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M'Liss

I've taught for over 20 years and am officially a retired teacher, but if you want to have fun while learning, choose me as a tutor! My undergraduate degree is in Biology and my graduate degree is in Science Education- both from The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to holding a Texas Teaching Certificate in Biology (6-12), I am also certified in Special Education (6-12). I have taught Kinder through 12th, as well as adults. Most recently I have been teaching adults to pass all parts of the GED and have taught middle school Math and Biology. My favorite areas to teach are GED, Algebra, and Biology. I am passionate about teaching, tutoring, and helping students achieve their goals. I am patient and have a variety of tools in my toolbox to help students succeed. No matter what area you struggle in, I can help you fill in the gaps and increase your achievement! In my free time, I enjoy scuba diving, swimming, reading, and gardening.

Undergraduate Degree:

 The University of Texas at Austin - Bachelors, Biology

Graduate Degree:

 The University of Texas at Austin - Masters, Science Education

Scuba Diving, Reading, Gardening, Hanging out with friends

Anatomy & Physiology

College Biology

College English

Elementary School Math

High School Biology

High School English

Life Sciences

What is your teaching philosophy?

Teaching is not just about content; it is about educating the whole child including academic, social, and emotional learning. I believe in setting clear expectations for students. Being student-focused, I believe students should take ownership of their learning and be involved in making decisions about their learning. Goal setting is a key piece in helping students increase their achievement.

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

I want to get to know the student's hobbies and interests. I would share mine with them as well. Then I'd ask the student to show me some recent work that they had completed. I'd also ask what the student sees as their strengths and areas for improvement. I'd have the student take a pre-assessment or diagnostic test in order to guide goal setting with the student. We would then dive into their assigned lesson for the day.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

When students have a broad based skill set and confidence they become independent. Building critical reading and writing skills that are cross-curricular, as well as strategic study skills, will help students build confidence and become an independent learner.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I use humor a lot when I am tutoring and teaching to keep the mood light. Pacing a student through the lesson also helps them stay motivated. Drawing on their background knowledge and making lessons relevant to the student helps motivate them as well.

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

I would re-teach the key concepts that are required to master the skill. Providing additional practice that may be somewhat easier can help students build confidence to push through when having difficulty. Also, taking a break from the specific skill and tackling an item the student does well in can help as well.

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

Teaching students critical reading skills will help increase reading comprehension. Getting the student to brainstorm what good readers do will help them focus on the skills they are using and some skills they may need to incorporate into their reading to improve their comprehension. Scanning the reading passage, re-reading sentences or paragraphs that they don't understand, asking themselves what they just read, using context clues for vocabulary they may not know, and taking notes next to each paragraph should help comprehension.

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

Building rapport with the student, using a variety of materials and color, using concept maps to visually see the big picture, using mnemonics (memory helpers), and varied questioning techniques helps guide students in their learning.

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

You have to draw on the student.

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

I would ask a variety of questions that range from knowledge-based to analytical. I would have students demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways: orally, in writing, through demonstration, dioramas, pictures, concept maps, models, raps, and songs. I would offer student choice in demonstrating mastery.

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

You scaffold their learning in steps so that they achieve success along the way.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I assess students in a variety of ways, and focus on two forms of assessment: formative and summative. Students need constructive, consistent, formative feedback to move forward in their learning. This data allows me to adjust my instruction to meet their needs. Summative assessment is used at the end of a unit of study to see what the student has mastered. I like students to self-assess as well.

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

Every student is unique, and I adapt my tutoring accordingly. Some students need more mini breaks during a session depending upon their ability to focus. All students need visuals to support their learning, but some need color-coding while others prefer numbered lists. My formative assessment helps me tailor the tutoring to their needs.

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

I use a variety of concept maps, manipulatives, calculators, highlighters (at least 4 colors), rulers, paper clips, map pencils, sample problems or reading prompts, as well as index cards.