Over the course of the last 16 years, I have had experience with a variety of exams given to middle school and high school students ranging from 7th-8th grade ELA exams to the English Regents exam given in high school. Not only have I prepared more than 1500 students during that time, I have also had the opportunity to grade those very exams. That has given me the advantage of being able to share what the expectations and criteria are for success on those exams.
As a father of two children within the NYC school system, I understand the value of providing children with additional opportunities to receive extra help beyond the classroom. I believe wholeheartedly that students who have the ability to receive individualized instruction often fare better than those who do not.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: SUNY at Albany - Bachelor in Arts, English
Graduate Degree: CUNY College of Staten Island - Master of Science, Education
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Every child can learn. Small group or individualized instruction increases the chances of making learning a reality.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would want to get to know the students' likes and dislikes, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. I would administer a brief diagnostic.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would provide them with tasks that are manageable to do on their own. After a series of successes, I would encourage them to try more challenging tasks.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Being able to show students growth over time is important. Students need to be able to see how they have improved in very specific areas of their learning. With success comes motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would first attempt to address the concept differently. If that is still a challenge, I would move on and revisit it another time. Sometimes it is important to remove oneself from a challenge in order to look at it from a distance. After a brief time, I would revisit it and discuss the student's perspective on that concept.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When students struggle with reading comprehension, I provide them with questions that will assist in bringing clarity to the reading. I will also provide them with graphic organizers to help visualize what they're reading. I have also found it helpful when students generate their own questions.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I believe that administering a diagnostic allows me to see the strengths and weaknesses of as student. As a result, I can effectively target the problem areas and not waste time covering skills that have already been mastered.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Students get most excited about school when they see themselves in the curriculum, or when they see how the material is relevant to their lives. By getting to know the student and tailoring my lessons with the child in mind, I believe they would be greatly engaged and eager to continue to learn that subject.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Formative and summative assessments are critical tools to determine understanding. I would also encourage my student to teach me the material as if I was the student.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I think it is important to provide students with multiple ways to succeed. By giving them options on how to demonstrate mastery, I will reduce the frustration that is often associated with "tests."
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I provide diagnostics over the course of the year. They assist me in determining how many gains a student has made.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
As an English Language Arts teacher, I try to adapt my style to meet the likes and dislikes of a student. This is primarily designed to motivate the student. I also find it helpful to include the parents of the student to get a better idea of who the child is as a learner.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Worksheets, magazine and newspaper articles, pictures, and graphic organizers.