A lifelong Chicago area resident, I hold a bachelors degree in English, a masters in English Education, and a second masters degree in school and community mental health counseling, all earned at St. Xavier University. I am a licensed teacher of grades six through twelve and have experience teaching at both the middle and high school levels. I have also previously worked as an online tutor for college students and have experience with a wide range of ability levels.
There are a lot of important elements to a tutoring relationship, but I believe that the relationship itself can be vital. I hope my optimism and enthusiasm will rub off on my students, who may feel very discouraged and hopeless when we begin working together. I share with them how I have struggled also--not everything came easily to me. That shaped my decision to become a school counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
In my spare time I enjoy reading, travel, spending time with family and friends, and playing with my dog, Buddy. I also enjoy traveling, listening to music, and watching old movies.
Saint Xavier University - Bachelors, English
Saint Xavier University - Masters, English Education
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
6th Grade Reading
6th Grade Writing
7th Grade Reading
7th Grade Writing
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Writing
9th Grade Reading
9th Grade Writing
College Application Essays
College Level American Literature
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School Business
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Introduction to Fiction
Introduction to Poetry
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe all students are capable of learning and experiencing success. We all learn differently: we are visual, auditory, kinesthetic, verbal, solitary, social, or logical learners, and it is part of my task as a tutor to determine how a student learns and play to those strengths. I emphasize strategies and tools my students can take with them in future learning endeavors and encourage them to be independent problem solvers.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, I would take a few minutes to talk about the academic issues the student is experiencing and learn about them as a person, like what they like to do outside of school, what they think their strengths are. I would try to put them at ease by saying that I can explain things as many times as necessary, and in different ways if it is not working. I would urge them to ask a lot of questions of me. I would ask for an example of what they are struggling with and try to do an informal assessment of where they are so I can meet them there and bring them up to speed.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe students become independent learners by learning strategies and tools that can be used in future learning endeavors. I teach problem-solving skills so students do not become dependent on their teachers or me.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would find ways to make learning fun and relevant. I don't believe in asking students to complete stacks of worksheets. I also use praise and possibly small rewards.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to find different ways to present or explain it until one clicked for the student. Everyone has a unique learning style and I would need to discover what works for that student.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I believe in the use of graphic organizers to improve reading comprehension. Sometimes appealing to our visual side can really help. I may read aloud or have the student read aloud if they are an auditory learner.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
My main tool is questioning and discussion. That helps me informally assess student understanding. I may also give a short quiz or essay to have a formal assessment I can share with the student and the family.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
It is a gradual process. I begin by praising small improvements. As I see improvements, the teachers should be seeing them also, and I praise school success and try to reinforce that. I also share my enthusiasm for my subject matter and why I like it or find it relevant.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I often use both formal and informal assessments. I may use a quiz or pretest/posttest to formally assess needs. I ask the student, parents, and even teachers what they think the student's needs are, and I hold a discussion with the student regarding what I think in order to make sure my assessment is accurate.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
First I determine what learning style is most comfortable to the student, and then I develop tools and instruction methods that suit that style. I find it also helps to take some time to get to know the student and find common ground, so we can approach this challenge together.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would share my enthusiasm with the topic, and hope it would be contagious. I would also find opportunities to praise students for things they are doing well. Another approach I use is discussing the benefits of the subject and how it applies to "real life."
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I think it is essential to meet students where they are and make no assumptions or judgments regarding prior knowledge. One of my gifts as a teacher is being able to break a concept or task into smaller tasks that aren't so overwhelming for students. I also will explain a concept as many times and as many different ways as it takes for the student to understand.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I try to use worksheets only when absolutely necessary, like for grammar exercises. I use a lot of graphic organizers because they are a great way to break concepts down for students. I also use a lot of discussion to guide students through higher level thinking skills.