I believe that ALL children can succeed academically with help from effective instructors. I call all my children that I teach scholars because they are all on the path to college. 100% of scholars focused and learning 100% of the time.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: SUNY College at Buffalo - Bachelors, Elementary Education
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
With the first session, just like the first days of school, it is my job to get to know the scholar(s). I have activities to build a positive learning community. It is very important to get to know your scholar(s) before jumping into the academics.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
To help a scholar become an independent learner, you have to hold them accountable for their work from Day 1. I call all my students scholars because they are all on the path to college. Also, you have to have a joy factor about learning and model the right actions. Have faith and confidence that they can do it on their own, especially when they have shown they can.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It is very important to have confidence in the scholar and continually remind them of the bigger picture. I would continually conceptualize to the student why we are doing this. The student has to know the reasoning for doing a task before actually doing the task. I also give precise praise throughout my lessons and consistent feedback.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would break it down! I still want the scholar to do most of the cognitive work, so I will start by giving the smallest possible cue, and go from there. Ex: What is the area of the rectangle? (l=2, w=3) S: 10 T: 10 would be the perimeter of the rectangle. When we want to find area we multiply the base x height. What do we do? S: We multiply the base x height. T: good! So, what is the area of the rectangle? S: 6 T: Complete sentence please. S: The area of the rectangle is 6. T: What are the units? S: There are none. T: So, if there are no units what do we say? S: units squared. T: Put it all in a complete sentence now. S: The area of the rectangle is 6 units squared.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
To help scholars who are struggling with reading comprehension, we have to break down question(s). I build up the rigor by asking lower level questions to higher-level questions. More importantly, I teach my scholars the strategy of close reading, which helps them break down a text. The scholars that have come to me struggling with reading comprehension usually read the whole text fluently, but can't comprehend. When you have them break down the text (close reading), they get a better understanding.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found a lot of strategies or techniques successful when starting to work with a student. One of them is "No-Opt Out". Again, from Day 1, I build a culture where it is okay to make mistakes, but not okay to not try. So, when a scholar gets a question wrong, I stick with that scholar to show my faith in him or her. I give cues, to help guide the scholar to the correct answer. Another strategy I find very useful when I start to work with a child is called "stretch-it". I reward right answers with follow up or more rigorous questions. This sends a message to the scholar that the learning is never done, and they grow to appreciate this.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
It is all about encoding success. I have to find a way for the scholar to feel some success. Once they feel success, then they will want to continue with the subject.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
In my question set, there are always targeted questions that are geared specifically towards the objective(s). These questions meet the end goal. The targeted questions are quick, planned, tracked, valid, and reliable. Another technique that I use at the end of each lesson plan is an Exit Ticket. It is 1-3 questions centered on the core objectives. Scholars have no more than 5 minutes on a half sheet of paper, and then I collect the data. As soon as I get a chance, I look over the data and put the Exit Tickets into 3 piles: mastery, okay, needs assistance. This helps me understand who still might need help on this concept.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build a scholars confidence in a subject by encoding success. Scholars need to feel like they can successfully complete what is required of them. So, I slowly build up their confidence by making sure they are successful with the tasks I give them. Also, I stay passionate and joyful for each subject. I tell them how they can use each concept in real life to help them see the connection to the real world.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
One way I evaluate a scholar's needs is with a pre-test. I usually do this before I start the unit. The pre-test will tell me who already know this; who will be just fine when I start teaching it; finally, who might have holes and will need scaffolding as the unit unfolds. Now, at the end of each lesson in the unit, I give an Exit Ticket. The Exit Ticket tells me who is at mastery, and who will need additional help. I provide the additional help the next day in a small group, while the rest of the class is doing independent work.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
As a teacher, I adapt my teaching based on what the scholars need. If I planned for one thing, but they show me that they need help with another concept, then I restructure my lesson plan to what they need. Again, a pre-test will help solve most of those issues.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use what my students need. For the most part, if I am teaching Elementary or middle school scholars a concept, I will use Engage NY. It is a rigorous curriculum that is aligned to the Arizona Merit (state test). I use the Math and ELA curriculum from Engage NY. The lessons, which are a part of a bigger unit, build off of one another beautifully. If I am teaching a student to pass an exam, then I am going to use practice study guides that align to the real test they ultimately have to take.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that effective teachers must have high academic/behavioral expectations, classroom management skills, and mastery of lesson plans. It is very important that I get 100% of my scholars focused and learning 100% of the time.