I am a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. I received my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry. I also have minors in Italian and Mathematical Studies. For a year and half, I worked as a peer tutor at my university. As part of a university club, I volunteered at local low-income pre-schools. I planned lessons that my club members and I used to teach pre-school classes. The topics included historical events and science. Working with preschoolers was interesting as you could see the curiosity in their eyes. These lessons gave them a spark, and the importance of this spark is evident in students of all ages. I believe if someone ever lost it, they can get it back when they find confidence in the material they’re studying. I tutor a variety of subjects, including essay writing, grammar, and Italian; however, my favorite is Algebra. Many students come in hating numbers, and it’s always a thrill to see that attitude change. My interactive tutoring style encourages not only learning comprehension, but also confidence in the material and the student’s skills. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, and making art.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Virginia Commonwealth University - Bachelors, Chemistry
SAT Math: 720
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 750
GRE Verbal: 166
SAT Mathematics Level 2: 740
SAT Subject Test in U.S. History: 740
Writing, Painting, Reading, Crafting
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy focuses on the student. Each session should be tailored to the way a specific student learns. I want to make sure they not only understand the material, but that they have confidence in their abilities to use it on their own later.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I prefer to use materials that are readily available to a student even outside of a session. For example, textbooks, student notes, and online resources.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session would be split into two. The beginning would be spent getting to know the student and the class or topic. Then we would briefly talking about the student’s learning style, expectations for tutoring, and perhaps set a course of study. Afterwards we’d go over immediate questions that the student has with regard to the subject matter.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In order for a student to become an independent learner, they must be active participants in a session. Students will not be given all the answers. Instead, they’ll be expected to figure things out with on their own with guidance from the tutor. Our main work will be figuring out together the best way the student can approach a particular problem, and practicing that approach in different scenarios.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
When trying to build a student’s confidence, it’s important to start small. Together, we figure out little things that they can learn how to do easily and then build upon them. I like to have students learn how to break large problems into smaller ones and how to remain calm when looking at something intimidating. Additionally, practicing these skills until they’re second nature is vital.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
One of the most basic ways to test comprehension is to do a mini-quiz at the end of the session. Another technique I use often is having the student teach me the material. Other than these there are lots of little games, such as vocabulary bingo, that I use to test comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I’ve found that effective communication is key. I start my sessions by talking to the student about what they’re studying, if they have a primary teacher, and how they feel about the subject. It’s important to talk to both the student and their parents about their expectations for tutoring. Then it’s usually useful to talk about the student’s other interests, just in case these can be brought up within the context of the tutoring topic to make the session more useful for the student. After the first session, I make sure to have some form of follow up on any topics discussed beforehand, ask how their class or studying was this week, and touch base with progress on any goals we’d set. The end of the session would consist of making sure all their questions were cleared up, and that they were set for the next week.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I think it’s important to find topics the student is interested in and find ways to relate it to the subject matter at hand. In addition, learning games make sure studying isn’t so tedious. Most importantly, the session should be focused more on student engagement than on lecturing.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
As a tutor, I provide students with verbal encouragement and praise. It would also be important to set up a reward system or help them create a reward system for themselves. A student may also be able to find small things that they can enjoy if they achieve their goals. For example, when I was reading Moby Dick, I ate a small cookie for every two chapters I got through.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If the student is very frustrated, we might need to take a short water break to regain their calm. Once they’re calmer, we’d approach the concept from a completely different angle. If approaching the skill from a different angle doesn’t work, it’s time to have the student explain the skill step by step and assess if they are weak in any of the concept’s foundational topics. If they are, then we’d review those smaller topics first and then come back to the larger one.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
For students who are struggling with reading comprehension, we would find a text similar to what they’re dealing with on a normal basis and break it down into smaller pieces. Then we’d go over it section by section and see what they understand and what they don’t. We’d attack what they were having a hard time with first and then put all the pieces back together. Once they could summarize it for me, I’d ask them specific questions about the text to make sure they hadn’t missed anything. As we make progress, they’d have to start coming up with questions to ask, which would help them anticipate questions during testing.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The first place to start would be by talking with the student and with the parents. If they have any old tests or quizzes that they’re willing to share, we look over them together to gauge where a student struggles. Then I think a student’s needs have to be evaluated based on their performance during the session as compared to how they do on their own. If they seem to do well in session, but not on tests, it may be because they’re not studying enough outside our sessions or that they need to work on their test-taking abilities.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The first step is to figure out how much guidance a student needs. I start in the middle between a loose structure and strict guidelines. If they seem to be struggling, I’ll provide more structure. If they seem to crave more independence, we’ll work on doing more independent work. To make sure that the student is getting everything they can out of the session, I’ll mentally evaluate them every few sessions and make sure they’re improving. If the necessary improvement isn’t there, then it’s time to change things around; perhaps have a have a talk with the student or their parent.