I graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M University with a BA in Classics, Greek focus, and a minor in Japanese. I then graduated with merit with a MA in ancient history from The University of Nottingham in England. I have six years of tutoring experience in English language arts and foreign languages, and I love to help students reach their learning goals. I have experience with attention deficit students and know that every student is an individual requiring individualized lessons and study strategies. I currently tutor in English language arts, Reading, Latin, Greek, and Japanese. My teaching philosophy consists of two points: 1) each student is an individual and must be taught with personalized strategies in order to meet their personalized goal and 2) laughter makes information stick! I do my best to make my lessons fun, engaging, and interesting to my students. I am a challenging instructor, but patient; I do not expect the impossible, but I love to help my students achieve the impossible. My hobbies include reading, creative writing, singing, jogging, blogging, watching foreign television, and of course studying languages! I look forward to meeting you, learning what your interests and goals are, and helping you achieve them.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Texas A & M University-College Station - Bachelor in Arts, Classics - Greek focus, Japanese minor
Graduate Degree: The University of Nottingham - Master of Arts, Ancient History
ACT Composite: 30
ACT English: 36
ACT Reading: 32
GRE Verbal: 159
reading, writing, singing, jogging, watching foreign television, studying languages
4th Grade Reading
5th Grade Reading
6th Grade Reading
6th Grade Writing
7th Grade Reading
7th Grade Writing
8th Grade Writing
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
Middle School Reading
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy consists of two points: 1) each student is an individual and must be taught with personalized strategies in order to meet their personalized goal and 2) laughter makes information stick!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I spend ten to fifteen minutes talking with the student about what they personally think they need. Afterward, I'll spend as much time as necessary evaluating for myself what I think the student needs. The first session is for me to learn how best to approach teaching my student and what I ought to approach first!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I teach independence by asking the student to learn independently even when I am present! Of course, each student is different and needs varying amounts of help, but I don't give all the answers or help with every difficulty. I give my students what they need to succeed, direct them as much or as little as necessary, and let them handle the rest! My end goal is always for students to feel confident that they will be able to continue accomplishing their goals even after they've given up lessons with me.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I believe in the power of fun and confidence! If it's possible to make something fun, I try that first. Some students lack motivation because they lack confidence. For these students, it is most important to give them a taste of what it feels to succeed at what they once thought impossible. That feeling is addictive! If a student gets a taste of that, motivation follows!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
This never happens because a student is too "dumb" to understand. It happens because they lack the basic knowledge necessary, the confidence, and the right angle of explanation for them to understand. It is my job to ferret out exactly what the cause of the problem is and eliminate it. In short, if a student has difficulty learning something, it's time for me to do my homework, find out why, and come up with a specific plan!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Many people don't realize that difficulty with reading comprehension can stem from various different causes. The first step is to find out what specifically is causing the student's problem. The most common difficulty, I find, is that the student has learned that there is only one answer to a question and that answering questions is more important than understanding the reading selection as a whole. Other causes include lacking vocabulary, dyslexia, lack of enjoyment in reading, attention deficit, and others. Each of these difficulties requires a different plan to help the student.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find that the best strategy is to begin asking questions. Students of any age respond well to feeling like their perspective matters, even if that perspective is that they don't think they need help! This is also critical in helping me figure out what sort of personality and academic history I'm working with. Helping a student who comes from a rigorous academic background and thinks he needs no help is very different from helping one with a learning disability who thinks he can't succeed.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Of course, it helps to be excited myself, but that's not enough. Excitement, in my experience, is not something you give a student; it's something that is already there and must be drawn out. Accordingly, my strategy is always to find out what sort of things already excite my student and use that! If a student is competitive, for example, I can foster excitement by playing to the student's competitive nature!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
My first step is always to have the student at some point repeat back to me my explanation. If they can do that, I ask them to use the concept in some way to demonstrate their understanding. If they can do that, I move on to a concept that incorporate the one they've just learned. If they are still following at that point, I know they've got it!
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Slowly and by tricking the student. By this, I mean that 1) it takes time and 2) one of the best ways to increase a student's confidence is to make them feel that you are helping more than you are. If the student feels that you are there and helping, they feel more confident in performing their best. If you do it right, you can make them feel that they are being helped even when they are not. When they figure out that they've been doing it themselves all along, you can see the confidence come over them!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
With lots of questions, first of all! Students respond well to being given the first say, and I can learn a lot from not only what the student says but also the way the student says it. Depending on the subject, I then will walk the student through some evaluative exercises geared toward helping the student show off what they do know while I simultaneously pay attention to what they don't. This is a critical time for building or shoring up confidence, so I take great care to make my evaluation period very positive rather than making it a time when the student has to face the shame of everything they don't know.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
A lot of it has to do with personality and learning style. There is no trick to adapting to a student's needs; it just means that I have pay a lot of attention and get creative!
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to keep things very simple. I rarely bring in materials outside of paper and writing utensils, because I believe in teaching students how to succeed using their own power. Things like flash cards, for example, can be a great help to students, so I do sometimes use them. However, I find that many students come to believe that they cannot succeed if something doesn't fit on a flash card well. Some students even are of the personality that thinks that if they make flashcards and use them then they will absolutely learn everything and be great students! I try to avoid these pitfalls by teaching my students to use what is already around them and their own five senses first, then supplement with learning aids only as necessary.