After graduating from Penn State in 2010 with a degree in Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Religious Studies, I worked for several years with Bethesda Project, a social service agency serving the homeless population in urban Philadelphia. The experience was both enlightening and humbling, and it emphasized to me the inextricable importance of education to the prevention of widespread poverty and societal injustice. I decided then to pursue a career in education, and I recently completed my M.Ed. in Secondary Social Studies at Temple University. I have since become a Pennsylvania certified teacher in both Social Studies and English for grades 7-12, although I am also comfortable tutoring younger students.
My strengths as an educator lie in my passion for both the subject matter and the desire to see students directly benefit from true comprehension and understanding. To me, history and social studies are important only in the context of what they teach us about how events and culture shape the world in which we currently live. A history class cannot be taught in isolation - it must be made relevant to our experiences today. I can certainly help struggling students to memorize names and dates for an exam, but my primary goal is to encourage a thorough understanding of cause and effect so that the memorization process takes on real meaning.
In a similar way, I view English reading, writing, and composition as integral components in basic communication. Reading comprehension skills help us to make sense of both written and verbal arguments from others, not only in the classroom but in the real world. Likewise, the development of writing skills is crucial to our ability to express our thoughts in a coherent, persuasive manner. These are skills with consequence far beyond the walls of the classroom.
I believe that all students possess strengths and weaknesses in the academic setting, and in all subject areas I am eager to share strategic studying tips for various types of learners. When a student is aware of how he/she learns best, future comprehension becomes a surmountable challenge rather than an imposing barrier.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Penn State University - University Park - Bachelors, Classics, Religious Studies
Graduate Degree: Temple University - Masters, Secondary Education - Social Studies
SAT Writing: 710
Reading (especially science fiction and historical nonfiction); cooking with local, seasonal ingredients; hiking when the weather is nice; and regular exercise and strength training
AP US History
College Level American History
College World History
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
High School World History
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
As a prospective Social Studies and English teacher, I have combined my love of history and literature with a desire to motivate young people to examine critically the world around them. Life is at once universal and infinitely diverse, and I believe that the classroom is the most effective place to foster a sense of respect and empathy for all those who have shared in the human experience. I do not seek to produce students who are skilled in the art of the multiple-choice pop quiz; rather, I aspire to create an environment that encourages questions and deliberations that drives students to develop informed insights about their own lives and the lives of others. I take my cue here from Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, in which he affirms that, “The more students work at storing the deposits entrusted to them, the less they develop the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world.” The true end goal of my chosen profession, then, is not to encourage the rote memorization of trivia, but to aid in the development of compassionate, conscientious citizens who are driven to act upon their ideas. Of course, this is not to say that the practical skills gained from dutiful study are unimportant. In fact, I place considerable emphasis on the development of reading and writing skills. In order for students to become compassionate, conscientious citizens, they must be able to decipher arguments and form rational judgments about them. Furthermore, they must be able to express those judgments in a lucid, articulate manner, whether in written or verbal form. Throughout my student teaching tenure at Constitution High School, I engaged students in the study of various complex texts, and I found that through guided questioning and class discussions, my students were able to derive impressive insights from a number of primary sources. Additionally, by framing these studies with relatable themes, students were less intimidated and more motivated to contemplate difficult texts. As an educator and tutor, I feel that it is my responsibility to provide students ample opportunities to reflect upon their own lives in the light of the past and present world. In so doing, I demonstrate my personal respect for their diverse backgrounds and funds of knowledge while encouraging them to show the same measure of respect to others. Moreover, authentic respect and understanding drives a desire for justice and, ultimately, action.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I cannot hope to guide a student towards improving his/her academic performance without first gaining an understanding of that student's existing strengths and struggles. During a first session, I would initially invite the student to share with me the subjects and disciplines in which he/she excels or finds interesting. With the knowledge of a student's strengths, I can frame challenging subject matter in a way that is approachable and relatable. Furthermore, by initially focusing on the positive aspects of a student's academic or extracurricular performance, he/she enters the tutoring session with an attitude of confidence rather than intimidation. Of course, I would follow this with an assessment of the student's struggles based on a combination of teacher feedback and direct communication with the student. We would examine homework, exams, papers, etc. to determine which areas require the most assistance, and from there we would formulate appropriate short- and long-term tutoring plans.