I am an undergraduate student at St. John’s University working on a major in psychology with minors in English and philosophy. I am also currently in the process of applying to Ph.D. programs in quantitative psychology. I have had three years of experience tutoring writing at the St. John’s writing center, and I have tutored several students in other subjects such as psychology and the verbal portion of the GRE. Of all the tutoring I have done though, my favorite subject is writing. Many people struggle with writing, or think that they are not very good at it, but I think everyone has something worthwhile to write and helping people to bring that out is quite rewarding. I see learning as a two way street, and as a tutor I view every session as a chance to both share my knowledge of a subject with my student while at the same time allowing theirs to enrich my own. In my free time I enjoy reading fantasy novels, hiking, and playing video games.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: St. John's University - Bachelor in Arts, Psychology
ACT Composite: 30
ACT English: 31
ACT Reading: 33
GRE Quantitative: 163
Reading, Video Games, and Dungeons & Dragons
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching Philosophy is that anyone can learn as long as they are willing to try hard and they have a teacher who understands their needs.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to start out getting to know new students, what they think they need help with, what they have found does and does not work for them, and what they hope to get out of their tutoring experience.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can teach students the techniques I have picked up over the years while imparting them with the confidence to use them well.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
My strategy for motivating students often differs depending on the student in question. I find almost all students learn best in an environment where their successes are emphasized and praised, and that many students just need confirmation that the work they are doing is difficult, and if they keep at it they can pull through. I also try to keep sessions fun so it is easier for both of us to continue when dealing with difficult material.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
My first step when tackling something a student has difficulty with is trying to identify what it is that is causing their struggle. Once I have identified that, I try to present the material in a way that avoids that difficulty.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is a skill many people struggle with, and a lot of the time I find that their struggles arise from lack of focus due to the nature of the material and a preexisting mentality that they don't read very well. I try to teach students how to identify the important sections of reading material, when and how to use skimming and speed-reading techniques to get through longer passages, and how to take effective notes on tough passages.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The most effective strategy I've found is trying to find some common ground over which we can establish rapport. Once that is done, things tend to go a lot more smoothly.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Many people don't get to use the interesting or applied aspects of what they are learning; they fail to see how what they are learning applies to their lives. I find that by pointing out the interesting aspects of the topic at hand, students become more interested in the topic and engaged in the learning process.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Psychological science has shown that low-stakes testing is one of the most effective methods for learning. I think that giving impromptu, oral quizzes on the material helps the student learn better, while giving me a sense of what they already know and what they still need to work on.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence building is heavily dependent on what a student is getting out of their tutoring experience. Some students come in knowing a good deal about a subject and are struggling only in one area, so for those students highlighting their existing prowess and showing how they are progressing through our sessions helps to increase morale. For students who struggle with several aspects of a subject, or at least perceive that they struggle, showing them how they can actually learn and sharing stories about how people I have helped in the past learned can help them to challenge their preconceived notions that they struggle in a subject.