I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Psychology. I am taking some time off to work, but I plan to return to school in the next few years to obtain a graduate degree in Clinical Psychology. While in college, I volunteered with the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project, an organization that brings Penn students into Philly's inner city to tutor low-income middle school students. I found the experience deeply rewarding and my time with WPTP nurtured an interest in working with children professionally. I tutor a wide variety of subjects including English, writing, history, SAT Reading/Writing, French and more! My favorite subject to teach is history. The subject is often viewed by students as boring and unnecessary (along the lines of, "why should I learn something that happened already?"); in my view, history is alive and full of useful lessons that can be applied at the personal, national and societal levels, and I enjoy teaching this point of view to students, helping them to see history as a living, deeply relevant subject matter.
My teaching philosophy can be summed in three words: never sit still. I don't see learning as a static process, whereby a student studies for a test, passes it, then lets the information slip away. Rather, I believe the student should be truly hungry to absorb the material, to truly own it, then use that newfound knowledge as the jump-off point for even higher achievement. The student should never sit still in his/her academic achievements; rather he/she should always strive to improve and grow. It is my job to foster that hunger and to enable the student to progress at the right pace, to achieve his/her potential and then break the barrier even further!
My hobbies include reading science fiction/fantasy novels, writing short stories, and playing tennis. I'm also an on-and-off Celtics fan. I am excited to work with Varsity Tutors to help students maximize their potentials!
University of Pennsylvania - Bachelors, Psychology
SAT Composite: 2310
SAT Math: 770
SAT Verbal: 790
SAT Writing: 750
SAT Mathematics Level 2: 760
SAT Subject Test in French: 780
SAT Subject Test in U.S. History: 800
SAT Subject Test in Chemistry: 730
AP US History
College Level American History
High School Geography
High School Level American History
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
It is the teacher's responsibility to explain a concept in terms the student can understand, and to ensure the student is always being challenged to grow.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Identify goals, and then identify: strong areas, weak areas, create a multi-week plan for improving weaknesses, and finding new ways to enhance strengths in order to reach the goal.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Give advice on efficient ways to learn to read, write and speak in preparation for a top-tier university academic workload.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Encourage the student to understand why he or she wants to achieve a goal.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try to understand if the difficulty is due to lack of understanding of a more basic concept necessary to learn the skill in question; practice breaking down a complex problem into simpler components.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Read, read, read!
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Identify key weaknesses, strengths and make a plan for consistent practice of simple skills to improve weaknesses integrated with practice of more complex skills using strengths.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I try to engage students by relating difficult theoretical concepts and skills to real-world situations using movies, TV, books and current events, placing seemingly dry subject matter in the wider context of daily life.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Frequent informal testing of small chunks of information, along with more spaced cumulative quizzes. Whenever I cover a new concept, I immediately ask a student to explain it back to me using his or her own words.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
After ascertaining a student's skill in a subject area, I ask him or her to show his or her knowledge on easy problems, building confidence in already acquired knowledge and setting him or her up for the challenge of material that is still not mastered. I believe in the proximal zone theory of learning, whereby I challenge the student with problems not yet in his or her mastery, but not so difficult the student will be discouraged to continue learning.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The best way to evaluate is to ask the student directly what he or she expects out of the tutoring and what he or she wants/needs to achieve. Speaking to parents provides a different perspective on the student, supplementing what the student tells me.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Tutoring is not about dragging a student by the hand to mastery of new skills. Rather it is about opening the door to greater mastery and encouraging the student to walk through it of his or her own accord. Using this philosophy, my job is to make sure that the open doorway is the right one (i.e. I understand what the student needs) and providing the support to enable the student to walk through on his or her own, whereby the student achieves a sense of self-efficacy and pride at having achieved academic excellence independently.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use sample questions, reading excerpts, book lists, strategy guides, prep books and any materials provided by the student.