I am a certified K-3 teacher with my Master's in Education as a Literacy Intervention Specialist for all grades. I love working with elementary aged children in all subject areas. I also love working with all ages on any form of reading or writing projects including essay preparation, proofreading, test-prep, subject development, literature deconstruction and any other subject area writing assignments. I love reading and writing myself and I spend much of my free time in pursuit of new literature to discover, or in finding new books on CD to listen to during my long commute to my classroom! I love teaching and feel that it is truly my calling and passion. When teaching, I try to instill my love for my work into my students learning. I think that if someone is passionate about what they are trying to relay, that passion will translate into a stimulation and desire to learn. I love working with people of all ages and getting to know their individual learning styles, interests, motivations and stumbling blocks. This detailed information helps me provide the best possible, individualized instruction.
John Carroll University - Bachelors, English/Writing
Baldwin Wallace University - Masters, Education
Elementary School Math
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy revolves around my students. I believe that for a student to really learn, you must engage them at their own level. This means tailoring instruction to be as individualized as possible. No two students are alike. Therefore, you must be flexible in your teaching and be willing to try different modes of instruction in getting the learning across.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session I like to get to know my student in many facets. What their favorite subjects are, their hobbies, and their interests as well as what they find challenging about the subject we will be studying together. I utilize and record all of this information in order to really hone in on the difficulties the student feels they are having as well as provide insight into what might best motivate that student. I then compare this self-reported information with assessments in order to gain a clear and concise picture of student needs.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The best way to provide independence in students is through measured and gradual removal of support. In the beginning of tutoring and learning, the most support for a subject will be provided. The student will get lots and lots of practice in a skill with lots of guidance and support as to how to complete the task or understand the skill. As time goes on though, and more sessions have taken place, I gradually begin to withdraw the supports and require the student to demonstrate more independent work with feedback and critique still provided until mastery of a subject has been achieved.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Helping a student stay motivated is a multi-dimensional challenge. You must utilize the information you have about what interests the student and try and make those connections to their interests real and relevant during learning experiences. You must also make sure that the work you are completing together is consistently challenging but at a level that does not invoke frustration. It's a delicate balance, which is why one-on-one instruction is a great way to hone in on what motivates a student and really work within that individual realm.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student has difficulty grasping a concept there are a variety of remedies I tend to employ. First, I ask the student what specifically they are having difficulty with. If they can't pinpoint it for me, I will take a step back and break the concept down into even smaller steps than originally presented. Starting smaller and building up will typically alleviate misunderstandings. If this tactic of slowing down and breaking into smaller bits of information doesn't do the trick then I will try a different approach altogether. Perhaps a different example, tactile or physical manipulatives are needed. Sometimes reframing the material can make a drastic difference in how a student grasps a concept. Sometimes I will employ all of these methods at once when reteaching a concept in order to gain mastery of a concept or skill.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I come across this problem often with my students. Reading comprehension is something that can be very individual, in that if a student doesn't find a topic interesting or stimulating, they often won't recall or understand what they read. Reading with attention to detail and ideas is a skill that must be taught and practiced repeatedly for many students. Providing many and numerous reading experiences with books and selections that are of interest to an individual student will provide practice and build confidence in a student's ability to comprehend what they are reading. Once they have mastered comprehension of subjects that interest them, then you can begin practicing those same skills with reading selections that don't stimulate as much interest.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Building a rapport with a student is key. Coming across friendly, open and communicative is a way to make students feel at ease in your presence. Letting them know you are there to help and provide guidance and that you enjoy what you are doing will go a long way to ensuring motivation and success.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I try to utilize the information I gain during my first sessions about individual student interests, hobbies and motivators to make real life connections to what they are learning. I try to show my own passion for learning and often this passion is contagious. I try to provide a lot of positive reinforcement so that students look forward to our sessions together.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
By providing a communicative learning environment, I will often ask probing questions of my students to gauge understanding. I like to close each session with an exit slip of some sort that will provide me with insight into how well the student grasped what was presented during the session. I also like to provide ample opportunities of independent work throughout sessions in order for students to be provided with plenty of opportunities to show what they know.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build confidence by reminding students that they are learning all along the way. I don't like my students to be afraid of making mistakes. I want them to feel confident in their ability to learn from their mistakes and be motivated to keep going. I do this through continuous positive reinforcement with attention to even the smallest growth. Providing feedback in such a way that does not discourage but shows how to keep getting better. I believe it's important for students to understand how their mistakes help them learn and grow.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Depending on the subject, I will gauge student needs through student self-reporting information, previously taken assessments and my own pre-evaluations. If I am assessing student needs in reading I may ask a student to read to me from a selection based on their grade level and point in the school year. I may perform other phonics based assessments as well to pinpoint trouble areas. If it is writing I may provide a prompt and ask a student to write me a quick paragraph on a topic and use it to evaluate some of their needs. If it is mathematics, I may administer a skill based pre-assessment in order to gauge prior knowledge and trouble areas. It just depends on the topic and the student. Just as I try to be as individualized as possible in my instruction, so too do I try in my evaluations of student's individual needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
As stated in my previous responses, all of my tutoring strategies are based on individualization and differentiation. From our very first session where I gather information about student interests, motivators, trouble spots, etc. to the necessity of individualized pre-assessments of student needs. I tailor my instruction based on student needs and spend time finding out how my students learn and what types of learning and teaching strategies they benefit most from.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It depends on the topic. I try to bring reading materials that will directly interest my student in order to provide motivation and interest. I like to employ examples and lots of different materials to work with. For phonics work I will often bring sound cards for drill practice as well as decodable books and other reading materials to aid in the skill being learned. For mathematics I will often bring manipulatives in order to demonstrate a skill to students using physical materials. Just as in all sessions, each material being brought is based on the student, their individual needs and the skill being taught.