I am a people(kid) centered person. I have had a lot of experience and success in a variety of roles serving students. I have written and implemented individual education plans for students in grade school through high school. Most importantly, I care about kids and most of them listen to me. My talents are many; including working with the public and private sector. I value helping students, colleagues, and leaders achieve success.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh - Bachelors, Secondary Education - HPER/Biology
Graduate Degree: University of Northern Colorado - Masters, Educational Administration
Read, golf, fishing, play cards
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Teaching is the art of listening and interacting in a manner that supports learning. Successful teaching occurs when the learner's expectations grow in a positive direction. Positive growth builds a student's self confidence. Self confidence gives the students the strength to attempt tasks that are difficult for them. Successful task completion widens the student's skill set to attempt other challenges. As a teacher, I support my students in this process with timely tasks and constructive feedback.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Students and their parents would provide feedback about what occurred prior to our meeting. We would focus on expectations and talk about barriers, if any. We would build a set of steps to achieve the expectations and overcome any barriers. Next, we would talk about ownership and roles in putting this plan into action.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation comes from within. Students tend to be positively motivated when they feel some control and the capacity to be successful. Planning the path of learning with the student, providing constructive feedback based upon formative assessments, and celebrating the successes with the parents are way I help students motivate themselves.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Building a relationship of trust with known boundaries is important to both the student and his/her parent(s). Sometimes when a student has had limited success, one or more of the barriers has to do with too little trust or unclear boundaries. As students and parents give their trust to me, I gain the capacity to better support the plan of action.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Helping a student demonstrate understanding can follow several paths. If its vocabulary, using the terms in talking can be a first level. As the material is introduced, checking for understanding helps build a solid foundation. Application and retention of knowledge are the longer term measures of understanding. Providing tasks based upon sequential steps helps most students with application and recall. Using questions, assignments, and quizzes as measures of what's learned and what needs to be learned next are positive experiences. These activities also let the students know when they are ready to demonstrate mastery, as in a unit or chapter test. Time becomes the variable as to how fast or how slow students can learn.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Student needs should to be evaluated on an individual basis. Unfortunately, most information in school records is based upon norm referenced measures, a comparative score measuring performance as compared to others of the same age and/or grade level. I believe learning is best served when activities and tasks are based upon a student's current performance level. I use that point of view when planning the path of learning with the parent and student. I use it in monitoring a student's progress and determining his or her readiness to take the final assessment.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independent learning occurs when students approach a task or activity with the self-confidence to work through the challenge versus avoiding it because of fear of failure. Designing lessons that support a student in risking taking the next step and providing constructive feedback is huge. Working in a trusting relationship with shared expectations, known boundaries, and celebrating victories are powerful experiences and help students value learning.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading is an essential process, as is writing, computation, and other forms of communication. Reading for comprehension, or the fear of attempting it, can be a barrier to learning. I'd help students see that reading is essential, but there are other pathways to learning such as listening, watching, and modeling. Secondly, I'd help the student see themselves as a reader at one level and that the benefits of reading at a higher level of difficulty has big advantages. Using appropriately designed reading activities as part of a multiple morality set of activities provides a positive learning activity. Vocabulary is a part of comprehension and should be woven into the path of experiences as well. Learning to read to comprehend is supported best when the above strategies are mixed with demonstrations of how to find a topical sentence; recognize the type of organization used to order the details in a paragraph; and use chapter titles and subtitles to order themes, processes, and concepts. When helping a non reader, it is vital to assure them that reading comprehension is a process of little ongoing steps, and convince them that it's ok if some comprehend faster than they do.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
When a student is struggling, the most common responses are to avoid the activities required by the subject with non compliant behavior and/or a more passive/aggressive mental shut down. Planning a path of learning activities and gaining the student's commitment to the plan can lead to engagement, but a lot of ah - ha moments have to occur to allow that planned pathway before excitement becomes the norm. Celebrating the milestones along the way helps reinforce the success progress brings.