I have worked in the education field for over 10 years in varying roles. I strongly value the opportunity that individualized and small group tutoring provides for student and mentor as it allows for focused mutual learning. I graduated with a Virginia's Teaching License in Kindergarten through 6th grade from Bridgewater College in 2009. I have continued my career as an educator with various out-of-school time enrichment programs and through volunteering as a tutor with varying ages. My approach is focused on teaching key strategies that encourage students to be independent learners, adapt healthy study skills, and think critically. I do this by focusing on how an answer is found or discovered and by asking essential questions.
Additionally,three years of my experience as an educator were based in the Dominican Republic as a Youth, Family and Community development volunteer in the Peace Corps. During this time, I increased my then basic Spanish skills to full fluency. Currently, I work for Higher Achievement - an education based nonprofit in Baltimore City that supports middle-school scholars in an academically rigirious after-school and summer program. My role includes recruiting, training and coaching our current team of 120 tutors among other areas.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Bridgewater College - Bachelors, Liberal Studies
ACT Composite: 21
Running, Sailing, Outdoor adventures, Reading
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Quality education leads to a quality society. I believe we must recognize the issues we face as a society and address them in our schools, while also believing in our children's ability to improve our world. All individuals are capable of achieving high standards, when faced with high expectations and self-confidence. I believe our classrooms should inspire self-driven learning through holistic development and a safe learning environment to create engaged citizens. The students' emotional, social, psychological, and physical development should be integrated into the classroom experience. This involves going beyond the classroom to include and inspire active participation in the student's learning from all stakeholders. It is also essential to create a sharing environment that celebrates individual and multi-cultural differences. Similarly, students must be able to transfer classroom knowledge and skills to their life and interests. This encourages lifelong learning. The teacher provides the necessary skills and knowledge while facilitating an experience in a safe environment for students to learn. We do this through inquiry, scaffolding, and differentiated instruction to meet individual needs. This provides opportunities that address the multiple intelligences and allows for students to choose their learning style. An ideal classroom has a comfortable, secure structure set by the teacher and students as a team. To ensure that learning is self-driven by the student, assessment should be a transparent process and an opportunity to measure student growth. Utilizing one-on-one and parent-teacher-student conferences with inquiry, I will allow the students to self-assess while sharing rubrics and individualized feedback. This will help students develop the ability to judge their own accomplishment and to set goals for themselves. A student's ability to apply lessons learned, especially compared to prior knowledge before instruction, is an essential element of good instruction. Teachers are agents of change. As someone who is passionate to take on that responsibility, I commit to a life of continuous learning, hard work, and the demand for excellence. With a background in youth and community development, I recognize that our children are the future. I believe that the public school system is the most essential place to create positive change.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Trust and a personal connection make learning a lot easier. I like to do "get-to-know-you" activities as well as learn the long-term and short-term goals of the student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Essential questions that focus on "how" and "why" rather than correct or incorrect! I ask critical thinking questions that allow students to learn the process.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Mini-breaks, a clear structure and expectations for our session, short-term goals that tie back to their bigger goals, and making the lesson material relevant to student interests.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Acknowledge the difficulty, take a mini-brain break (a walk, get water, stand up and do 10 jumping jacks), and then come back to the problem with a different approach.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
#1 - Find out what they are interested in and find reading material in that area. Then, spend some time assessing while having the student read what areas they struggle with the most. We can then focus our efforts and build. For example, if the number of words they recognize is less than normal, we'll work on memory of those words while also reviewing phonics to help sound words out.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Tailored examples to the student's interests, and a genuine interest in the student's success.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Identify what the student is interested in and what they use as motivation through key questions, and then focus learning to fit those interests/motivators. Also, use new learning tools and technology.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Clarifying questions; practice tests; repeat back or re-teach sessions (have the student teach me) or use the past material in a buildup manner.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Depending on the subject, I prepare a preliminary informal or formal assessment for our first session. I then ask key questions to identify student's expectations.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I ask students what studying habits they use currently, what they like to do and what areas they have been most successful in. I then try varying study tools and strategies to identify a combination that seems to produce results.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
An assortment of free apps, pen and scrap paper to take notes or work out practice problems/questions, flashcards and reading materials.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
"Competence and mastery" is a basic human need and also allows one to feel comfortable. I create a scale or problem that allows the student to master one area or one problem first, and then build on that skill.