I graduated Summa Cum Laude and Honors with Distinction from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Theater. I've always been passionate about learning and working with people. My theater background is collaboration-oriented, so I am very aware of how other people work and what I can do to adapt to their strengths and weaknesses.
Language and communication are the primary tools of my profession, and I have developed strong editorial, writing, and reading skills. I may not have pursued a career in science, but loved Biology, Astronomy, and Chemistry in school and hope to encourage young people to explore these fields.
As a tutor for Varsity Tutors, it is my goal to to help students develop strong study habits, fully comprehend their coursework, and build their confidence. I would choose to tutor any of these courses to help younger students further their education and become engaged in the world around them.
Undergraduate Degree: Middle Tennessee State University - Bachelors, Speech and Theater
ACT Reading: 36
ACT Science: 33
yoga, running, painting, rock climbing
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe students should feel confident about their abilities and knowledge. Every student has a unique way of thinking, and it is important for an instructor to foster how a student approaches learning. The focus should not be on memorization, but analyzing and comprehending the material.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Upon meeting a new student, I would try to gauge their personality and their needs. For a younger student, I might spend more time making sure they are comfortable with the setting of being tutored, whereas with an older student, I would ask them what they want our time to focus on. In any case, I would like to gauge how the student relates to the material. Are they interested in it? Frustrated? Do they just want to get a good grade? I would also like to establish if this is a one-time assignment based tutoring or if sessions will continue for a full semester. After this brief discussion, I would begin to review their current materials with them, and begin to work on the requirements of the assignment with the needs of the student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would help a student become an independent learner by understanding their current study habits, discussing what approaches do and do not work for them, and brainstorming new tools with them, all the while building their confidence in their own abilities.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I frequently work with keeping large groups of people motivated for long hours. I've found that setting milestones or goals encourages individuals to meet a short-term target, and once it is met, they have confidence to move on to the next.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student has a difficulty with any material, I would let them explain to me why they don't understand it and answer the questions that they have. I would ask them to answer questions that help illustrate parts of the concept to help them understand the main idea. In a skills area, I would help them practice it and repeat it, and help them gain comfort and avoid frustration. If these tactics do not work, I would then explore other tactics that better suit the student's abilities.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is a skill developed through experience, and I would help guide a student struggling with developing reading comprehension skills by remaining patient with them and demonstrating logical approaches to understanding content. A reader should begin with an open-mind to new content and focus on understanding the author's intent. They should question how the writer approaches the content: is the wording accurate? Is it informative or persuasive? Does the material illicit an emotional response for the reader? For an individual struggling to understand how to answer questions on a reading test, I would analyze the question and approaches to finding the answer, such as process of elimination, context clues, and comparing and contrasting answers. For individuals who do not enjoy reading or struggle with the initial content, I would begin by discussing the reading with them. I would ask them about their first impressions of the piece. I would ask them if there were portions they didn't understand and guide them through their own reasoning. I would refrain from giving them an answer, but would ask them questions to discover the answer to their own question. I would also encourage the student to reread material. Ultimately, I would try to approach tutoring a student in reading comprehension based off the needs and abilities of the student.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would help a struggling student become excited and engaged in their subjects by building their confidence, comparing their challenging subjects to their hobbies or interests, and by rewarding their progress with praise.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would test a student's understanding of material by asking them to come up with their own examples, by putting content into their own words, and by asking questions related to the content that they have not previously answered. I would also ask them challenging questions that may be misleading, but see if they can arrive at the correct answer or demonstrate a logical approach to finding an answer.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would evaluate a student's needs by analyzing their current academic standings, observing their habits, and listening to what they have to say.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I enjoy problem solving and am happy to adapt to a student's needs. I would always be mindful of the feedback I am receiving from the student. Since my job is primarily communicating with the student, I would first change the way I speak to them. Perhaps, I would need to change the setting of the session or the agenda of the tutoring session. After making adjustments that I can control, I would then see if I need the student to make changes to their approach and encourage them to make positive changes. If the student is a minor, I would be sure to keep the parent involved in the process and see if they have any insights.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I bring whatever materials are appropriate for the subject matter. Most any subject requires writing supplies. Luckily, most of the things I would need are available on my phone or computer: a dictionary, a calculator, a grammar guide (Purdue Owl being my favorite), etc. Math or science-based sessions may require other materials.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I would build a student's confidence by recognizing their skills and successes and acknowledging what improvements they have made. I would also encourage them to be independent thinkers.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I've found that creating a relaxed environment is the most successful way to start a meeting.