I make a good tutor because of my experience, knowledge, and personality. I put students at ease and help them feel confident about their work. I am also punctual and reliable, which is extremely important.
I enjoy helping students with their work, particularly writing. I hold advanced degrees in psychology and urban planning and public policy, and I am currently working on my MFA in creative writing. At the college level, academic essays and personal statements are my specialty. I also excel at helping students prep for the verbal and reading portions of the ACT, SAT, and GRE.
Undergraduate Degree: North Central College - Bachelors, Psychology
Graduate Degree: University of Illinois at Chicago - Masters, Urban Planning and Policy
ACT English: 30
ACT Reading: 34
I enjoy spending time outdoors, eating, hanging out with my dog, and lifting weights.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in client-centered tutoring. That means that each session is tailored to what the client or student needs. My focus is on helping you improve your understanding and skills. While this usually happens through a focus on one assignment or project, my ultimate goal is for you to grow and improve, not just for the work to improve.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, we might spend a little more time than usual going over what the client's goals are, why the client requested tutoring, and how the client dealt with this type of work in the past. Still, I like to get some actual work done even in the first session so the client can get an idea of how sessions will work and feel like improvements are already occurring.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I always try to run a student-centered tutoring session. By that, I mean I focus on the student as a person and his/her abilities and goals rather than only on the assignment at hand. Instead of simply correcting errors, I talk through the process with the students to make sure they understand what we are doing every step of the way. The student always makes the final decision on his/her own work.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I like to use praise when my students get an answer right or demonstrate new knowledge. I also like to point out progress they've made--sometimes it is difficult for a person to recognize their own progress. I also share my own learning experiences and talk about times that I've felt stuck or frustrated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First and foremost, I am patient with students having difficulty. There is nothing worse for a student than feeling as if the tutor is frustrated or disappointed. I try to explain that although sometimes learning feels slow and difficult, that doesn't mean it is impossible or that progress isn't happening. I would encourage the student to relax, discontinue any negative self-talk, and focus on learning small concepts and skills to get closer to their overall goal.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I encourage students who are struggling with reading comprehension to find reading that they like and practice on that. When a student is intrinsically motivated, the learning will feel more enjoyable and come easier. Once they've gained reading skills, those will translate to academic work and texts that they might not enjoy as much and would've had more difficulty with initially.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It is important for students to set their own goals and to feel invested in their tutoring sessions. I want my students to feel like they understand why they are in tutoring, and how each session is benefiting them.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Different students require different types of tutoring based on their personality characteristics and skill levels. I try to take note of these and be more hands-on or hands-off as needed.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Recall is more difficult than recognition, and it demonstrates a deeper level of knowledge. I encourage students to demonstrate that they comprehend a topic or concept without any of their materials in front of them. This can occur in different forms--verbally, through writing, or through a self-made example.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The quickest and easiest way to evaluate a student's needs is to simply ask--most students are aware of what material has confused them or left them feeling less than confident. Looking through past homework assignments, tests, and quizzes is another way to determine where a student has struggled.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I generally prefer to use materials that the student has provided. If we are doing class-related tutoring, these would usually be the textbook and any study guides or handouts from the instructor. I will sometimes turn to outside sources in print and online to supplement these materials. If we are doing standardized test prep, I recommend the student obtain a test prep book (or two) to work from. We can study the general concepts on our own, but the test taking is a skill in and of itself and taking those practice tests is invaluable.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I ask students what they like, care about, and are already excited about, and then try to find the connections between what they're already engaged in and what they're struggling with. I also work to understand how the material fits in with the student's overall life and goals and help boost motivation that way.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Praising accomplishments is a good way to build confidence. When a student feels confused and frustrated, he/she might not even notice minor accomplishments or progress. Pointing these out and keeping a student aware of all progress made can help boost confidence in the idea that the student can grow and learn this subject, and that it is not impossible. This can lead to an upward spiral in which the learning begins to come more easily.