension activities. I also have the student preview and predict for reading. Previewing the story, creating predictions, and connecting the story to any previous background knowledge will help the student to comprehend the content. Lastly, I prompt the student to stop and think about the content after each paragraph (or each page).