A photo of Sarah, a tutor from Humboldt State University

Sarah

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I am here to lend patience, clarity of thought and most of all encouragement to my students. I personally understand how difficult it can be to navigate through certain subjects and I know that for me, a great mentor can make a world of difference. I like to engage different modes of learning and help guide students through problem solving to achieve success and mastery of their subjects!

I have a strong background and degrees in both Mathematics and Music, and I am genuinely excited about helping you along your personal journey. I graduated from Humboldt State University and University of Oregon. I earned a B.A. in Music and Mathematics, California Credential in Music and Mathematics, M.M. in Music with a specialization in vocal performance.

I have over ten years of experience working with students of all ages in math and music. I can tutor Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry and related subjects. I love tutoring all of my subjects and helping students succeed and believe in themselves. My teaching style is tailored to the student that I am working with, flexible and creatively planned to help the individual.

I am a classical musician who sings opera professionally in addition to being a tutor.

Sarah’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Humboldt State University - Bachelor in Arts, Mathematics

Graduate Degree: University of Oregon - Masters, Vocal Performance

Hobbies

Singing opera, collecting vinyl records, baking desserts, gardening in a tiny box, and being with loved ones.


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Excellent teaching inspires students to go outside of their comfort zones and try new things. Excellent teachers are passionate about their subject matter, and about connecting with students. For me, in this capacity as a tutor, my goal is to inspire whoever I work with either about their learning process or the subject at hand. Then, the learning process can be transformative.

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

A typical first session with a student varies greatly depending on what a student needs to work on. Sometimes, I am called in to work with someone who has been struggling for quite a time in some basic math areas. What I like to do in those cases is figure out where the student excels and where they struggle by working through some problems together. Once we have a clear idea about where things are unraveling, we can work through the basics and start building slowly as the student is ready. Sometimes, I am working with a student who is down to the wire and really needs to pass a class, but is having a lot of test anxiety. What I try to do in this kind of instance is make sure that all of the concepts are clear for the student and outline a plan for test day. It's usually helpful to simulate a test as closely as possible in order to help the student practice actually managing their anxiety in the moment. It really comes down to the individual student and what they need in the moment. Generally, we will begin with some sort of assessment so that I can better help the student.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

My teaching style involves a lot of Socratic method as well as exploration. In mathematics, there is often more than one correct method to get to the right answer. When I am working with a student and they begin to see this, I like to encourage this kind of elastic thinking that I think helps to form curiosity and independence of thought.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

If a student is having difficulties with motivation, it is most important to figure out why and to try to figure out things to motivate the student. There usually seems to be a way to make a connection between the things that motivate a student and the thing that a student is not motivated about, and I have found that to be very helpful.

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

If a student is having difficulty with a skill or concept, that is usually why we are working together. Generally in math, we can take that skill and break it down into smaller and smaller pieces until they start making sense to the student. With care, the small pieces can be put together and generally the student will have much more understanding. Another roadblock can happen when the same skill or concept is presented in a different way. In this instance, it is important to teach literacy so that the students know how to identify what they are encountering.

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

Reading comprehension is important across subject categories. In math, especially, there is a particular language that translates into symbology. I can help a student learn how to recognize certain words that will help them know what the question is asking and what information the question is giving.

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

I have found it to be most successful when beginning with a student to get to know them and what makes them tick. As we are working together, I will ask a lot of questions. I will watch a student work. I will offer suggestions and see how a student responds. It is most helpful for me to know what a student struggles with, how they learn best, and what makes learning fun for them.

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

I have never seen a student who was struggling with a subject not light up and get excited when they have a lightbulb go off. If a student is struggling with a subject and is working with a tutor, that shows me that they really care about doing well. When the subject can be re-explained/broken down into something that they get, and we can then move forward-- it is a delightful experience.

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

I like to use consistent assessments (whether verbal questioning, a quick problem, etc.) to make sure that a student is on track. It is important to constantly check in and not just ask: 'does that make sense?'-- but get actual feedback in the form of informal assessments.

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

I think it is equally important for a student to have subject matter understanding and for a student to enjoy the learning process. Sometimes the learning process means struggling and grappling with ideas, learning how to ask questions and go deeper in your subject on your own. I think with a combination of understanding the material and also being in love with the learning process, a student can gain a great deal of confidence as a learner.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Many ways: -Ask them. -Assessment, either informal questioning or written. -Look at grades, if applicable.

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

Each student learns in a different way, so no two tutoring sessions will be the same. Because they are built on getting to know the student and addressing the students needs, I have to be very flexible in my thinking and teaching. Some students respond well when they talk out loud and explain concepts back to me. Some students are very visual and need to draw pictures for everything. Some students like to hear or see an explanation. Some students learn best if they try to 'teach' the concept once they have it down. Some students need hands-on models to understand a concept fully. It all depends on the student, and it is all adaptable.

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

During a typical tutoring session, I bring a notepad with lots of paper and many different colored pencils, and (depending on the subject) a graphing calculator and manipulatives. Geometry has its own set of tools. Highlighters can be very important, it all depends on what works well for the individual student.