Get Tutoring Info Now
Info & Prices E-mailed
Display vt

Ben

I recently graduated from Cornell University with a degree in English. I love all things literature and writing related. I have previous tutoring experience, having tutored 15 hours per week for 6 months at 826 Boston, a local non-profit focused on helping students develop creative writing and reading skills outside of the classroom. I am currently in the process of applying to PhD programs in English.

When I'm not studying, I'm usually traveling or planning my next trip. I just returned from two months in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, where I hopped from town to town and explored a new part of the world. Next I'm looking ahead to an extended hiking trip along the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado this summer. Backpacking and canoeing are my preferred modes of travel.

I'm available to tutor anything English related- grammar, vocabulary, reading, essay writing, essay editing, college essay writing and editing, and the GRE verbal and analytic writing sections. My availability is flexible and includes evenings and weekends. I'm passionate about English, and I hope to share my enthusiasm with students.

Undergraduate Degree:

Cornell University - Bachelors, English

GRE Verbal Reasoning: 165

GRE Analytical Writing: 5

Hiking, Skiing, Canoeing, Travel, Reading, Writing

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is to listen first. There's no one-best-way to teach; every student has different skills they need to develop. While two students might both need help with essay writing, one student may be struggling with syntax and grammar and the other might be struggling with overall essay structure. Because it is a more intimate, one-on-one setting, tutoring is a great opportunity to figure out exactly which skills a student needs help with. Listening is the first step in this process. Once it's clear what a student needs help with, my next step is to test different teaching methods to see which one the student best responds to. Practice questions might be best for one student, while clear and concise explanation might be best for another student. The key is to be empathetic and adaptable enough to sense when a student is engaged, when they are not, and to be willing to try different teaching methods until finding one that works for each student.

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

Have a conversation. In a first session, I want the student to tell me what they need help with. I want to look over an essay, a homework assignment, or whatever the student is struggling with, and have them show me where they're having trouble. I also want to get a sense of who the student is as a person- are they outgoing or shy? How do they think? Is there a subject that they excel at and a subject they struggle with? I want to use all of this information to tailor a tutoring program that I think will work for the student.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By helping them find their strengths. So much of learning is having the confidence to believe that you can learn anything you set your mind to. I want to help students build this confidence by helping them improve in areas where they are struggling. And I want them to be excited about learning too. When students get excited, they start to seek out the knowledge on their own accord, which makes learning much easier.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Positive feedback. Even if a student is struggling with their work, I want to constantly emphasize the things they are doing well.

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

Try to figure out why they're having trouble. Usually, if a student is struggling to grasp a skill or a concept, it's because there is underlying knowledge or training that they haven't had. My job is to be able to pinpoint the foundational concepts that a student must grasp before they can grasp the more complex concept.

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

By teaching them how to distinguish between major and minor points in a text. Especially in literature, authors often embed key plot points amidst flowery detail and excessive description. I would open a text with the student and work through specific passages, some essential and some non-essential, to help them begin to develop the ability to distinguish between the two.

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

Excitement. The best tutoring experiences I've had have been the ones where both the student and I get excited about what we're doing. At that point, we're working together to solve problems, and when we arrive at the answer, it's a moment of triumph that we can both celebrate together.

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

By being excited about it myself. If I'm bored, the student is going to be bored. If I'm excited, it can be infectious. That's why I want to tutor English- because I naturally get excited about English, which makes it easy for kids to join in on my excitement.

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

Have them show me that they understand by answering practice questions.

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

Incrementally. I think building confidence starts with getting one question right, then two, and then developing a firm grasp over entire categories of questions, and then moving on to new categories. As students begin to be successful with individual questions, they build up to becoming successful in the subject as a whole.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

By listening to them. I would let the student explain to me and show me what they are struggling with.

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

By figuring out what they are need help with, then testing different teaching methods until finding one that works.

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

I prefer to work with paper and pen. Sometimes I find computers distracting, and I like to be able to pen notes and underline passages in the tutoring materials. If I'm working with a student on an essay, I'll usually ask them to print it out.