A photo of Amaru, a tutor from Pomona College

Amaru

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I graduated from Pomona College in 2013 with a degree in Media Studies. Since then, I have worked as a tutor and mentor for students throughout the Los Angeles area. I am proud to have worked with students from an incredibly diverse array of backgrounds, at all levels of academic need. As a tutor, I work to inspire excitement in students by drawing connections between the content and the students' lived experiences. For instance, I use examples from pop culture in order to illustrate particular literary concepts or contextualize history lessons.Though I have experience tutoring in a number of subjects, I am most passionate about the humanities (Literature, History, Writing, and all related fields). I have also worked with many students to prepare for the SAT Reading and Writing, and ACT English and Reading sections, and have managed to pull together a series of diagnostic teaching materials that help students pinpoint what is keeping them from achieving the score they want.

Amaru’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Pomona College - Bachelors, Media Studies

Test Scores

SAT Verbal: 740

SAT Writing: 710

AP Biology: 5

GRE Verbal: 169

AP Calculus AB: 4

AP English Literature: 5

AP English Language: 5

AP US History: 5

SAT Mathematics Level 2: 700

SAT Subject Test in U.S. History: 750

SAT Subject Test in Spanish: 730

AP U.S. Government & Politics: 5

AP Psychology: 4

AP Spanish Language: 5

Hobbies

Watching films (foreign, art house, independent, experimental); playing music with my Latin Alternative band

Tutoring Subjects


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is inspired by the belief that learning is closely tied to empowerment. In my work, I emphasize critical thinking and dialogue with my students, rather than the simple memorization of facts. In this way, I enable students to take personal ownership of their education in a more profound way.

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

Depending on the subject, I would prepare materials (such as diagnostic tests) that help identify the student's specific needs, so that we can design a longer-term plan to address those specific needs.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Emphasizing critical thinking, analysis, and dialogue over memorization. Critical thinking requires students to take what they've learned, draw connections to information they already knew, and synthesize new thoughts and ideas. A student is an independent learner when they can create their own knowledge.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Often, when students struggle with feeling bored or burnt out, it's a matter of reminding them how the content they are learning is relevant to their own lives. I find that using examples from pop culture, which students are readily familiar with, is a great way of making seemingly dry subjects more interesting.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I pride myself in being very resourceful when it comes to my materials. Aside from typical study guides, I tend to use my personal materials (books, newspapers, articles, etc.), as well as the internet. I try to foster a sense of resourcefulness in my students, so they can feel empowered to seek out new materials on their own.

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

It's helpful to take breaks from the content at hand and take a minute to reflect on what we've learned and what we still have questions about. Once a student can articulate clearly what is confusing or difficult about a skill or concept, it's easier to go about structuring a lesson.

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

I have developed a couple different methods to help with students who struggle with comprehension. One of the most important factors is making sure that the book/story/reading is at the appropriate level for the student. It is not helpful for a student who is reading at a 2nd grade level to be reading a 9th grade book--being able to match students with reading assignments that are challenging enough to improve vocabulary, but not so difficult as to discourage students, is a skill I've developed.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

The trick is always to connect the subject to the student's lived experience. For example, arithmetic word problems are a lot less confusing for students when the scenarios are relatable. History is a lot more interesting when students understand how the past relates to the present and shapes the future. Reading and writing are a lot more exciting when we are reading and writing about people and stories we recognize from our own lives.

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

Rather than asking students to memorize answers, and parrot them back to me, I would ask students to explain concepts to me in new words. This requires students to make the knowledge their own, which helps in retention and helps with facilitating a deeper understanding of the material.

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

I help students to articulate certain concepts or lessons in their own words, which allows them to take an active ownership of their learning and become more confident in their exploration of the subject.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I have found that patience and a willingness to approach a problem from multiple angles is often key to success with my students. Teaching my students to be resourceful themselves, to be able to think critically to reach conclusions, is key.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

When it comes to preparing for exams, especially the standardized exams like SAT and ACT, it's critical for the student to identify their specific needs early on. I have gathered numerous diagnostic tools to help determine exactly what areas are a student's weaknesses.