I have been teaching Biology and Honors Anatomy and Physiology at the high school level for almost 10 years. I grew up locally and upon graduation from high school attended UCSB where I earned a BS in Physiology. I then moved back to the bay area and worked in the medical field for 3 years, but before applying for a doctoral program in Physical Therapy, I realized that I really wanted to work with young people and enrolled in a credentialing program at Chapman University instead. I truly love teaching and my students know it! My students would describe me as passionate and organized. I strive too challenge students to do more and learn more than they ever thought they could, but hold myself responsible for giving them the tools and support they need to do so. As a student, I was always a dedicated, but not a naturally gifted learner. It took me until I was almost through with college to really figure out study methods that worked for me. So, I have studied the brain and learning theory in order to help my students hone in on study skills and practices that will work best with their personal learning styles and help them to be academically successful earlier in their educational career than I did. I often refer to myself as a "learning coach" rather than a tutor for this reason.
I am currently taking time away from the classroom to raise my infant daughter, but love to tutor so that I can stay in the educational field and help young people learn!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Santa Barbara - Bachelors, Physiology
Watching sports, motorcycling, boating, and spending time with family.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I know all students can learn. As a teacher, learning coach, and tutor, I feel it is my responsibility to give students the tools they need to understand how they individually learn different types of material.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to spend a few minutes getting to know my students and what their goals are. Then, I'd ask what subjects they find easy and most difficult as it says a lot about how they learn. Next, I like to investigate their current study practices so that we can try new things to improve their learning. Finally, if they have any specific curricular questions, I would like to address them. Otherwise, we can proceed through material for the unit they are studying from the beginning.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I like to focus students on how they learn and how their brain works so that we can develop a study plan that will yield the best results for them.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I like to teach my students a little about neuroplasticity. I think the idea that school, all subjects, are exercise for our brains, and that with practice, we can all learn anything is pretty awesome! While some people may be naturally gifted in schools, just like some are in athletics, we can train our brains (just like our bodies) to be capable of more than we dreamed possible.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I look at what methods they have used to try and master that skill and what style of learner they are. Once we have established that, I will try different strategies to help them learn the skill and give them practice activities.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I always like to get to know the student a little first. Learning is a personal experience so knowing something about a student as a person can help me to adapt lessons to help them better learn. I also like to find out what the student's day looks like, including when and how they are currently studying so that we can make necessary adjustments to get the most benefit from the time they are dedicating to school.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I love to give students a simple introduction to the study of neuroplasticity. I think that the field is fascinating, and I have yet to meet anyone that is not excited by the idea that the brain needs exercise the same way the body does, and that you are really capable of nearly anything if you train correctly! I like to make sure students understand why they are in school and why they are studying so many different subjects. I always felt like the questions "why do I need school?" or, even more frequently, "when will I ever use this?" were met with quite existential answers. Understanding that you are building as many pathways in your growing brain as possible because those pathways can be used in a number of different ways is a really cool idea!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I like to do frequent checks for understanding. I like to ask students lots of questions, encouraging them to answer even if they are unsure and answer incorrectly, because you learn better when you are really analyzing the subject matter. I like to give lots of short sample questions for students to attempt so that we can identify and work through difficulties together.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I remind students they can be successful in any subject; they just have to work on building those new pathways in the brain! Like tying your shoe or riding a bike, only time and practice can help you reach your goals. But, how you practice is really important! I could practice riding a bike all day every day, but if I was sitting on it backwards I probably wouldn't ever figure out how to make it work! I am here to help students with the fundamentals of learning, as well as assist with more difficult concepts in the subject that they are studying, in order to help them achieve success.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I like to discuss current study practices and the subject the student is working on to see if they know where their difficulties lie. I think a lot of the time students (really all people) get so frustrated with a task they cannot seem to do, they do not stop to really examine what is holding them up. Once we have established some methods that work well for the student, we can begin going through the curriculum of the course to see what topics are giving them the most trouble so that we can focus on those.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I like to ask lots of questions. I want to know how a student is studying and what concepts they find most difficult. If they just "don't get any of it," I will assist them in how to go through curriculum to figure out what it really is that they are not getting. Once we have established how a student currently studies, how they learn, and what concepts are most difficult to them, we can set up sessions that will be most beneficial to the student, and they will have methods to be more successful on their own as well.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to use any and all materials I can incorporate to help a student learn. This can include discussion, examples, practice questions, diagrams, animations, you tube videos, etc. The internet can be an awesome tool for finding examples that really make subject matter come to life.