I have worked a good several years in K-12 public education. I have also worked with undergraduate college students as both an essay writing tutor, and classroom TA.
My experience in K-12 public education is extensive. With training in positive reinforcement, I have worked with students whose educational needs cover the whole gamut. As an ABA tutor in San Francisco Unified, I have worked with pre-K and elementary students, along with their families, in helping them succeed in their respective learning environments. I have also enjoyed working with students, elementary through high school, in the traditional classroom as an assistant, while working on my degree. I know the importance of creating a positive space.
With my background and training, I have learned a lot about working with students. I enjoy one-on-one and small group learning. I do not believe in using a prescriptive approach. Each student is unique. I believe the deepest learning and understanding comes in a space that is positive, calm, yet focused.
I look forward to helping you along your journey!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: San Francisco State University - Bachelors, Geography-Urban Environment
I'm an herbalist/tutor who enjoys: tea blending, hiking/looking for cool plants, making digital collage, finding new art and music, making electronic music, and returning to yoga
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I value holding a supportive learning space (in-person & online) that honors each student's unique learning styles and abilities, while maintaining focus on the goal of the session. I've learned that a calm and positive environment can do wonders in allowing for deeper learning.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During a first session, I would enjoy taking the first moment to get to know the student's unique learning styles and preferences, as well as what helps them enjoy their experience.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
One thing I enjoy is helping people trust their intuition, especially when it comes to learning and understanding something on a conceptual level.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
We all process information differently. With that in mind, I am generally intuitive. I like to check in with the student periodically. If I can see that information needs to be processed, I will either encourage taking a moment to absorb the information, OR I will shift to a different modality (visual, auditory, metaphor, etc.).
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I briefly addressed this in another question about keeping motivation (and by the way, brief breaks and keeping momentum are important there as well). I'll reiterate the conceptual learning challenge - I like to check in with the student periodically. Sometimes a moment is needed to process. Other times I might shift gears and use other approaches - visual, auditory, metaphor, etc.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
This depends on the grade levels and learning styles of the student. That said, some things I've used in the past include asking the student to go through the assigned reading, paragraph by paragraph, jotting their own notes to summarize the main concepts of each one, then fitting it into the whole paper at the end! When a student gets frustrated I get into extra supportive mode - I understand the frustration and have been there before. I reinforce that they are doing the learning, the understanding.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Here are a few that seem to help: 1) With younger students, it's important to shift tasks and focus frequently enough to keep their interest. 2) Learn what things reinforce a positive learning environment - remembering to offer verbal praise for good work, etc. 3) Listen. 4) Be real.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would listen to the student and their frustration, pause, then focus on narrowing that perceived gap between them and their subject. "Narrow the gap": 1) adapt the material to their learning style 2) Remind student of their strong points. 3) Find ways to make the material more personally relevant to them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Depending on the grade level, I might ask the student to teach me the concept. Here, I might want to incorporate humor. It needs to be fun.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I make sure that the student is demonstrating that they know the subject matter or problem at hand by teaching me (switching roles periodically). Verbal praise as they successfully complete a project. At the end of a session, highlight what has been learned, and what goals have been completed. Cutting goals into small chunks has worked for me and it's also something I'd like to incorporate more as well.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Grades are one indicator, but also ensure that the student feels comfortable. Check in with the student. And for students who feel less comfortable with talking about things, be sensitive to other ways they are communicating a need.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Again, in the beginning I believe it's important to get to know the student's interests, what things are important to them, what makes them feel good about learning, about life, etc. When possible, I like adapting the material based on these things I've learned. Also, again, understanding a student's preferred learning style is very important, whether they are visual learners, auditory, tactile/experiential, etc. Also, how long do they stay interested in a given task - this varies with all students and I like to check in with the student periodically.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
This depends on the student, their personality/unique preferences, age and grade level. In the past, with the early elementary students, I had access to manipulatives which helped tactile and visual learners. While in school, I tutored college students, as well as worked as a TA. As a one-on-one writing tutor, my materials were simply the notebook, laptop, and their work. As a TA, the materials were also very much the same. As I get to know the students, I might consider incorporating other materials that might help motivate and encourage the student (as needed).