Currently, I am a graduate teaching assistant at the University of New Mexico. In the past, I taught underserved populations in middle and high schools in rural Mississippi and Tennessee. In addition, I taught community college in the adult education department. Over the years, many of my adult students have arrived in my class reading and doing math at elementary school levels. With these students, I work tirelessly one-on-one to prepare them for their future endeavors.
As a tutor, I have the privilege of watching my students grow every day. It is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. I understand how students acquire knowledge, and I have the experience to apply this understanding to aid with student outcomes.
The University of Tennessee-Martin - Bachelors, Spanish
Mississippi State University - Masters, Secondary Education
COMPASS Mathematics Prep
Elementary School Math
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
My goal as a literacy educator is that each student leaves my class better equipped to read, write, and contribute to society than when they arrived. My teaching philosophy mirrors those goals. A recent New York Times article interviewed an educator who claims that there are three additional “R”s on which we should focus: “…relationships, reflection, and resilience”. I endeavor to weave these ideas into my procedures and instructional methods. I have been teaching for eight years. Through the years of teaching I have taught English to every grade from seventh through twelve, high school Spanish, elementary summer school, GED, adult basic education, and university composition. Each teaching assignment and new population has taught me new things about great teaching. At this point, I am an instructional chameleon, changing my methods according to the needs of the students I am teaching.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Many of my students arrived in my ninth grade English class reading at elementary school levels. As a result, I began to use a variety of instructional methods specifically designed to assist struggling readers, including intense vocabulary intervention, close reading and annotating difficult text, as well as graphic organizers to prepare for oral and written textual analysis.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
A first session is a "get to know you" and a "get to know the material" session. Depending on the subject, I'd like to start by engaging in a conversation with the student, asking how he or she feels about the subject and what he or she wants from this session and future sessions. Then I'd like to do a subject-specific age appropriate activity that will help me gauge the level of the student without feeling like a test.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe in the gradual release of responsibility. First, I do it. Then I do it with your help. Then, you do it with my help. Then you do it. My goal is to become completely unnecessary.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It depends on the age of the student. For younger students, I tend to bring them stickers or small things. I tell them if we do this, you can earn a game or a fun activity. For teenagers, it depends on the teenager. I let a class teach me how to do the "nae nae" once. For adults, I am a fountain of positivity, offering praise and showing them their progress. Often, grownups need to see where they've grown to want to continue working.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I tend to do it a different way. For math, if you can't draw the picture, then I may find a household manipulative. We may talk conceptual or procedural. Whatever way helps you learn it is the way I plan on teaching it.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
At this point in my career I have taught hundreds of students from different age groups and different subjects from all around the country and the world. It varies from student to student and educational situation to situation.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I tend to informally check for understanding throughout the session. Although I am not a fan of standardized tests, if we are preparing for a standardized test, then it helps students to see those style questions, so we practice test, often. My goal is to provide students with what they need to meet their goals.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I tend to notice the right answers just as often or more often as the wrong ones. Also, I believe in normalizing error. I view mistakes as an important part of the learning process. I believe that a wrong answer highlights an opportunity for growth.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I listen. Often, students (especially older students) know what they need and will tell you. If they don't know, I try a few different methods until one works.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
At this point, I am an instructional chameleon, changing my methods according to the needs of the students I am teaching. I have been teaching for eight years. Through the years of teaching I have taught English to every grade from seventh through twelve, high school Spanish, elementary summer school, GED, adult basic education, and university composition. Each teaching assignment and new population has taught me new things about great teaching. You'd have to be more specific about what the student needs, and I'd be happy to tell you about what adaptations I would make.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I love a white board and colored markers. Research says that people remember things better in color. I have been known to use art supplies. I love colored index cards as well.