I am a graduate of the University of Minnesota's German Studies program. I also spent a year studying in Berlin, totally immersed in the German university. Since then (August 2013), I have consistently been working in German speaking educational environments and workplaces. I have worked as a German language Summer camp instructor for ages 4-10, as an assistant teacher for German language after-school programs for ages 5-12, as a lead teacher for the same program, as a tutor for college aged students, as an adult German language tutor at a German language institute, and as a paraprofessional at a German language school.
I have gained a wide variety of experiences as a language tutor in a variety of different settings and with a variety of different learning styles. I am equipped to work with any level or age learner on any language based need in both German and English. Personally, I find the structures and histories of languages fascinating and took a year of Greek at the University and self-taught a semester of Latin to learn more about it. Currently, I am also studying Spanish and Ojibwa. Thus, I am well prepared and excited to help with problems related to grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, writing skills, and reading comprehension.
As a tutor, I want you, the student, to be as excited about language as I am, and so I am dedicated to finding that part of language or that expression of language that will fascinate you, whether it be poetry, song lyrics, etymology, or whatever, and incorporating that into our lessons.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities - Bachelors, German
Books, books, and more books. I am a book collector and an avid reader of all kinds of books. In Literature, I currently like Walser and Buechner; in Philosophy Spinoza; in History, Foucault and Deleuze; in Poetry, Rilke.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Find a way to make the lesson work for the student. Adapt.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Find some common interests and try to work out strengths and weaknesses. This will be essential in the long run, as I will change my teaching strategy based on the student's interest and learning style.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
End the lesson with something to practice and a fun way to do it. Don't just give out charts and expect them to be memorized. Open up new doors and expose the student to new opportunities that their language skills have created.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would find materials that are appropriate for their skill level but are nevertheless a rewarding experience, like a song.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Find a new angle, and another one, and so on, until I find the way that clicks with the student. Relate it to a previous skill or a skill they already have and demonstrate the similarities or relation.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Take the passage step-by-step, and reduce it to it's simplest possible components. Ask a lot of questions. The student knows more than they think. It's just as often a matter of getting him or her to trust his or her instincts as it is actual comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Start conversational and show the student that they can begin putting their skills to use right away, and that it isn't a matter of memorizing charts and rules for years before they can begin enjoying the fruits of their labor.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Always relate the lesson, as much as is possible, to a personal strength or interest. If they like movies, find a film clip or trailer that features a word or word time they are working on. If they like songs, find one that has the same features. And so on.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I like to ask a lot of questions and play the student. Having the student teach me the learned skills or words is the best way to know whether or not they understand it. If I want to be sure, I'd have the student explain it in different words than the ones I chose.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I relate the material to something they already know and I attempt, through questioning, to show that they are capable of working out the question alone.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Speaking and writing demonstrations are better gauges than reading comprehension, as it is much more difficult to retain something that you must use yourself than to remember it as you read it.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I remain receptive to the idea that what I have planned may not be best for the student, and I keep an open mind towards different learners and learning styles. I understand that tutoring is a collaboration and not a recitation of facts.