I always excelled as a student, and enjoyed the process of learning. As I continued in my education and eventually became a rabbi, I had many opportunities throughout the years to share my knowledge through teaching both in a classroom setting, and through tutoring one-on-one. First and foremost, it is my goal to empower each and every student not only with increased confidence from the mastery of subject matter, but even more importantly, to have them feel the joy of achievement, and the increased sense of self-worth and confidence that comes from new accomplishments. As I have become better and better at tutoring, knowing in advance that I will be able to impart that sense of joy and accomplishment to students in a very short time frame makes teaching extremely rewarding to me, and so often, amazing for the student when they realize they've overcome challenges and obstacles they weren't sure that they could do.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Bachelors, Chinese Regional Studies
Graduate Degree: Jewish Theological Seminary of America - Masters, Rabbinic Literature
Foreign language use and travel; music --playing violin and classical guitar, and singing; swimming; walking and hiking
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
Elementary School Math
High School English
High School Geography
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, I like to find out just a little bit about the student and their interests, and their general orientation and feelings regarding the subject at hand. Secondly, I try to find out quite quickly what their present level of accomplishment is, and then outline in broad fashion for the student a likely approach and time frame we can create in order to help the student achieve their learning objectives. I am always very positive and confident for the student, and then will engage the student in the learning process, so that they are able to realize that even from our first session they have gleaned a new approach, and taken steps towards eventual mastery of their subject. We then engage in a process together so that they will know how to prepare for our next session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I help students become independent learners by breaking down the individual steps in the learning process for a particular subject, and showing them how they can proceed and accomplish certain educational objectives on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation is critical and important for all of us. I help a student stay motivated by constantly integrating an enhanced sense of their own self-worth, capacity, and accomplishment with a vision of the value for their lives in mastering the subject at hand. I help them see and understand both short term and long-term values and benefits arising from knowledge and master of the subject.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student is having difficulty in some stage of the learning process, I will first try and review the original presentation of the skill or concept at a slightly slower pace, encouraging them to ask questions regarding anything they don't understand. If they are still having difficulty, we will continue to explore and innovate methodologies and tactics until such time as we find one that is specifically tailored to that individual student's particular abilities and learning style.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I help students first understand the vocabulary involved, and then understand the structure of the sentences and their implications, and then progress to the finer nuances of understanding implied by the material.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I take a few moments to get acquainted with the student, and establish a mutual rapport based on trust and confidence in their learning capacity. I do my utmost to encourage them and uplift them as early as is possible in the learning process based upon real results that they are able to attain or be recognized for.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
It is always good to ask the student to review material studied, and to be able to explain and demonstrate the key concepts and skills involved in the learning step just taken.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
In building a student's confidence in a subject, I zone in on several aspects of the subject matter that they demonstrate skills in, and emphasize the importance of those areas in the learning process. I am always very encouraging and supportive of even the smallest steps and progress that students demonstrate; I often share with them the story of my violin teacher, who taught me one of my favorite expressions, namely, "Man trips over molehills, not mountains.” Utilizing that philosophy, after having studied five years with other teachers, in six months I was able to learn more than I ever had before, and play the Mendelssohn Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, which had always been a dream for me as a child and young boy. I impart the confidence to them that I can facilitate similar miracles for them!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Usually students are aware of the areas in which they need improvement, however, it is always important to discuss curricular goals and objectives particular to that student's needs and requirements, and the time frame in which they hope to accomplish those ends.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring to the student's needs by encouraging them to give me feedback on their thoughts and feelings regarding their learning process, and innovating new and uniquely tailored approaches suited to each student's individual learning proclivities and styles. Some respond better to visual materials or diagrams; some are better at conceptualizing; some like reading individually; and some learn better through oral (verbalizing) or aural (hearing) approaches.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to be able to use materials that the student is using themselves in the classroom, as this gives them a true practical sense of how they can demonstrate immediate progress. I am able to also bring in certain other materials if need be from other outside sources.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I seek to empower each and every student with an appreciation and confidence in their own capacities and intelligence. In many ways, I think that the greatest gift any teacher can give to a student is a greater sense of their own value as a person, a sense of their own ability and self-confidence to succeed under varying circumstances, and a sense of joy and celebration of themselves as full human beings. Everything else becomes merely technical and secondary.