I am a 28-year-old native New Yorker and current Doctor of Physical Therapy student at Columbia University. Before arriving to my current career choice of physical therapy, I did architecture, visual arts, I studied languages (Swedish and Russian, which I now speak fluently), took subjects in the humanities and the sciences, became a Pilates instructor, and also played drums and wrote music professionally! As a result, I can truly get in the mindset of a student who is learning something - NO question is out-of-bounds or silly - it all comes from a place where the mind is trying to incorporate new information. There is nothing worse than an expert "teacher" who has forgotten what the various stages of learning was like!
I work with students of all ages and in all the subjects I've listed. I look forward to hearing from you and working with you!
Undergraduate Degree: Bard College - Bachelors, Russian Studies
Graduate Degree: Columbia University in the City of New York - Current Grad Student, Physical Therapy
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1510
SAT Math: 710
SAT Verbal: 730
SAT Writing: 750
Drums, Music (composing and playing), arts, learning languages, fitness, exploring new places!
SAT Subject Tests Prep
What is your teaching philosophy?
I'm a "late bloomer" in life in many areas: I started playing musical instruments when I was 21 (and became a professional gigging musician after a couple years!), and I started learning Russian when I was 18. I decided to become a physical therapist after getting a Bachelor's in Russian, a completely unrelated subject, and therefore had to take all these post-baccalaureate pre-med subjects (physics, chem, bio, etc.) after the age of 22! Owing to the fact that I learned all these things as a conscious adult, my memory of the learning process is fresh. I always seek to understand where my students are in their process and seek to understand where a student is getting stuck, or what is preventing them from progressing to the next stage. Additionally, I can employ an arsenal of different strategies and techniques, such as drawing, problem drills, mnemonics, flashcards and songs, depending on the student and the subject!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I will ask lots questions and possibly give a use a couple of assessment tools to see where the student is in his or her learning process. I'll try to figure out if and where they are getting stuck, and ultimately, what exactly they need from me and our sessions together to be successful.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A student is more likely to become an independent learner if they become more aware of their own patterns and tendencies - both good and bad - while they integrate material in their brain. Only then can a student act as their own trainer, when they know what to look out for!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Good things happen to those who JUST KEEP TRYING! It may take some longer than others, but if you are motivated, it WILL happen. This has been my personal experience and I've experienced lots of failures leading up to some of my biggest successes.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to understand what they are getting hung up on - which specific aspect of the skill or concept. Where and how they are unsuccessfully integrating this concept, what schema they are fitting it into, etc. Then I'd work on it from there, and try a different approach.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Sometimes, a lack of familiarity with the actual structure of a language can be a huge pitfall in reading comprehension. I would try to work on some grammar basics (identifying, recognizing, and defining parts of speech - verbs, nouns, etc.) and see if that helps. Lots of reading comprehension is understanding what role the word is playing in the sentence. However, reading comprehension problems occur on different levels and may be caused by different reasons, even from a lack of vocabulary (for a foreign learner, for example). It would be necessary to identify what the main problems were.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Finding out where a student is in their process is key! I like to ask lots of questions about what they normally do to study to figure out what is working vs. what is not. Also, developing a quality dynamic between student and tutor is key, but this isn't really a strategy.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Sometimes, even if it's a dire, waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel type of deal with some subjects, where the student simply cannot wait for the class to be over, it's beneficial to see the performance in the class as a game or a competition one can play with oneself. Sometimes, perspective is everything.