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Tomas

I've been fortunate to have spent half of my life living in South America and am therefore native bilingual in English and Spanish. I came to the United States to obtain my undergraduate degree from Brandeis University in Waltham, Ma. Six years later, I moved to Dallas, TX to work as an elementary school teacher in an urban school district. I've been here for ten years and have spent the entire decade working in education. I have taught all subjects and almost all grades in elementary school. In 2011 I graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Master's in Bilingual Education. In recent years, I have worked as an instructional coach and academic specialist, which has allowed me to look at education from a different lens and therefore given me a comprehensive look at curriculum and instruction.
I am currently completing my principal certification and hope to pursue this goal in the near future. The rest of my time is spent with my wife and two children of 1 and 4 years. I played varsity tennis in college and continue to play locally.

Undergraduate Degree:

 Brandeis University - Bachelors, Political Science & History

Graduate Degree:

 Southern Methodist University - Masters, Bilingual Education

Family, Leadership, Languages, World Cultures, and Sports.

What is your teaching philosophy?

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." - Benjamin Franklin. In order for a student to truly attain a concept, the teacher must find a way to make them a fundamental part of the process.

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

Establish rapport.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Providing the student with different incentives and allowing them to have a voice in the learning process.

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

First and foremost, I would reflect about what I, as the teacher, am doing incorrectly that is not "clicking" with the student. Secondly, I would try a variety of instructional strategies that are appropriate with the student's learning mode.

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

First is developing their auditory comprehension so as to ensure that the issue is due to lack of fluency and reading skills rather than processing.

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

Use of manipulatives and hands on activities. Additionally, use of graphic organizer and online platforms.

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

If he's able to explain and teach it to me, he has mastered the concept.

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

Visibly tracking their progress through a use of graphs or charts. Empowering the student and fostering their sense of ownership of learning.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Through informal observation, dialogue, and frequent assessments.

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

A variety of texts that are relevant to a student's interest, hands on activities, and some type of product (graphic organizer, foldable, etc.) that is associate with the task at hand.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

By making concepts relevant to their interests as an individual in addition to helping them track and visually plot their progress.

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

I would first establish some type of rapport with them to get a feel for who they are as an individual. In education, the means to an end vary immensely because individuals are precisely that, individuals and therefore require targeted approaches to their own needs. I would try a variety of approaches, resources, and support systems.

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

I would provide the student with different resources that mirror their learning style. As opposed to relying on the traditional "sit and get" methodology, I would give the student an opportunity to experience the content hands on.