As someone currently studying for the LSAT and preparing to go to graduate school, I can relate to the challenges of being a student. I graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2010 with a B.A. in Psychology and Communication Studies. I am extremely passionate about academics and learning; the value of each was inculcated into me at a very young age. I tutor a variety of subjects largely because I have so many areas of interests and have been privileged enough to pursue knowledge in those areas. I even enjoy tucking away "useless facts"...in fact, those very tidbits got me past the Jeopardy! Online Test and into the Contestant Audition!
If I've learned one thing throughout my academic career, it's that everyone learns differently. In my opinion, a great tutor knows how to meet a student where they are in their work and find
the specific and best way to help them achieve their goals. I have honed this skill over many years of tutoring many different types of students. Additionally, with me, a student will have
the benefit of working with someone who has been on their side of the table. I was tutored in Math both when I was younger and in college, and currently have a tutor for the LSAT. I actually
love being tutored, as I get the personalized attention that I need, as well as little tips and tricks that aren't necessarily taught to the larger class. I believe that having this experience as the
pupil allows me to be an even more effective tutor.
So, why do I tutor? As I mentioned above, I love knowledge. I love sharing knowledge. But most of all, I love helping students learn to love what they're doing. Frequently, when a student reaches the point with a tutor where they begin noticing that they are making progress, they begin really believing in their ability to do the work independently and they are more likely to be excited about their academics! Also, I know from experience that a good tutor is capable of helping a student through a specific subject or class; but, a great tutor can transform the way a student operates in all of their academic work and prepare them to be an even better student across the board. I strive for the latter as a tutor.
So that you can have a better idea of who I am, I will tell you a few non-academic things about myself. First and foremost, I have an undying love for Star Wars that began and has been
nurtured since I was eight. I own approximately 200 Expanded Universe books and comics, and far too much memorabilia. I also play professional ultimate frisbee. I've been playing since
college and they just formed women's pro teams this year, and yes, you read correctly, pro ultimate frisbee. In other words, I get paid (peanuts) to chase plastic. Other things I enjoy are
reading a great mystery, watching Netflix, playing Xbox, riding horses, playing with my massive dog, and staying in shape!
Undergraduate Degree: Vanderbilt University - Bachelor in Arts, Psychology; Communication Studies
ACT Composite: 32
ACT English: 34
ACT Reading: 33
ACT Science: 33
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1520
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 740
Piano, French, Spanish, Jeopardy!, Horseback Riding, and Ultimate Frisbee
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
1st Grade Reading
1st Grade Writing
2nd Grade Math
2nd Grade Reading
2nd Grade Writing
3rd Grade Math
3rd Grade Reading
3rd Grade Science
3rd Grade Writing
4th Grade Math
4th Grade Reading
4th Grade Science
4th Grade Writing
5th Grade Math
5th Grade Reading
5th Grade Science
5th Grade Writing
6th Grade Math
6th Grade Reading
6th Grade Science
6th Grade Writing
7th Grade Math
7th Grade Reading
7th Grade Science
7th Grade Writing
8th Grade Math
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Science
8th Grade Writing
9th Grade Reading
9th Grade Writing
ACT with Writing
Anatomy & Physiology
AP English Literature and Composition
AP US History
College Application Essays
College Level American History
College Level American Literature
College World History
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School Biology
High School Business
High School Chemistry
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
High School Level American Literature
High School World History
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Science
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to start by building a relationship with the student. I'm there as an ally, someone to help them achieve, and they need to feel that I'm there to help with that. I also use the first session to gauge their needs. I like to see their materials from the subjects in which they require tutoring, including the textbook and any assignments. This gives me the best understanding of both the student and their needs.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Staying motivated is tricky, no doubt about it. Did you know that if you actually offer a reward for reading to a child who likes reading, they may be less likely to continue reading at their own pace? Tricky, indeed. One of the best ways to keep children motivated is to find out what excites them academically...do they love history? Offer to tell them a fun history story after they finish their math. And use that information! If they love history, then perhaps try explaining math concepts in a historical context, i.e., the apple and Isaac Newton.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Every person learns differently, and teaching strategies have to be sensitive to this. Some people work best with physical or active representations of science concepts, while others respond best to simply reading the material. So, my teaching philosophy is to find how best the student learns and help them implement those strategies.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independent learners are curious, self-motivated, organized, and critical thinkers. Not all students naturally fall into this category--for these students, helping them find what motivates them to become self-sufficient makes them an independent learner. Whether it be instilling better study skills so that they feel empowered or better relating the material to their lives so that they find it relevant, creating an independent learner requires finding what motivates the student.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, if a student has difficulty, I would try to understand where the difficulty came from. Is there a breakdown in the chain of understanding? If so, where? Once you know what the difficulty is, you are better prepared to find a solution that the student can comprehend. Oftentimes, it is a small piece of understanding, that when explained, unlocks the problem.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
At the outset, I seek to understand what subjects they are struggling with and where their difficulties lie. I also make sure that good study habits are instilled at the beginning of our work together, as these can help any student. Finally, I like to know what the student hopes to gain from being tutored!
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I think that the reason most of us become excited and engaged in a subject is because we find it to be of interest to us. Thus, the best way to help a student engage in a difficult subject is to find how it relates to them, make it pertinent to their lives, and they'll naturally want to know more. I also like to give little pieces of "insider information," or the background behind something that's not discussed in the materials, to help them feel that they have context and special knowledge.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I'm a firm believer in understanding, not just memorization. In testing understanding, it can be difficult for tutors because we know the correct answer and can fall into the trap of leading the student to it. Instead, I like to see what they can explain on their own and help them fill in the gaps.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
One way is to start by relating it to what they already know and by using simple examples that they can understand. This tells them they can both comprehend and complete the material at the outset. Goal setting is also important; people feel confident when they achieve. So set reasonable goals and achieve them with your student!
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
My tutoring style is very fluid--I like to understand the child's needs before we come up with a plan of action. Children struggle with different things in different ways, but as long as the tutor is aware of this and makes sure the student is comprehending, the partnership should be successful.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would have them read me a few paragraphs, and then I would ask comprehension questions. They may have an issue because they read too quickly through the passage, or they may not understand what the comprehension questions are asking of them, etc. All of these can be corrected with hard work!
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Typically, I use the materials that the student uses. However, as in the case of Test Prep, additional material may be required. I actually have most of my textbooks from high school, as well as all the Test Prep books. Additionally, I use several websites to generate tutoring content.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
In short, a number of ways. For example, I would want to have a conversation with the parent and the child to understand what's going well, what isn't, why, etc. I also like to look at past work and see how they did, what they may have missed, and why. No matter what, it's very important to involve the student in their tutoring plan, as ultimately, they are the ones working through it.