I am a writer living in Brooklyn. I grew up in a suburb of Washington, D.C., and attended Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH, where I majored in history. In college I acted as an editor for the Oberlin Review and as research assistant to an English professor. I spent one semester abroad at Trinity College in Dublin, and another semester at the Williams-Mystic maritime studies program in Mystic, Connecticut. It was an eclectic undergraduate experience that left me interested in many different things and wanting to learn much more. I'm working on that.
My main interests are literature, film, and travel. I love getting to know people, their stories and memories, what excites them, what they care about. I think each of us has a lot to learn and we have to help each other along.
Undergraduate Degree: Oberlin College - Bachelors, History
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1520
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 740
Literature, film, guitar, hiking, wordplay
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe learning depends on mutual respect between teacher and student. Establishing a personal connection and discovering what is exciting or meaningful to a student allows me to find the pathway into a subject that makes the information immediate and worth caring about. The teachers who have affected my life most were the ones who took a personal interest in me, while showing me how any given topic fits into a much larger system. It's important to me to encourage the growth of a student's individual creativity and thought when approaching a subject, rather than relying on strict formulas. Training the mind to be critical and creative is much more useful in the long run than any memorized piece of information on its own.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first thing is for both of us to learn a little about each other, see what we have in common, and just as importantly, what we don't. After we get to know each other, I'd try to get a sense of what aspects of the subject are most challenging or intimidating to the student and brainstorm ways of dealing with them. With the rest of our time, we could dive in and try a few examples of the material and see what patterns come up.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe in the Socratic method of learning: whenever possible, guide a student to an answer through what they already know, rather than forcibly leading them there. That means I'll ask the student questions so that when we do reach an answer together, it will have been largely through the student's own inventory of knowledge. I'll also draw on the student's personal interests and encourage them to notice connections between the material at hand and the other realms of their daily life. Over time, the practice of thinking critically and identifying connections becomes more and more natural.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation depends upon a positive learning environment and personal investment in the material beyond the pressure of grades. I'll look for ways to relate the material to current events, or to something I know the student is passionate about. Most importantly, I'll do my best to maintain an easygoing rapport in which we both feel free to talk things out and take the conversation in a new direction when the material begins to seem overwhelming.