Hi. My name is Kim and I love teaching and learning. For me the two have always gone hand in hand, which is why I have enjoyed a long career in education. Currently, I have 26 years experience as an educator. Most of that time spent has been working as a Special Education Teacher. Although, I have also worked at the post-secondary level, as an adjunct instructor. I have worked with a range of abilities and age levels throughout my career. My lessons are designed to address varied learning styles and learning differences. I have lots of interests and hobbies so, my instructional approaches are multifaceted, and engaging. My son says I "really get how kids think" and I am "great at showing multiples ways to solve problems." I love to tell stories to help students connect and relate to material and I have a great sense of humor. For the past four years, I have worked as an Instructional Support Teacher. Specifically, I provide instructional and compliance support to the Special Education teachers in a school. While, I am no longer a classroom teacher, I still seek out regular opportunities to teach. That's why I am so excited to be working with Varsity Tutors and I look forward to helping students meet their goals.
Marist College - Bachelors, Special Education/Psychology
Georgia State University - Masters, Mild Disabilities
What is your teaching philosophy?
In order for teaching to be effective, it has to be relevant to the learner. Everything that is taught should have an obvious value for the learner.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would spend some time getting to know the student with respect to their interests and goals. I would also want the student's perspective on their strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles/preferences.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Direct instruction and scaffolding are two instructional strategies, which gradually release responsibility for learning to the student. Direct instruction follows the "I do”, “we do”, and “you do” approach. Scaffolding is a comprehensive term for structured support during instruction. During the lesson the teacher might list the steps in a process in a "text box". The student could refer to the "text box" while working independently. Eventually, the student could create his or her own "text box".
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I like to use data tracking tools related to students' goals such as graphs, points earned, and checklists to provide students with visual evidence of their progress.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, I try understanding what is difficult for the student. I like to observe students while they are working. This helps me understand student's error. I also question students about their thinking. This helps me identify misconceptions. Then I can present the information in a different manner, designed to address previous errors and misconceptions.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Students struggle with comprehension for different reasons. Some students struggle with decoding and fluency. Other students can decode fluently but do not "interact" with the text. Still others lack the vocabulary and background knowledge to comprehend the text. So to help a student struggling with comprehension, I would have to assess why the student is struggling.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It is very important to be as interested and invested in students as people. So, I would work to get to know students and their interests. Then, anything is possible.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Enthusiasm is contagious. Even struggling students can be engaged when the teacher is genuinely excited and passionate about the subject matter they are teaching.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Formal and informal assessments should be used regularly to ensure students are learning. This could include an online quiz, a journal response, or a task the student has to perform.