I have been teaching at the high school and university level for the past ten years. My students have consistently achieved significant growth on the ACT English, ACT Reading, and Common Core tests. In schools where students had never passed AP scores, over 45 of my students scored 3s, 4s, and 5s on the AP US History, AP English Language, and AP US Government exams. With the right motivation, I believe that all students can achieve excellence in all subject areas. All students can thrive with individual attention and instruction, and that is why I'm thrilled to be a part of Varsity Tutors.
Undergraduate Degree: Indiana University-Bloomington - Bachelors, English and Political Science
Graduate Degree: Indiana University-Bloomington - PHD, History and Philosophy of Education
I enjoy running, reading, and watching movies.
AP US History
College Level American History
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching is guided by a focus on rigor, relevance, and risk-taking. First, the curriculum must meet the student at their level, and then push them further. Second, students will only be motivated to learn if they understand the relevance and importance of what they are learning. Finally, authentic learning requires that students take risks, and this will only occur when students feel safe to explore new ideas and make mistakes. I know that students must trust me before they can learn from me, so this is my first task as a teacher.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In my first session with a student, I would like to get to know them. I'm interested in learning about their interests and hobbies, and what they believe their strengths to be, so that I can make my instruction relevant. I would also conduct a pre-assessment to determine their skills and needs. Finally, I'd like to hear what they hope to accomplish in each tutoring session in order to set goals for our meetings.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe that my job as a teacher is to facilitate learning - it is not to do the thinking for the students. With my guidance and feedback, students do the "heavy lifting" of the work. They learn the questioning techniques and habits of mind that allow for deeper learning. Thus, I would help students become independent learners by teaching them how to teach themselves.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
All students want to be successful. So, if a student is lacking motivation, I first assess the cause. Is it that a student is struggling to understand the material? Is it because the material is too easy? Or is it because they don't see the relevance of the material? The answer will determine my response. It may be an adjustment to my instruction or materials, or it may be that I need to work on making the material relevant to the student.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student is struggling, I would find a different way to teach and explain that concept until the student achieves success.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If a student is struggling with reading comprehension, I would provide additional supports (vocab instruction, guiding questions, graphic organizers) to build the skills that enable comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Making the material relevant, applying material to real-life situations, and posing challenging and thought-provoking questions.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I constantly assess for learning with both verbal and written responses.