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I graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Since that time, my work and passion have been to focus on mentoring learning, from clarifying and breaking down the steps in algebra problems to revealing and instructing on the fundamentals of grammar. My educational positions include years of teaching international folk dance to middle schoolers, which involves learning geography and social studies, tutoring in middle-school and high-school classrooms, teaching English as a second language to adults, and one-on-one tutoring in Math and Language Arts. I tutor Math up through Algebra II, middle and high school English & grammar, and the core subjects of middle school. My intent, when tutoring, is to responsively connect with students, so that they can engage in understanding their subject and acquire learning tools to attack new material confidently. My favorite subjects to tutor are English, Math, and Social Studies. Studying U.S. and World History is a personal passion; delving into STEM topics, such as 3D printing, microbiology, and chemistry, is a self-educating goal. I believe education is inspiring the desire to engage in learning, then, providing lucid instruction so that the individual can pursue formal and self education for life.

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Michelle’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Oregon State University - Bachelor in Arts, Sociology


Music, hiking, birding, reading.

Tutoring Subjects

ACT Writing



Algebra 2



College English

College Essays

COMPASS Mathematics


COMPASS Writing Skills

Elementary Math

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

GED Prep

GED Math

GED Reasoning Through Language Arts

GED Science

GED Social Studies


High School English



ISEE- Lower Level

ISEE- Middle Level



Middle School

Middle School Math






Social Sciences




SSAT- Elementary Level

SSAT- Middle Level

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Test Prep


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

A simple and practical teaching philosophy: investigate what the student is trying to learn, meet them mentally where they express their understanding by their own report and explanation, question where the point of confusion is, and then offer different ways to explain the problem/solution and see which engages the student's understanding. Ask questions to lead the student to figure out their situation, offer methods of approach, and be flexible.

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

During the first session with a student I ask questions about their subject of choice, and I listen to what they say. I bring assessment materials in the subject they have asked to study, and have them respond to a broad selection of problems. Usually, the areas that are difficult pop up, as well as the areas the student proves to be strong in. Then we work from there.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By asking them questions. Questions cause the student to think, assemble, wonder, clarify, reorganize, and discover their learning needs.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Remind them of what they know, what areas and skills they are strong in, and commend their progress. I encourage them to learn for themselves, not for just the teachers. I love to learn new things; it's a life attitude. Hopefully this outlook rubs off.

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

Find where the understanding ends and the point of confusion begins. Once that POC is isolated, I try to work with examples, pictures, explanations, and simpler problems using the same concept.

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

Reading comprehension is a complex skill. One of the building blocks is vocabulary; it's difficult to understand a sentence when key terms are undefined by the reader. After a reader goes through a few sentences, I ask them to explain what they understand. One chunk of reading at a time. Then, we summarize idea blocks, again through asking questions and restating understanding.

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

Ask them what they know in the subject area at hand. All students know more than they think. Validate their skill set by finding their strengths and revealing these to the students. Ask them what they wish to work on.

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

Give tangible examples of where this subject is applied, and how people use the information they are trying to digest. Be excited about the subject myself!

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

Ask questions. Give them the opportunity to tell me the narrative of their topic. Use sample problem sets. Repetition is our friend: repeat weekly concepts learned until they are well ingrained.

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

Acknowledge their hard work. Show them their progress--where they began and how far they have come.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Ask them what they need. Watch which problems repeat themselves.

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

Whatever works for the student, I am happy to provide. There are few 'right' ways to learn; an answer is usually one correct response, but how someone arrives or navigates to that response is variable.

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

Textbooks in the students' subject area that give good examples. Photocopies of the students' worksheets or problems that I know they are studying. Myriad reading materials. Phonics sheets for improving reading. Many multi-level problem sets or assessment lists to try on students to evaluate what they can do. Lots of scratch paper, lined paper, and a calculator.

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