I have been a highly-qualified, licensed high school ELA teacher for almost 20 years and a tutor and college prep coach for even longer. The span of my career includes teaching in public, charter, independent, and Indian reservation schools in three different states (NY, CA, and AZ), and I'm proud to say I have had success with students coming from all types of ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, and academic backgrounds. Other subjects I have successfully taught in addition to ELA (grades 7 - adult) include: Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Biology, and General Science.
The breadth and depth of my teaching and tutoring background allows me to state unequivocally that every student with a sincere desire to learn CAN learn, and every student is GIFTED in his or her own way! This philosophy -- along with advocating for consistent effort over time -- has allowed me the privilege of having a real impact on my students encompassing positive outcomes such as full-ride scholarships to Ivy League colleges, winning Gates Millennium scholarships, and winning admittance to colleges and majors such as business and nursing straight out of GED programs.
I'm fully confident that I can help you or your student achieve whatever academic goals you have, and I look forward to hearing from and working with you soon. Together, we'll always find a way to win.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Villanova University - Bachelors, English
yoga, meditation, cooking, reading, getting out in nature, travel, embarking upon new adventures, enjoying the company of family and friends
High School English
Middle School Reading
Middle School Writing
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I do whatever it takes to help each student achieve his/her highest potential.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first thing I would like to do in a typical first session is to develop some rapport with my student by getting to know a little bit more about him/her as a person, about his/her academic strengths and challenges, and his/her short and long-term goals. I'd also share a bit about myself, if the student is interested, and then we'd get right to work on mastering the subject matter at hand!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I encourage students to think for themselves, to question, and to draw from as many resources and experiences as possible, in order to solve problems and synthesize their knowledge in meaningful and memorable ways.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Humor, encouragement, discussion, lots of good questioning -- not to mention praise for valiant effort and a job well done -- pretty much make up my recipe for helping a student stay motivated. I also find it works wonders to show struggling students where they are succeeding and how close they are to "success" (as opposed to how far they are from it) when making any needed corrections to their work.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I believe it is important to frame everything in a context of positivity, encouragement, and patience. I find that most students respond best to positive reinforcement when learning a new skill or concept because it helps them relax, feel safe to make mistakes and ask questions, and to associate good feelings with the effort they made when the skill or concept is mastered. It's also important to pinpoint and capitalize on each student's unique learning style and existing body of knowledge in helping him/her learn a new skill or concept. Then I just keep adjusting my instruction until we achieve success.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I break things down into manageable "pieces," going through each question with the student to analyze what the question is asking and then pinpointing key words and phrases that can give us clues to the answer. In addition, I ask a lot of questions about the passage in order to prompt the student to discuss his or her interpretation of it with me. I then use this as the starting point to having him/her make connections with the questions related to the text, or to begin a writing assignment about it.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I first like to try to get to know the student personally as much as possible; for example, what are their favorite (and least favorite) subjects, extracurricular activities, hobbies, etc. and why. I also like to get an idea of how they feel about school in general and what their academic, personal, and career goals are both in and outside of school. I also like to share some information about myself and my background as a student and teacher in the process. This usually helps to create some initial rapport and trust that I feel are essential to a successful learning process. Secondly, I like to make sure I share as many "student success" tips as possible initially and going forward, especially in the areas of organization, listening and note-taking skills, homework completion, and coordinating notes and homework for test-taking success. Last but not least, I make sure the student knows that I will stay with them and keep trying as many different strategies and methods as needed in order to help him or her succeed with the work at hand. Once we find mutually find successful methods that work for the student, I also make sure that we practice and review as much as possible to build the knowledge, skill, and confidence the student needs to continue to be successful not only on exams but on other assignments in that particular subject going forward.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The main way I try to help students get excited/engaged with a subject in which they are struggling is to prompt them into making a "real-life" connection with the subject through any "prior knowledge" or experience they have with anything related to that subject.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Once again, I always try to be as flexible and persistent as possible in finding the best strategies that work for each particular student to achieve success, as I fully understand and respect that everyone learns differently. What I do favor in almost every instance, however, is direct engagement through discussing not only the subject matter at hand (the notes, text, questions and answer choices, and/or outline and writing strategies) but also getting the student to verbalize to me how they are "thinking through" their understanding of the material to arrive at their answers and/or conclusions about it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Over my many years of experience as a teacher, tutor, and college prep coach, I have found that the best way to build a student's confidence in a subject is through practice and repetition of sound strategies that work for that particular student in that particular subject. For major "high-stakes" exams such as Regents, PSAT/SAT/ACT, or AP exams, confidence is also built best by repeated exposure to and practice of actual test questions and answer strategies in small chunks over as long a period of time as possible.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The main way I evaluate a student's needs is by looking at "evidence" indicating their performance in a certain topic or subject over time (as demonstrated by test/quiz scores, teacher comments, quality of notes and homework assignments -- or lack thereof -- in the subject/topic) and also by directly discussing with students their own perception of their needs in the subject. Usually I find that most students are fairly accurate in sensing what they need to improve upon in a subject or topic within that subject, but they often just need assistance with recognizing and utilizing the tools and strategies to achieve that improvement.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Again, I always try to adapt my tutoring strategies to the individual needs of each student. I constantly engage verbally with my students to assess understanding, I review their work with them, I like to use visuals and demonstration of actual strategies for success whenever possible, and I also adjust the pace of instruction based on how the student is performing and/or otherwise indicating they can handle. I find that the more senses and types of intelligence I can tap into with each student, the more stimulating, fun, and productive the sessions are.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I am willing to use whatever materials will bring clarity and success to each of my students in a given subject or exam. This usually means that I use everything from class texts, notes, homework assignments, and prior quizzes/exams to test-prep books, appropriate online resources, and my own notes I may give students to help them as well. I'm willing to try whatever it takes to achieve the highest level of success with each student, and if they have certain preferences in terms of materials to achieve that success, I am open to using it. If I think that better-quality materials are available, I will always suggest them as additional resources for us to use if the student wishes.