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I am a graduate of the University of South Dakota. I received my Bachelor's in English Education with a minor in Speech Communications and have spent the ensuing years tutoring students in English, Social Studies, and ACT preparation as well as substitute teaching at the largest magnet high school in Chicago and touring with my band, The Kickback. During my college experience, I had the opportunity to tutor incoming college freshmen of promise who were attempting to get ahead in their studies. Later, I had the honor of working with struggling and at-risk students at a nearby alternative school. These divergent experiences paired with the extensive traveling that a life in music has afforded me has helped shape an understanding that people learn, appreciate, and develop their skills differently. There are fewer experiences more rewarding than recognizing one's learning style and working with them to further their knowledge and skill set. Growing up in a large family also granted me the opportunity to learn patience, and I feel that has helped me develop the capacity to connect with students and build a relationship built on respect and mutual understanding. When not working with students, I can be found writing and recording with my band and spending time with my wife.

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Billy’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: The University of South Dakota - Bachelor of Science, English Education, Minor in Speech Education

State Certified Teacher


Performing with my band, The Kickback; Reading; Writing; Watching Netflix with my wife, Gina

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

As a student who grew up with standard direct instruction, I can attest to both the positives and negatives of this approach. I needed to be shown and then made to repeat, repeat, repeat in order to learn and grow. Not every student is that way, but I believe that helping students engage their particular learning style and empowering them to push through problems on their own (with guidance) is the best way to help them become a lifelong learner.

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

Depending on a student's interest level, I do my best to find activities at the beginning and end of a session that can be considered fun to a learn. I have yet to encounter a learner who I don't share at least one interest with, and I work to use that interest to structure the more difficult parts of our learning sessions. Depending on the age of the learner, sometimes several different activities and approaches are required to help solidify different learning styles. My approach to each learner takes some time to dial-in, but I feel it is most effective in the long run to ensure a trusting relationship and a strong learning environment.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Teaching a learner to continue learning is the goal of every teacher and tutor. More important than informational recall and high test scores is the goal to teach a learner that there is an amazing world to encounter and that very little is more rewarding than furthering one's horizons. That said, using a learner's strengths and interests to tackle their studies has always been an ideal approach for me. If a student can try to see a difficult task through the lens with which they like to look at the world, you can encourage not only quality learning, but a love of it.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Different learners require different motivation. Some students respond well to encouragement and praise, and some students are inherently motivated and need to be shown that relaxing and a calm mindset is also an important part of test preparation. Students who require extra motivation can often be encouraged if you know what interests them. Building a relationship of respect and understanding is an integral part of understanding what makes a student push through their own learning boundaries and encourages them to take risks.

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