I grew up in Southern California and attended Eagle Rock High School and California State University, Los Angeles, majoring in history and minoring in creative writing. I also went back to Calstate LA to get my MA in History.
I ushered at the Hollywood Bowl the summer after high school graduation, and for several years worked part-time as an usher, ticket-taker, and then supervising senior usher at the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, also known as the Music Center. I briefly tutored students in pre-Algebra math in a Community College Foundation program in 2006. Since December 2007, I've worked at Griffith Observatory, for a few months as an Assistant Park Services Attendant, then as a Museum Guide for several years, then as a Telescope Demonstrator, and most recently back to Museum Guide, which proved to be a better fit.
I spent eight months in 2012 and 2013 as a prep cook at a contemplative retreat center in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I have independently tutored one student in pre-Algebra and Algebra 1. I'm also an aspiring writer of fiction, and recently obtained a California Substitute Teaching Permit, which I hope to make professional use of soon.
I'm interested in helping persons of all ages to learn and understand history and the sciences. I find that the social and natural sciences, and various particular subjects that may seem disconnected, can connect or can be connected in a book or a lecture, in interesting and surprising ways.
In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing fiction, computer games (mainly Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Sims: Medieval, and Hearts of Iron II), Living History/re-enactment events, and the occasional movie or TV show.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: California State University-Los Angeles - Bachelor in Arts, History
Graduate Degree: California State University-Los Angeles - Master of Arts, History
Science fiction, fantasy, tabletop roleplaying, Star Wars, history, writing fiction, Living History
AP US History
College Level American History
College World History
High School Chemistry
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
High School World History
Latin America History
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I feel that every student's needs are different, and it's important to assist each student in a way that addresses their particular talents and areas that need improvement. I also feel that teaching should be about learning to think and understand-- not simply memorizing information. One important way to facilitate learning is by finding ways to connect the subject to the student's life experience and existing interests. Research shows people in general remember information better if it means something to them.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Assess in greater depth the student's needs, what areas within the subject of the tutoring they are strong and weak in, and what the nature and degree of the desired improvement are, as well as the student's general interests and goals. I would speak to the student about their relationship to the subjects we are to work on, and depending on the subject might try them out on some practice problems or questions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By helping them learn to think critically, to use appropriate methods of analysis, and to understand the conceptual underpinnings of the subjects they struggle with. Helping students to enjoy learning and connect it with their own interests, and to understand how their interests and life goals relate to the subject at hand, will also aid them in learning independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would help a student stay motivated by reminding them of their initial motivation at relevant times. I would also help the student to see a long class or course of study as composed of many smaller units, and to break it down conceptually into more manageable chunks.