I am a recent graduate of Colorado College. I graduated from CC with a Bachelor of Arts in French, and minored in education. In the fall, I will be starting a Masters in French with a concentration in pedagogy at Georgia State University. After graduating, I intend to become a French teacher, at either the elementary or high school level. For fun, I mainly enjoy making chain mail jewelry, practicing karate, and reading, although I love learning new skills.
In college, people often asked me, "Why are you majoring in French?" The answer was never difficult: French is my passion. I love French, and I want others to learn to love it too. That's why, when I teach, I try to make the subject as relevant to the student as possible. I understand that not everyone loves what I do, but I want to help them find something to enjoy in it. For example, while helping in an AP/IB French classroom in Colorado Springs, I mixed historical context in with literature and grammar, which kept the students interested and engaged.
After saying that I wanted to teach, the next question has often been "Why?" Again the answer is simple being in education for me is an extremely fulfilling experience. While in college, I took multiple teaching methods courses, where I received instruction in--among other things--lesson planning and differentiation, particularly important skills in individual tutoring. I also gained practical experience with students of all ages. In an informal capacity while in college, I also tutored my peers in French, and helped many of them with essay writing, as many of the essay writing skills that I improved as a French major are easily transferable to English language essays. I have also helped others in subjects outside of French; as a member of Norcross High School's and Colorado College's mock trial teams, I supported new members of the team and helped them improve their public speaking skills.
Education for me is about learning that sticks. I want to tailor what I teach as much as possible to each student so that the subject is more than just memorized facts and points of grammar, it becomes a subject relevant to the student somehow.
Colorado College - BA, French and Francophone Studies
AP Calculus AB: 4
AP English Language: 4
AP US History: 4
AP World History: 5
AP Psychology: 5
AP Macroeconomics: 4
AP U.S. Government & Politics: 5
AP US History
College Level American History
High School Level American History
High School World History
IB Language A: Language and Literature
What is your teaching philosophy?
When I first started taking education classes, one of my professors told us about two different styles of teaching. The first was a teacher who "filled a bucket," with the bucket being the student, and the teacher's job being to "fill them up" with facts and ideas. The second was a teacher simply helped the student find a hose, turn on the water, and then helped the student fill the bucket with a second hose. I want to be that second teacher, who guides students, and helps them form their own ideas, with the aid of the facts and information that I provide. As a teacher, I want students to be able to do more than regurgitate facts; I want what I have taught to stick with them, whether that be an interpretation of a text that was significant somehow, or an ability to hold a short or long conversation in French, or if it simply adds to the subject that they are truly passionate about. From my experience, that sort of significance will only happen if I give students a reason to be engaged, other than "I have to learn this." So, when I plan lessons, I try to make them as engaging as possible, bringing in the student's interests and requests whenever I can. An important piece of teaching this way, though, is reflecting on my methods and their effectiveness, and checking in with students to make sure their goals are being met. That way, I can continue to be an effective teacher, and students are also given the chance to stay engaged learners, since they are expected to stay aware of their goals.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, I'd get to know them! I would want to know why they are studying the subject, and why they wanted a tutor. I would ask what kind of experience they have with the subject or any related subjects, and what they wanted out of tutoring. I would also want to know who they are as people, what their interests are, and what drives them. I would introduce myself. And then we would start with basics, either reviewing or starting from scratch. After spending time with the basics, me learning some of how they learn, and them learning some of how I teach, I would take 5-10 minutes to start to make a plan with the student of how future tutoring sessions might look.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By finding out what interests them! As a tutor, I want to structure my lessons so that one of the things that I bring to each lesson is an openness for the student to bring things to the lesson. If a student is interested in politics/music/drama/etc., I'm going to relate the way I teach the subject as closely as possible to those interests. I will provide students with as many resources that they can use independently (such as movies/articles/videos/books/etc.) as I can. That way, as they feel more confident, they can use the resources I provided as either a jumping off point to find new materials or as a guide on where to begin their own search.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
The first thing I do is try to explain the concept in a different way. That might mean rephrasing, or it might mean acting it out or drawing it. If the concept still isn't understood, I would take a short break to briefly talk about another skill or concept. That way, frustrations don't build up. After that break, the student and I would "start fresh." Then, I would demonstrate (if possible) the skill several times, talking through each example so that the student could see an example of the thought process before having the opportunity to try again. If at that point the student is still having difficulty, I would direct them towards other resources that may explain the concept in a way they can better understand. I'd then go over it again at the next session.