Teaching is not a one-size-fits-all pursuit. Students come in many forms, and what works for one student may not work for another. I have been, at different times in my life, the atypical student and instructor of atypical students. Being on both sides of the desk has taught me a crucial lesson: when students are treated like the individuals they are and given choices in regards to teaching styles and learning settings, they are capable of academic excellence. They not only survive the scholarly world - they thrive, and develop their own lifelong passion for acquiring knowledge.
My primary goal is to help students of all kinds reach their own personal educational goals, specifically in the fields of English literature, reading/phonics, writing, and standardized test preparation. I aim to provide encouragement, motivation, and a safe one-on-one learning environment where inquisitiveness is welcomed enthusiastically and every achievement, no matter how modest, is praised.
I truly believe in my heart that students are not simply receptacles for the wisdom of the teacher – the students are also the teachers, and each one has a lesson to impart. It is the responsibility of the instructor to heed these lessons and remember that while no two students may be exactly alike, all of them have something important to offer the world. I sincerely hope to help a few of those students share it.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Temple University - Bachelors, English
SAT Verbal: 710
Reading, writing, internet, vinyl collecting
College Level American History
High School English
High School Level American History
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy can be summed up via a quote from His Holiness The Dalai Lama XIV: "Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality."
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I think that first I would ask the student questions about their educational goals. It's of great importance to me that I help the student learn what they know they need to learn in order to achieve academic success. Asking the student questions about what skills they are trying to improve - be it grammar, writing organization, comprehension skills, or whatever else they feel I can help them with - will help both tutor and tutee come up with a plan to address the needs of the student.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
A little praise goes a long way! A student, especially a student who has obstacles to overcome, must be encouraged. It seems very obvious, but students who are given recognition for goal achievement stay motivated more than the students who are not praised. Every time a student understands a concept fully for the first time (when the proverbial light bulb goes off!), that student should be commended.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It's been my experience that students struggling to comprehend what they are reading benefit greatly from reading aloud to an instructor. Seeing words on a page does not always bring about understanding, but hearing the spoken words often gets the gears turning in a new way. After a student has read a difficult passage aloud, I will go through it with them word by word, stopping to define unusual vocabulary whenever necessary. If the passage is written in a dialect unfamiliar to a student (i.e. anything Shakespearean), I will do my best to help the student adapt the language into something more contemporary for the sake of relating to the text.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Mnemonic devices have been invaluable throughout all my instructing endeavors! A mnemonic device is a simple tool that helps a student remember a crucial bit of information. For example, a piano student learning to read music might look at the lines on the treble staff - E, G, B, D, and F - and use the order mnemonic Every Good Boy Does Fine to promote memorization. There are hundreds of ways to make a mnemonic out of something hard to remember, and I've found that these little tricks to boost memory are often a skeleton key to success.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To put it simply, I ask questions. Students do not necessarily retain information from having it recited to them - some do, but just as many do not. Asking the student questions while going through the material helps both tutor and tutee: it gives me a sense of what a student comprehends, and even more importantly, the student answering the questions retains knowledge more effectively by being an active participant.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
The strategy I use is simple - I turn the student into the teacher. It has been said (and proven by scientific study) that we as humans retain knowledge very effectively by teaching it to others. Being capable of teaching a concept or idea promotes great confidence! When a student recognizes that they are capable of taking the material on which they are working and teaching it to someone else, their confidence skyrockets.