I come from a family of teachers, as my mother was an elementary school music teacher for 35 years and her sister was a preschool teacher. I did very well in school, including college and graduate school, I wanted to help others learn how to study effectively and remember information. I have developed a desire to help people achieve their educational goals and succeed in an academic setting. I first began substitute teaching in the 1990s and felt like I was really making an impact on students' motivation to learn. I completed my student teaching in Spanish in 2003 at East Hartford High School (Connecticut). Soon thereafter, I began working for a private company as a tutor for students with special needs, as well as those with English as their second language (in reading, writing and math). At this point, I also took on a few private tutoring jobs, with someone of Japanese descent, as well as a couple students who were of Mexican descent. I worked at an autism spectrum school for about four years as a direct care staff person. I taught Spanish to two adolescents while there. I also experienced growth myself, as I had not realized how important socialization is to learning. As you may or may not know, socialization is a big barrier to many students on the spectrum. Finally, I have been substitute teaching in the Albany, NY area, which renewed my interest in being an instructor/facilitator/guide to struggling students. During this time, I had also tutored an international graduate college student (from Saudi Arabia) in Educational Psychology in preparation for her Early Childhood degree. I felt like this experience opened my eyes even more about cultural differences, and was a challenge that I was prepared to meet.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: The College of Saint Rose - Bachelors, Spanish
Graduate Degree: Central Connecticut State University - Masters, Special Education
karaoke, trivia, playing piano, traveling, civil war reenactments, crossword puzzles, hiking, beach volleyball, going to hockey games
1st Grade Reading
1st Grade Writing
2nd Grade Reading
2nd Grade Writing
3rd Grade Reading
3rd Grade Writing
4th Grade Reading
4th Grade Writing
CLEP Introductory Psychology
College Level American History
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
GED Reasoning Through Language Arts
GED Social Studies
High School Biology
High School Chemistry
High School English
High School Level American History
IB World Religions
Middle School Reading
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
You will truly learn something when you have discovered it for yourself. So, as a teacher, it is my job to guide and facilitate this process (not to give students answers). I try to help students realize that they know more than they first thought!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Find out what he or she is studying (the topic) in the class in which I am going to tutor. Then ask him or her to take out some homework and I would go over it with him or her. The second half of the session might be devoted to doing some sample problems and maybe reviewing for a test or something like that.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By showing that person that he or she understands and knows more than he or she originally thought. I will use what has worked best for me (because I was an excellent student). I will teach the students the study skills that were effective for me!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would find out his or her interests and try to relate my teaching, as well as the subject to these interests. I would tell him or her about my interests and hobbies and show him or her how interesting and fascinating the subject can be.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would go over the skill or concept from several different angles. If he or she was having problems understand that skill or concept, I would use trial and error until he or she "got it".
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Depending on the reading level, which I have probably assessed prior to watching the student read, I would probably read the passage in order to provide the student with an example/role model. I try to scaffold students when they are struggling with a sentence, giving context clues so that they relate what they see visually with words, and then later concepts.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
To develop a rapport between students and teachers. To talk about common interests in order to make the subject and studying more fascinating and interesting. To relate what the student knows to what he or she wants to learn, and then to actual learning of new concepts.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to relate the student's interests and hobbies to the subject. I would also help the student to realize that he or she knows more about the subject than he or she thought.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would periodically review the information and then give little "quizzes of my own" along the way. In the session prior to his or her test, I would try to give a longer informal test so that he or she could have practice.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By relating it to his or her life, by telling him or her about the relevance of the subject, and by showing the student what he or she already knows, so that this student can build on it.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Through reading of passages, through writing samples, through math problems, and then later on through informal reviews, tests and quizzes.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I first figure out the student's reading comprehension level, ability to write, understanding of English or Spanish (whatever the target language is), and speaking skills. Then I take note of the areas in which I believe the student needs to work.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Pen, paper, internet (if applicable), books, note cards, art materials (if like preparing for a project).