I love English because I love to talk, and writing is arguably the best way to hold a conversation. My favorite part of tutoring is helping students figure out who/what they're talking to - is it the teacher, an author, a memory, the whole world, or just themselves? - and decide what the best approach is for this audience. I get a great deal of satisfaction from watching someone learn to articulate themselves and effectively present ideas that automatically become bigger once shared; you can be the smartest scientist on the planet, but, if you can't write down your cure for cancer in an understandable way, everyone is the lesser for it. I think the ability to write a strong essay or speech not only reflects a solid grasp of a particular subject and competent research, it also suggests the writer knows their voice and the value in it, and can declare this conviction with volume (literally and metaphorically). A person who can write is a person who can impact their community.
I developed this philosophy during my time at Washington College, a small liberal arts school in Chestertown, MD, where I graduated in May 2014 with a B.A. in English (Drama minor). During my four years at WAC I wrote five grant applications that together awarded me over $14,000 and gave me amazing opportunities that confirmed my love for writing and introduced me to a new passion: education. Junior year I traveled to Cameroon, Africa, where I collaborated with the PeaceCorps to host a drama camp for village teenagers (all in French). I created the program and called it “Strong Voices" since its purpose was to encourage self-awareness, improved communication skills, and confidence within Cameroonian youth. The following year I brought “Strong Voices” to my college’s hometown and applied it to the juvenile delinquents staying at the detention center down the road from campus. This time I went a step further and helped my students write original poems and autobiographical screenplays as a way to explore and share their various struggles. The success of "Strong Voices" and the amazing students I met through the program make it one of my proudest achievements to date.
Since graduating from Washington College I have continued to apply my writing skills by working for two start-up companies where I helped draft their emails and solicitation letters. I also participated in the development of their scripts, business proposals, general projects, and web content. In my spare time I tutor English, proofread my friends’ creative work, consult on grant applications, and pursue my own writing. When I'm not working I dabble in a long list of hobbies: art, dancing, hiking, discovering new coffee shops, laughing at YouTube videos, and performing stand-up comedy.
My tutoring style is relaxed and friendly but a highly honest one. I continually challenge my students' decisions, opinions, instincts, and results, and I welcome the same from them. While strengths are the first things I look to highlight, weaknesses are all I care about as a tutor and I will make sure you know what they are. Time is valuable, your voice even more so, so I make a conscious effort to tailor my tutoring approach to each student in a way that advances their development as quickly as possible. My favorite saying is "so what?" - why should the reader care? Why does your opinion matter? Get to the point and make it an enjoyable/informational journey there! Tight essay structure and preliminary outlines saves you time, effort, and sanity. Proofread always, re-read constantly.
Let's have a conversation!
Undergraduate Degree: Washington College - Bachelor in Arts, English (Drama Minor)
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1300
dancing, comedy, hiking, coffee shops, books, and cookouts
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to start with personal introductions so we can know more about each other and get a feel for personalities. I ask questions about their academic background, their strengths and weaknesses, and what kind of teaching techniques work best for them. I then typically follow the student's lead from there.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I work with each student to figure out ways they can set themselves up for success - what methods, goals, and guidelines can we establish now that will keep you focused, encouraged, inspired, and driven, later? I'm a fan of mnemonics, outlines, lists, self-care opportunities, resource options when stumped, study skills shortcuts, quotes, and general theory to remember. I also try to be a tutor they look forward to sharing their independent academic pursuits with!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
When I find it appropriate, I try to identify with a student's challenges by mentioning a past (or present) experience I had with the same issue. It's important to remember everyone had to climb the same steps to proficiency! I also try to make my sessions an experience students look forward to and one that doesn't forget to keep the bigger picture in mind.