While earning my bachelor's and master's degrees in English literature, I have had the opportunity to give students a number of tools to develop their literary craft, and I have helped students increase their reading comprehension by introducing them to a multitude of written works. I enjoy tutoring high school and college students, especially after teaching freshman English and working in the writing center as a graduate assistant at Middle Tennessee State University. My particular areas of expertise are assisting students with writing projects at any stage of the writing process, including brainstorming, outlining, researching, writing rough drafts, and editing. I also enjoy working with ESL students as they develop their conversational skills, reading comprehension, and writing. Furthermore, I assist with test preparation for both the GRE and the GMAT. Personally, I love all genres of literature, and I maintain a broad range of interests in composition, rhetoric, critical theory, the Renaissance, Romanticism, and Modernism.
Undergraduate Degree: East Carolina University - Bachelor in Arts, English
Graduate Degree: Middle Tennessee State University - Master of Arts, English
GRE Verbal: 156
Enjoys teaching, writing, and reading literature in all genres
What is your teaching philosophy?
I think all aspects of the English language--reading, writing, and speaking--should be taught from the rhetorical standpoint. What I mean by this is that students should study various methodologies of the English language, ranging from the compositional structure of a text to subtle aspects of the speaker's tone and intended audience, which oftentimes persuade or move an audience subconsciously. In this way, students increase their reading, writing, and speaking skills from a technical standpoint because they gain the necessary tools to demystify the English language.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first time I meet a student, I discuss their goals and any assignments they need immediate help with. Then, I help them create their own agenda for the session, and if we are going to meet on a regular basis, I have the student write their long-term goals down, along with a structured plan for how we will meet these goals. Afterwards, the student and I begin working together immediately.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There is an essential balance between guiding students and allowing them to develop their own skills. I provide instruction when students struggle, but I also give them resources, ranging from websites to reference books, in order to ensure that the students can learn--and learn how to learn--when they are in solitude. I make sure students do their own work, which can involve having the student write in a session or giving them homework. In this way, I achieve a balance of allowing the student to learn skills they can use independently, but I also make sure to give them the guidance and assistance that they need.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I develop a friendly, encouraging, and professional relationship with my students, which helps maintain the integrity of the effort we both put into our sessions. I provide homework and remind the students of what they need to do in order to achieve their goals. Additionally, I emphasize the fun aspects of all writing, reading, and speaking assignments. Finding a bit of humor and spice in complex tasks allows students to enjoy improving their English skills!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student struggles and cannot grasp a concept, I assume that a different approach will help. For example, if a student struggles with an aural explanation of a concept, we will switch to a visual explanation, in which we make physical drawings of a concept instead of merely discussing it. All students learn differently, and as a tutor, I have learned to approach students with an array of instruction that caters to different learning styles.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I have students read out loud to me and ask them questions about the content. When we do this, I can identify where the students are struggling. I then provide the students with tools, which depend on what the student struggles with, whether it be vocabulary, content, or subject matter. I find that giving students certain tools, such as graphic and semantic organizers, summary worksheets, and comprehension questions, allows them to increase their reading comprehension drastically over a period of time.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Students have to guide their own progress. As a tutor, I have to step back and see what the student wants to learn. Oftentimes, students have the tools within themselves to do well, and as a tutor, it is my job to guide them in the process of unearthing these tools so they can achieve the results they desire.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The student and I tackle the most difficult part of the subject together. Having a guide allows students to overcome their fear of a toilsome task that may turn out to be fun. Furthermore, I find humor as an excellent strategy to engage in the subject; I can make jokes about anything. I also will find out what the student's interests are and give them material they find personally interesting. For example, if a student struggles with reading comprehension, I recommend a book I know they will like. I find that when students can connect their life, immediate interests, and personal experiences with a subject, they suddenly engage with it and begin to learn.