Since 2008, the bulk of my work experience has been in academia, where I was not only a competitive and accomplished student in my own right, but also provided excellent academic assistance as an undergraduate and graduate TA. In grad school, I served for three years as a co-instructor, a writing center tutor, and by leading one-on-one tutorial courses, helping hundreds of students develop and polish their essay writing skills across subjects. I have additionally worked in after-school childcare (K-5) and as a camp counselor. What this means is that, for a diverse range of age groups, I know how to help students identify their needs and hone the skills to excel on their own.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: SUNY at Binghamton - Bachelors, Arts, Cognition, and Evolution (Individualized Program)
Graduate Degree: Case Western Reserve University - Current Grad Student, Cognitive Linguistics
GRE Verbal: 161
Cognitive science/linguistics, German literature, hiking, camping, bicycling, cats
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
The bottom line is that students learn when they know they can. My goal has always been to help others find what they're capable of--and didn't know they were capable of--and provide the best tools to reach their goals.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to start with a conversation about the subject from the student's perspective. Things I'll ask for are the obvious candidates, such as what they want to work on or what they find most difficult, but I also want to know whether they find it interesting, how the class and assignments are organized, and how that organization works for them. I find it saves a lot of time in the long run to begin with a clear sense of where the student is coming from, intellectually as well as practically.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
This here is for me what marks the difference between a tutor and a homework helper. Most of the work I do with my students is geared towards the skills they can take with them outside of the session. Some of the things I like to pay special attention to and reinforce in a session are organization, time management, and planning, as these habits can make any project easier.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It's important to inform students what they're doing right and not to focus just on where improvement is needed. It also goes a long way to be smart about staggering the challenging work with practice in more confident areas. Finally, I strongly encourage students to bring a snack. Blood sugar can make or break motivation levels!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
My strategy is a combination of 1) making a note of the problem area to make sure we give it extra attention and 2) finding out what makes it difficult for the student. Are we working with a certain kind of math problem that relies on a concept missed from the last unit? Or a grammatical principle that doesn't exist in the student's native language? Sometimes the solution for a student is simply a matter of changing perspectives; other times, it's understanding the student's learning style and adjusting the level of practice accordingly.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Context, context, context! Have you ever opened up a book to a random page to find you have no idea what you're reading? That's the same experience any reader has without an active set of expectations. Before reading a chapter, I like to have students consult section headlines, their notes, and their memory from class to form some predictions on what they are about to read. Even if it's wrong, this exercise provides some investigative ground to stand on. I also encourage making note of unfamiliar words, but to hold off on reaching for the dictionary until afterwards.