My passion for learning and language began at an early age as I sat on my father's lap and listened to him read from Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and J.R.R. Tolkien. I followed that passion through to graduating Cum Laude in 2010 from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor's of Arts Degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. I was a Teacher's Assistant my last two years of college, working with students in Advanced English Grammar, Literature, and the History of the English Language courses. My last semester I was the head Teacher's Assistant for the English Department, and was honored to receive the Larry Thompson Outstanding English Major award upon graduating, as well as speaking at the Convocation ceremony for the Language and Letters Department.
After graduation, I spent 18 months as a proselyting missionary for my church in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil. Learning Portuguese, while surrounded by a culture and people that I didn't understand was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but as I patiently became fluent, I was able to work with people, teaching those interested about my church, and it taught me a love for teaching people in a one-on-one setting they way they needed to be taught--tutoring!
When I returned from Brazil, I returned to Brigham Young University-Idaho to teach as an Adjunct Faculty member. I taught the English 106 course that focused on the writing of various different papers/essays. I loved working with my students in class to help them understand, and one-on-one in my office to make sure that they succeeded. I cannot think of anything that makes me happier than seeing the "lightbulb" moment for someone that I have been working with.
I stopped teaching to move and marry the love of my life, which was a hard decision, but the best one I ever made. We have a one-year-old son, and when I'm not chasing him around, or picking up after him, I induldge in my hobbies. I loved to read/listen to good books (and then talk with everyone I know about them), watch movies that make me laugh or think (or both), explore nature in true Wordsworthian fashion, and cook. I hardly ever make the same recipe twice. Although I have left the world of academia, my passion for learning remains in tact, and I love to share it with as many people as I possibly can.
Brigham Young University-Idaho - Bachelors, English
What is your teaching philosophy?
Teach people, not information. No one learns in quite the same way, and when I can discover how that student learns, then they will realize that they are smart, and that they are a good learner. I love to ask questions that I don't always know the answer to, not to make the student feel that they are searching for the answer that will please me; I want to make the students think, to help them see the relevance of the topic in their own lives. I want them to leave the classroom, their mind lingering on the topic. I love to ask questions that make the student find the answer for his or herself. I like to see their minds stretch and grow, so that they know that the next time they are presented with a similar situation, they are capable of solving it.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I'd like to get to know the student: their hobbies, likes, dislikes. I would want to talk about the subject matter to be tutored, and ask them how they feel about it, and their ultimate goal in working together. I'd want to get to understand their learning style (tactile, audio visual, etc.) so that they can feel confident in our work together, and so that I can know we are using are time effectively. Mostly, I want to build the trust that is necessary to help the student succeed.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By helping them discover the answers for his or herself! This is done by asking questions, and lots of them. Shelling out the answers, only make me a crutch, not a tutor. By repeatedly asking questions, and encouraging them when they succeed, I believe this will create an independent, confident learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By finding a way to connect the subject matter to something they care about. Most of us "check out" of learning in a particular subject because we feel like it doesn't apply/matter to us, or that we are never going to be good at it. By connecting the subject to the things that are import to the student, they are then willing to work with me to create the building blocks of success for that topic.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, assess what the difficulty is. Second, back up the learning level to where they did feel confident with that skill, and work forward from there. No one starts school believing they are incapable. We just need to assess when that feeling changed, and work from that point forward.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When you start out looking for something, it is much easier to identify it while reading. I would start by having them look for specific things in a passage, and then mark them in a personalized color code as they go along. This makes it possible to then go back and identify those elements while analyzing the material. Annotation is the key to success in reading comprehension.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
1. Relate the subject to something they care about. 2. Compliment any effort, even when it doesn't provide the "right" answer. 3. Build trust so that they believe me when I do compliment or encourage them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
By requesting a student summarize in their own words what we are learning periodically, I am able to verify that they are understanding. If they are not, we need to go back and come at the problem from a different angle or technique until the concept is clear to them.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Identify at what point they lost their confidence and start from there. Compliment and encourage every effort. Even when correcting, also identify something that was done well, so that they feel that their good work and effort is being acknowledged, as well as being instructed on what could improve.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By asking the student/parent lots of questions to evaluate comprehension. Also, example problems/questions/essays to see what their level of understanding is.