As a former middle school and high school history teacher, I feel that it is extremely important for every student to have a basic grounding in United States and World History, as well as World Geography. While each of these subjects is different, they are also all intertwined. For a student to be a good citizen of the world, they need a basic understanding of their country and how their country is viewed by others. I also believe that Geography, especially the cultural aspect of Geography, is important for every student to learn.
In my teaching experience I have worked with students who were identified as at risk for failure, students with special needs, honors students, and everything in between. I am passionate about helping any student who recognizes that they need help and who is willing to seek out that assistance, and will tutor them in any subject they require, even if I need to do my own research first.
I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, and I have taken courses at both Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond to gain more information about different aspects of history. These include courses on the view of women during the Civil War, on the role of the Supreme Court in United States politics, and on how politics affects economics in various parts of the world. Outside of academia I enjoy reading, working in my garden, and playing with my children. I am also learning to sew and plan to learn how to knit.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Butler University - Bachelors, History
State Certified Teacher
Reading, spending time with her kids, and going to drive in movies.
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session I will ascertain what the student already knows, what areas of weakness they might have, and then figure out a game plan, with the student as to how best we can reach the desired level of competency.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students do not come hard wired to be independent learners. They learn to be independent by being guided and given more and more responsibility in their learning. As a teacher, I would start with questions that need only a sentence or two to be answered, and then move on to more complex issues.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
In the initial interview with the student I would learn about the student so that I know their general likes and dislikes, what their goals for the future might be and some of what they find entertaining. Some students are motivated with praise while others require more prodding. Every single student is different, and as we go along I will learn more about each student so that I can keep frustration from settling in.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would stop and have the student explain the skill or concept back to me. This way I can see where the issue might lay and then correct it. Another option would be to leave it until the next session where I can then teach the concept in a different way after having done more research. Each student learns differently and might require a concept explained in a different way than another student.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If I had a student who struggled with reading comprehension I would make sure that any readings were shortened and came along with frequent comprehension checks. Guided note taking, where students have to merely fill in the blanks to see important information, also helps students with reading comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find it best to establish rapport with the student, to find common ground and a clear goal for the student to work towards. Older students sometimes need help in establishing long-term goals and seeing where different subject areas fit into these long-term goals. A simple five-minute conversation can go a long way with many students.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to make the subject relevant. History can seem to be irrelevant to many students, but by taking something they are already interested in and then showing them the context of when it came about in history or how history can help them with their own career ambitions, it can be quite simple to engage the students.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I like to do frequent checks with my students and give them an opportunity to show me that they understand the material and how it relates to them and their world. Comprehension checks are often the easiest, but short answer questions are also useful. It is also important to teach students how to take multiple-choice tests, especially those who struggle with that type of test.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
You start with what they are comfortable with already. You take what they know and build on it. If a student has an interest in WWII you can easily take that interest and bring it around to previous major wars, as well as cultural shifts following WWII and current events.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate my students by getting to know them. That initial conversation, where they tell me what they need, where they are comfortable, and what interests they have can be very enlightening. If, as we go along, I see other needs to be addressed, I will do so as I am able.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every person is different and every student learns in a different manner. Some students prefer to read materials, others prefer to have it read to them. Some students need to get up and move while they think or learn. It is my job to work with each student, to learn how best they learn and then go with it.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use a mix of the student's textbook, vetted websites and my own knowledge. If the subject is especially meaty, I might have a list of notes and information already prepared or I might challenge the student to learn more about a subject by giving them an assignment to do, such as learning more about a particular country--from their currency to religion, housing, and transportation and education options.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that while every student learns differently, that every student is teachable. They can all learn and that it is my job; to do everything I can to teach each individual student what they need and want to know.