I grew up in the South Bay area where I went to San Jose State University. I studied Child Development and then returned to gain a multiple subject teaching credential. I was hired into a wonderful school district right out of college. During my summers I had great opportunities to take classes in teaching writing and math. After a few years I was able to teach other teachers how to improve their writing instruction. After 5 years in the classroom I left teaching for a year to become a district math coach. I spent that year helping 15 teachers be better at math instruction as well as facilitating math instruction for district wide training. I spent my 7th year of teaching back in the classroom.
As a teacher I tutored my students who needed extra help. I had a reading club after school for those who needed a little extra help to make it to grade level. I also have tutored students one on one to help with reading, homework help, and math. I worked with second language children in my classroom daily to help them learn English. I taught Summer school also to help with students who needed a little extra help to be ready for the next grade level.
I have since moved to Oklahoma where my son is now in Kindergarten. I look forward to working with students online and those in the Tulsa area. I'd love to make learning fun for your child.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: San Jose State University - Bachelor in Arts, Child Development
Graduate Degree: San Jose State University - Masters, Elementary Education
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session with a student, I want that student to be comfortable with me. They can ask me questions and tell me about themselves. I will ask them questions and identify what may be a learning struggle or bad habit that is preventing learning. In this way, I can reassure that student that we are going to make progress together.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Becoming an independent learner has several components. The first part is confidence. Every student needs to be reassured of the skills they already posses and their individual ability to learn. Sometimes this reassurance is hard to attain in a large classroom. Second, they also need to know how to gain and process information. If there is anything that prevents learning, I can help to reteach the skills necessary. The last thing they need is practice that eventually guides them to independence.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Being motivated to learn has a lot to do with interest. When learning is more difficult, then either the previous skill needs to be straightened, the current learning needs to be taught in a different way, or hard work is needed to learn something that is challenging. Games and encouragement motivate a student to work hard. After hard work comes success. There is no better motivator than seeing progress.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is used as the ultimate measuring stick for a child's learning. There is a lot of pressure on students to achieve in the area of reading, especially comprehension. First, I make sure students let go of anxiety. For a student to learn they have to be comfortable. Then, I encourage them. Every student is different, and reading comes differently for each student. I check to see if all the basic elements are learned so there isn't anything preventing progress. Then, we practice. We can read together and talk about the story. We can find books that are interesting and will encourage comprehension. With success comes the motivation to continue working hard so that success is again found.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When I start to work with a student, I find that getting to know each other is important. I want an environment where they feel safe to ask questions and feel encouraged. I like to reassure timid learners. I also want students to know that if something isn't working, we will change it until it is working. I am honest, funny, and upfront about expectations. Students like working with me even if they are uncertain at first.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Getting students excited is age and personality dependent. With some students, we have a cheer for that subject so they start to teach themselves to be excited. With others, they need success first. Some need extra encouragement. Other children need to know they are not alone. Occasionally, I work with a child who hasn't learned a certain skill. I have never had trouble winning over any of the hundreds of students I have taught over the years.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Evaluation comes in many forms. Sometimes asking a few questions is enough. In reading, students need a combination of correct reading, comprehension, and fluency. In math, having them show another problem to check their answer shows a complete understanding. In writing, it is completing a process through idea gathering, story writing, editing, and finally, publishing. There are also formal methods I use with students once they are completely comfortable.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Success builds confidence. There are ways to show skills with easier materials to show a student how much they know in order to move them through more challenging material.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate student's need by listening to them, asking questions, and having them show me how much they know. I can usually find the main problem quickly. On occasion, a student will tell you what the problem is. Sometimes, there are other less obvious holes in an education. These always show themselves after a time.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
My tutoring is based on the needs of the student. The only reason to work with a student is to address their needs and practice the skills until they reach mastery.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Basic materials are all that are needed. Textbooks, homework, reading material, paper, a pencil, and confidence. I bring a little learning magic to the table, which completes the mix.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student has difficulty and is working with a tutor, usually that student is nervous and hesitant to learn. The first thing I do is build a trusting relationship with them. Then, I show them things they already know. Lastly, I give encouragement with practice. We celebrate every success and keep going until the student no longer needs my services.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is simple. My job is to teach in a way that helps students learn. The student's job is to work hard and apply themselves to that learning. The parent also needs to encourage and provide support to the best of their ability. When we all do our jobs, students achieve and love learning.