Accomplished professional educator with advanced experience utilizing traditional and innovative platforms and training methodologies. Commitment to quality education strategies that emphasize the personal development of students. Creative and innovative in applying both academic and behavioral strategies promoting optimal student success. Experience in working in a diverse, multicultural community of learners. Enthusiastic approach to teaching, learning, and life.
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor - Bachelors, Elementary Education
Loyola University-Chicago - Masters, Education Administration
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School Biology
High School Chemistry
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Science
Middle School Writing
What is your teaching philosophy?
"If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." (Abraham Maslow) As a teacher, it is my responsibility to give my students a full tool bag to help them take on different problems and new lessons with confidence. I use differentiated instruction and backwards design to make learning more meaningful for learners. I approach the same content from many angles to widen the perspective of how to view the new material and to deepen the level of understanding. I use familiar tools when introducing new ones to make learning more approachable. The tool bag is woven together by the strong relationship I build with my students. Learning is a partnership that is built on trust and respect between a student and teacher. As an educator, I get to know my students and help them gain the skills and awareness of how they learn best, how to advocate for themselves, and how to reach their potential. Together, we view problems as opportunities to use new tools.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I often do a puzzle to ease the tension and as an opportunity to remind my students there are many right ways to approach learning. I also have my students complete a learning inventory to help assess how the student perceives his/her strengths and weaknesses and to set goals.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Building a student's confidence is essential to helping a student become an independent learner. Praise and identifying what a student is doing well with the learning process goes a long way. Asking the student questions to promote metacognition fosters self-awareness that boosts independence. Creating cue cards and graphic organizers as tools for the student to use can be a helpful scaffold. Modeling how to study and how to approach problems is effective. Giving a student a variety of opportunities to demonstrate mastery of learning, and then reflecting on what helped him/her be successful promotes a deeper understanding of the material and of him/herself as a learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
You need to reduce frustration and regain confidence, interest, and trust. If a student is having difficulty learning a skill or concept, it can be helpful to go back to familiar material and what the student had success with. Connect the new material to this familiar material. It is also helpful to present the new material in a variety of ways - using graphic organizers, hands-on activities, demonstrations, chunking the material in smaller pieces, etc.. The student might also be having difficulty because he/she cannot see the how the new skill fits into the big picture of the unit or its real-world application. Being transparent and connecting new concepts to what is familiar, what is of interest, how it is relevant, and offering different perspectives of how to approach it will help a student be successful. And most of all, listen to the student for misconceptions that might be interrupting the learning.