I am a recent graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in Spanish. In the future, I plan on getting certified in ESL and working towards a teaching certificate. Ever since I took my first Spanish class in the seventh grade, I have been in love with the language and all the different cultures it is a part of. I am very passionate about the importance of Spanish in America today, as well as helping Hispanic families learn English, while not forsaking their native language.
While learning Spanish over the years, I also fell in love with many other topics including Biology, Anatomy, and Math. I simply enjoy learning, and that is why I am interested in so many different topics. I am also an excellent test taker and am very passionate about helping students learn how to effectively study for and take tests. I believe that no test should keep a hard working and knowledgeable student from succeeding.
I didn’t always know I wanted to be a teacher, but I have always enjoyed tutoring my friends and family when they came to me asking for help. After I graduated, I tutored a woman who was studying for the citizenship test to become a U.S. Citizen. As a native Spanish speaker, she had trouble pronouncing and understanding certain words. After two months of tutoring, she took the test and passed with flying colors. It was during this time that I discovered my passion and skills for tutoring. I really care about my students and want them to succeed. Watching a young child understand something for the first time, or an adult student work so hard and with such determination to better their future, these things brighten my life, and push me be the best tutor I can be.
I believe that education is extremely important, not only to have a successful career, but to learn the discipline necessary to have a successful and happy life. Because of this, I love to find new ways to motivate my students and get them interested in the material. Aside from tutoring, I also love spend time with my husband, travel, go hiking or skiing, or simply get lost in a good book. One thing I know for sure in my life, though, is that I never want to stop learning.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Missouri-Columbia - Bachelors, Spanish
ACT Composite: 31
ACT English: 35
ACT Math: 33
ACT Reading: 34
Reading, Hiking, Skiing, Traveling, Cooking
Anatomy & Physiology
High School Biology
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Each student learns in different ways, and I believe that it is my job to quickly understand how my students learn, so that I can develop the teaching strategy that will most effectively and efficiently help them understand their material. Just as important is the need to build a relationship built on trust and encouragement with my students. Doing these things will create an environment where my students feel free to open up about their difficulties and struggles, and I have the passion to help them succeed and the information needed to make it a reality.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session with a student, I would introduce myself and talk to the student about their life and interests. This is important because it allows us both to relax and feel comfortable around each other. Next, I would ask the student how their class is going and what they are having trouble with. I would make sure to listen carefully so that I really understand how they are feeling. After that, I would ask them to show me all of the material they have been given, and to tell me what they are specifically studying at that time. Finally, I would ask them to make a reasonable goal that they want to accomplish, and at the end of the session I would make a plan with them to achieve that goal. Before leaving, I would give them a small assignment to get them started, and make sure they feel encouraged and motivated.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The biggest obstacle keeping a student from becoming an independent learner is the fear of failure. When a student is afraid of not getting the answer right, often that student will be too afraid to even try to answer the question. For this reason, the most important thing to do when helping a student become an independent learner is to build their confidence in themselves. To do this, I make sure they know that it is okay to not always know the answer. No one is perfect and everyone messes up sometimes. Once they are comfortable taking on the risk of possibly not getting the answer right, I would help them understand the process used when approaching an unfamiliar question. To be an independent learner is to have the means and confidence necessary to approach the unknown and work through it until you understand. I would teach a student how to find useful resources, how to begin answering the question, and, most importantly, the importance of never giving up.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Staying motivated is sometimes the most difficult obstacle to overcome throughout a student's education. However, finding motivation is extremely important because without it, it is easy to stop caring. Because of this, I have developed many ways to increase a student's motivation. First and foremost, it is important to ask the student what their ultimate goal is. If the student has a clear goal in mind, the desire to achieve that goal is oftentimes the only motivation necessary. Other times, and especially in younger students, short-term goals are more motivational. For this reason, it is important to continuously set up small milestones for the student to reach, and then make their journey to those milestones fun. Turning studying into some sort of game or competition is often very motivational. Also, injecting fun facts or cool stories into a lesson can perk up a student's interest. Finally, finding a connection between the study material and the student's passion can really help them begin to care about what they are learning, and once they care about the material, they find the motivation they need.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student has difficulty learning a certain skill or concept, the first thing I do is encourage them. I let that student know that everyone has trouble learning something, but that is not a reason to give up. Once the student is committed to working hard, I would find multiple ways to explain that skill or concept using different teaching techniques or resources. Most of the time, changing the wording of an explanation is enough to help a student understand. If that wasn't enough, I would give the student multiple ways to see the problem. For example, if they can't understand a word problem, I would set up a visual of the problem so they can actually see it in front of them. There is always another way to look at something, and I would continue to find new ways until the student finally understands. From then on, I would remember what method worked best for that student, and continue to use it in the future to prevent further difficulties.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When a student is struggling with reading comprehension, the first thing I do is assess where they are. Getting a good understanding of what the student already knows and what they are having trouble with allows me to focus on problem areas and keep from wasting time on strong areas. From there, I walk through the passage with the student asking them different questions, having them explain what they think it means in their own words, and making visuals. I define any words that the student is unfamiliar with and use synonyms to help them get a clearer understanding. Finally, I explain the importance of looking back at the passages before and after the difficult section for context clues. After all of this, the student can explain, in their own words, what the difficult passage was about, and they also have tools for approaching future difficult passages.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When beginning to work with a student, I find it very important to establish a safe and open environment early on. Taking the time to get to know my students on a personal and professional level allows all future meetings to be more productive. Getting a good understanding of what the student enjoys learning, struggles with, wants to get better at, and, ultimately, what their goals are, helps me set up a clear and detailed plan to achieve those goals. Another successful strategy is assessing the student's knowledge early on. This is useful because it helps me know where to start, but it also sets up a good opportunity to encourage the student. Months later I can assess the student again, and they are able to see their improvement. This encouragement gives the student the confidence and the motivation necessary to keep moving forward in their education.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
When I have a student who is struggling with a subject, one of my main responsibilities to that student is to reengage them in the material. To do this I would find cool stories or fun facts related to that subject and periodically share them with the student. When the student knows more about the subject and finds something to relate to within it, they are more likely to be interested and motivated to continue working hard. Also, turning studying into a fun game is quite effective, because it brings out the student's competitive edge. Combining these two techniques, along with reminding the student that nobody's perfect, will definitely help re-engage them with the subject matter.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To make sure that a student completely understands the material, I first test them over it, and then I have them explain it to me in their own words. If they can explain how something works, or why a certain answer is the right answer, then they have definitely mastered the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I believe that the best way to build a student's confidence in a subject area is to show them how much they really know about it. If a student is constantly getting great test results, then they are going to feel confidence in that subject. So, in order to do this, my first priority is teaching them and helping them understand as much as they can. I give them small but frequent quizzes to see what they know and what they still need to work on. Occasionally, I ask them questions that I already know they know the answer to, just to boost their confidence. I make sure to track their progress and show them how much they have improved over time. And, finally, I offer up words of encouragement constantly.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The first thing I do when evaluating a student's needs is to simply talk to them. I ask them what they have been struggling with and what they feel like they have a pretty good grasp on already. This communication is extremely important, because the student usually knows what they really need help with. I also test them over the material so I can see what questions they know and which ones they are having trouble with. Finally, I ask them to show me how they would approach a question, so I can evaluate their understanding of a topic and their problem-solving abilities.