As an educator, my primary professional interest is to develop and implement teaching strategies to make learning exciting for all students. I do not believe that it is enough to simply cover content; rather, I seek to equip students with the learning strategies and life skills necessary for becoming strong, confident learners who will continue on to excel in higher pursuits.
During my student teaching placements in Rochester, New York and Kumasi, Ghana, I witnessed the many frustrations that struggling readers experience in all academic areas. Students struggling with reading comprehension could not solve math word problems because they could not identify information necessary for creating equations. Similarly, children with limited academic vocabularies had difficulty distinguishing between content-specific terms in science, thereby limiting their comprehension. With these experiences in mind, I chose to pursue a master's degree in Literacy Education B-6 because I truly believe that reading comprehension is the cornerstone for academic success in all subject areas. My experiences as an English teacher in Spain have reaffirmed this belief, as teaching students a variety of comprehension strategies has been instrumental in improving their ability to decode texts in a second language and, consequently, increasing their motivation to learn.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: SUNY at Geneseo - Bachelors, Childhood Education with Special Education
Graduate Degree: Syracuse University - Masters, Literacy Education Birth-Grade 6
Reading, Studying Spanish, Powerlifting, Drumming, Hiking, Skiing
Elementary School Math
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy on teaching and learning has been shaped by the dozens of instructors and students that I have been taught by or taught to over the course of my life. As a former classroom teacher, bilingual tutor, and swim instructor, I have learned the importance of presenting knowledge in a manner that reaches out to students of all abilities and backgrounds in ways they can understand. Drawing on my positive classroom and tutoring experiences has helped me construct an ideal image of myself as an educator who is able to connect with any student on both a professional a personal level. To ensure that I live up to my expectations, I believe it is important that I keep three core beliefs about teaching in mind at all times: 1) knowing how to teach content and strategies is just as important as knowing the content and strategies themselves; 2) socioeconomic status does not determine intellectual ability; and 3) the best teacher is the one who has a personalized theory of impact. Good teaching is not static and mundane, but rather a dynamic and immersive endeavor in which the teacher is able to express him or herself to students through his or her unique teaching style.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
A typical first tutoring session will focus on establishing rapport with the student, asking about his or her educational experiences and interests, and discovering what he or she hopes to gain from our time together. Once I have learned the client’s goals and motivations, I will conduct an informal pre- assessment to determine the client’s strengths and needs and find a starting point from which we can begin instruction. I will then work with the client to create a plan for future sessions based on his or her learning preferences.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help students become independent learners by incorporating lessons on general and content-specific problem-solving strategies into my instruction. My experience as a tutor and teacher has shown me that students who internalize learning strategies have more academic confidence, flexibility, and success than students who simply focus on content. My goal while working with any student is to model and explain a variety of strategies so that clients can add tools to their academic toolkits, thus giving them a wide array of options to choose from when tackling new content independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The best way to help students stay motivated is to encourage them to draw connections between academic content and their own lives. When students are challenged to think of how the lessons they learn in school can be applied in the world outside the classroom, they will be more likely to recognize and appreciate the value in learning new skills. Additionally, ensuring that instruction matches a student’s learning style is key in helping that student stay motivated. Visual learners, for example, will be more engaged if their instructor includes diagrams, pictures, and models to supplement instruction while auditory learners might be more excited about learning if their lessons include call-and-response and Q&A dialogues.