I love learning and I love teaching. I really don't care which side of the desk I'm on. The interests I cultivated in college remain with me, and I am an avid reader, especially of history, historical fiction, and science fiction. I graduated from high school with 7 years in foreign languages, and I learned 3 more dead languages in college. My knowledge of the verbal medium is deep and wide; I can teach everything from phonics to AP Literature and Language. I especially enjoy poetry (I know. I'm a geek). As I am a humanities student and teacher, my grasp of history extends from paleontology to the 20th century. I love all the arts, and I have had experience in almost every art field (3 years of piano, 4 years of ballet, drama lessons (at a private academy in 9th grade), community theater, speech and debate, and art history (one of my two minors).
One of my favorite jobs was as a German and French tour guide at Disneyland. Another job I loved was chairing the humanities department at a private high school in Seattle. Another area I enjoy tremendously is working with seniors on their college application essays. I would describe myself as passionate about my subjects and caring about my students.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Dominican University of California - Bachelors, Comparative Literature
Graduate Degree: University of Oregon - Masters, English
Reading, embroidery, swimming, long walk, and TV documentaries
9th Grade Writing
College World History
High School English
High School World History
High School Writing
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe the purpose of education is to develop independent learners with excellent critical thinking skills.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, I would get to know the student's interests and goals. Next, I would diagnose any weaknesses. Last, I would discuss with the student strategies to address these issues.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
After working with students to strengthen their weaknesses and improve their academic performance, I would bolster their confidence by having them to tackle more advanced work to prove to them that they can meet such challenges on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
When students don't believe they can succeed, they lose their motivation. Confidence is built on success. By providing them with work they can do, they will feel successful -- and motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I try to pinpoint the reason for the student's difficulty. Is it fear of failure? Lack of motivation? If neither is the case, I usually back up to the point they do understand, and then find a different way to explain the concept or skill from that point. I might use different examples or break the idea or skill down into easier bits.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Problems with reading comprehension are most often vocabulary problems. Does the student need to learn word structure, like prefix-base/root-suffix? Does the student know to read aloud to understand? Does the student need to learn to paraphrase? These are some of the methods I use regularly.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It's important to establish trust first. If students know I am on their side, they are more willing to try new approaches. Because I believe in them and their abilities, they believe in themselves more. I find being honest and optimistic of great value. If they know the reason(s) I am asking them to do something, they are more willing.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
At my age and with my experience, I can usually wax enthusiastic about any subject. I share stories and ideas and ask questions to help them see the value of the subject to their lives and their future.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
First, we usually do work together. That way I can spot any problem(s) they may have. After discussing/explaining the issue, we again work together for a while. Then, I ask them to do work independently. If they can do it, they understand it.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
It's crucial to find out where/when the problem first arose. I start at the point at which they can succeed, even if that means backing up a good deal. I help them feel comfortable and successful. Then, we can move forward.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I "diagnose" by asking students themselves questions about their needs. I find they usually assess themselves realistically. I also use exercises/writing samples to zero in on the specifics to help them improve most efficiently.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The answer to this question depends on the students' academic level. If remedial, I make sure to use materials at the students' reading level and explain ideas/skills simply, without the level of detail that might confuse them. If advanced, I like to challenge them with more difficult materials and present ideas/skills in more detail.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
That depends on the subject. If the subject is language skills, I use practice exercises after I explain the idea with a handout on that specific subject. We review every item missed on an exercise.