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I have a passion for helping others set and exceed their personal goals. I believe learning is lifelong and is best achieved in an environment that is trusting, professional, and comfortable. I believe the right skills and confidences can change lives, and am ready to help contribute to that in any way possible!

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Shannon’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Pacific Lutheran University - Bachelors, Economics; Biology

Graduate Degree: Seattle University - Masters, Business Administration and Management


Swimming, creative writing, reading, listening to music, walking in the park, making coffees & teas

Tutoring Subjects

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Teaching is best accomplished in a setting that is supportive, engaging, and trusting. These attributes help build confidence and excitement about learning, and prime students with the interest and desire to succeed. The most successful teachers seek out opportunities to build up their students through helping them define their own goals and work to reach and exceed them; further, they understand and foster the mentality in their students that goals are continuously changing in complexity, and gradation as the student develops new tools and capabilities.

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

In a first session with a student, I would typically work to build trust with them through learning some basic introductory information about them--what their hobbies are, what excites them about learning, and what some strategies for positive reinforcement are that they personally feel they respond best to. Next, I would gauge where they are at by assessing their skills. Finally, I would work to clearly articulate what their goals for themselves are, and complement or augment those goals with what I believe are reasonable objectives, in addition to their stated goals. Lastly, I would develop and talk through a plan to achieve those goals, including a timeline, checkpoints, and strategies, with the student and with their parent. We would end the first session with skill-building and practice to implement the plan we have laid out for success.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Students become independent learners when they: 1) feel confident in their abilities, and 2) have identified strategies that work for them to solve a particular type of problem or complete a task. The first point is achieved through encouraging and supporting the student in their initial areas of relative "weakness," and being sure to always and immediately positively reinforce their areas of progress. The second point can be worked at by helping students to identify what a problem is and strategizing in a deliberate and prescribed, methodological way, how to go about solving the problem at hand. Many types of problems--especially math and grammar problems--have very clear sets of steps, which, once learned, are simple to repeat.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Students stay motivated when they feel encouraged. This means that it is important to reinforce their successes. Positive reinforcement can mean verbal praise, nonverbal praise such as a high-five or thumbs-up, or some other reward (a gold star sticker, for example). Students, like everyone, like to feel good about themselves, and will stay motivated when they feel that what they do matters and has value.

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

I would first try to identify what the problem is. Sometimes it is as simple as not understanding what a particular question is asking for, and these types of concerns are easy to address. Once the problem is identified, I would work to have the student try to explain to me the solution as best they understand it, as completely as they can. Then, when they reach their hang-up point, I would attempt to lead the student in the right direction with gradual, leading hints. I will always allow the student to solve the problem as much on their own as is reasonable and possible. Once we have completed the skill or task together, I would review what we did and have the student talk me through a similar problem. We would keep working on progressively more complex and varied problems of the same concept to build mastery until the student felt very comfortable with that concept. I might assign good resources for the student to review in their free time later if there is an abundance of information on that particular skill at a public library, for instance, as appropriate.

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

I prefer to have students read passages completely through one time before reading any questions about the material, and then see if they can recapitulate a basic synopsis of what the passage said. Many times, a second read-through is also helpful. Then, I might have the student answer some of my questions about the passage, starting basic (e.g. "What was the story about?") and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Sometimes it is also useful to have the student do some creative writing afterward to reinvent a new detail to the passage, or add onto the original story. This compels the student to think more deeply about the material and in another way; and I've found that this is particularly useful with more creative or "artsy" types of students, who are naturally imaginative thinkers.

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

I like to make it clear to students that they can ask me any question about the material, no matter how basic or mundane it seems. Learners who ask for help early and feel confident asking questions inherently tend to do better with concepts. Another successful strategy is to ask frequently if what I am explaining makes sense. It is important to make sure that what I am communicating is being received, and that I am not overwhelming the student with an overabundance of information too quickly.

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

I would try to appeal as much as I reasonably could to the student's interests and hobbies, and try to attach real-world applications to the material. A lot of times, students become discouraged when material seems so abstract as to be "useless information." Bringing a real-world angle to it can hook most learners on the topic. As always, positive reinforcement is an important aspect of the student-tutor relationship as well, and should be immediate and appropriate to the achievement.

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

I like to ask frequently, "Does that make sense?" as I'm explaining parts of a concept, and to build piece-by-piece when teaching or going over a skill. It's important to give 2 to 3 student-guided practice opportunities at a minimum per part of a concept. To attain mastery, students should be taking the lead and doing the majority of the "legwork" by the end of the skill session, if the material has been understood. The teacher should be minimally redirecting or correcting during this review process.

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

Practice is very important for building confidence. It is necessary to give practice opportunities that are progressively sophisticated in nature and build extra skills onto previous concepts, as well as varied types of questions. It is also important to immediately point out when a student has done something well.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I evaluate a student's needs by finding out first what their goals are (or their parents' goals for them), and working to assess where they are in relation to achieving those goals. Sometimes, needs are not only academic but psychological (such as the case of a student who is good at a skill but lacks confidence), and this should always be considered as well during an evaluation of their needs.

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

I like to make sure to adapt my style to students by monitoring when they are being most receptive to what I am telling them. Students respond differently to various tones of voice, volume, pedagogical methods, and environments.

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

I prefer to use whiteboards with markers of different colors, composition notebooks or paper, pens and pencils, calculators, and occasionally note cards when teaching a tutoring session.

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