I am a teacher, psychotherapist, and a musician. I have been working in education over 15 years; I love working with people and helping them grow intellectually and personally. My main areas of focus are: psychology, history, philosophy, and writing. I have a master's degree in history and a master's degree in psychology.
As a tutor, I do my best to be: patient, understanding, creative, and hardworking. Each student is unique and thus arrives with his or her own set of challenges and strengths; I strive to encounter the student where they are at. I hope to set realistic goals with students and build a strong working relationship that fosters confidence and greater content knowledge.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Loyola Marymount University - Bachelors, Humanities
Graduate Degree: Seattle University - Masters, Psychology
Music, Songwriting, Sports, Fitness, Meditation, Eastern philosophy, Existentialism
AP US History
College Level American History
College World History
High School English
High School Level American History
High School World History
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My goal in teaching is to build greater awareness and vitality in students' ability to encounter ideas and other people. Content and the acquisition of skills, like writing, bring us in to congress; they are essential. Yet, it is the way in which we learn to encounter challenges, peers, instructors, and ourselves that seems to allow for the most profound "teaching moments" to emerge. In a broader sense, my pedagogical philosophy is centered around modeling and fostering the optimal encounter, one which is centered on: creative thinking, questioning, effective writing, interpretive awareness, the analysis of evidence, personal responsibility, openness to feedback, and the awakening and growth of one's personal curiosity. Respect is primary in the educational encounter. From a place of inclusion, the instructor and the students must be able to create an optimal atmosphere for learning. I recognize the challenge of vastly different perspectives and interpretations, in both students and course content. I believe that a healthy classroom environment allows for disagreement, mistakes, and even paradox. Yet the classroom must still value respect above and through each of these challenges of learning. I prompt students to consider what being respectful truly means. My primary foci as a teacher are history and psychology. While they are variegated methodologies, even within themselves, both are anchored in the study of human nature, power, relationship, and potential. Students, in general, tend to find these areas of inquiry germane and compelling. My job thus becomes creating a structure in which students can find themselves in dialogue-- to reach the ability to observe and engage with a dialectic. For example, students can encounter how problematic the notion of "freedom" has been in American history by examining primary documents that call for personal freedoms, especially ones that are directly contradictory of each other. In psychology, students can consider the challenges of research design and the incredible rewards, and limitations, of empirical research. If the questions of human nature are of deep interest to the students, the students are tasked with understanding answers that have been proffered by great minds, and more importantly assessing those answers and building some conclusions and opinions of their own. Facilitating the encounter is one which should inspire awe and discernment in the student and the instructor. Students should grow to venerate the pursuit of knowledge, and struggle with the ambiguity and challenge that some of the content's questions present to them. This process should be challenging, humbling, and enriching. Students should learn to be in dialogue with their peers and master the art form of listening. Asserting their own opinions, using evidence and rational thinking, and respectfully disagreeing with others, is of utmost value. In a world where communication is ubiquitous and never-ending, students' abilities to witness others and assert themselves are vital. Students' abilities to work with the incredible proliferation of information, sifting and discerning evidence from journals, texts, and the Internet, are essential to their understanding that not all evidence is equal.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I begin with an introduction. I then look to grasp what the student's goals are and to better understand their challenges. Together, the student and I will discuss long-term or short-term goals and then create measurable action steps that allow us to concretely move forward. By the end of the first session, I hope that those goals are clear to both the student and myself.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can model problem solving, writing, and critical thinking; however, in the end, learning is an active pursuit in which the student is experiencing the lesson. Students will be given practice and opportunities to show how they work with the material and see results.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I think building confidence and interest are crucial to learning. Psychological research supports that we remember salience and relevance. If students can find a sense of value in what it is they are learning, then they will have a much better chance of remembering the material long term and continuing their ongoing pursuit of knowledge.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Practice, review, rethink, and don't give up. I think students should feel comfortable making mistakes. As long as a student can find the willingness to stay engaged, they can take on challenging concepts and skills.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
First I would advise to slow down. Slowing down and finding an optimal brain state to focus is essential. If problems persist, then I would suggest building vocabulary and reading more frequently. Practicing reading short passages and extrapolating main ideas and key facts is often less difficult than most students realize (in my experience).
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Success seems to be tied to realistic and measurable goals. Those goals can only be met by honest interaction between student and teacher via open dialogue.