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Kamilah

I am a graduate of Duke University with a degree in Health Policy and Education Policy. While at Duke University I was a student athlete, participated in the leadership of several clubs and service groups; as well as, working as a Math and Reading tutor. After graduation I spent a year pursing a business venture allotted to me through the Elevator Pitch Competition, my senior year of college, which I won in my category - Non-Profits. After that year, I joined the Teach for America Fellowship, where I fell in love with teaching. The Teach for America Fellowship is 2 years; however, after my first year due to the recognition and growth in my classroom I was invited to start a school. I spent 2 years at that school prior to getting married and moving to California, a few months ago, with my amazing, aerospace loving, husband.

Moving out here I knew I didn't want to go back into the classroom, but I wanted to find ways to support teachers and students, as they work toward reaching their goals. I decided to jump back into tutoring. Tutoring allows me to work with students whose needs aren't being met fully in the classroom and the supplement the handwork that each teacher puts into the education plans of their students. I have been tutoring all types of students from Special Needs to Gifted for 9 years. I have a ton of strategies for a variety of subjects and have seen my students grow leaps and bounds in confidence, skill, and ability.

I love the challenge of uncovering a child's weaknesses, creating the opportunity for them to discover what they are capable of, and the excitement of seeing their faces light up once they realize, they can do it. Nothing brings me more joy then seeing children walk in the fullness of their potential.

Undergraduate Degree:

Duke University - Bachelors, Public Policy

ACT Composite: 27

ACT English: 29

ACT Math: 27

ACT Reading: 23

ACT Science: 25

GRE Quantitative: 157

GRE Verbal: 151

Dancing, Art, photography, painting, sports, running, soccer

6th Grade Math

6th Grade Writing

7th Grade Math

7th Grade Writing

8th Grade Math

8th Grade Writing

African-American History

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Writing

Middle School Writing

Public Health

US History

What is your teaching philosophy?

I help students learn how to think critically through a problem to get to a solution. I ask questions to help them recognize their thought process and the faults in their thinking. I empower them with the necessary tools to be able to think their way to a solution, independent of me.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I like to get to know my students in the first session. I want to know what their interests are, the goals that they have set for themselves, and how the goals connect to their interests. This helps me put the content in a context that is interesting and engaging for them. I also want to know what they think their strengths and weaknesses are. I also like to share about me, my interests, background, etc. I want them to see that I am genuinely invested in their success. One of my goals as a tutor is to begin to build an environment of mutual trust and respect. I have found that it is so much easier to help students achieve their goals when they feel respected and are working with someone they trust is invested in them.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I help students become independent learners through my teaching style. I do not give students answers. I often ask questions to help them uncover the answer themselves, and walk them through their thought process. I do equip them with all of the necessary tools to be successful ahead of time. I have found that this strategy alone helps build confidence in students that are insecure in their abilities. Once the confidence is there, we focus on "making it make sense" at all times. With students I have worked with and have helped build their confidence, typically I just have to read their process out loud and they can pinpoint their exact mistake. I just have to encourage them to slow down and reread their work.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

This is one of the main reasons, in my first sessions, I learn about the students' interests and goals. That way when they are unmotivated, I can remind them of why we are focusing on this. We can also set up small rewards like playing a 30-second - 1 min game they enjoy, saying your favorite joke, or a small piece of candy.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

As a teacher I learned that if a student is having trouble learning the concept you have to adjust your teaching; therefore, I have learned many, many different ways to teach the same concept - using manipulative, pictures, acting it out, etc.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

There are several reading strategies that can be applied when working with students regarding reading comprehension. One of my favorite strategies is to annotate the reading and write questions/comments as you go along. As a struggling reader growing up, this was the one strategy that really worked for me.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I always do a small assessment of the students learning before confirming their mastery of a topic. An assessment can be a series of well-selected questions, where I can see the different steps and potential areas of weakness can be highlighted. These assessment questions are typically pretty rigorous, to ensure their ability to handle anything thrown their way.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

I like to make sure every student I work with can succeed that day and feels like a "(subject) Monster!!" by the end of our session. The process of building confidence is different for every child, but a typical session for me with a child that struggles in this area is to give them all of the "low hanging fruit" first and convince them that they are a "(subject Monster!" before walking them through the more difficult concepts. I also use a ton of words of affirmation, building the child up reminding them that they are brilliant, capable, smart, etc. until they believe it themselves.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I like to review the material I will be covering prior to a session so I know what I will need. I have manipulative, pictures, crayons, scissors, markers, string, whiteboard, blocks, an internet capable device, etc. Because you never know what you will need to meet this student’s needs.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I am very flexible. I have worked with over 1000 students and can adjust to the variety of needs that your student may have. I have worked with many students from different backgrounds, with different personalities and learning abilities; as well as, various levels of familiarity with the English language. I adjust my teaching/tutoring accordingly. I work very hard to learn the needs of my students and to make sure they are being met. That can be through utilizing different tools, manipulative, etc., to even contacting a specialist in whatever area your child is struggling in to find out what other tools and resources I can implement into our tutoring sessions.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Being able to communicate with a teacher, seeing the material or class notes ahead of time allows me to best prepare for a session. I can be prepared with several ways to approach the content so that students receive the most out of the session. Additionally, if the student is well aware of their weaknesses and what does and doesn't make sense to them, that can make things run a lot smoother.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I always try to put the material into a context that they are interested in - whether it is rock-n-roll, video games, hair, shoes, or horses, I have found there is typically a way to get students excited if their interests are incorporated.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I will typically have students walk me through a problem or set of problems out loud. I will listen to their self-talk, note areas of weakness, and ask questions. It will be a conversation between the student and I, because I am not only concerned about the areas they are weak in, I am also concerned about their confidence, and their ability to communicate their needs.