I am a PhD candidate in the field of English Literature, so I am a lifelong student, scholar, and writer. I have taught and tutored all age students, at a variety of preparedness levels. My role as a teacher is to provide the information each individual student needs, at the right time, to succeed.
I am also a chess player, a cello player, and an ultimate frisbee player. I graduated from a liberal arts college (Carleton, near Minneapolis), which means that I experienced a tradition that values student perspectives and seeks to bring each individual to a conceptual space where (s)he can achieve by objective standards.
I also believe very strongly that a teacher's primary obligation is for the safety and welfare of his/her students. This clear sense of my technique, my role, and my responsibility prepares me to help teach literature, critical reading, and essay writing in ways that create clear, safe opportunities for learning.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Carleton College - Bachelors, Philosophy
Graduate Degree: SUNY New Paltz - Masters, English Literature
GRE Verbal Reasoning: 170
GRE Analytical Writing: 5
GRE Subject Test in Literature in English: 730
Reading and Drama are my passion. I also enjoy chess and music. For activities, I am a huge fan of ultimate frisbee as well.
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
A first session will involve going over the subject matter to determine the student's current skill level, as well as introduction to basic strategies for study.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I always try to encourage the student to think. There are certainly plenty of questions and answers that have "right there" answers which require little contemplation, but considering one's own habits and proclivities can still open new pathways for creative exploration. Exercises that involve practicing alternative cognitive approaches can help broaden this sense of perspective.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation should ideally come from a student's wish to succeed. We all have different goals. I am honest with students about what they can do to improve and provide continuous assessment (I also encourage self-assessment). Academic success can open a lot of doors and I can help reinforce that contextual understanding.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I try to figure out how and why the student is having difficulty. Often, an alternative learning pathway is the quicker approach for her/his learning style. In other cases, it is a question of providing a missing piece of information that scaffolds learning.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Certain strategies tend to improve comprehension. I would say that the most effective for most students is teacher modeling, in which the tutor helps the student by reading aloud and explaining the processes of cognition that accompany successful reading. Other important factors are learning to recognize context clues, developing a feel for syntax as it constructs meaning, and establishing the necessary vocabulary.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find that students respond well to positive reinforcement. I really believe that although standards are essential, students are bound to have unique strengths. I work to help students build those strengths into content-matter proficiency.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Often students become more engaged as they find that subject matter relates to them and their concerns. This is really the most effective approach that I know. Otherwise, there is also some benefit to realizing that goals are attainable; success breeds confidence, which can also provide motivation.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
My questioning method is a constant, personalized, adaptive assessment of student understanding. I also use specific assignments and standardized evaluations to develop objective awareness of skill level (for the student and for me).
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Students build confidence by achieving, but that doesn't mean they have to know everything all at once to feel successful. I break tasks into chunks and help students establish success with intermediary tasks, which enables them to feel confident for surmounting the ultimate challenges.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Discussion with student and parents plays an important role. Goals help define needs. There is also assessment of capabilities, based on skill levels and what additional interventions, if implemented, could do. It is not a cut and dried equation; obviously students with remarkable talent, knowledge, and work ethic will stand out. But other students may be strong, or even brilliant, in other areas, and these can be leveraged toward academic success.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
"Differentiation" is much easier when I am working one-on-one or with a small group. It means tailoring assignments to transform strengths into academic proficiency and offering alternative pathways that can help solve otherwise frustrating challenges.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Students and I use paper, pens, pencils, test-review textbooks, and, if necessary, word processors and literary texts.