In the past I have taught as an adjunct professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Marymount University and am currently pursuing my PhD in Religious Studies at Temple University. My areas of expertise are Biblical Studies, especially the Hebrew Bible, and Ancient Near Eastern Mythology. I have a secondary expertise in world religions and the various theological disciplines, as well as in ancient and medieval history.
As long as I can remember, teaching, tutoring, and mentoring students was what I have wanted to do with my life, and luckily, teaching and tutoring come relatively naturally to me. Varsity Tutors gives me an opportunity to work with students to help them do better in school, find more joy in learning, and occasionally, make a real difference in their lives. My interests are extremely broad, and I usually develop a substantial amount of knowledge in every area I find interesting. For this reason, I am able to tutor across a variety of disciplines and to help students see connections between and among areas that typically seem unrelated. I have also worked hard to develop and maintain test-taking skills and I know a variety of strategies that can help to improve test scores substantially.
Undergraduate Degree: Saint Joseph's University - Bachelors, Theology
Graduate Degree: The University of Notre Dame - Masters, Theology: Biblical Studies
Sports, Movies, Books, Intellectual Conversations, Running/Races
Ancient and Medieval Heritage
College Level American History
College World History
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Math (in French)
High School English
High School Level American History
High School World History
What is your teaching philosophy?
The core of my teaching philosophy involves connecting with students to the degree possible, and coming to understand their interests and strengths, as well as those areas that they find more difficult or are less intuitive for them. Once I have the best possible feel for my students, I always try to proceed in such a way that I can maintain both structure and flexibility, as well as enthusiasm and fairness. I also try, to the degree possible, to avoid inducing stress in my students, and I always make sure never at all to induce unnecessary or unhelpful stress.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
My first sessions are usually primarily diagnostic. I do my best to learn what the student needs help with specifically. I also try to generally gauge a student's strengths and weaknesses. This involves talking with students about what they have struggled with and why, as well as what they have found to be less difficult, or enjoyable. Depending on the subject matter we are working on, I would likely work with a student to help them complete various activities or exercises so that I might get a better feel for their approach to prepare more personalized sessions later.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The key to learning by oneself is to enjoy learning by oneself. Obviously not every student is interested in every academic area, but everyone is interested in something. If I can help students figure out what they are interested in, I will encourage them to pursue this interest. Learning about things that interest you a lot is actually great practice for all other learning, so this works on multiple levels.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
If students begin to lose focus, I talk to them about something they are interested in order to engage them, and then relate it to what we are doing. For long term goals, I always make sure to remind them of what it will take to get where they want to go.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I always try to come at difficult concepts from new approaches until a student grasps the concept. Sometimes I will relate the concepts to gestures or physical activities. I have sometimes walked around circular tables with students to help them understand what circumferences are in a more concrete way.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I emphasize focusing on the main idea, and viewing the supporting details as decorations to that framework. I believe that helps many students to better approach texts. If it doesn't help a student, I prefer a proactive approach, I always try new things until one works and the student improves.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting to know students as people and sharing their goals in trying to help them improve is enormously effective and at the core of what I try to do as a tutor. I always try to get a feel for where a student is and the particular kind of help they need, since everyone is different.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
It's not always easy, but usually if you can find a way to get a student to begin to understand a topic, they start to get excited on their own by their success. For students that require more initial motivation, I try to relate what we are doing to their interests. I can usually find a way to do that, and it is often very effective.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I usually have students explain difficult concepts back to me in their own words. If they cannot do that, or quote back my own words verbatim, they usually do not have a sufficient understanding of the material. When that happens, I always go back and figure out where we went off track.