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Jacob

I am a passionate teacher and student of Languages and Humanities. Having spent nearly a decade teaching Spanish, Humanities, and Psychology, I've found that what I most enjoy -- where I thrive -- is in the individual teaching and learning relationships where I can help others to discover connections, confidence, insights, and intellectual passions. During my time as a Teacher Education graduate student, I was fortunate to serve as a TEAMS/Americorps fellow and completed a service-learning project in the community I served as a first-year teacher.

Beginning my teaching career in struggling California public schools, I've since taught every level of Spanish from Grade 5 conversational Spanish through AP Spanish Literature, Humanities to rising Grade 6 summer program youth, and I even applied my college studies, teaching Introductory and AP Psychology. I've taught in struggling urban public schools in San Francisco, affluent suburban schools in Silicon Valley, and overseas at an international bilingual high school in the Gulf region nation of Kuwait in the Middle East.

I received my Bachelor's in Psychology from Macalester College and my Master of Arts in Teaching with a Social Justice emphasis from the University of San Francisco. I hold a Clear Single-Subject California Teaching Credential in Spanish with BCLAD Bilingual certification. I eagerly look forward to applying my skills, education, experience to inspiring my students through individual academic tutoring to share my passion for independent learning.

Undergraduate Degree:

 Macalester College - Bachelors, Psychology, Spanish

Graduate Degree:

 University of San Francisco - Masters, Teacher Education

Cycling, Digital Photography

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Writing

7th Grade Writing

8th Grade Writing

9th Grade Writing

College English

College Geography

College Level American History

Conversational Spanish

Creative Writing

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing

Expository Writing

Fiction Writing

High School English

High School Geography

High School Level American History

High School Writing

Homework Support

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

Other

Persuasive Writing

Poetry Writing

SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening

SAT Subject Tests Prep

Social Networking

Social Sciences

Spanish 1

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Summer

Technical Writing

Technology and Computer Science

What is your teaching philosophy?

I have long since realized that work as a public high school teacher will not make me rich or famous, nor will it win me further prestige amongst non-teacher friends and family who will never understand completely what it is that I do in my classroom. I am not so naive to think that I alone will resolve all the failings of our broken, abused, and neglected educational system that fails to provide the vast majority of students with the basic knowledge they need to succeed in life and fails to provide Master’s-level would-be teachers with livable wages for the urban areas in which these educators are most needed. What my work as an educator will provide me is the opportunity to have a role in the development of critical consciousness for social change amongst the next generation of youth in this society. While I would never espouse proselytizing to student’s one particular worldview, nor would I wish to overstate the role of the teacher in a student’s life, it is likely illuminating to recognize that the majority of the waking hours of children ages 6-18 are spent not with parents, but in classrooms with students and teachers. During this essential stage of development, students form their ideas in the context of classroom instruction with their teachers and their peers. Problematic as our role may be for us to take on as educators in such a capacity – perhaps most visibly due to the ethnic disparities between most urban school student populations and the associated teacher populations – schooling is a time of socialization. Our classrooms model for students’ adult society. Classrooms are where we first model community and community building. Schools are at the heart of communities. In order for instruction to be effective and meaningful, drawing clear and present connections between our classrooms and the communities immediately outside must then be followed by connection to society at large and how it is that our students fit into this larger scheme of adult life and success outside of school. John Dewey’s theories of democracy in education, drawing upon notions of Rousseau and Plato, reinforce this notion of the importance of humanistic integration of schooling into students’ lives as citizens in their larger society. Dewey also placed great emphasis on the importance of problem-solving and critical thinking over memorization, thus avoiding what Paulo Freire called the “banking concept” of education, in which information is simply deposited and withdrawn by the school system acting on the passive student. By creating critical thinkers equipped with the tools to solve problems encountered within their communities and larger society, we become what Freire refers to when he writes of teachers as cultural workers. It is with Freire’s notion of critical consciousness that I find my motivation for working towards the self-actualization of my students as agents of social change. As a teacher and as an educated adult, I recognize that this education for social change which I espouse must also occur within me. Simply put, if education is to be used for change, I never want to stop changing. If I am to model for my students that which I advocate, I must also be flexible in my thinking while maintaining my integrity as the adult in the room. These delicate balances will likely form much of the challenge that I face in the first years of my teaching career.

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

Ideally, the first session with a new tutoring client is spent identifying the parameters of our work together: determining expectations of tutor and student, setting goals of the tutoring, and establishing benchmarks for evaluation of success along the way. Getting an overall sense for one another and our degree of personal fit for working together is the more subjective portion of this initial session.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Working with students to build personal confidence as the result of developing academic skills and organizational strategies typically reinforces learning that occurs independently of school classes and tutoring sessions. Once a client begins to feel positive, not only about the grades earned but about learning itself, you have a student eager to learn independently.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Through my time as a classroom teacher, I've found that passion for learning can be contagious. Keeping my students motivated typically derives from my own passion for the material being studied, often demonstrated through a "juicy" personal anecdote of a time that I applied the theory being studied in context.

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

Sometimes, just taking a short break to regain perspective, take stock of study skills and learning strategies, as well as their application to the current scenario can be very helpful in breaking down a tricky new concept.

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

Background knowledge of the student's interests and hobbies can be key, here. Finding a text or other resource of intrinsic interest to the student struggling with reading comprehension can provide a "buy-in" of the student's interest, providing much-needed motivation over the discouraging obstacles of reading mastery.

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

I strive to serve the student as a human being, taking stock not only of the learning goals and expected outcomes, but also the personal learning style, interests and hobbies, and relative strengths as well as growth areas. Certainly, identifying early in the process some concrete outcomes for the tutoring is crucial so that we may both gauge our success in striving to develop those specific skills and competencies. Just as important to addressing the needs of a student is getting to know that student personally and as a learner, to be able to predict, plan for, and respond to particular style, as well as appeal to personal interests.

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

It's very easy to become mired in the details of a concept, a historical timeline, a complex formula... Providing students with colorful applications of the theories discussed, personal anecdotes of experiences in the culture being studied, telling a bilingual joke in the target language...all of these methods can be crucial tools used to engage students struggling with concepts in a subject.

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

A great way to determine whether the student has mastered the studied material is to require the student to demonstrate a higher level of thinking: have the student rephrase the concept in their own words, apply the concept to an original situation, analyze the material to identify the most important details, synthesize the details into a general summary... These are all techniques that imply understanding to complete properly.

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

Small steps to build skills and confidence, upon seeing those skills improve performance, often go a long way.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Students' needs are evaluated beginning at the first session and throughout our work together, in order to carefully tailor the scope and pace of the work that we complete together. An initial discussion of the student's goals and expectations of tutoring occurs during the first session. Once some tangible outcomes have been identified, ongoing formative assessment of progress towards meeting those goals occurs at each meeting. The formality of the assessment methods would depend upon the nature of the tutoring (e.g., AP/Testing tutoring would typically indicate AP Practice Tests), however, a verbal check-in to verify progress and plan to adjust pace and scope accordingly would be part of the close of each session.

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

Students' needs vary widely, depending upon age level, subject area, academic vs. testing tutoring, purpose of tutoring (e.g., general academic improvement in high school vs. international relocation for business), all of which form the basis for adapting my tutoring approach. An adult preparing to relocate to South America for business would require a very different approach than would a Grade 9 student struggling in Spanish 1 during their first year in high school. Only by taking into account all of the above considerations could I properly adapt my approach to tutoring sessions with a particular student.

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

During a tutoring session, the materials I use depends greatly on the needs of the student as well as those resources I already have on-hand. Tutoring in Spanish, I would typically want to have a textbook as a reference. For AP Psychology, there are a number of manipulatives I use to bring alive the abstract concepts from the various unit studied, and I would also assign use of outside resources such as podcasts. Tutoring in Humanities, often the starting point may be just the novel / book used, and a notebook for note-taking.