As a former NYC high school English teacher I know that many students struggle with learning but all students can achieve success.
My teaching philosophy is to empower students to be the agents of their own learning. In order to learn efficiently and effectively, tutors need to embrace learning styles. From concepts to creation, students must learn how to ask significant questions and keep asking them. For a tutor, this means modeling good questions and expecting the best from her students.
From the moment I sit down with students, they know they are in a safe environment where learning and respect for others is paramount. I enjoy using humor and engagement to make our sessions as interesting and painless as possible. No student should fear learning!
Undergraduate Degree: Boston College - Bachelors, English Literature
Graduate Degree: Teachers College, Columbia - Masters, English Education
Drawing, speaking French, playing tennis, biking, watching movies, traveling
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy to empower students to be the agents of their own learning. In order to learn efficiently and effectively, tutors need to embrace learning styles. From concepts to creation, students must learn how to ask significant questions and keep asking them. For a tutor, this means modeling good questions and expecting the best from her students.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Getting to know and trust each other is extremely important. I like to play a few games related to the subject matter I'll be teaching that also allows us to learn about each other and our backgrounds.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students become independent learners when they have both the tools and the confidence to succeed. Students who are taught how to question, how to study and why learning can be fun become excellent independent learners!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Students can stay motivated by knowing that they are not alone in their struggles, and that the only pressure is from within. Once students grasp that learning can be a slow, step-by-step process, and not a race, it becomes much less scary.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would keep breaking the skill down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Learning happens bit-by-bit, not all at once!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Students need to understand that there are techniques that anyone can learn to become a better reader, and it doesn't come naturally. Everybody practices. Some of these techniques include reading aloud, chunking small paragraphs, writing questions in the margins, etc.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It's always useful to make sure that the student is engaged in what we are doing. Students should be active in learning at all times. These means bringing hands-on activities, noting and sharing student interests, and continually asking questions during tutoring sessions.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
It's extremely important to get to know who your student is and what s/he likes. If you can relate the content that the student struggles with to her hobbies, it can help make the task less painful and more interesting.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I use the I do, we do, you do method. This means that I first demonstrate a skill, we practice it together, and then the students does it on her own. If she struggles, then we just go back to the we do part until she gains confidence to try on her own again.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I never put a student down or make it seem like I'm frustrated with her. It's important to keep celebrating every time a student does something right or takes a big risk.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
This depends on the subject. But usually, it's great to have a sample of student writing. A great way to learn about your student and also to understand her writing struggles is to have her write you a letter in which she tells you all about herself.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
There are so many different learning styles. Starting with a general one that has been successful in the past is a great way to start. However, if it becomes clear that this isn't working for a particular student, I would change the process of learning. That is to say, if a handout doesn't work, we switch to a video clip. If that doesn't work, we try a relatable, hands-on tactic. There are so many ways to adjust content, process and product to fit a student's learning style.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Students should have a notebook and a folder to keep handouts. Usually, I come prepared with a handout or packet for the session. If a student has a computer, sometimes we work online and I have the student save her work there.