My goal is to help every one of my students ace their important tests!
The part of tutoring that I love most, though, is watching students experience the transformation of character and self-esteem that can accompany great academic achievement.
I've been teaching, coaching, or tutoring for the last 15 years; my students are able to relax knowing they are in good hands. I have a background in education and performance, and most recently I earned a PhD in a transdiciplinary program exploring 'human and organizational change.' As an educator my strengths are my creativity, experience, and kind-yet-direct guidance.
Whether it be SAT, ACT, ISEE, TOEFL, or HSPT test prep- with my help, your student will be well on his or her way to a rich life filled with learning.
"James is one of the most gifted teachers I have ever encountered: perceptive, kind, challenging, knowledgeable, patient, and no-nonsense all at the same time. He has the unusual ability to see [the student] as a whole person and guide accordingly."
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Santa Barbara - Bachelor of Fine Arts, Theater w/ English Minor
Graduate Degree: California Institute of Integral Studies - PHD, Human and Organizational Transformation
SAT Composite: 2200
SAT Math: 700
SAT Verbal: 750
SAT Writing: 750
hockey, basketball, meditation, live theater
College Level American History
College Level American Literature
College World History
High School English
High School Level American History
High School Level American Literature
High School World History
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I think of myself as an academic coach. Sometimes I teach specific skill sets needed to master an academic subject, but often students need help with developing a winning psychology. Also, I find that there are many study skills (time management, study techniques, memorization skills) that need to be mastered in order to sustain high academic achievement.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Typically, in a first session, we'll spend a little brief time getting to know a little about each other. Then we will spend about ten minutes clarifying a student's goals for the session and for tutoring altogether. The rest of the time is usually spent on a specific and targeted lesson. We usually use the last few minutes to recap what we've done, and set some specific homework actions to be taken before the next session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I always try to start by connecting the student to what they naturally find interesting. If I can rekindle a student's natural passion for learning, then everything becomes easier. If they learn how to 'reconnect' repeatedly during our work together, then eventually they will have a habit that allows them to reconnect to their natural curiosity as they go forward in their education. I also aim to give students specific study skills that make learning anything a more streamlined process.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I tend to continually talk to students about their goals and their 'why' - meaning, if they can connect to why good grades or good test scores matter, they tend to be able to move beyond the short term difficulty and feel connected to the long term pay off. Concurrently, I try to help them find some intrinsic pleasure in the process of learning, and the enjoyment of challenge and growth.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
My first step is usually to slow down and break the difficult skill into smaller pieces. Usually a student struggles because they are skipping steps or they failed to learn a concept from earlier in their education. So we slow down, break the difficult concept into small pieces, and then build from there.