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Melissa

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I truly enjoy meeting new people and the conversations that unfold when making new friendships. I have traveled as much as possible with an extended stay in Nantes, France when I was a student of Writing and French at DePauw University. While in France, I taught Algerian immigrants English to easier assimilate into the French school curriculum. It was here that I fell in love with teaching, travel, learning about other cultures, meeting people, and just taking in my surroundings in general. I developed a strong love for art which had begun in me from a very young age as a stained glass apprentice. In my spare time, I enjoy creating stained glass art, reading the latest fiction, or drumming out a short story on my classic, electra typewriter. My love for literature is deeply rooted in classic British literature, anywhere from the Battle of the Hastings almost a thousand years ago to today. However, I hold a special place in my heart for Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. I now live and work in Indianapolis where my dog, Sadie, and I explore the streets of the city daily, scouting out dog-friendly businesses and a good porch to lounge on and enjoy local foods.

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Melissa’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: DePauw University - Bachelor in Arts, English Writing and French

Hobbies

reading, writing horror and suspense, stained glass art, walking my dog, and eating!

Tutoring Subjects

British Literature

College English

College Essays

Comparative Literature

Conversational French

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

French

French 1

French 2

French 3

French 4

High School English

Languages

Literature

Phonics

Reading

Shakespeare

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

The student is the teacher. Every student has the potential to teach him or herself. The tutor or teacher is available to act as a guide to teach the student learning styles and tools available to enhance the learning experience. To put learning into the hands of the student is to put the future in the hands of the student.

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

Typically, in a first session, I will spend a few minutes getting to know the student. Depending on the subject, I will run a few assessment exercises to gauge the student's skill level. Once I have an idea of what the student is capable of, I will set some goals for the student. I ensure that the student knows that this session is for him or her, not anyone else. The whole point of tutoring is for the student to gain the confidence to do the work alone.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Students who struggle with certain subjects tend to lack confidence, which in turn leads to a lack of motivation. I do my best to make sure the students know they are making progress, encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone, and building up any correct answer with a lot of praise and reinforcement. During particularly difficult sessions, I will ask that the students take a break, breathe for a second, and approach things from a different angle (providing guidance where I can). The overall message is to never give up!

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

A student typically has difficulty with a concept because it is not being taught in a way that makes sense to him or her. If I see a student struggling, I'll try to switch tactics. For example, if I've been tackling something through mainly oral methods, I'll change to a visual tactic instead. If the difficulty remains, I will go back to the beginning, take the concept step by step, and ask the student a lot of questions along the way until I am sure there is a firm grasp.

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

Reading comprehension is extremely challenging for some students. The easiest way to help a student understand a story is to break it up into small sections and analyze each section individually. Asking a lot of questions about each section helps. What happened in this paragraph? Who are we talking about? Where are the characters? What is the general feel? Are the characters happy, angry, or sad? What happens next? This helps the students analyze by themselves instead of reading what the story is about or being told. By the end, it is usually a little easier for the student to understand the point of the story, but sometimes a little guidance is still needed.

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

Often, students start tutoring with the expectation that the tutor will provide help in the form of answers or "shortcuts." Obviously, this does not make for an effective learning experience. I have found that the best strategy for students to be successful is to build confidence. Many students have a fear of answering questions or providing ideas for the risk of being wrong. Prodding students to take more risks increases their confidence and their curiosity. It makes the learning experience more productive for them.

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

Every student has interests outside of school, whether they be sports, video games, reading, etc. Finding a way to connect their interests with the subject they struggle with the most is key. For example, a student who loves soccer but hates reading, might enjoy practicing reading comprehension with a story about her favorite soccer team.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Becoming an independent learner can be a long process, starting with gauging the level of confidence. I will produce students, encouraging them to provide their own ideas and expand their curiosity. A good sign that this is working is when the student starts asking questions, instead of me asking all the questions. Oftentimes the culture within schools discourages wrong answers, which also discourages new ideas. My job is to retrain the student to not be afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes are what we learn from.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I usually evaluate the student's needs by doing a few practice exercises within the subject. Based on the performance from these exercises, I am able to gauge the student's skill level and weaknesses within the subject. Based on these weaknesses, we can come up with a plan and a set of goals for the student to reach during our sessions. Sometimes simply asking the student what they would like to learn is also a good approach.


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