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Melissa

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I am an elementary school Reading and Math specialist. I received my MA in reading along with my Reading Specialist certification in 2012. I have been a teacher for 11 years and am passionate about my job. I believe that all students can be successful, but some students just need a little extra support to get there. I work with struggling students in all academic areas, and my patience, skill set, and dedication to my students as well as my ability to individualize all lessons makes me an exceptional teacher. These qualities make me an excellent tutor.
I strongly believe that every child has the ability to learn and grow. However, each child is different and these differences in learning styles or prerequisite knowledge have to be taken into consideration. It is up to the teacher to find out what skills gaps each child may have and create an individualized plan to implement in order for the child to be successful. It is also equally important to highlight the student's strengths and use these strengths as a way to connect with the child.

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Melissa’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: West Chester University of Pennsylvania - Bachelors, Elementary Education

Graduate Degree: Montclair State University - Masters, Reading

Hobbies

Cooking, Reading, and Running

Tutoring Subjects

College English

Elementary Math

Elementary School Math

English

English Grammar and Syntax

High School English

Math

PARCC Prep

Phonics

Reading

Test Prep

Vocabulary

Writing


Q & A

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Giving a student confidence in themselves is a key to making them become an independent learner. So if you are able to show them that they can do something, which is a big step in them becoming an independent learner.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Motivation comes from challenging the student. If they become bored or complacent in learning, then they will never be motivated to do more.

What is your teaching philosophy?

My philosophy of teaching is that each child is an individual and should be treated as one. This means that teachers need to create a nurturing, safe, and caring environment for that child to demonstrate what he/she can do. Based on this a teacher is able to create lessons that meet the needs of that child. Creating this environment that is tailored to each child, pushes them to take risks and a sets the expectations high.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

My first session is a no-pressure, no-stress meeting. I want to take the time to get to know my student on a more personal level (i.e. interests, hobbies, struggles, strengths), and then go from there. I'll of course have some mini-assessments but these are more like student interest surveys and learning what they would like from me as a tutor.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Since I am a trained reading, writing, and math specialist this is very familiar to me as I work a lot with struggling students. I simply have to find where the breakdown in understanding is. Once I do that, I can attack the individual skill gaps that the child may have. I also will need to break down the problem or structure the way it is set up differently. Clear, concise, and explicit directions are also helpful.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

This is my wheelhouse, as I went to school for my Master's in Reading and earned my reading specialist certificate. I use various comprehension strategies. Comprehension is broken down into many different parts from basic comprehension (literal) to higher order comprehension (inferring). I will see where the child is lacking the skills and tailor lessons around that comprehension strategy while also highlighting the areas of strength.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

The most success is from finding resources that interest the child. That means books that the child is interested in and/or math resources based around interest. If a child is interested, they become more engaged and motivated. I also think it is important to praise the child and let him/know when they are working hard and being successful.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Again, this is sheer motivation. The way to motivate a child is to make sure they are interested and invested in their learning. They also need to value education and know that what they are learning is relevant and important.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

One simple technique is to ask the child to tell me when they don't understand. I want them to know that it is okay to not "get it," and that is what I'm here for. I also will ask students to repeat what I said in their own words and demonstrate understanding through independent practice. Once I have guided enough, they should be able to master a strategy or skill independently. If they can't, that's okay, I'll just go back and reteach.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Praise, praise, and more praise! Letting the child know that he/she is successful and working hard, even if they still don't "get it," is super important. We all want to be valued and know that our strides and progress are recognized as well as our hard work.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I use formal assessments for this. I have assessments for math, writing, and reading and these are the best ways for me to see exactly what skills the child is lacking.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I have to figure out what kind of learner that child is. For example, if a child needs quiet space to work, I will make sure we are in a quiet area free of distractions. If a child is a visual learner, I need to provide visual aids. If a child is an auditory learner I need to be clear in my communication with that child. Each child is unique and learns differently.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

Books, whiteboards, computers if needed, markers, flashcards, and student material from school.


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