I am an endlessly curious person who genuinely enjoys learning and teaching. My favorite part about tutoring is the chance to meet new and interesting people and share in the process of learning and understanding. The subjects I am most passionate about are music, ELL/ESL, culture and language learning in general.
Music is a big part of my life - I am a violinist, music teacher and performer. I also enjoy traveling and getting to know other cultures and their languages. I lived in Beijing, China for 4 years and also in Quito, Ecuador for 4 years and learned to speak both Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.
During my time in China, I tutored many students in English and developed a real respect for the difficulties of learning this language! But it is also fascinating and opens the doors to so many opportunities. I know that students pursuing this goal work hard and I am excited to help them achieve it to the best of their ability.
Regarding my experience as a music teacher I have taught beginning to advanced violin, viola, cello and bass as well as both SL and HL IB Music (which includes in depth work in music history, theory and analysis). I also work as an IB Examiner, giving me a unique perspective on the range of talent around the world in this area. IB Music is a particularly comprehensive course but when approached well, very rewarding in terms of it's benefits to your understanding and appreciation of music.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Barnard College - Bachelors, East Asian Languages and Cultures, Minor: Music
Graduate Degree: SUNY College at Buffalo - Masters, Multidisciplinary Studies for Internationl Educators
GRE Verbal: 164
GRE Analytical Writing: 5
Reading, Yoga, Hiking, Cooking, Dog walking, Traveling, Learning languages
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Each student is an individual and unique person with his or her own interests and ways of learning; my goal as a teacher is to meet you where you are and tailor my teaching strategy to meet your needs.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
My first goal is to get to know the student, find out about background and interests, and (most importantly) determine what ways of learning are most effective for that particular student - speaking, listening, written notes, visuals, metaphors, etc.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In order to be an independent learner a student must take ownership of their learning and become invested in it. There has to be a connection to real life and why learning a particular subject will help you or enrich your life. My role as a teacher is to assist the student in finding that meaning and then guiding them in terms of developing good study habits and building strong independent research skills.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
One way that a tutor helps motivate a student is through the regularity of meeting - having that weekly (or sometimes more often) session helps keep a student on track. Additionally, I like to try to find fun ways to keep things interesting - for example, a special challenge or puzzle to solve.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
There are several possible courses of action - one would be to leave the skill/concept alone for a while and come back to it (oftentimes just having some space from a frustrating problem allows you to approach it with a fresh view), another option would be to approach the question from a different angle, find a different way of phrasing it or thinking about.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I help them look for clues in the passage to help guide their way - keywords, recognizing sentence structures, parts of speech, etc. It can also help to read out loud or look for clues in other areas such as accompanying pictures. Sometimes even the questions that follow a reading passage can provide clues.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Showing you care and are invested in their learning. This means getting to know the student and developing a relationship based on respect for the work you are both doing.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I try to find exciting or interesting examples outside of the expected to help the student see things from a different angle or possibly spark some interest where there wasn't any before. Using humor is also a good way to help the student find perspective.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
A good way to know if a student understands something is to ask them to "teach" you or explain it back to you. I can also use simple assessments to gauge the level of understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Again, being able to teach others or explain a concept to others is a great way of both solidifying your own understanding and building confidence with the knowledge that you do have. Any kind of creative project/portfolio that a student has invested themselves in is also a great way to build confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
It could be as simple as asking the student what they need. Some are more willing/able to tell you than others. I also look for clues as to their needs based on how they react to different kinds of tools and assessments used - what works and what doesn't? If a particular strategy doesn't seem to be working, then I will try a different angle.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
By asking questions and being attentive to the way a student responds to each new activity or strategy.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Most people learn best with a combination of learning styles incorporated so this could include paper, pencil, tablet, phone, computer, iPad, poster, etc.