I've always loved school and learning. At the core of my teaching philosophy is the idea that anyone can learn anything, so long as the instructor is willing to teach to the student's style of learning. Most subjects came easily to me, but I hit a wall with math in middle school and just never seemed to be able to get it to 'click.' Then, I had a very patient teacher who helped me figure out how I could learn math, and it was like the wall crashed down. I would love to see every teacher have to teach his or her worst subject for a couple of years, in order to figure out how to become a better instructor.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Michigan State University - Bachelors, History
Graduate Degree: University of Detroit Mercy School of Law - Masters, Law
Reading (history, science fiction, fanasy), Hiking, Camping, International Travel, Languages, Hurling (national sport of Ireland).
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
6th Grade Science
7th Grade Reading
7th Grade Science
7th Grade Writing
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Science
8th Grade Writing
9th Grade Reading
9th Grade Writing
College Level American History
College Level American Literature
Elementary School Science
High School Chemistry
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Science
Middle School Writing
US Constitutional History
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Any subject can be made difficult to learn, if the teacher finds it easy and can't understand why the student doesn't. The key is to find the student's best method of learning.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Find out about the student- his or her background, likes and dislikes, and what subjects he or she wishes to improve. The last part includes what has worked and what hasn't worked in tackling the subject.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Work together at first, and slowly, as the student gains a solid foundation and confidence with the subject, let the student take on more and more work related to it.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By setting easily achieved goals; there's nothing worse than feeling that you've got the whole mountain to climb ahead of you. Establishing personal rewards for each step accomplished.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try different methods of working with the subject matter. Some people are good with note-taking from lectures, others, from reading. Some people need hands-on learning.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Start with small portions and move on. As a civilization, thanks to the Internet, we have about a two minute attention span. By slowly increasing 'unplugged' time devoted to reading/comprehension, one can strengthen those skills.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Let the student show me what works and what doesn't work for him or her; then, try to identify why, in order to create a structure that will allow for success across the board.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Move away from a still, formal presentation of the material. The subjects I teach are languages, history, geography, etc. - they are all related to people. Instead of lists of facts, dates, or words to memorize, I prefer to show the dynamic human drama behind the subjects.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Formal and informal quizzes, using a variety of methods of testing.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By setting goals that can be achieved, and progressing through those goals. Accomplishment gives rise to confidence, which, in turn, gives rise to further accomplishment.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Through a combination of the student telling me what he or she needs and through testing.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try many different methods, and when I identify what works, I go with it.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It depends on the subject; books, images, video, etc. can all provide a structure from which to teach.