I am a graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder. I double majored in English and Sociology and have a passion for both fields. Since graduation, I have had a myriad of careers. I started off as a Union Organizer for SEIU in California (that was the sociology part of me) and then decided to travel a bit so I spent almost 4 years in Asia teaching English as a Second Language. I spent time in Japan, South Korea and Vietnam and now consider Asia to be my second home. While teaching, I taught anywhere from ages 2-80, so I have experience with a wide variety of ages and abilities when it comes to English Language speaking. I also became certified in ESL through the University of Cambridge in 2007 with a CELTA degree.
In my experience as a tutor, I love to involve the student's own interests into the lessons. I like to break down complicated Critical Writing assignments, as well as school essays. Critical Reading is one of my favorite areas to tutor and I love teaching students how fun reading can be once you get to the meat and bones of a story. I love teaching but most of all I love my students; your successes are my successes. In my spare time, I love watching movies and writing critiques of them, attending pub trivia, going on long walks in the park but most of all READING! I hope to share my passions with you and hopefully some of my love of the English language will wear off.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Colorado Boulder - Bachelors, English and Sociology (double major)
Reading, writing about movies, pub trivia, long walks
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 Reading
2nd Grade Writing
3rd Grade Reading
3rd Grade Writing
4th Grade Reading
4th Grade Writing
5th Grade Reading
5th Grade Writing
6th Grade Reading
6th Grade Writing
7th Grade Reading
7th Grade Writing
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Writing
9th Grade Reading
9th Grade Writing
ACCUPLACER ESL Prep
ACCUPLACER ESL - Listening Prep
ACCUPLACER ESL - Reading Skills Prep
ACCUPLACER ESL - Sentence Meaning Prep
ACCUPLACER Language Use Prep
ACCUPLACER Reading Comprehension Prep
ACCUPLACER Sentence Skills Prep
ACCUPLACER WritePlacer Prep
CLEP American Literature
CLEP Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
CLEP College Composition
CLEP English Literature
CLEP Introductory Sociology
College Application Essays
COMPASS Reading Prep
COMPASS Writing Skills Prep
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
GED Reasoning Through Language Arts
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
IB Literature and Performance
Introduction to Fiction
Introduction to Poetry
ISEE-Lower Level Reading Comprehension
ISEE-Lower Level Verbal Reasoning
ISEE-Middle Level Reading Comprehension
ISEE-Middle Level Verbal Reasoning
ISEE-Middle Level Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy is to show not tell. I like to break a problem up into smaller pieces, enabling the student to achieve the answer themselves without me having to prompt or give the student the answer themselves.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First time around, I want to get to know you! We might go through a list of what you like to do, hobbies, what subjects you like, and what to learn. I also love playing 2 truths and a lie; it's a really great way to get to know someone.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By building their confidence in their abilities. The student can always find the answer themselves, I'm merely there to guide them to that correct answer. With that confidence comes more independent learning.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
If a student isn't motivated, I switch gears for awhile. Maybe, I try working on something else. Or I bring the student's personal interests to the problem or question at hand, making it easier to answer.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Repetition can be a very helpful tool, so I will try to integrate the new skill or concept throughout the lesson. I also try to put it in a practical context and give examples from the student's interests and life.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Slow it down. I will have a student go through each paragraph and ask me what they think the paragraph is trying to say and why. I'll challenge each of their answers until they have a better understanding of the reading as a whole. Once broken down, it's easier to relate the meaning to the whole.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting to know a student on a personal level, and getting to know their interests and more about their life. I want there to be a comfortability between myself and the student. I also like to casually work into the school work; I don't want my tutoring time to be something the student dreads. I want them to see that learning can be fun too.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
As I've mentioned before, I'll try to use one of their interests or a memory from their life to relate it to the subject at hand. I might go so far as to use comparisons using cartoon characters or people in the student's own life to get a point across. It's difficult to learn when you can't personalize it.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I always double check. After I ask a student what they have learned and they have written an answer, I make them again explain to me how this concept applies to the whole and why it is so important. Always double checking comprehension is a big deal to me.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Praise needs to be doled out just as much as constructive criticism. I'm always careful to point out what the student did well in an assignment before I go on to critique something, especially if the student has low confidence in the subject area.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Usually, I'll just ask you! However, I know it can be tough to be upfront about what a student's shortcomings are. I'll take notice through the lesson of when the student appears more engaged and less engaged. If they are less engaged during a part of the lesson, I know that should be a focus and something we'll need to work on together.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
This is another one that I like to just straight out ask the student. Maybe they like playing grammar games; maybe they just want to practice English conversation; maybe they just want me to help them with a paper. I will ask the student first off, and if those needs appear to change, I will adapt as necessary.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to use a workbook, if handy. I also like to use flashcards and handouts. If I find something on the Internet that applies to what we are learning, I might print that out for the student to read and go over to further their understanding of the subject material. Also, if the student is younger, blocks, toys, and puzzles all work well too.