I am the child of two teachers who is following in their footsteps. My favorite part of teaching, whether small children or adults, is when the light bulb finally goes on. I enjoy watching my students' confidence build as they experience small successes that build on each other until they master the subject that has been troubling them.
My teaching strategy is a mixture of focus and compassion. In today's academic environment, students are expected to learn, absorb, and apply more than ever before. With that in mind, there is no room for wasted time in a tutoring session. I use whatever strategies work for my students to keep them focused and engaged. I have worked with students with ADD/ADHD, autism, and many other conditions that make it difficult for them to learn in a conventional setting, and believe that they are absolutely capable of success given the right strategies. That said, I know that it is difficult to experience academic issues, and I approach every tutoring session with compassion and understanding. I provide as much positive reinforcement as the student needs to feel confident and keep trying his or her best.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Arizona State University - Bachelors, Political Science and Government
Graduate Degree: University of Virginia-Main Campus - Current Grad Student, Law
Dog training, crafting, sewing
1st Grade Reading
1st Grade Writing
2nd Grade Reading
2nd Grade Writing
3rd Grade Reading
3rd Grade Writing
4th Grade Reading
4th Grade Writing
5th Grade Reading
5th Grade Writing
6th Grade Reading
6th Grade Writing
7th Grade Reading
7th Grade Writing
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Writing
9th Grade Reading
9th Grade Writing
AP US Government
AP US History
CLEP College Composition
College Application Essays
College Level American History
College World History
MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Level American History
High School World History
High School Writing
Intellectual Property Law
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Study Skills and Organization
US Constitutional History
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in a focused but compassionate approach to teaching. I know how to keep students focused to accomplish as much as possible. I also know that learning can be difficult and frustrating at times, and I always strive to understand where my students are coming from and how I can make them feel more comfortable.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first thing I like to do is get to know the student and tell them a little about me. Next, I like to discuss where they are in their studies, what they are finding difficult, and what they would like to accomplish through tutoring. Then, we might start an introduction to the subject so that I can assess the student's learning style, strengths, weaknesses, and the best direction to go in the future.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It really depends on the student. For visual learners, I use online drawing and writing tools. For auditory learners, we might use more discussion. For younger learners, I like to use bright, exciting visual aids. For older learners, we might focus more on test simulations.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
In my view, the ultimate test of comprehension is the ability to explain the material to another person. So if I am working with a student in math, I might give the student a problem in the area we have been studying and have him walk me through how to solve it. If we are working on test prep, I might provide some sample questions and have the student explain how she would solve them using the strategies she learned.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I help the student experience success, however small. Sometimes, this means that we have to break up the subject matter into its constituent parts. For example, if a student is having trouble simplifying fractions, we might move one step backwards to division. As the student gets faster at solving division problems, their confidence will increase. Then we would start with simple fractions that have an easily identifiable divisor and move up in difficulty from there.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The first step is always to ask the student where he or she feels the difficulty lies. If the answer is "everything is hard" (as it often is), I help the student break things down into smaller parts. I will also give sample questions in the area, moving up or down in difficulty until I can figure out the student's skill level.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Students learn in a variety of different ways. One philosophy espouses eight different "intelligences" -- linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. Schools usually cater to linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. However, they miss out on so many opportunities to utilize students' other strengths. For example, most schools teach vocabulary in lists. I might use the same method, or I might draw pictures, come up with a song, or attach a bodily movement to a vocabulary word -- it all depends on what works best for the student.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I break it down into smaller pieces and work on mastery of those pieces. Once the student has a good grasp on the smaller pieces, we move back into the concept they had difficulty with.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I teach students to use age-appropriate reading comprehension strategies. For example, learning how to use context clues to determine the meaning of words is as helpful for beginning readers as it is for high school students that are preparing for the SAT.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I think that the key to becoming an independent learner is to develop and practice explicit strategies to be used when the student runs into a problem. For example, students who have a good grasp on how to use context clues can tackle any difficult reading.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The best motivation is a combination of internal and external factors. A student's internal motivation is boosted every time they experience a success, even if it is a small one. With this in mind, I try to set up my students to experience small successes every time they meet with me, which builds up to bigger successes over time. External motivation can be increased through positive reinforcement, which I provide in abundance to the students that I work with.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
One strategy among many others is to connect the subject to its "greater purpose" in the student's life, whether in the present or future. A simple example is the application of division to figuring out whether buying a case of soup at Costco is a better deal than buying individual cans at the grocery store.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to spend some time getting to know the student and helping the student to get to know me, which builds trust and an understanding of how each of us operates. Next, I work with the student to understand exactly what he or she is struggling with. For example, "math is hard" might break down to trouble with fractions. From there, I have a better understanding of what to work on and how to do so.