As a teacher with 18 years experience and a mother of three school-aged children, I know how tough school can be for some kids. Some just need a little more practice and structure, to get good habits and study skills in place. Others might need intensive additional practice in a particular area. Some might be playing "catch up" after an illness or other time away from school. Whatever the reason may be, I'm available to help. I'm looking forward to fostering good feelings about learning and school, as well as helping students develop strategies for coping with areas of weakness. Meeting students on their level, using a combination of students' learning preferences, strengths and new strategies for studying (that may not have been attempted before) can only result in deeper understanding. With parents, teachers and tutors all working toward the same end, there is nowhere to go but up. The ultimate goal is to create life-long and self-reliant learners.
I am a 1995 graduate of Keene State College in Keene, NH. It is a locally well known, but small liberal arts college, with a more than 100 year history of educating teachers. I am a bit of a science enthusiast, so I chose biology as a minor. Shortly after graduation, I headed to Northern Virginia in 1996 to seek out my first teaching job. I ended up teaching Science only to grades 4-8 in a small Catholic school, then in a larger, regional Catholic school, both in Maryland. After six years with the Archdiocese of Washington, I was hired to teach a 5th grade gifted class in Fairfax County. After a couple of years there, I accepted a 5th grade position in Loudoun County, which brought my job much closer to home. I remained happily in the 5th grade for several years until finally accepting my current Gifted/Talented resource teacher position.
I am ready to tutor students through 6th grade in all subject areas (writing, reading, science, math, English, social studies).
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Keene State College - Bachelors, Elementary Education
Science news, children's literature, cooking,
4th Grade Math
4th Grade Reading
4th Grade Science
4th Grade Writing
5th Grade Math
5th Grade Reading
5th Grade Writing
6th Grade Math
6th Grade Reading
6th Grade Science
6th Grade Writing
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School English
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
The role of the teacher is to spark and foster the desire for lifelong learning. If a person does not find learning (or any other activity) enjoyable or positive, it will not be something they will want to do. It will always be a struggle and a tedious task. When a task is enjoyable and personally meaningful, the maximum benefit can be obtained.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the first session with a student, I expect that I would introduce myself and then get to know the student. I would try to find out their strengths and weaknesses, as well as what their preferred learning style might be. If I could find out what the student enjoys, I could use that subject matter to make tutoring more interesting for the student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A student that enjoys learning will be an independent learner. The experience must be positive and meaningful to the student. If the student feels they have a set of strategies that work to help them, they will know what to do when the need for studying and practice arises, and they will use those strategies on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Students should understand that their teachers, parents and myself are all there to help, and not to make things difficult. As a team, we can all work together to help this student learn the things they need to know to be able to have the most choices available to them later in life. Finding out what the student's goals are, and then discussing what a student would need to know to reach this goal, might provide motivation to help get through the study of some topics that may not be favorites.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a concept is difficult, the information can be presented in a different way (i.e. lattice multiplication instead of the standard algorithm), or presented in conjunction with something they enjoy (i.e. football-related math problems). Practice could also be provided in a way that works best with their learning preferences, such as a game.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Students who struggle with reading comprehension often need to slow down. Reading a passage aloud can help, as well as breaking down the passage into parts. Helping students to recognize the main idea and supporting details can help students understand the gist of a passage, even if they don't know all the vocabulary. Using context clues, root words/prefixes are strategies students can learn to become more self-reliant when they run into words they don't know, and these also take practice. Using the same passage for several different purposes (finding main idea, author's purpose, vocabulary study) is a strategy that schools are using now in what they call "shared reading."
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
To be successful in working with a student, the teacher/tutor must appear non-threatening and approachable. Students need to feel safe asking questions and admitting what they do not know. Finding out what their learning styles and interests are can help make the subject matter more appealing and more fun for students. Using technology may help as well, as a computer game may be more well received as a form of practice, rather than paper/pencil drill. Having a method for students to track their own progress helps students reach goals and feel good about their practice (as in with multiplication facts) as it provides a visual and feedback. Establishing routines in the sessions can help students know what to expect and be prepared.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
To help a student become excited about something that they are struggling in, the teacher first needs to figure out what the student already knows and meet the student where they are on the topic. Successes and growth from that point forward should be noted and celebrated, and not compared to their peers. The teacher should use the preferred learning style of the student as much as possible and take advantage of various types of technology so that it can be approached in many different ways... games, flashcards, sorting activities, puzzles, etc. Using a theme that appeals to the student (such as football) may help.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Using a brief end-of-lesson check (exit ticket) is a way of quickly checking the most important objectives. Similarly, this type of check can be done just before starting a session to see what a student remembers since the previous session. These are so brief that they are not test-like and are non threatening. They can even be done in a puzzle/game form, and it doesn't even need to be done in a written form. Students can explain orally or do a performance task.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Meeting a student at their level and moving upward from there is very important. Expecting fluency in something they are not ready for is counterproductive. Celebrating small successes and growth, even if the full goal is not met is important. In games, reviews, warm-ups, etc., combine previously mastered material with the newer practice items so the student will feel more successful.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
To evaluate the student's needs, a tutor would need to know where the struggle manifests itself in school, and what the parent has observed with homework. Providing a pretest of items (not necessarily paper/pencil) on the topic on the level where the student is expected to be and lower can help pinpoint where to begin instruction. Looking at the state standards for each grade level can help a teacher or tutor know what should already be mastered and what a student should currently be studying.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Students needs can vary for many reasons. Some students have memory difficulties, so repeating information in a variety of ways may be what that student needs. Others may need hands-on activities and real application in order to understand. Talking to the teacher, parent and student about strengths and weaknesses can help a tutor know where to begin. As sessions progress with a tutor, he or she will discover additional strategies that work and make an attempt to incorporate more of that successful strategy.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Materials would vary widely depending on the topic and level of the student. I have found that sorts work well for vocabulary and many subject areas (math, science, social studies) and can be used in a variety of ways with students of all ages. Technology can be used for this, as well as paper cards with words/pictures. Online resources can be used for many subject areas and provide games that can be played in or outside the tutoring session. This site can also provides the tutor immediate feedback on how well the student performed on these tasks.