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My goal as an academic tutor is to help students to make the seemingly unmanageable manageable. Things are changing in the world of education, especially with standardized testing, and I know firsthand how daunting tackling the SAT and other tests can seem. Whether it is in test prep or academic tutoring, I strive to assist students discover their inner genius and discover that there is no task to big, when you take it one bite at a time!

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Mary’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Ohio State University-Main Campus - Bachelors, Psychology


Khan academy, painting, photoshop, learning new software

Tutoring Subjects


College English

College Essays

Comparative Literature

Conversational Mandarin

Elementary Math

Elementary School Math


English Grammar and Syntax


Essay Editing

High School English

Homework Support


ISEE- Lower Level

ISEE- Middle Level



Mandarin Chinese

Mandarin Chinese 1


Middle School Math


PSAT Critical Reading

PSAT Writing Skills



SAT Reading

SAT Writing and Language

Social Sciences


SSAT- Elementary Level

SSAT- Middle Level

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization


Test Prep



Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

To provide highly engaging and rigorous material to students so that they may learn by self-discovery, with the teacher not as a taskmaster, but a lantern lighting the way.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

Get to know you! What's your favorite food, sport, hobby? What are you good at, what subjects do you enjoy? What areas do you struggle with? Establishing a strong and caring relationship between teacher and student is the first step in developing your potential.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By providing them with opportunities to take responsibility for their own learning; allowing them to correct their own work, with me as a guide, thinking out loud with them, and assisting them in cultivating good study habits.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Using a variety of teaching methods that get students active and are student-centered often help with motivation! Also, setting realistic goals is very important to maintaining stamina. I encourage my students to collaborate with me to take charge of their own goal-setting, this way students can feel empowered when they achieve and master new skills!

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

When introducing new skills or concepts, I do my best to relate them to real-world examples, or something that the student is already familiar with. This way, the learning becomes personal and has meaning, which paves the way for making new connections. I model the new concept for the student, and then let him/her have a try. With practice, patience, and encouragement, any new skill can be learned.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Oftentimes, students may feel overwhelmed when they first glance at a reading passage, especially longer ones. To make it more digestible, I encourage students to use a ledger, such as a notecard, ruler, or another piece of paper, when reading. Revealing the text one line at a time trains the eye to pull in the new information, and absorb it with more comprehension. I encourage students to underline main ideas and what they believe may be important details of the text, and put question marks above any unfamiliar words. These things all can be discussed after the first reading, and then of course. I encourage students to read it again. "A good reader always reads it more than once!"

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Positive reinforcement, modeling and then letting the student have a try on his/her own, encouraging students not to be afraid to make mistakes (for that is the only way we learn), and getting to know my students. I strive to let students know that I am a warm, approachable person, not just a tutor. This way there is a feeling of comfort in the room where students can be themselves, which often can lend itself to higher achievement.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

As part of my personality, I find just about everything to be interesting! Showing my students my own interest in the material, making if meaningful, and letting them know that having childlike curiosity is ok at any age often help students to become more engaged. Also, pacing a student is very important. I try not to throw them a hardball right off the bat, but rather begin with the concepts they are grasping well, and slowly work our way up from there. Students need to see that they can succeed, no matter what, and by working incrementally, confidence and excitement can be built.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I like to use several formative assessment strategies to gauge learning and check in with students while a lesson is in progress. These can be anything from simple questions, making a graphic organizer or pictorial representation of the concept, to allowing the student to think about the concept and tell me how it relates to something else. These types of informal assessment are invaluable to the learning process, and together with homework assignments and quizzes, can be very effective in ensuring the student understands the material well before moving on.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

By providing frequent positive feedback and utilizing the student's strengths to attain mastery! When tackling a new concept or idea that is unfamiliar, I find ways to relate the new information to something that the student already knows or is interested in. This way, connections can be easily made between the known and the unknown, and ultimately setting the student up for success! When students see that they can learn and understand things they thought they couldn't, this naturally leads to building more confidence in learning!

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

First, I like to get to know the student and ask about their interests, hobbies, and favorite subjects. Through dialogue and presentation of new material, I can easily and quickly assess what kind of learner a student is -- we are all unique individuals, and as a teacher it is my responsibility to tailor instruction to meet each student's specific needs and goals.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

My practice as a tutor is to continuously differentiate instruction to match the needs of each individual student. Some students require more hands-on, experiential methods of instruction, while some thrive on a slower or quicker pace. Whatever the situation, I always strive to make each student a tailor-made lesson that tends to their specific needs and goals.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I include a variety of materials in my lessons so that students may optimize their learning experience. From textbooks and worksheets, to more creative visual aids or even video content, I always come prepared to set the student up for success and to make learning highly engaging and fun!

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