I graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and American Literature and received a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law. I am a member of the California Bar. I've practiced law and performed volunteer legal services for the poor. I've also written two novels, two screenplays, and a number of short stories.
I tutor a variety of subjects, and particularly enjoy helping students in several areas of personal interest: reading, writing, English Literature, and preparation for the LSAT. I believe I possess the capability to explain academic concepts clearly. I think it's important to be patient with students, and provide them the encouragement they need to excel. I'm passionate about helping them achieve their goals. Education can enable people to pursue rewarding careers, and provide them with lifelong enjoyment. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, and tennis.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Brown University - Bachelors, English and American Literature
Graduate Degree: University of San Francisco School of Law - PHD, Law
SAT Composite: 1350
SAT Math: 630
SAT Verbal: 720
literature, writing, politics, golf, tennis
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe a teacher should determine if any factors inhibit a student's performance, whether they be related to prior results, anxiety about a subject, or difficulty with a particular skill. Discussion can identify ways to overcome the obstacle. Practice can include strategies to improve weak areas. For example, students struggling with composition can read passages of excellent writing, which are then discussed with the teacher to determine effective techniques. A student whose writing employs excessive verbiage can practice expressing thoughts as succinctly as possible. The teacher should always employ patience and a supportive attitude with students.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A teacher can encourage the student to develop skills with the use of outside resources the student enjoys. A student who enjoys reading fiction and needs to improve the clarity and brevity of his/her writing could be encouraged to read work by Ernest Hemingway. A student seeking to improve analytical skills in preparation for taking the LSAT could be directed to the opinions of Judge Learned Hand for an example of excellent legal reasoning.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would remind the student that she should make every effort to work hard and do her best when young, so that diligence becomes habitual to her. Giving one's best effort in a class or in preparing for an exam is a short-term effort that can produce long-term benefits, such as enabling her to attend the college or law school of her choice. Many people don't work as hard as they could, providing an advantage to those who do. The student owes it to herself to realize her full potential, so she will avoid looking back with regret on lost opportunities.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to break down his difficulty in detail to identify the ability he was struggling to acquire. I would lead him slowly through that process to clarify how to perform it. If he still had difficulty, I would look for some simpler way to execute the task. When he learned the easier method, he would gradually be given more challenging problems until he was able to use the skill at a high level.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It's important to understand the source of their difficulty - whether it's a limited vocabulary, problems with sentence structure, following the sequence of thoughts in the material, etc. If sentence structure is the problem, presenting material with simpler sentences, and then introducing increasingly complex material, is a way to develop the student's ability. If understanding the overall meaning of the subject matter is difficult, I would teach them to sharpen their ability, through repetition, to recognize the principal point made in each paragraph, and then to learn to follow the overall meaning of a piece by connecting the main point in a paragraph with the main point in the preceding paragraph.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It's important to learn what skills the student wishes to acquire, and what their present level of ability is. The teacher must also determine the student's comfort level with repetition. If comfortable with it, the teacher can concentrate on teaching a certain skill until the student masters it, and then go on to the next. If the student becomes bored by this method, it can be better to teach different skills simultaneously, to provide him/her with more variety.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to find some aspect or application of the subject that interests them. If a student struggling with math is a baseball fan, for example, skills like multiplication and division can be taught by using them to compute batting averages and other baseball statistics. Similarly, if a student struggles with reading, providing material about subject matter that interests them, be it history, current events, art, etc., will often make studying the subject more interesting and thus increase their effort level.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would quiz the student on the material. If the subject was reading comprehension, I would ask them questions about what they'd read. If math, give them problems and check their answers. If writing, I would review their work and assist them in improving any areas of difficulty.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I would start them off at a relatively low level where they would be successful, and gradually increase the difficulty of the material, allowing them time to sharpen their skills at each level before proceeding to a higher one.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would ask the student what areas they believed they needed help in. I would test their abilities, to determine their strengths and weaknesses. As the lessons began, I would determine, by reviewing their progress and asking their opinion as to how to proceed, what the best way to continue was.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I would question them as to what aspects of the tutoring they felt were most beneficial and which were least helpful. Reviewing their work would enable me to determine what areas they most needed help in learning. I would also ask them if they felt other methods of learning would be more effective than those I was employing.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It would depend on the subject. I would use materials I had created that would test their ability in the subject area. I would go over the results of the tested subject matter with them, to help them to increase their skills in any areas in which they were struggling.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would talk to the student to learn what their goals for the tutoring were. I would ask her opinion as to which of various methods of learning she felt would be most beneficial. I would also give her a test to learn what her level of skill in the subject matter was.