Serving as a classroom teacher for twenty-five years, along with my time as a learner, have proved to be one of the greatest opportunities that I have gained from.
As a "learner," I was impacted by great teachers. My family included four generations of educators. Two from those generations were my father and grandmother. Both helped me develop a "joy for learning," while they displayed a "joy for teaching." Though I struggled academically in the early grades, they modeled a 'desire to try," which resulted in the "momentum" that helped me intentionally reach learning goals.
My mother and grandmother, who were not teachers, fostered my character learning experience. Though my grandmother did not attend school past the third grade, she helped me make the wise decision to follow directions. Mother taught me how trusting relationships within the family and community were vital in learning to live and relate "outside the classroom."
I value the learner experience, yet the time came when I accepted the role as a "classroom teacher." Administrators, educators and parents helped me become aware of great teaching principles, which I
learned to apply. Those acquired skills helped me enhance the academic and character opportunities for each student. In 1998, I was chosen "Teacher of the Year," by my colleagues.
The most significant goal I reached as a teacher, is that which I saw in teachers before me- the reward of seeing a child attempt, practice and achieve a desired goal. "Successful learning" is the
success of teaching.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Trevecca Nazarene University - Bachelors, Early Childhood Education
Graduate Degree: Trevecca Nazarene University - Masters, Curriculum, Administration and Supervision
I enjoy music, sports such as swimming and spending time with my family.
College Level American History
Elementary School Math
High School Chemistry
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
Middle School Science
What is your teaching philosophy?
What is "excellent teaching?" It may be best to define this question by distinguishing what "excellent teaching" is not- a focus on concepts and focus matter. Teaching continually responds with flexibility towards the different individuals needs, in order that they develop in character and skill. "I teach students, not subjects!" The next question is, "What factor best leads a student to learn?" Motivation, or the desire to learn, surpasses and precedes ability. An example of the "will to learn" is expressed in Scripture: "Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me....on You I wait all the day." Psalm 25:4-5 The "strain" between motivation and the discipline to learn was expressed by Winston Churchill-"Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like to be taught." My "goal" in teaching is to "focus" on the desire and interests of the individual student, that I may equip their ongoing development in character and acquired life skills. The verse below states one result of excellent teaching: "I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation (focused study). I understand more than the ancients, because I keep (focused application) Your precepts." Psalm 119:97-100
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Greeting the student and their family with a positive attitude, followed by observing their distinct interests, and identifying their level of motivation and strengths. Next, I would ask the individual to demonstrate a favored skill that they enjoy and have confidence in doing. Finally, I would ask the individual and the parent to help develop a list of "Strengths" and "Areas of Need" that should be addressed by the student and tutor.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By allowing the student to know their "learning style" and the specific areas where they display "mastery" of a skill. When the individual learner can "attach" their style and mastery toward new skills, they can monitor their practice and increased success with a specific skill.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
With two factors: 1. That the learner state a desired goal and it relates to the specific objective of the course, or content subject area. 2. To allow the student to "monitor" their practice, and compare prior and present skill success levels.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Allow the student to state or demonstrate their current skill level. Then help the individual and the parent identify the correct and incorrect applications used in relation to the skill or concept. By using visual, multi-sensory and simulated practices, the student can gain a more "complete look" of the skill to be mastered.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Often text hinders comprehension, because it distracts from the "meaning" contained. Therefore, graphs, time-lines, tables, and vocabulary "mapping" help the student "picture" what "meaning" is contained within the text.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
1. The learner, parent and teacher must identify the level of need. (Exactly what the abilities and weaknesses that the learner applies to new concepts are.) 2. The "style" of instruction used must address the learner's interests and motivation levels. 3. The "subject areas" are introduced toward the learner, that they may benefit in character and skill mastery.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The use of varied expressions of subject matter is crucial. For example, statistics depict a team's pass completion rate. Show how the skill or subject matter used in the "real world" via movies, music, animation/film, or product development.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would place techniques of instruction into three basic groups: 1. First, help the student develop an interest in the subject ("Read and identify use of punctuation in a comic section of print"). 2.Allow student to express the content or subject matter in various modes: - Learner tells, then shows how the skill is used in "everyday life." - Demonstrate use of the skill in a game or simulation experiences. -Have the learner identify correct use of the skill by observing another person's use of the skill. 3.Assess the student's level of understanding of the skill through written, oral, or physical demonstration.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
In two related ways: 1.Help the student develop an increased interest in the subject through observing the subject or concepts used in different media- story, music, sport, or vocational/job use. 2.Help the individual monitor their increasing level of success toward mastery.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By using the following: 1.Informal interest surveys, through questions and notating the learner's past perceptions of their learning success. 2. Helping the student identify their learning style and strengths, and attaching these to the stated learning objective for the student. 3.Providing experiences where the student can interact and apply practice toward learning a skill or content area through a variety of experiences (games, real-life use of concept, oral retelling of skill use, etc.).
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
By focusing on the learner's level of interest, past experiences with the content skill, and observing how the student best applies their effort toward use of the skill or subject area.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
1.Real objects (manipulatives) such as cups, tools, game pieces, and objects of nature. 2.Visual pieces (charts, posters, diagrams, etc.). 3.Language media such as stories, poems, and songs.