I am a life long learner. I love to learn, and I love to share what I learn with others. I have three baccalaureate degrees in English, Psychology, and Criminal Justice. Education can be very exciting, and it doesn't have to end in the classroom, however: I also studied animal behavior while in Washington, where I worked with chimpanzees who spoke sign language, and I assisted with research on dolphins while in Turkey.
I love animals, as evidenced by the above experience. Otters are my favorite animals, because they make hard work look fun. They need to groom and hunt constantly, but they swim around as though they are always having the best time in the world. I try to apply this otter-esque attitude to everything I do. You never know what you can build out of your interests, or where those interests can take you. Hard work isn't always fun, but if we stay focused and smile along the way, we can do anything!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Florida Atlantic University - Bachelors, English, Psychology
SAT Verbal: 710
Kayaking, traveling, going to music and art festivals.
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
No concept is too difficult to master. I teach my students how to break down problems and create a sensible approach to solving them. Together we develop a strategy toolbox that will help them become more confident and resourceful problem solvers.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First I like to get to know my students. In learning their interests and learning style, I also discuss with them their long and short-term goals. We then talk about realistic approaches to meeting those goals. I then find out their academic strengths and weaknesses and gauge their confidence level. We do work on content in the first session of course, but it is important to build rapport and trust and to create a positive learning environment.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I am constantly encouraging my students to outdo themselves and reminding them of not only their successes but also what they learned from their mistakes. I also remind them about their goals and the opportunities rewarded to those who don't lose focus.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Take a deep breath with them. Frustration is demotivating, so we need to take a beat and refresh. We go over all the fundamentals required to tackle this concept. I show them that they already have the tools and help them put all the pieces together to be successful at a concept that is new to them.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I teach them how to take notes while reading and how to pull out important information from a passage. Taking notes keeps us engaged so that our minds don't wander. Most students struggling with reading don't even realize they're not fully paying attention to the task at hand. I also show them how to process vocabulary or statements they don't understand - how to think through it instead of assuming it is too difficult.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Organization is the key to everything we do. If we organize all the thoughts we are having about a problem onto paper, we can usually pinpoint a pathway to solving it. Chunking large passages or problems into more manageable pieces is also very important.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to use real world examples to show my students how boring or difficult concepts apply to them personally. Discussing their goals is important as well. I also believe enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm, and when I get excited about a problem and can explain why I enjoy a subject, I can usually get them onboard. I think math and science are fun, and my students tend to really like how fun I can make it for them. My students and I tend to laugh while we work and celebrate all their small successes.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I verbally quiz them, and I enjoy asking them trick questions. This shows me that they know what they're doing and can apply skills they learned to several problems, and it builds their confidence. They always know more than they think they know.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By asking them questions that lead them to the answer. I give them the tools they need to approach problems and to maintain motivation. I am patient and encouraging, and I show them all the resources they have at their fingertips to be successful on their own.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Once they have the skills, I let them tell me how to approach a problem/subject. And we celebrate all small successes along the way.