A passionate and committed educator, I have over seven years of experience working to help students realize their potential. Upon graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, I worked as a tutoring and mentoring program director with Arizonans for Children. After that post, I obtained my graduate degree and worked as a researcher at Teachers College, Columbia University. From there, I moved into the classroom as a teaching fellow with Success Academy Charter Schools, and, most recently, as a New York City Teaching Fellow and tenured New York City high school special education teacher. I hold one master's degree in Counseling Psychology from Teachers College, one in Special Education from Brooklyn College, and a certificate in blended learning and computer science education from Pace University. From these diverse experiences, I have acquired a flexible toolkit of strategies for connecting with students, understanding their needs, and helping them thrive. As a true lifelong learner, I have an infectious curiosity and enthusiasm for learning that I use to inspire and empower students. Outside of my professional life, I enjoy spending time with my wife and family, playing and watching sports (baseball especially), and finding new and interesting reading or podcast material.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Pennsylvania - Bachelor in Arts, Political Science and Government
Graduate Degree: Columbia University, Teachers College - Masters in Education, Counseling Psychology
GRE Verbal: 730
Family, reading/podcasts, sports (especially baseball), trivia, food/cooking
Elementary School Math
High School Business
High School English
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
The focus of every tutor and educator must be to educate the whole child. In my work to educate holistically, I will communicate my high expectations for the student's effort in a way that empowers and inspires. I will also relentlessly use student data and evidence-based teaching strategies to push for dramatic gains in student achievement. This student-centered and data-driven approach will allow me to effectively differentiate my instruction based on the various individual needs of my students. Whenever possible, I will model and cultivate higher order thinking skills.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
For tutoring to be successful, there must be a strong working relationship present. Students must feel comfortable to push themselves and take academic risks. The first tutoring session should therefore lay the groundwork for this relationship through a brief academic/social ice breaker, norm and goal setting, and, finally, assessment. After the first tutoring session, both the tutor and the student should know what to expect in future sessions, and there should be some rapport so both can hit the ground running in the next session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
If teachers were only required to know the answers, teaching would be easy. More challenging, but equally (if not more) important, is that teachers and tutors cultivate in their students the skills and mindset to become independent learners. As a teacher and tutor with over seven years' experience, I have acquired the hard-earned knowledge and skill to both effectively teach students content, but also inspire and empower them to own their own learning. In my experience, this requires empathy (you must understand your students well before you can inspire them), modeling, high expectations, accountability, and goal setting. The essence of teaching students to be lifelong learners is establishing a genuine working relationship and constantly supporting and challenging students as they unlock their own potential and find their own motivation.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Everyone is motivated by different things. The key to my work with students around motivation is listening and empathy first, and then consistency, goal setting, modeling, and support second. You must first understand what makes your student unique and what motivates them before attempting to support them. It is also important to establish concrete goals to work toward, which will provide a sense of accomplishment and confidence moving forward. Finally, a tutor must work tirelessly to support his students, including keeping the learning fun and engaging.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, I would think about the student's motivation level. Many times, a student is struggling with a concept because of how they feel. If this seems to be the case, I may try moving on to other, more familiar material first before returning to the more challenging concepts. I would also think about the student's learning style. Maybe there are ways that I can approach the material from a different angle, or use a different modality that will help the student build connections more easily.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
My first and most important step is to try to figure out what exactly is causing the struggle - e.g. decoding, vocabulary, motivation, sentence complexity, etc.. For younger students, decoding skill building hinges mostly upon word attack and phonics work. If vocabulary is an issue, often the problem is that a student has been assigned material that is stretching him past his reading level. In such a case, I have a toolkit of strategies depending on the situation (age, text type, purpose for reading, etc.). Some examples include context clues, chunking and root word recognition, flashcards, and vocabulary notebooks. If sentence complexity is the issue, I model how to slow down and chunk phrases. I also explicitly teach high level transition words and sentence structure.