I believe that my passion and skill for teaching in the classroom currently can translate successfully to one-on-one setting with students seeking additional assistance in a variety of subjects. Over these past two years, I have taught general English and ESL in the inner city of Providence. After school, I tutor students who are at risk or are currently failing, and before school, I offer supplementary SAT help to our school's most advanced students. Now, I am seeking teaching positions for writing as I transition to graduate school next year at Columbia University for fiction.
My entire academic career has focused on meaning that could be derived from literature, and articulating those ideas through written or verbal communication. When I began teaching, I emphasized to my students the importance of these skills, and assured them that the ability to read, write, speak, and listen proficiently would provide them access to opportunities and expand their conception of the world. My teaching reflects my belief that other writers can develop a strong sense of self-efficacy given encouragement and the resources to break down even complicated concepts. I view my job as an English teacher and writing instructor as facilitator of this rigorous thinking, providing direction in the form of reflective questioning and references to paradigm texts.
Undergraduate Degree: Rutgers University, New Brunswick - Bachelors, Double Major in English and Psychology
Graduate Degree: Columbia University in the City of New York - Masters, Masters of Fine Arts in Fiction
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1450
SAT Verbal: 740
SAT Writing: 710
Reading, Writing, Yoga, Traveling, Cooking
AP US History
College Level American History
Elementary School Math
High School English
High School Level American History
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
I emphasize to my students the importance of reading, writing, listening and speaking, as it grants them expanded opportunities and an ability to empathize. My teaching reflects my belief that students can develop a strong sense of self-efficacy given encouragement and the resources to break down even complicated concepts. I view my job as a teacher to facilitate rigorous thinking, providing direction in the form of reflective questioning and references to paradigm texts.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I think it is important to first understand the needs of a student by diagnosing his/her current areas of needs. Questions that can be covered include: what are your greatest strengths in this subject area? Where do you believe you can improve the most? Then, I would provide an objective test to check these qualitative statements. Additionally, I would spend a considerable amount of time getting to know my student and having him/her become familiarized with me. Getting my student to trust my academic capabilities is as important as letting my student know that I believe in his/her ability to excel. My student should believe in our ability to work together to improve his/her skills in the given subject area.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Giving students the resources to think critically, write, read, and perform math problems is the key to helping them become an independent learner. With writing, for example, editing their papers without an explanation would be a one-time form of help. However, modeling for them the reasoning behind edits by walking through detailed feedback will allow my students to eventually self- edit their papers over time. Gradual release and front-loaded scaffolding will empower students with the knowledge of how to be self- sufficient in a variety of situations.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I think students are motivated by the idea of their own success. Many times when my students withdraw from a subject area, it is because they have become accustomed to failure and are acting upon their human tendency to withdraw from what is causing them to feel negatively. Therefore, to keep my students motivated, I offer them small assignments that prove to them that they can be successful in the subject area we are studying. From there, we can move to larger assignments and experience even greater levels of success and thus, motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Using different mediums of learning has been helpful in my teaching practice. For example, when some of my students struggled with a literary text, we watched video interviews with the authors who could provide insight into their thematic intentions or difficult language. Additionally, I try to link abstract academic concepts to real-life applications. For example, in geometry, one of the most successful lessons I have implemented involved calculating distance and midpoint for a city students envisioned themselves. Students took the position of city planner and plotted various buildings and were able to visualize more easily how the functions worked given their personalized maps.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Close reading techniques such as annotation and judicious underlining are helpful for students who need to decipher, retain, and reiterate complicated written concepts. So often, I see my students engage in passive reading. Their eyes glaze over words, but nothing is memorized; and if it is, it is only for a short period. For maximum understanding and retention, students need to arrive at concise summaries of what their reading covered. Then, they need to develop an opinion of what they read. By pushing back on the text, students create a self-to-text relationship and foster genuine interest in the concepts that transcend their one reading.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When I first begin to work with students, I share with them what makes me passionate about the subject area: being able to articulate myself clearly through writing, being able to problem solve in math, and conceptualizing socio-political systems because of history. This gives students permission to invest fully in the subject area because they are reminded of the purpose of their studies and are encouraged to be as curious as they choose.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
While all of my classes cover the same material, the way I relay the same content differs according to their social and academic personalities. Some students prefer to drive the momentum of the learning, while others respond best when shown a roadmap of the class agenda. Some classes require greater upfront teaching, while more advanced classes prefer a quick release to explore material independently. For those students, I act more as a facilitator and input when they need guidance. My lessons unilaterally, however, incorporate repeated practice of essential skills and humor.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
My lessons follow an "I do," "we do," "you do" process. So I will typically have 3 copies of any given reading or worksheet: one for me to model first, another for my student to do with my guidance, then the final one for my student to complete independently. This gradual release model fully enables my student to perform the given skill independently in a short amount of time because of our thorough overview.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
My students have really responded to the idea that connections in the brain can be strengthened with repeated practice. This helps my students re-envision their current state in an academic subject; they will not forever be "bad at math" or "unable to write." Instead, if paid the necessary attention, these areas can grow to become assets.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Practice tests and essay questions with rubrics are the only way a student can ensure he/she will perform well on the actual exam. While we may first start with general skills, over time, the skills necessarily have to become more specific and tailored to the needs of their classroom or standardized exam. Therefore, the assessments we include in our sessions will closely mirror the criteria of the graded test or essay.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Emphasizing the malleability of the brain reinforces with students that their current performance is not indicative of what they could potentially achieve given practice and instruction. This builds confidence in students because they can reflect on their growth ability instead of an inherent deficit.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Giving a practice exam/essay that parallels the assessment students will eventually take is the best way to diagnose areas in greatest need of addressing. This way, we can work towards developing our skills that directly align with what they will use test day.