I am so excited about my new role as a tutor with Varsity Tutors! Teaching is my passion! As an undergraduate at Concordia College, I discovered my natural ability for teaching after filling a course credit for my music major. I was hooked! I immediately changed my major and three years later, in 2002, I received my BA in Social Studies Education. After returning home to Colorado, I started substitute teaching. In 2004, I was hired as a Special Education teacher at a middle school in Colorado Springs.I am proud to say that I just left that job: same position, same building after 11 wonderful years.
By 2008, I had earned my MA in Social Studies Education while continuing to teach full-time. Throughout these years, major personal milestones enriched my life. I became a mom in 2011 to a spunky, special girl we named Lydia. Although there were challenges to splitting my time and heart with my students and my child, I successfully taught for a few more years and have raised a great little lady. In January 2015, we were blessed (but shocked!) with twin sons. Naturally, life took on a new look! In order to truly meet the needs of my family, I made the difficult and emotional decision to make the 2014-2015 school year my last.
My years as a Special Educator were filled with many student successes. My ability to build relationships with my students allows me to listen and understand what their individualized learning needs are. Preparing lessons with these important things in mind ensured success for all my students. I look forward to using my strengths as a teacher to support my new students through Varsity Tutors.
I hold a current Professional Teaching License with endorsements in the areas of Special Education Generalist (5-21) and Social Studies Education.
Thank you for visiting my profile. I am confident that I can assist your student with building their subject matter knowledge and understanding, their confidence and their love of learning!
Undergraduate Degree: Concordia College at Moorhead - Bachelor in Arts, Social Studies Education
Graduate Degree: University of Colorado Colorado Springs - Master of Arts, Special Education
Singing, music, volleyball, tennis, reading, parenting, donating/volunteering
Elementary School Math
High School English
High School Geography
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy begins with the belief that in order to reach all students, I must differentiate my instruction to meet ALL students' needs. Building a relationship with my students allows me to gain the information about their learning styles and preferences, which I then use to plan and execute meaningful lessons/activities that ensure their success. I am always learning right alongside my students, sometimes making mistakes and encountering challenges. My belief is that if they witness learning as a continuous cycle, they will embrace it and take risks.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
It is my belief that building a positive and individualized relationship with each student that I work with ensures their success. I would spend part of the session asking them questions about themselves: hobbies and interests, learning style(s), and strengths and weakness in academics and outside of the academic setting. I would then give them a little bit of information about myself that was not included in my personal statement. The student and I would then launch into some goal setting for what they want to accomplish in our sessions; it can be one long-term goal or several short-term goals. Goal setting will help to keep our sessions focused and efficient.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
An independent learner must have a variety of tools in their toolbox to use across all curricular areas. My role as a tutor is to demonstrate and educate students about problem-solving strategies and techniques that have worked in the past with my students. Independent learners take risks by asking questions and being advocates for themselves. In our sessions, I will use positive reinforcement and constructive critique to strengthen their confidence.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
To assist students who struggle with reading comprehension, we would spend a session discussing strategies like: using bold and highlighted words/passages and titles, defining new vocabulary terms, using the process of elimination by referring back to the text, etc. In our sessions, we would read together and work through the reading comprehension questions by using a variety of strategies.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When I first start working with students, I like to get to know them. I would ask open-ended questions to encourage detailed responses. Alternatively, I would allow the students time to ask me questions. Our next step in those first sessions would be to set specific, realistic goals for the short-term and/or the long-term.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Choosing high-interest material for students who are struggling in a subject is key. Also, any opportunity to make the material relatable should be considered. Students benefit when they make connections: to the people working with them and the materials/tasks being presented. Also, using music and hands-on materials can enhance the learning experience. Finally, student-directed completion of select tasks encourages students to show their specific strengths while using their preferred learning style(s), which fosters excitement and engagement.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
It is important to ask them! You must pay close attention to the processes they use so that you can understand the gaps. Giving your full attention to the student will offer valuable opportunities to evaluate their needs.