I've been working with children for as long as I can remember - volunteering as a teacher's aide in my mother's religious school when I was still a preteen, working in the writing center at my high school during my lunch hour, volunteering in a Reading Buddies program with a local elementary school, and helping all of the children I babysat/nannied for with their homework.
In college, I had many opportunities to further develop my teaching and tutoring skills. I developed and taught a basic Spanish program for K-2nd graders at a local elementary school; I did an internship teaching English to African refugees in Tel Aviv; I spent three years as a Spanish Language Leader for the college, working with students individually or in small groups, and planning and hosting social events to help integrate all levels of language-learners into a supportive community. In the past few years I've spent more time working with high school students who are preparing for the AP US History and European History Exams.
I currently work in a full-inclusion elementary school as an Academic Coach, helping support kindergartners who are particularly struggling.
I grew up in Marlyand, close to Washington DC, and went to college in Bennington, Vermont. I just moved to San Diego in June, and am enjoying the sunshine and the beach, although I do miss the fall colors! I drink a lot of coffee and tea, and in my spare time there's nothing I like more than curling up with a good book and my cat.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Bennington College - Bachelors, Literary Translation and Sociolinguistics
SAT Verbal: 740
SAT Writing: 710
SAT Subject Test in Literature: 760
SAT Subject Test in Spanish: 770
SAT Subject Test in World History: 740
Reading (fantasy, science fiction, historical and realistic fiction), Animals, Baking
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
1st Grade Math
1st Grade Reading
1st Grade Writing
2nd Grade Math
2nd Grade Reading
2nd Grade Writing
3rd Grade Math
3rd Grade Reading
3rd Grade Science
3rd Grade Writing
4th Grade Math
4th Grade Reading
4th Grade Science
4th Grade Writing
5th Grade Math
5th Grade Reading
5th Grade Science
5th Grade Writing
6th Grade Math
6th Grade Reading
6th Grade Science
6th Grade Writing
7th Grade Math
7th Grade Reading
7th Grade Science
7th Grade Writing
8th Grade Math
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Science
8th Grade Writing
9th Grade Reading
9th Grade Writing
AP US Government
AP US History
College Level American Literature
College World History
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School Chemistry
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School World History
High School Writing
Latin America History
Middle School Reading
Middle School Science
Middle School Writing
SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe students learn best when they are interested in the material. I try to find ways to make learning fun by encouraging students to make connections between their studies and their lives.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I prefer to get to know students in a casual environment. I like to talk with them about school and extracurriculars and let them ask me any questions they have before getting started tutoring.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students feel better about themselves - and learn better - when they can solve problems and find answers themselves. Helping them make use of tools and realize what they already know is key. Lots of positive reinforcement builds students' confidence. I always prefer to ask questions rather than give answers.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Making learning matter to each student is a fun challenge - it's important to find out what their individual goals and dreams are, and to help them realize how staying focused and doing their best in school can help them get there. Letting students know that it's okay to struggle is also important in building their confidence and motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
There are lots of reasons students have difficulties learning. I do my best to find out what the root cause of the difficulty is, and address that. If a student is bored, I find a way to make it interesting to them. If they're frustrated, maybe it's time to take a short break. It's always easier and better to change my approach than to keep using a strategy that doesn't work.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Depending on the student's age, there are many different reasons for and tools to help with difficulties with reading comprehension. It's important to me to understand the root of the issue, because my approach is very different for students with, for example, language processing issues versus visual input problems like dyslexia. It's often best to go "back" to whatever level of text the student can read with confidence, and build up from there, rather than struggle through something that is overwhelmingly difficult.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It's always important to me to get to know a student as both a person and a learner. Once I know what they like, how they prefer to work and receive feedback, and what their strengths and weaknesses are, I can better tailor my teaching strategies to match. Sometimes this means a bit of trial-and-error before we find a dynamic that works!
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I believe that there's always at least one aspect of any subject that will interest any given student - the key is finding it. If reading comprehension is hard, it's important to find a text the student WANTS to read. If a student finds math boring, I try to make it seem like a game or a puzzle. The key is listening to the student and getting to know them to know what approach to take.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
There are many ways to check for comprehension. The ability to summarize and rephrase information is usually evidence of understanding, so finding interesting ways for a student to demonstrate these skills is important. Ultimately, real comprehension means a student can teach the material to someone else, so I often like to "switch" with them and have the student teach me the lesson back. This boosts their confidence, and lets me know if there are any holes in their understanding.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I prefer to make use of whatever materials a student has been given by their teachers and/or parents, and only introduce new materials if it seems crucial. Working with what the student has builds their comfort, confidence, and resourcefulness - many times students are not aware of or not fully utilizing all of the resources at their disposal.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence comes with progress and success, so if a student is struggling or lacking confidence, breaking up tasks into smaller pieces and giving a lot of positive reinforcement for the things they CAN do can really help. Low confidence directly affects performance and understanding, so helping students feel better about themselves and about their ability to improve and learn is often the first step to making progress.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I prefer to talk to the student first, and let them explain to me what their strengths and weaknesses are. I'll often check in with parents for confirmation and additional information (such as grades, teachers' reports, etc.), but my primary relationship is with the student. If they learn that they can be honest with me about what works and what doesn't work for them, they are more likely to trust me and let me help them.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The ability to be flexible is what draws me to tutoring over teaching larger groups. Every student has different needs and preferences, and I enjoy finding new ways to connect with students and make learning fun. While I'm happy to sit at a desk and go over homework, if reciting the times tables while playing hopscotch or jump rope makes it easier for a student to focus and remember, then that's what we should do! What works for one child won't necessarily work for the next, so flexibility and innovation are important to me.