I am a strong believer in education and continuing ones education throughout ones lifetime and in using all the means available to continue ones education. I have a Bachelor's Degree, Master's Degree and Juris Doctorate degree. I continue to update my knowledge in my field through seminars and webinars. I taught in the traditional brick and mortar setting for 15 plus years and online for 10 years. I have taught students from K-12 and College level. I recognize that there are times when learners need assistance with their education. It is vital that learners can reason critically and understand the material they need to learn to be successful in their future endeavors. I believe all learners have the ability to succeed and at times that may mean having support and supplemental tutoring and mentoring. My role as a tutor is to assist the learner and support the learning in the classroom. I believe no question is silly. Questions help us learn. I strongly believe that working together, with respect and dignity, my students will succeed.
Mary Ellen’s Qualifications
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Rutgers University-Camden - Bachelors, History/Social Studies/Education
Graduate Degree: Rutgers University-Camden - Masters, Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education
Reading, gardening, bird watching, jogging, music.
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
AP US History
College Level American History
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
High School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe all students can be successful learners. Some may need additional support, but that is not failure; it is a wise choice to seek help and achieve one's goals. Teaching is a joint activity between teacher and student to guide the student to success.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I will, of course, introduce myself and then review the student's current knowledge. I will ask what areas are giving the student difficulty. I will help the student develop a learning plan to help guide them through their difficulties. I will above all be optimistic by praising success and giving encouragement.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There is a proverb that states if you give a man a fish he eats for a day but if you teach him to fish, he eats for life. I believe the same philosophy applies to education. If I can teach a student the tools needed to learn effectively, the student will become an independent learner for life. These tools include critical thinking, analysis skills, and interpretive and understanding skills. Once these skills are mastered, the student will be an independent learner for life.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
A student must be engaged to be motivated. My approach to engage and motivate a student is to have the student become involved in the lesson, to "own" the lesson. This can be accomplished by the following techniques: illustrating how the material can be used in the student's life and future, breaking the lessons into manageable segments for the session time, giving the student the opportunity to demonstrate prior knowledge to avoid repeating material that has been mastered, and keeping the sessions upbeat by perhaps allowing the student to reverse roles and become the "tutor" for a few moments.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
In this situation, I would assess the prior knowledge of the skill or concept to determine the best method to address the difficulty. Then, I would break down the skill or concept into smaller segments. This may require more than one session. I would apply practice of the concepts and ask the student to recall when he or she has used the skill or concept in the past or when it could be used currently or in the future. I have found that relating the material to the student's life often makes it less difficult to comprehend, learn, and retain.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
My approach with reading comprehension is to break down the reading into segments and analyze each segment by asking probing questions about the material in the reading. I use the Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Record, Review (SQ4R) process to help build comprehension skills. I encourage the student to take notes or if possible annotate the reading to help retain the information. At the end of each reading, the student and I discuss what was read and review the notes to help build comprehension. This is done in every session with every reading. A student who is struggling with reading comprehension may also have difficulty with vocabulary. To that end, I review any unknown vocabulary that may hinder comprehension, and once the vocabulary is clear, I ask the student to write a sentence or two using the new vocabulary words within the context of the reading. I suggest that the student keep a vocabulary list for review until the unknown terms become familiar.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The student will learn more effectively if he or she is comfortable. Therefore, in the initial meeting, I spend a few moments introducing myself and getting to know the student. I then move on to setting the goals for each session by reviewing the student's needs and questions and establishing the guidelines for the session. If this is a follow-up session, I briefly review the prior session material and connect it to the current session, if applicable. I wrap up each session with a review of the material, and if applicable, work with the student to set goals for the next session.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Students who are struggling with a subject often find it hard to be engaged because of anxiety and perhaps fear of failure. I would encourage the student to recognize their strengths and weaknesses. I would tell them that we all have strengths and weaknesses. It is how we handle our weaknesses that makes the differences in our lives. By seeking help, they are working in a positive manner to conquer their weaknesses. I will provide positive support and feedback to help them engage in the subject and succeed rather than struggle.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
At the beginning of the session, I ask my students to explain the assignment to me or explain their problems. Then during the session, I refer back to the information provided by the student to reinforce the learning process. I use open ended or Socratic questions to ensure the student not only understands the material but can discuss it in his or her own words and perhaps expand upon the knowledge they gained during the session.