My name is Amanda and I would love an opportunity to tutor you! A recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, I am excited to be back in my hometown of Bellevue, WA. I graduated cum laude from the College of Arts and Sciences with high distinction in English and minors in Psychology and Communication Design, and hope to apply my analytical and communication skills to a career in law or public policy. While attending university, I spent my free time finding ways to positively impact and further educate my community through my involvement as a campus tour guide, writing tutor, sexual assault counselor, and Greek life leader. I love traveling and have visited over 25 different countries and am particularly interested in the ways that writing and culture have symbiotically shaped human history.
As a college graduate and an alumna of a Seattle private school, I have personally experienced the pressures and difficulties facing most high school students. I love learning in any form and have taken the PSAT, ACT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP Tests, so I understand the difficulty in finding a way to master both the material and the tests. I am well aware of the challenges that standardized tests present and love working with students to come up with a tailored arsenal of strategies and approaches to make the test easier and less intimidating. I have years of experience with reading comprehension, essay writing, critical analysis (including the identification of tone, argument, style, etc), argumentation, and editing, and a strong record of working well with my students. My style of teaching is pretty low-key, and I strongly believe in the power of communication and open discussion to make sure that my students and I are able to find the best ways to achieve their academic goals. That being said, I also understand that a high schooler's time is limited and valuable, and endeavor to work closely with my students and their families to create both short-term and long-term goals to make sure that we stay on track; my priority is ensuring a comfortable space for my students while building up the confidence and knowledge that they need to ace their essays and tests.
Outside of my academic interests and experiences, I am passionate about food and the outdoors. I value education, efficiency, wit, kindness, and the Oxford comma, and am constantly searching for new challenges and opportunities. I enjoy tutoring because it gives me a chance to develop a relationship with a student where we can work together to accomplish his/her/their goals. I love getting to know new people and try my best to tailor sessions to my students, so please feel free to reach out to me with any questions!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Washington University in St Louis - Bachelors, English
ACT Composite: 33
ACT English: 33
ACT Reading: 36
ACT Science: 32
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1510
SAT Math: 710
SAT Verbal: 750
SAT Writing: 740
Eating, Traveling, Reading, Hiking, and Netflix
High School English
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that every student is an individual learner; what may work for one may not work for another. Communication will always be my top priority in teaching, and I begin all of my tutoring relationships with a discussion about academic goals and how we can reach them. Having a road map of sorts is helpful not only for boosting my students' confidence about their abilities and progress, but also to help organize their thought processes and approaches in a way that can be benefit their future study habits.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to sit down with my students, and if they are comfortable, their parent/guardian, and go over what they hope to accomplish with our sessions. I find goal-setting is helpful not only to maintain clear lines of communication, but to help us work out the best way they can utilize their time with me to get the results that they want. I may ask a few questions about how they approach assignments or standardized tests so that I can meet them at their level and work to develop useful strategies that align with their learning/memorization style.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A lot of it has to do with the foundation. I think it is important to be adaptable and flexible in your thinking, but also to understand that having a toolbox of formulaic approaches can be the spark you need to really engage in academic material. For instance, many of the organizational writing techniques I teach my students can also be applied to reading comprehension and information absorption in other subjects. I believe that showing students basic ways to approach learning challenges and then brainstorming ways they can become creative problem solvers is the best way to foster independent and lifelong learners.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Oftentimes my students lack motivation when they feel overwhelmed by the amount of material or the pressure of an upcoming assessment. Breaking it down into manageable short-term and long-term goals tends to help, and I also believe in allowing for scheduled study breaks to give their minds a while to process and store information for recall later. Coming from 16-17 years of education myself, I can empathize a lot with trying to stay focused, and I do my best to work with my students to find ways to maintain their interest in the material.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would step back and assure my student that there is no rush to master a concept. Talking it through or going at it in a roundabout manner can usually be just as effective. I tend to ask open-ended questions until we can work together as a team to figure out where the difficulty is, and then approach it either with visuals or some kind of breaking down of steps until we can find a better way for them to grasp it. If this still does not work, I am also open to leaving it for the time being and returning to it later in the session; often, my students find that once they allow their minds to wander to other topics, the lack of pressure helps them to understand a difficult skill or concept better the second time around.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
First I like to ask my students what they believe would help them most. I do not think there is any one right way to teach, and my students usually know best how they learn. From there, we can either do it by example, where we do a few passages together or I explain my own thought process, or we can talk about key things to look out for and underline as we read.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
My favorite part of working with a student is developing a good relationship. Creating a space where they feel comfortable asking any questions or even asking to take a break generally helps make sessions both more enjoyable and more effective. Although I believe in efficiency, I also value openness and communication, so getting to know my student and allowing them to get to know me tends to facilitate better discussions about the material we hope to cover.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
It really depends on the style of learning that my student prefers. If they tend to enjoy talking more than doing, then we can review orally and have discussions about the material to make sure they understand the concepts. If they feel their confidence is best boosted through formal assessments, then we can administer a practice test before going over the answers and making sure we understand the reasons behind the correct answers. Identifying patterns of difficulty are also important to me, so if there are issues that continue to crop up, I tend to talk it over more in depth with my students before giving them some kind of assessment that targets a particular weakness.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I like to talk a little first to give my student the opportunity to explain in their own words what they believe they have difficulty in. Once we have an open discussion about what they would like most to improve in, I might have my student take a short practice test to see them in action. We can then go over the results and answers together so that we can not only diagnose any additional issues but also see if we can find a pattern of difficulty that we can work on targeting in our sessions. I also like to ask my student what kind of environment and teaching style they most prefer, as I try my best to adapt to what my student needs in order to learn most effectively.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
If we are working on an essay, I like to ask my students to bring at least 1 printed copy of their paper, as well as their laptop or whatever they like best to write with. For standardized test prep, I work with practice tests and questions so that my student can get accustomed to the kind of language and style of the test. If my student learns in and prefers another way, however, I do my best to speak their learning language, and the session can be filled with visuals or graphics or flashcards to supplement.