I am a graduate of University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. I am currently a full time teacher at Arlington Middle School where I teach 7th Grade Civics. I have held this position for the past two years. Prior to working as a teacher at Arlington Middle School, I was a Social Studies teacher with the Bridge to Success program of James Weldon Johnson. In this position, I taught all three of the middle school social sciences – 6th Grade World History, 7th Grade Civics, and 8th Grade US History.
I am ESL/ELL certified. I have experience teaching students of multiple languages with varying English-language proficiency. In order to teach those students for whom the English language can be a barrier, I have developed a number of strategies to both deliver necessary content and improve language ability.
Frederick Douglass once wrote, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." I believe that anyone is capable of succeeding academically if they are willing to apply themselves and work hard. Learning is not easy. Learning is a challenge. If we are to succeed in life, we must advance ourselves mentally, therefore we must learn more and learn always.
University of Central Florida - Bachelors, Political Science
What is your teaching philosophy?
The brain is a muscle and education is a way of strengthening that muscle. People are capable of great things if they are motivated. The combination of education (providing content knowledge) and motivation (encouraging the pursuit of knowledge) is teaching.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During any first interaction with a student, it is important to establish guidelines for success. In order to explain what is necessary to succeed, it is important to be clear and concise.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
It is important to provide more than basic content knowledge of any subject. Students must be given a skill-set that they can utilize for all future endeavors. Teaching a student skills, as well as content, should result in an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Sources for motivation are unique to each individual student. For each student, it is important to identify the motivation factors for that particular student. Some students are motivated by an intrinsic desire to learn, but this can be rare. Most students, whether they realize it or not, are typically motivated by a desire to succeed and the need for approval. If a teacher is able to tap into those desires and needs, students should stay motivated.
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 approach that particular lesson from a different angle. Each student is different; therefore each student is going to learn in a different way. No skill or concept is beyond the capability of any one student; however, it is often necessary to ask one's self how this particular student would best learn this particular lesson. If one teaching methodology has proven ineffective, it is necessary to utilize an alternative approach.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
In order to improve reading comprehension, one must first identify the reading capability of the student. After identifying the student's individual Lexile level (the scientific approach to measuring reading ability and text demands), the teacher can create a list of sample readings that meet the student at their current level. After encouraging the student to read more and read more often, the teacher can gradually increase the rigorousness of the reading material, thereby strengthening the student's reading comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When I first start working with a student, I begin at a slower pace with lower-level thinking activities. This initial approach allows the student to feel a sense of success and accomplishment, given that the activities are relatively easy and the pace less challenging. Over time, the complexity and pace of activities will increase because the groundwork of confidence has already been laid.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
To make a student more excited about a subject, provide some context for the subject that relates to the student's everyday life. Students are more likely to succeed in subjects they find relevant.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
The classic technique for ensuring that a student understands material is the formative assessment. For each of these assessments, I believe it is necessary that questions utilize both lower-level and higher-order thinking skills. Should a student succeed at such an evaluation, the teacher can be confident that the lesson was understood. However, for a more progressive form of evaluation, teachers can simply engage in a conversation on the topic that was recently taught. If a student is capable of engaging on the topic after processing and analyzing the information, it can be reasonably confirmed that the student understands the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I believe it is important to make a student feel that they are capable of understanding anything and probably know more about a topic than they realize. Initially, I would provide a student with a less complex approach to the topic, thereby building self-esteem. Following that, I would make the topic more relevant to the student's life, thereby assuring the student that they have prior knowledge on which we can build.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
A student's needs can be determined through the initial interview process. It is important to establish clear lines of communication between teacher and student. During the initial interview, I would have the student communicate what they hope to obtain through tutoring and what they hope to accomplish. In addition, documentation such as test scores (whether they be provided by a former institution or administered during tutoring) should establish each student's particular academic needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
If a student is struggling with some aspects of a lesson, but succeeding at another, it is important to focus attention on the area of weakness. The teacher should utilize multiple approaches to overcome the obstacles and increase success.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
During any tutoring session, I would use a combination of technology, print resources, and kinesthetic learning tools.