I grew up in a small town in Tennessee where it sometimes felt like I would never get beyond the boundaries of my home state and see more of the world. When it finally came time for me to go to college, I was intent on making the most of my experience--in terms of my education as well as my other activities. Now that I am working as a tutor, I want to be sure that my students of any age are on track to get everything they can out of their educations, too. It is so important to me to be able to help students work toward their dreams.
I graduated from Murray State University with a degree in Creative Writing, and I am still working toward my Master's degree in English with a focus on TESOL. Because of my academic background in English studies, I especially enjoy tutoring students who need help with papers of any kind. I have a strong linguistics background, and I can spot a grammar error from a mile away--which makes me especially fond of working through rough drafts and helping to polish them into something that can shine.
I can tutor English writing and reading, paper composition and editing, study skills, time management and organization, and ACT English. I am also available to help with paper writing and editing in any subject; I can help with both MLA and APA style.
In the past, I tutored in two different on-campus facilities at my university, where I met one-on-one with students to help them with their paper writing, reading comprehension, editing, and study skills. I also volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters, where I was matched with a Little Brother in the first grade who needed homework and study help. I greatly enjoyed all of my previous tutoring work, and I look forward to meeting new students who might need my assistance, too.
Undergraduate Degree: Murray State University - Bachelors, English
I love to do crafts, especially crochet and sewing. When I'm not creating something out of fabric or yarn, then I'm usually writing poetry or short stories for my own personal interest. I'm also a huge fan of video games!
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that every student is a unique individual, and that I should always be able to adapt to what each student needs. It is my job to observe what the student knows, assess the student's strengths, and help the student work through his or her weak spots.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would get to know the student, not just from an academic standpoint, but all-around; I would exchange information about interests and hobbies with the student, and then gather information about the class and work. I would also make a list of concerns the student has about the class, and then point out any other areas I might notice to work on, too. And of course, I would like to see an example of what the student can already do!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I will always help guide a student toward places in his or her writing that might need extra attention, and I will never just point out a problem without having the student work toward finding it first. Eventually, with practice, students should be able to notice problem areas before I even say anything.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I know how tough and frustrating it can be working on the same paper or the same kinds of test questions over and over again. When a student is getting frustrated, I like to take a moment to ask him or her about life goals and dreams for the future. A lot of times, just talking about what they want to achieve can help students remember why they need to stay motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would be patient and help the student work through it one baby step at a time--because even tiny steps are still moving forward.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I think it's always important to sit down with a new student and go over how he or she feels about the class, project, or test before we ever start on any work. Then, I usually help the student break down the work into smaller portions, and sometimes I have even helped write up a "plan of action" for how to tackle the subject matter at hand. Getting organized and getting in the right frame of mind is the best strategy I have learned from past tutoring.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to lighten the mood and bring the subject into a light that the student can relate to. For example, when trying to explain run-on sentences, I might write some samples that are about a topic the student is interested in, like a favorite TV show.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Verbal and written quiz questions are always a great way to make sure students are understanding the material. I also like to just discuss the subject with the student, and have the student tell me everything he or she can about the material at a given time.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
One way that I have found that builds confidence easily is to ask the student questions, or provide practice questions or sentences, that are well within that student's range of knowledge. Succeeding in practice is a great way to feel confident enough to do well on the actual assignment or test.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Communication is definitely the key in evaluating student needs. In a first session, I like to see the student's syllabus or assignment information, then discuss with the student how he or she feels about the work so far. Understanding how the student is feeling about class work is an important first step toward figuring out just what that particular student needs to get out of tutoring.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I am always prepared with several different types of examples, practice questions, and explanation techniques. What makes sense to one student may sound like gibberish to another, and that's perfectly normal. It is up to me to come prepared to every tutoring session with multiple options for helping the student understand.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Since I tutor English, and most commonly writing, I usually need a copy of the paper or reading assignment, and a pen and paper to keep notes. I like to bring along a differently-colored pen so that the student can annotate any mistakes or areas that need improvement in his or her writing. And, of course, I always come prepared with practice work!