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I am a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Arizona. I have my BA in European History from UCSC and my MA in Modern European History from U of A, and am currently pursuing my PhD in Modern European History at the University of Arizona. After completing my BA, I joined Teach For America and taught 7th grade Social Studies for two years, earning my Initial Educator's Certificate in the process. Teach For America, professional development through my school, and the Columbia Teachers College Reading & Writing Project all gave me valuable skills for teaching students of all different abilities and readiness to learn. These organizations also taught me how to motivate students and keep them invested in learning.
After deciding to return to school, I began working as an instructor at Sylvan Learning Center, which gave me experience teaching students of all ages in a wide range of subjects. In addition to working at Sylvan, I also have experience as a TA and course leader for students at the University of Arizona taking classes in history. I have taught and tutored K-8 math, reading at all levels (from phonics development to critical anaylsis of texts), study skills, SAT preparation, social studies, and history at the high school and undergraduate level.
While each subject is rewarding in its own way, as you may have guessed from this statement, I love history. Getting students to realize the joys of history and to see it as the fantastic unfolding of human events that it is represents one of my favorite experiences as a teacher. As a teacher, I've learned that every student can learn given the right circumstances. As a tutor and teacher, it's my job to work with the student to figure out how they learn so that I know how to teach them. Education is never a one-size-fits-all endeavor!
When I'm not teaching or working towards my degree, I enjoy spending time with my family, from talking about silly TV shows with my sister to playing video games with my nephews. Whether it's the latest pop-country single or a Tom Waits deep-cut, I also love talking about, listening to, and playing music.

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Sofia’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Santa Cruz - Bachelor in Arts, European History

Test Scores

SAT Verbal: 720


British comedy, playing and listening to music, dancing, and reading

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

2nd Grade Reading

2nd Grade Writing

3rd Grade Math

3rd Grade Reading

3rd Grade Writing

4th Grade Math

4th Grade Reading

4th Grade Writing

5th Grade Math

5th Grade Reading

5th Grade Writing

6th Grade Math

6th Grade Reading

6th Grade Writing

7th Grade Math

7th Grade Reading

7th Grade Writing

8th Grade Reading

8th Grade Writing

9th Grade Reading

9th Grade Writing

Adult Literacy

AP English Language and Composition

AP European History

AP U.S. Government & Politics

AP United States History

AP US History

AP World History

College English

College Essays

College Level American History

College World History

Comparative Literature

Elementary Algebra

Elementary Math

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

European History

Expository Writing

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Verbal

High School English

High School Level American History

High School World History

High School Writing


Homework Support



Middle School

Middle School Math

Middle School Reading

Middle School Writing




PSAT Critical Reading


SAT Reading

SAT Subject Test in United States History

SAT Subject Test in World History

SAT Subject Tests Prep

SAT Writing and Language

Social Studies

Special Education

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Test Prep

US History

World Civilization

World History


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that every student can succeed with the right strategy. Part of my job is to work with my students to figure out their academic, intellectual, and emotional needs that will all combine to help them become the best possible student. It's only when we know where we need to go that we can begin our journey.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I believe that as a successful tutor, I'll eventually work myself out of a job, and helping students become independent learners is part of that. An important step in students becoming independent learners is making sure they have strategies in place to help them understand new or challenging material. Sometimes, this involves teaching students reading and note-taking techniques. Sometimes it involves brainstorming answers to the question "What would you do if I wasn't here?" when a problem comes up. All of these approaches help students develop independence.

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

If a student has a hard time learning a skill or concept, I would break down the skill into its foundational parts. Then, I would make sure that the student understands each of those parts before we put them together into a bigger skill. I might also try teaching it from a new perspective, or try a variety of examples--I usually have whiteboards handy to draw pictures or diagrams for visual learners, for instance. Ultimately, my approach depends on what a student needs. Sometimes, the best approach is simply to switch gears to a different subject for a little while and come back to the problem with fresh eyes.

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

I think that recognition and praise are really important parts of developing a student's confidence in a subject. Recognizing what students already know how to do, and do well, is helpful. I also think that recognizing when students have the courage to ask for help is really important. Combined, this approach helps students realize that one mistake doesn't undo all of their past successes. Finally, praising positive work habits or approaches helps students keep doing what they're doing right, instead of feeling like they need to throw out everything they're doing when something doesn't go well. As a result, students begin to build the perseverance and confidence they need.

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