A photo of Abby, a tutor from Brandeis University

Abby

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I love making information and knowledge accessible to learners of any age, and I believe students of every age can learn. I am passionate about teaching because there is so much wonderful and fascinating information available to us in any field a student might be interested in, be it math, science, English, American and European history, art, or another field.

I received my Bachelor's degree in History from Brandeis University, and my Master's degree in Education from Boston University with a specialty in teaching English as a Second Language. As an ESL teacher, I met students from all over the world, including adult immigrants who were starting new lives in the United States. I also worked with students in every grade level of public school, from kindergarten to 12th grade. It was deeply rewarding to help immigrants to the U.S. learn the English language and adapt to life in their new country. I found that my ongoing curiosity about different fields of study and my knowledge of history made me a better ESL teacher. For example, if I couldn't think of a synonym for a word or concept, I could offer an example from history or art. My ongoing interest in history also helped me establish rapport with my students, as they were pleased that I knew something about their native countries.

Many of my students of English as a Second Language had to take the SAT exam, so I branched out into tutoring for that test as well as other standardized tests. I know those tests are challenging, but I have helped quite a number of students improve their scores.

Outside of teaching, my interests include classical and world music and dance, including classical forms of dance from India. I also love to cook, and am always trying new recipes. I look forward to meeting more wonderful students as I work for Varsity Tutors.

Abby’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Brandeis University - Bachelors, History

Graduate Degree: Boston University - Masters, Education

Hobbies

Classical and world music, classical Indian dance, and cooking


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe everyone is born with great potential, and that it is my role as a teacher to make the most of that potential. I also think it is true that teachers learn as much from their students as students do from their teachers. Teaching and tutoring require close attention to the students, patience, and open-mindedness.

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

I would chat with the students for a few minutes, so that we could get to know each other a bit. I would also ask the students to describe what he or she needs help with, and what help he or she has received so far. I would also bring a few different types of teaching materials with me for the student to work on, to get a better picture of his or her weaknesses.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I think this is a gradual process with many students. I would be encouraging at all times, and try to slowly provide less information and guidance as the student masters material and gains confidence.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I think one of the best ways to do this is to provide a variety of materials, if possible. I would also make a point of complimenting the student for correct and thoughtful answers, even if there are only a few at the beginning. I also think a few minutes of free conversation can be very helpful, because it helps the student relax.

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

I would provide the student with ample practice. I would also present the information in a variety of ways. This could be in the form of texts, photos, or music, for example.

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

I look for reading materials that are high-interest but modest difficulty. I also encourage the student to use information in a text that offers clues to the meaning of a passage, such as titles and subtitles,

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

Depending on the subject, I might give the student a quiz or test, ask the student to explain the material to me, and ask him or her to create a poster or other art that would show comprehension.

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

I tell students from the very beginning of our work together that I believe they can reach their goals. I compliment them on any knowledge they already have. In general, I start with what a student knows, and build on that.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I ask students what they think they need to know. I also ask the parents and the student's teachers, if possible. I look at the text or text the student is preparing for.