Having served seven years in the US Navy and after 16 years as a certified K-5 teacher, I have cultivated a real passion for teaching. I am an advocate for the needs of the individual learner and I absolutely love the challenges involved in meeting those needs. I have experience with learning disabilities, ADD & ADHD students, autism, behavioral disorders, medical emergencies and illnesses, Homebound instruction, gifted GATE learners, remediation needs and more.
One of the biggest challenges we face in education today is the need to meet each and every student right where they are and to teach them at an individual level to get them to reach their full potential. We need get them to where they need to go. So many kids struggle with the education system, not because of faults or failures within the system, but because the system simply can not meet the needs of the individual child; especially a child who is struggling.
With my experience as an educator, I am greatly concerned with what motivates a child to want to learn. Rather than discourage and exasperate the learner, I believe a good teacher should encourage and motivate. If the child doesn't want to learn and is reluctant, they develop a deep rooted resentment towards school if true learning is not taking place. Constant struggle or repeated failure never motivated anybody. It is my job as a teacher/tutor to find out what motivates and to encourage every student I work with to fall in love with what they are learning. This presents a challenge and I am up to that challenge.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Virginia Wesleyan College - Bachelors, Interdisciplinary Studies
Graduate Degree: Regent University - Masters in Education, Reading Teacher Education
ACCUPLACER Arithmetic Prep
ACCUPLACER Elementary Algebra Prep
College Level American History
Elementary School Math
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Our first session will be used to gather information about the student. I will assess their learning style and their areas of strength and weakness, and I will gather some background about the student to assist with motivation and encouragement. This will all be done while engaging in real school work because the work still needs to get done.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A student can become an independent learner by finding success. Success in one area breeds success in another. Accomplishing a tough task or learning a new skill can foster the motivation and encouragement necessary to move towards independence.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I can help a student stay motivated by actually caring about the student. I can listen while I am teaching. I can guide and direct a student to succeed in areas where they previously struggled. It is my job to make learning an enjoyable experience.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would break that skill or concept down into smaller parts. There are times when success at a previous skill or concept can be used to address a difficulty at a higher level. I would patiently guide the student towards success, but I would expect the student to get there independently as well.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
The answer to this question would depend on how old the student is. Generally, a student becomes a better reader by reading. It sounds simple, but it's actually far more difficult. Comprehension has as much to do with what is being read as it does with how it is being read. I will teach the student how to become a reading detective using less elbow grease and more furniture polish. The student needs to see that the work is still necessary, but it may not be as hard as they think it is.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Building a rapport with students is essential at the onset. If the student knows that I care and also knows that they are going to succeed, the rest becomes a less challenging struggle. A lazy student wants me to do all the work. A successful student will do the work themselves.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would first start with the student, not the subject. If I know what motivates the student, the subject matter becomes less of a struggle and more of a positive challenge. Success breeds its own excitement. But, this success has to make sense to the student. It has to be real to them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use guided practice, leveled instruction, and hands-on learning where the student becomes the teacher. I would also incorporate technology as much as possible to engage the various learning styles of the student. I'd turn each subject/skill area into a fun challenge rather than a boring, frustrating mess.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
A student's confidence must first be built in an area that actually matters to the student. At times, the school subject simply does not matter to the student. In this case, confidence has to start somewhere else.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
There are a variety of "diagnostic" methods that I can use. Rather than squash the student's enthusiasm with long, drawn out formal diagnostic tools, I can use experience as a teacher to quickly and informally evaluate where the student is struggling and why the student is struggling. Communication with the parents is also a tremendous help. They know the student better than anybody else.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring to the needs of the student by constantly evaluating the student. This starts before the first session begins. All good teaching is done this way, and it is a natural process in how I tutor or teach.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I typically use any hands-on materials that are applicable to the skill/subject matter. I also incorporate technology that focuses directly on the skill or objective. There are numerous online resources that reinforce today's SOL objectives.
What is your teaching philosophy?
As mentioned in my personal statement above, my teaching philosophy is centered on the needs of the individual student. The student must be at the center of what is going on. The parent's role is vitally important, but the student matters most.