I am approaching the end of my doctoral journey in Public Administration. I have a master's in Educational Administration, and a bachelor's in Linguistics: ESOL and Communication Science Disorders. I have been an educator for 20+ years, serving in a variety of capacities (e.g., speech pathologist, teacher, and staffing specialist); however, the majority of my experience has been in working with persons with disabilities and managing such programs.
I am fluent in English, French, and Haitian Creole, plus I have a fair knowledge of Spanish as well.
In my spare time, I enjoy helping children and adults achieve their academic goals by giving them the tools they need to become successful via tutoring, editing of their writing, and teaching them to think and analyze their own work. I became an educator because it is my sincerest belief that with education we can do anything. We can transform ideas; we can transform lives; we can transform the world.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: CUNY Queens College - Bachelors, Linguistics: TESOL and Communication Science Disorders
Graduate Degree: Capella University - Masters, Leadership in Educational Administration
My hobbies are walking to the neighborhood park and on the beach, watching Latin telenovelas, designing interiors, and solving thinking games and puzzles.
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that the role of education is to promote the success of all learners by understanding, responding to, and influencing the larger political, social, economic, and cultural context of the community. This is achieved by collaborating with the greater community in the decision-making process, in the creation of a new vision, and in sharing knowledge and abilities. When this praxis is emplaced, all benefit.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First sessions are opportunities for the tutor and the student to get to know each other. I would ask open-ended questions to put the learner at ease (e.g., What is your favorite activity? Tell me about why it's your favorite). I would then tell them about my favorite activity, yet focus on what they have to say in order to encourage them to feel safe and comfortable. I would also ask them to discuss any goals or objectives they would like to achieve during our sessions, in addition to mastering the tutoring goals.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
They can become independent learners as they learn to be more self-directed. I will teach them to reread, repeat, and underline key words/concepts in order to help them think for themselves and find their own solutions. As well, I will have them summarize and paraphrase the materials to increase comprehension. This will help them make connections between the material and real-life, as they create analogies and relate events to personal feelings and attitudes.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I will have high expectations of performance and set these from the very beginning of our sessions. These expectations will be iterated throughout, given positive reinforcement in the form of praise and encouragement. I will also use true-to-life examples as often as possible to bring a flair of reality to the teaching and keep the student interested in the outcomes.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, I would review the skill using a step-by-step process. I would use instructional scaffolding strategies to link the student's prior learning to new learning; use visual imagery or schematics to help the student visualize the skill/concept (e.g., webbing and mapping); help the student identify the 5 Ws (what, who, when, where, and why). We would discuss the "how" together.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I utilize pre-reading and post-reading strategies and engage in questioning the student about the passage to increase comprehension. As the student becomes stronger, I have them question themselves aloud about the reading. I also have them identify the main idea(s), using underlining and highlighting strategies, in combination with graphic organizers.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find that relaying my high expectations and discussing the important points of those expectations has always encouraged great success. As well, when there is a syllabus or plan available, I find that reading them together and identifying specific expectations always encourages students to extend themselves to do better.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I am a fervent proponent of project-based learning and questioning. I start each session with a question about the material and then delve into the material as if looking for a treasure. It gives the tutoring sessions the feel of a project or research, which is always exciting. As well, I make sure to give the student immediate and clear feedback about the work and their product.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
My most effective technique is questioning. I ask questions throughout the session to confirm understanding and to make sure the student is "with me". Ten minutes prior to the end of the session, I give the student a sticky note to answer a question I will ask about the session we've just had. This helps me assess how well the student understood the material; how effective or ineffective I am at the teaching; tells me if reteaching is needed, and it also serves as a quick and effective tool for showing the student how he/she is doing. I keep the stickies to help me review with the student and help me reflect on my teaching.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I encourage students to compete against themselves by continually improving their personal best. I begin by using a baseline obtained either by a test, report cards, or some other type of assessment. Then, I keep track of their improvement and chart it, making sure they take part in the data collection and data analysis. As they watch their improvement, their confidence level also improves. This is another way in which the sticky notes help with data gathering.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The most reliable way to assess the needs of a student is to assign a task (e.g., quiz, writing prompt, and math question) that will gauge their prior knowledge, their strengths, and/or weaknesses.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I engage in experiential activities whenever available. I work on being flexible by providing information that will overlap that which they already have. This iteration reinforces old knowledge and braces new knowledge. I acknowledge and validate student emotions by allowing them to share the emotional experiences of the day. Then, I minimize the talking to maximize my ability to actively listen to the student’s verbal and nonverbal communication. I further individualize the tutoring by getting the learner involved in the mutual effort to discover how they learn best (e.g., visual, kinesthetic, and auditory).
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use the material provided to me by the tutoring center. If the student brings his/her own materials, I try to incorporate it into the session, if time allows. Otherwise, I assign some of the student's personal materials as homework to reinforce the skill taught.