As a writer, I've always appreciated the words of poet William Butler Yeats, who wrote "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. In my 30 years as a college professor, I have always attempted to light that fire in my students, giving them the desire to learn and empowering them to do so. That's my goal as a tutor as well: to light the fire that will help them excel.
I am a playwright/director living in Manhattan, and work as Professor of Theatre and Film at Long Island University's Post campus, where I teach playwriting, directing, film history, introduction to drama, and professional skills for actors. I am also the Director of Graduate Studies, running the M.F.A. in Theatre program. I also recruit both undergraduate and graduate students for the theatre program. In the process, I read dozens of college admissions essays written by high school seniors each year, and I'm happy to help students write those essays during tutoring sessions.
I am a member of Actors' Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, and The Dramatists Guild.
When not teaching, I enjoy going to see theatre and films, and writing plays and screenplays, and going to all sorts of cultural events, including dance, concerts, and going to museums. I love to travel, and recently spent time in Europe to do research for a screenplay I'm currently writing.
Working with students to help them feel successful, to build their self-esteem and confidence, to realize their dreams, is a passion of mine. I look forward to lighting that fire with those I tutor in the future.
Undergraduate Degree: Columbia University in the City of New York - Bachelors, Political Science and Government
Graduate Degree: New York University - Masters, Dramatic Writing
going to see theatre and films, writing plays and screenplays, going to all sorts of cultural events, including dance, concerts, going to museums, traveling
What is your teaching philosophy?
I am a firm believer in William Butler Yeats's thought that "education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." I believe that lighting that fire in a student is what will encourage him or her to become a life-long learner. I believe in trying to empower students so that they feel more confident and motivated about learning.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During the first session with a student, I try to get to know them as human beings: their interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes, etc. I want to know what they feel is the most successful way to learn for them; what they feel the challenges are in learning generally, and in the subject matter we're working on specifically. And, finally, I want to help them tackle one difficult obstacle in the subject matter we're working on and achieve success in solving that problem.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I think independent learning is fostered by asking questions rather than giving students answers. I think building confidence that they can learn on their own is crucial, and I want to show them how to build self-confidence by having them successfully solve problems.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
There are many approaches to solving any problem, and often the difficulty learning is caused by trying the same method again and again to learn a concept, even though that method has proven unsuccessful. So, I try to experiment with a variety of approaches to a problem, and help them see that an alternative approach may often bring them success.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Listening to a student is my key strategy when I start to work with them. To make them feel that they are being heard, that they are capable, and that they are not alone, are all part of building the self-confidence they need to learn.