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I am an award-winning writer with nearly 2 years of experience tutoring English, reading comprehension, academic writing, essay editing and ELA Regents test preparation. In August 2015, I earned my BA in English from Hunter College and graduated Cum Laude with departmental honors.

Currently, I serve as an education specialist at Opportunity Charter School. Here, I work one-on-one with students, most of whom have special needs, to improve their grades and standardized test scores; many students have seen significant improvements in their writing scores since receiving my help.
Prior to working with OCS, I was a peer tutor for the Hunter College Reading and Writing Center; in only one semester, many students who struggled with writing were able to earn As on their papers!

My goal is to instill a love of learning in each and every student I have the honor of working with. I use the Socratic method to evaluate a student's needs and potential for improvement, and implement positive reinforcement to boost their confidence and desire to learn. I approach challenges with patience, enthusiasm and clarity, and encourage my students to do the same.

I look forward to working with you!

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Cailen’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: CUNY Hunter College - Bachelors, English - Creative Writing

Test Scores

SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1370


Writing poetry and nonfiction, singing, acting, spoken word

Tutoring Subjects

Q & A

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

I always start a session by asking my student plenty of questions about the subject or assignment with which they need help. This way, they can show me what they already know and what we still need to work on.

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

When a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, we can find a way to make the lesson more interesting and fun. We might need to implement other learning styles, such as a visual approach, a hands-on approach, or an auditory approach. Or we might even need to take a break and work on something else. Everyone learns differently. I have confidence that we will find the approach that works best for the student as an individual!

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

In my experience, most reading comprehension issues occur when a student rushes through a piece or only reads it once. Most of the time, this happens when a student feels embarrassed for being a slow reader. I like to remind my students that there is no shame in needing more time to understand something. Simple steps -- such as reading out loud, ready very slowly, and pointing to the words as you read, annotating important sections -- go a long way in improving reading comprehension.

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

I am a tutor trained in the Socratic Method. This means I ask questions designed to catalyze critical thinking, rather than giving a student all the answers. When a tutor gives the student too many answers and instructions to follow, the student might feel irritated and belittled. However, when I ask a student a question, and they find the answers on their own, their confidence skyrockets!

What is your teaching philosophy?

Teaching should be approached with humility, patience, and kindness. I always assume the best of my students. In my experience, the students who get labeled "bad" or "lazy" or "incompetent" are actually quite brilliant, but they shut down when their teachers have low expectations of them. I make sure my students never feel belittled or judged for having special needs or difficulty with any subject, and I always give them positive reinforcement when they do something well.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

My ultimate goal with each student is to teach them how to ask themselves questions and think critically. Once they can approach learning with a sense of curiosity and a drive to find answers, they can facilitate their own learning process and have fun doing it!

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I help students stay motivated using positive reinforcement. Most students are unmotivated because they're used to being told what they're doing wrong. But when I commend a student for everything they're doing right, they begin to look forward to learning.

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

Usually, when a student resists learning with a particular subject, it's because they've had many impatient mentors who only tell them what they're doing wrong. That's why I emphasize positive reinforcement in my lessons -- it boosts confidence and makes students excited about engaging with a subject.

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

Questions, questions, questions! Asking a student about what they've just learned is my way of testing what they understand and what we need to go over. I also like to do role reversals with my students, where they teach me what I've just taught them. That way, I can see whether they've actually grasped the material. They say teaching someone what you've learned is the best way to reinforce new information!

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

I'm all about positive reinforcement. When students only ever hear what they've done wrong, they internalize the message that they're bad learners and give up. When they receive positive comments, however, they realize that they're far brighter and more adept at learning than they thought and begin to look forward to learning.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I use the Socratic method, meaning, I ask plenty of questions for the student to answer, instead of giving away the answers. This gives the student a chance to show me what they already know, and gives me insight into what they still need to learn.

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

I observe every student's learning process very closely, and I adjust my lesson accordingly. A student may need more time to read something, or more time to write something, or different learning materials altogether.

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