A photo of Gabrielle, a tutor from Fordham University

Gabrielle

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I received my BA in English with a minor in mathematics at Fordham University, where I was a member of the honors program and a National Merit Scholar. I also spent a year studying literature at the University of Oxford and traveling across Europe. I have an MFA in creative writing from Bowling Green State University, and in August I’ll begin my second year in the PhD program in English at the University of Georgia. My fiction has been published in national journals and literary magazines, and I’ve also worked as both a professional journalist and a freelance editor.

My teaching experience is varied, and I’m comfortable with a wide variety of subjects, ability levels, and ages. At Fordham University, I was a peer tutor in English, composition, and calculus, and at Bowling Green State University, I spent two years teaching composition and creative writing. I’ve also worked as a substitute high school teacher in subjects including English, mathematics, Spanish, history, technology, and I’ve spent a semester teaching English language and culture at a high school in northern Spain. Currently, I teach first-year composition and literature at the University of Georgia.

I primarily tutor in writing, literature, mathematics, and SAT and GRE test prep. My main passion is opening students’ eyes to the possibilities of the written word, and my extensive writing experience makes me an especially useful resource for anyone who needs help with essays and other writing assignments. I’m an engaging tutor who likes to introduce students to new strategies and resources as well as encourage them to improve on what’s already working. I believe that self-guided learning is an important key to everyone’s development, and in my tutoring sessions we work on developing all the academic tools a student needs to succeed.

Beyond education, I love writing, music, and the arts. In my free time I can usually be found traveling, taking walks, or hanging out with friends or a good book at the local coffee shop.

Gabrielle’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Fordham University - Bachelor in Arts, English

Graduate Degree: Bowling Green State University-Main Campus - Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing

Graduate Degree: University of Georgia - PHD, Creative Writing

Test Scores

SAT Composite: 2300

SAT Math: 730

SAT Verbal: 800

SAT Writing: 770

GRE Verbal: 169

GRE Analytical Writing: 5.5

Hobbies

Reading, writing, music, travel, running, hiking, cooking, arts.


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I’m an engaging tutor who likes to introduce students to new strategies and resources, as well as encourage them to improve on what’s already working. I believe that self-guided learning is an important key to everyone’s development, and in my tutoring sessions we work on developing not only specific areas of knowledge but also all the academic tools a student needs to succeed. I genuinely enjoy teaching, and I aim to be supportive, patient, and adaptive to my students' needs, regardless of the subject.

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

I spend most first sessions getting to know my student’s personality, learning styles, needs, and goals through an informal chat. I also like to ascertain my student’s familiarity with the subject matter, so I often follow up our conversation with a series of practice problems (for test prep students) or a writing exercise. By the end of the session, I aim to have a plan in place for how we’ll move forward: what type of work we’ll do together in our sessions, what I’ll ask the student to do for homework, and what type of strategies I’ll use to help the student succeed!

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Generally speaking, I find that it’s most helpful to be clear, consistent, and methodical when modeling independent learning. I first teach students new skills and techniques (e.g. a geometry formula, a stylistic writing tip). Next, I work on teaching them how to ascertain which techniques are necessary for which situations and how to apply those techniques without consulting me or their textbook. Lastly, through strategic homework assignments, I check students’ retention and progress. By building students’ confidence and setting them good challenges along the way, I help them learn to work independently.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

To help a struggling student stay motivated, I first have to ascertain why they’re experiencing a lack of motivation. Sometimes it’s an aversion to the subject matter, in which case we can switch directions or find more exciting ways to engage with required curricula. Sometimes it’s a sense of hopelessness (especially when the material hasn’t been presented clearly in the past or when the student has struggled consistently to learn it), in which case we can go back to foundational concepts and advance incrementally so that the student feels more self-assured and less frustrated. And sometimes it’s a simple case of setting clear goals and expectations and identifying rewards once the student has met them.

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

When a student is struggling, I usually ask a series of questions to try to determine the root of the difficulty. Depending on the student’s answers, I might rephrase an idea, break down a skill or concept into smaller parts, provide necessary background material, or assign specific targeted homework activities.

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

Problems with reading comprehension are usually linked to a few specific problems, the most common of which is not being a regular reader. When I know I’ll be working with a student on reading comprehension for several months, I immediately work to identify books/articles they’ll enjoy and implement a daily reading schedule for them. Over time, this is often enough to improve a student’s reading comprehension. I also have a variety of vocabulary resources, apps, and activities to help target more specific reading difficulties.

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

For me, most successful way to begin tutoring is to ask my students good questions, listen carefully to their answers, and do my best to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses so that we can move forward accordingly. No two students are alike, so customizing a learning plan for each one is essential to being a good tutor!

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

Again, it’s important to identify why the student is struggling in the first place. The thing that most boosts confidence is succeeding at something difficult, so if I can find a way to help a student succeed at a subject they’ve struggled with in the past, the excitement and enthusiasm takes care of itself.

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

Checking for comprehension and retention are key parts of my job. If I’ve introduced a new topic the previous week, I make sure to assign homework that tests that topic in some way. I also make sure to ask follow-up questions about that topic in subsequent sessions. I’m attentive to times when the student seems hesitant or tentative, which often indicates that they’ve forgotten or failed to understand something. In that case, a quick refresher often does the trick.

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

Lots of encouragement, not moving too quickly (or too slowly!), and being sure to point out students’ achievements along the way are key to building confidence.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Through our initial conversations, I figure out what the students wants to accomplish-- a specific test score, a particular final grade, or a general proficiency in a subject. Then, through diagnostic quizzes, writing prompts, and other activities, I assess how close or far a student is to accomplishing that goal. Based on that information, I can evaluate what the student needs in order to succeed.

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

I can be strict or lenient, explain concepts quickly or slowly, assign little or lots of homework, and keep sessions consistent or vary our activities according to interest level. It all depends on the student’s proficiency, skill, experience, time demands, and personality.

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

For writing sessions, I rely on a vast collection of generative prompts, lesson plans, and revision activities. We spend most of our time working firsthand with the student’s own writing, although I’ll occasionally draw in examples of strong writing to demonstrate certain skills. For test prep sessions, I use the online practice questions as well as the student’s test prep book of choice. I also have a variety of apps, online games, and auxiliary resources to support students’ learning.