Hello! Welcome and I'm so excited that you are interested in tutoring!
I received my BA from Mary Washington College and my Masters' of Education from George Mason University, both in Virginia. I have been teaching for 12 years, and have been tutoring for 6. I have an Online Teaching Certification from GMU and I worked for their Online Academy for 3 years tutoring students online in a variety of subjects (English, History, Latin, Science, etc.) I have also worked for Educational Connections in Virginia and for TutorFind.
I specialize in Educational Coaching: helping students learn how to learn. From note taking to study skills to test taking, I can help a student become more successful in the classroom and help them prepare to be independent learners in college. This is my favorite thing to teach because the skills a student learns can be applied to any and every subject for the rest of their life!
In brick-and-mortar schools I have taught English and Theatre. I am currently the Drama Director for a local high school and I am very active in my town's community theatre. I sing, play piano and violin, act, paint, and do ceramics. I love to cook and do party catering for my family and friends.
I'm a happy and outgoing person who loves to laugh. I can find enjoyment in nearly any endeavor: I love to learn and I love to share my love of learning with others. I am fascinated by history and science, even though my personal strengths lie in English and the arts. One subject I do not excel in is math. But I am working to improve myself in that area.
My personal philosophy is that learning is lifelong, and can be so much fun if you find the right methods! :) I believe in ownership of education: the student shouldn't have learning happen to them; it should happen by them. Ownership means choice and decisions, as well as empowerment. My goal is to help my students discover enjoyment and excitement in learning, and to show them how to feel confident and in control of their education so that they can continue on their own for years to come.
Undergraduate Degree: University of Mary Washington - Bachelors, Theatre, English
Graduate Degree: George Mason University - Masters, Education
Swimming, the lake, music, animals, drama, reading, cooking.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in guided methods: helping to lead the student to find the answers on their own, and teaching them methods and tricks to help them be independent. I ask a lot of questions and help the student work through their thoughts to come up with their own answers. I don't believe that the teacher should be the one doing the hard work in the learning process; it should be the student. But I also believe that learning can be FUN! Find the fun IN the work! :)
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I believe that a personal connection is crucial, so I would want to get to know the student and learn about who they are as a person: what do they like? what do they dislike? what hobbies and interests do they have? what do they believe are their own strengths and weaknesses? Possibly, I'd give some typology tests and quizzes to find out how they think, which will help me know how they best learn.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe students can become independent learners by being taught and shown how to find answers for themselves and by giving them the confidence and empowerment to believe in themselves and their abilities.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation is all about reward. Many students need extrinsic motivation (tangible rewards) to find the willingness to do well. I believe in helping a student find intrinsic motivation (emotional rewards) to succeed, which will help them want to be successful for the pure sake of success and the feelings of self-worth it brings, and not what they might "get" for doing well.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, I need to discover where their difficulty lies: is it in comprehension or application? If the difficulty is in comprehension, then the skill or concept will need to be broken down into its most basic parts and explained one piece at a time. If the difficulty is in application, then we would begin with simple problems and move to more complex, with the goal being repetition until the skill or concept becomes familiar. Similar to a toddler learning to eat different foods, no one method is foolproof because each child is unique. It depends on their personal "palate" - their interests and experiences - what methods will be successful.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
First, I need to assess if some of the difficulty is due to an issue with reading mechanics (word recognition, sound memory, vocabulary, etc.). If that is the case, then we go back to reading basics. If it is an issue with higher-level thinking and executive function skills (interpreting ideas and meaning-making) then I would teach them how to make margin notes or pictorial storyboards to train their brains to picture what they read. Usually reading comprehension is a combination of these two issues.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Each student is unique, so I don't like to assume that a "standard bag of tricks" is the way to go. However, I believe strongly in personal connection, guided instruction, and intrinsic motivation. Also, consistent and clear communication with parents is essential so that they can reinforce strategies and techniques in between sessions.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would find a way to connect the subject to something they do find exciting. If they struggle with science but they like sports, there are many similarities and ways those overlap. The same goes for music and math, or English and theatre, or history and art.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would want them to try to teach it to someone else. (Me, a parent, a sibling, etc.) To truly know if you understand a concept, try teaching it to someone else, and you can know whether you have mastered all the steps and concepts.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence comes from the feeling that you know something well and are able to do that thing well. So, I like to construct experiences for my students where they can have a series of successes, which will build their confidence in their abilities.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Evaluating a student's needs is a many-step process: interviewing the student and parent is the place to start, followed by contacting their brick-and-mortar teachers if possible. Then there are also some paper assessments that can be given at the beginning to determine whether a student struggles with mechanics or basic skills in a particular subject.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
My entire approach is about adaptation: no two students are alike, therefore no two methods are guaranteed to work. I am constantly adapting my methods based on where a student is in that moment, and where they need to be guided to reach their goal.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It depends on what goal the student and I are working toward. If a student is struggling with concepts and mechanics, then supplemental materials such as workbooks, worksheets and graphic organizers can be used. If the issue is with executive function, then a different set of organizers, as well as brain-training exercises, work well. If a student has a combination of different issues, then a combination of methods will be applied. It all depends on the individual student.