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Renee

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In 2013, I received my Masters Degree in Education from Fort Jones University. My goal as an educator is to create an environment that is conducive to learning for all students, at all levels. My experience and education has provided me with a diversified palette of skills that enable me to create lessons that are interesting, engaging, and relevant to the student. I also individualize my instruction, drawing upon many differentiated learning strategies that will give each student a higher level of academic success. While I tutor a broad range of subjects, the subjects that I am most passionate about teaching are Mathematics, Reading, Writing and assisting students with test preparation. In my spare time, I play the guitar and write songs!

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Renee’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Seton Hall University - Bachelor of Science, Business

Graduate Degree: Fort Jones University - Masters, Education

Hobbies

Playing the guitar and writing songs

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Math

1st Grade Math

1st Grade Reading

1st Grade Writing

2nd Grade Math

2nd Grade Reading

2nd Grade Writing

3rd Grade

3rd Grade Math

3rd Grade Reading

3rd Grade Science

3rd Grade Writing

4th Grade

4th Grade Math

4th Grade Reading

4th Grade Science

4th Grade Writing

5th Grade

5th Grade Math

5th Grade Reading

5th Grade Science

5th Grade Writing

6th Grade Math

6th Grade Reading

6th Grade Science

6th Grade Writing

7th Grade

7th Grade Math

7th Grade Reading

7th Grade Science

7th Grade Writing

8th Grade Math

8th Grade Reading

8th Grade Writing

9th Grade Reading

ACT Math

Adult Literacy

College English

COMPASS Mathematics

Elementary Math

Elementary School

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Science

Elementary School Writing

English

Geometry

GRE Subject Test in Mathematics

Guitar

High School English

HSPT Prep

HSPT Math

ISEE Prep

ISEE- Lower Level

ISEE- Middle Level

ISEE- Primary

ISEE-Upper Level Mathematics Achievement

Math

Middle School

Middle School Math

Middle School Reading

Middle School Science

Middle School Writing

Music

Pre-Algebra

Reading

Science

SSAT Prep

SSAT- Elementary Level

SSAT- Middle Level

STAAR Grades 3-8 Prep

Study Skills and Organization

Test Prep

Writing

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring, and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. It is my desire as an educator to help students meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking, and invites a sharing of ideas. There are three elements that I believe are conducive to establishing such an environment, (1) the teacher acting as a guide, (2) allowing the child's natural curiosity to direct his/her learning, and (3) promoting respect for all things and all people. When the teacher's role is to guide by providing access to information rather than acting as the primary source of information, the students' search for knowledge is met as they learn to find answers to their questions. For students to construct knowledge, they need the opportunity to discover for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations. Providing students access to hands-on activities and allowing adequate time and space to use materials that reinforce the lesson being studied create an opportunity for individual discovery and construction of knowledge to occur. Equally important to self-discovery is having the opportunity to study things that are meaningful and relevant to one's life and interests. Developing a curriculum around student interests fosters intrinsic motivation and stimulates the passion to learn. One way to take learning in a direction relevant to student interest is to invite student dialogue about the lessons and units of study. Given the opportunity for input, students generate ideas and set goals that make for much richer activities than I could have created or imagined myself. When students have ownership in the curriculum, they are motivated to work hard and master the skills necessary to reach their goals. Helping students to develop a deep love and respect for themselves, others, and their environment occurs through an open sharing of ideas and a judicious approach to discipline. When the voice of each student is heard, an environment evolves where students feel free to express themselves. Class meetings are one way to encourage such dialogue. I believe children have greater respect for their teachers, their peers, and the lessons presented when they feel safe and sure of what is expected of them. In setting fair and consistent rules initially and stating the importance of every activity, students are shown respect for their presence and time. In turn, they learn to respect themselves, others, and their environment. For myself, teaching provides an opportunity for continual learning and growth. One of my hopes as an educator is to instill a love of learning in my students, as I share my own passion for learning with them. I feel there is a need for compassionate, strong, and dedicated individuals who are excited about working with children. In our competitive society, it is important for students to not only receive a solid education, but also to work with someone who is aware of and sensitive to their individual needs. I am such a person and will always strive to be the best educator that I can be.

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

Get to know the student on all levels. Establishing a good rapport with students is key to success! To me, success is not just having the knowledge, but is also having the ability to communicate effectively. If a tutor learns about their student on all levels and the student is comfortable with the tutor, then together they will reach a greater degree of success!

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

There are as many paths down which we could travel as there are lessons we could teach. With that said, these three approaches have been extremely effective for me as a facilitator of instruction. With the first approach, I must think critically about whether or not to intervene in any given situation. Sometimes it will be appropriate -- necessary even -- sometimes it won't. In these latter cases, it will often be better to say something along the lines of: 'Try to solve it yourself first,' or, 'Come up with three possible solutions and try them out before asking me,' or even a question such as: 'Well, what do you think is the best way to proceed and why?' I have found that repeating this approach over time cultivates a habit of independence in the students that I teach. A second technique I have found useful involves setting up activities in which pupils are given a framework within which they have to make various choices. By providing options and choices within that framework, I am encouraging them to make decisions and to be independent. The third and final approach involves formative feedback. This is feedback that gives students a clear sense of what they need to do to improve. Effective formative feedback encourages students to be independent because it allows them to take control of their own learning. If they know what they need to do to improve, they are in a position to make those improvements, therefore acting independently. Creating independent learners is a long-term project. It is about cultivation, the development of habits of mind over the course of months or longer. By focusing on this goal, I am able to step back, safe in the knowledge that the faith I have in my students is justified and that they are working truly independently.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would help a student stay motivated by trying to establish connections to the real world with the content that he or she is studying.

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

I would try to assess what type of learner the student is and create a lesson that focuses on his or her style of learning. I would also try to find a way to break it down in another way, so as to enhance understanding of that concept.

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

In order to help students struggling with reading comprehension, I would employ the following strategies: Before reading, I would help students tap into what they already know about the material. This is important because their existing knowledge, experience, and preconceptions will have an impact on their reading. Before assigning them to begin a new book, chapter, or other text, I would give them a chance to review what they learned from previous assignments, write down any important questions or points of confusion related to the topic, and/or discuss any assumptions or opinions likely to influence their understanding of the material. I would also provide important background information. For example, using vocabulary, specialized terminology, context, and content that students might not know, but which they'll need in order to make sense of the text. I would have students preview the text by encouraging students to glance through the material before they read it, in order to get a sense of the overall length, tone, and direction of the piece. I'd point out any headings, subheadings, and other information that might be useful, or have them discuss or write down predictions as to what the text is likely to say. During reading, I would help students monitor their own comprehension. I would also teach students to take notes and draw visual representations of what they read. It may not occur to students that they can read with a pen in their hand, making notes on paper or, when appropriate, on the text itself. A great deal of research has shown that the use of "graphic organizers" -- any kind of outline, annotation, mapping out of the text, or other visual representation of what the text means, how it connects to other material, what questions it raises, and so on -- tend to be particularly helpful in boosting comprehension. After reading, I would teach students to summarize accurately. Summarizing texts can help both to clear up any confusion about the meaning of a text, and to secure it more firmly in students' memories. However, it can take a lot of practice to become adept at writing concise, accurate summaries that focus on main points and skip extraneous information. I would provide samples for the students and model their own work, showing how they would identify key points, paraphrase them, and condense them. I would start this process by assigning students relatively short, simple passages to start with before going on to summarize longer and more complicated texts. Discuss the text. Probably the most important comprehension strategy of all -- but one that is surprisingly rare in the nation's secondary classrooms -- is to give students frequent and extensive opportunities to discuss what they've read. I would develop provocative questions, keep the conversation focused, and guide them during the conversation. I have found these strategies to be very helpful to a student who is struggling with reading comprehension.

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

At the beginning of our session, I would just be to talk to the student. The purpose of this would be to open the lines of communication between me and the student or students that I am tutoring. A student is not going to learn anything from their teacher if the student does not want to communicate with the teacher. Simple verbal communication is a non-threatening way. Based on just talking to the students, the teacher can decide various teaching strategies to help his/her students. As a teacher/tutor, I think it is important to establish a comfortable verbal rapport with the students so they feel comfortable expressing their concerns to me during our sessions. The lines of communication must also be established, not just with the student, but to all those involved in the process; that is, the parents or guardians, as well as the teachers that the student interacts with on a daily basis, especially the teacher of the content area that the student is struggling with. I would ask the parent for the teacher's email, and I would send an introductory email to the teacher to open the lines of communication. This is very important so that there is collaboration with me and the teacher in the development of strategies that would be most effective for the student. I would also develop a pre-assessment to determine the skills that the student needs assistance with in order for the student to reach academic proficiency in that content area.

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

Using what I already know about the student in terms of their hobbies and interests, I would find a fun way to teach that content to the student.

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