I hold a PhD in European History from the University of Chicago. I have taught at the university level and in continuing education settings since I received my degree in 1995. Students in my courses learn how to engage with material, how to analyze large bodies of information and draw conclusions, how to think critically about information and ideas, and how to organize and prioritized information. I also emphasize writing skills for students. Every class I have ever taught has completed a writing assignment. As a talented writer myself, I have the skills to work with students to improve their writing abilities. I work with them on style and content. I am very familiar with MLA and Chicago styles. I teach my students how to formulate a thesis, or an argument; how to use evidence to test that argument; how to perform analysis on that evidence; how to draw conclusions from that analysis; and how to present it all in an interesting and engaging manner. Students in my classes experience success in other classes and in their education. A significant number have gone on to pursue graduate study, including at Ivy League schools, while others have pursued successful career paths in various professions. I am a gifted teacher who is able to connect with students and assist them in their studies.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Hanover College - Bachelors, History
Graduate Degree: University of Chicago - PHD, History
Reading, Art, Traveling, Live Theatre, and College Basketball
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I use the Socratic method of dialogue between teacher and student. Interaction is the key to successful educational experiences.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know them, asking about intellectual and recreational interests and activities, life experience, family experience, and school experience.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe students need to understand the material they encounter in their studies and not just be taught mechanical processes. I concentrate on fundamentals like phonics, spelling, and grammar. I work to make study and learning interesting and enjoyable. Students are encouraged to read about, write about, and study topics that interest them. I spend a lot of time identifying subject material tailored to individual interests. I use practice exercises from an educational website to teach and review grammar, spelling, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and composition. In addition, I have developed my own study guides and aids that students can use in their work.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I have students who are struggling with reading comprehension begin by reading small excerpts from short stories or books, and poems. I ask the student to read the passage or poem out loud themselves, and then I ask them to listen to me read the passage or poem. We then discuss vocabulary words that are unknown to them. I ask them questions about elements of the writing. We discuss the overall meaning of the passage or poem. I might also ask the student to write a summary or analysis of the reading. Practice is the best way to improve reading ability and comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
In the first session, I spend quite a bit of time asking questions and talking with the student. I ask about what they are doing in school, what they feel their particular challenge or challenges might be, and what topics they might find of interest. I also ask about hobbies, musical interests, reading interests, tv and movies, and sports to try to get as complete a picture as possible of the student's intellectual interests and development.