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I have two masters degrees, one in Music from Houghton College and the other in Library Science from the University of Missouri - Columbia. The English language, both in reading and writing have been a main interest in my life. Throughout the time I was studying Music and Library Science, I tutored both peers and high school students in English reading, writing, diction, and test preparation. I tutored my peers in test preparation and writing skills from 2004 to 2010. From 2010 to the present, I taught diction, writing, and reading to both international students and native speakers. My favorite subject to teach is writing because it is a skill that incorporates all other English skills. I believe that everyone is capable of learning, and will gain confidence as they accomplish small learning goals. If the goals are too broad, the learning experience will be too overwhelming and the student may lose confidence in his or her abilities. I enjoy research, learning new things, and helping others reach their learning goals. Outside of academics, I enjoy gardening, music, and the company of my four dogs. I also enjoy needlework and cosplay. I consider tutoring a privilege and look forward to helping anyone I am able.

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Mary’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Graduate Degree: Simpson College - Unknown, Music Performance - Voice

Graduate Degree: Houghton College - Masters, Music Performance - Voice

Test Scores

ACT English: 32

ACT Reading: 31


Gardening, music, reading, pets, and cosplay

Tutoring Subjects

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe everyone can learn regardless of circumstances. The only thing that truly matters is motivation and the desire to master the material.

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

I would endeavor to discover his or her strengths. Working together during a first session would also help me to understand my student's learning style. This would enable me to tailor future lessons to fit the individual.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I believe that the greatest job of a tutor is that of being a coach. It is my responsibility to encourage my student to work as hard as possible and then reward them with positive feedback. Small victories are great personal motivators. Any step in the right direction is a good step.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Ultimately a student's desire to learn is his or her own responsibility. However, a tutor's responsibility is to encourage the student to put forth the effort. It is only together that motivation and learning can take place.

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

In my own learning, I have discovered that looking at concepts from many different vantage points has helped my understanding. If a student is having difficulty, as the tutor I would try to have them look at the concept in as many different ways as it took to foster understanding.

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

I would endeavor to assist the student in focusing on the reading material. Defining vocabulary prior to gaining comprehension is also helpful. Sometimes looking at a sentence or paragraph for context clues can bring understanding into focus.

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

I believe that the most essential parts of a student teacher relationship are respect and caring. When working with a student to begin with, establishing a respectful, caring relationship is critical. That includes getting to know the student's learning goals and demonstrating my ability to help.

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

Success breeds success. If a student is able to realize that they do have the ability to learn, they will be more willing to take on those difficult challenges.

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

If a student is able to explain a concept in his or her own words, that demonstrates a certain level of mastery. Also when a student can answer problems/questions correctly and explain the thought process that went into the answer, a demonstration of mastery has occurred.

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

Confidence comes by working hard and being successful. The better prepared a student is in a subject, the more confident they will become.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

As a tutor, I would ask the student what their needs are. Another way to assess a student's needs is to have them take an informal test to find out where the holes in their learning are.

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

If one of my strategies is not working for a student, either I would know and/or my student would tell me. At that point, I would switch strategies.

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

Materials obviously depend on what is being tutored. Test prep sessions need test prep materials. Subject tutoring sessions need materials specific to the subject being taught.

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