Hello and welcome to my tutoring page! My name is Amy Kennedy and I am currently a student at Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles. As a history major I specialize in helping students with their upcoming AP European History and AP US History exams. I am planning to continue my studies on to my doctorate with a focus on the Protestant Reformation and the links between revolutionary religious ideas and the physical revolutions that occurred during the Peasant's War of 1525. I also love American history, in particular the Revolutionary War period and the Progressive era. When deciding on my major I almost picked literature and I love reading classics.I can help you understand Shakespeare or pick the next book from an assigned reading list. I personally love the insights of Jane Austin and the eerie short stories of Nickolai Gogel, but maybe you might gravitate towards the straightforward prose of Earnest Hemingway. I am also an excellent essay writer and can help struggling students at all stages of the writing process. Whether in organizing your initial ideas, putting them down on paper, or checking over the finished product, I am there to help. I can also aid you in stratagizing your essays for timed testing and I am an approved SAT Verbal and PSAT Critical Reading tutor.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Mount St Mary's University - Current Undergrad, History
SAT Verbal: 770
AP English Language: 4
AP US History: 4
AP European History: 4
AP US History
College Level American History
College World History
High School English
High School Level American History
High School World History
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I like to sit down with the student and talk about their learning style in order to better tailor the session to their needs. I also prefer to make the lesson more conversational in order to reduce pressure and keep an informal atmosphere.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to sit down with them and see what their goals are and how they think they need to improve in that subject. This can sometimes differ from a parental perspective, so it is really important to do this. I then like to explain how I teach and try to get an assessment of their learning style (auditory, visual, kinesthetic) so I can tailor the sessions to their needs. Then we work out what they are working on for the week and go from there.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
One of the most important things that I like to work on is study skills. These are often not taught in the classroom. Even if they are, not every technique works well with every student. Working one on one I can go over different study skills and we can talk about whether or not the student actually feels that it helps them. If so great, but if not we can just try something else. In this way I am able to build skills with them that they can carry on into higher learning. From a personal perspective, I struggled a lot my first year of college because high school was so easy for me that I never needed to develop good study skills. So when I was challenged as a college student, I had nothing to fall back on. This means that all of the skills I have developed since then have been trial and error and allowed me to achieve the high GPA I currently have. I am a Dean's list student and have been for the past two years. This can help my students, because I honestly empathize with where they are now, and we can work together to help them grow into an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation can be one of the most difficult things to deal with when tutoring a student. I only tutor students above the sixth grade, so they are aware of how they are responsible for the grades that they produce. Nothing can truly motivate a person unless they are open to wanting to improve. The difficult reality is that no parental threats of taking away privileges or someone telling them that bad grades will affect their future will truly work unless they actually believe that. I think that the best way for me to try to motivate a student is to talk to them about their personal goals and then tie that to how improving their performance will help them achieve their goals. I am also an empathetic person and I have personally struggled with my own grades in the past, so I like to share some of my own struggles with them so that they can see that they are not the only ones who has had difficulties.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I like to break things down and see where the missing link is located. Is it in how I am explaining it? Is it a more basic component that I thought the student already understood? Is it that they are not personally connected to the subject? How can I best connect them? I mainly tutor in the humanities, so personal connection and interest really is one of the best tools to help students in understanding something.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It depends on where the issue in comprehension is located. Are they struggling with difficult words? We might do a mini lesson on root words and talk about how often words that sound similar come from the same Latin or Germanic root. Is it that they do not read very often? Maybe we can talk about things they are interested in and choose a book together that they might like. Is it that they are having trouble with pronunciation and are embarrassed when reading out loud? If so, I would suggest maybe doing some pet therapy where they can read out loud to their pets (or mine) in order to foster a positive reading experience. I used to work at an animal rescue that had a reading program, and the results are honestly fantastic. As you can see, I like to look at the specific problems a student is facing and then formulate a plan on how we can work together to overcome the specific issue. This is the main benefit to tutoring, because it is rare in a classroom that a student can have a lesson plan formulated to how they learn best.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find that if you treat a student as an individual and sit down with them to understand what their motivations are, you can get further in one session than in several classes at school. Everyone learns at their own pace and through their own thought processes, so by tapping into that you can get the best response from a student. A great example of this is when I had a student who was struggling with their history class. Instead of just sitting down and going over names and dates, I asked them what their favorite classes were. They said science and math, which is fairly common with those who struggle in the humanities. It turns out that the student was a linear thinker and was having a hard time understanding that there is no one correct way of looking at history. I explained that if you looked at history as a chemical reaction (event + event= new product) you can trace cause and effect over time. This really seemed to help shift the way in which they viewed the subject, and I was able to pull them in in a way I had not before.