Hello, my name is Jacob and I am a friendly and patient tutor of multiple subject areas. I graduated from Columbia University in 2013 with my B.A. in Political Science and Spanish/Latin American Studies. I focused my political studies on International Relations and Comparative Politics. As a student of Spanish/Latin American Studies, I analyzed the cultural nuances of the worlds Spanish-speaking diaspora. I am fluent in Spanish and have studied the language for more than ten years. While at Columbia, I also studied social movements, political theory, history, literature and globalization.
In addition to my studies, I have seven years of tutoring experience as well as one year of teaching experience. In high school, I volunteered as an ESL tutor. In college, I volunteered as a homework tutor (geometry, English literature, grammar, biology and persuasive essay writing) as well as a college mentor. As a college mentor, I edited college essays for high school seniors and conducted workshops on interview etiquette, scholarships and time management skills. After graduating from college, I taught 3rd grade literature, writing and social justice at a rigorous charter school in New York City. As a 3rd grade teacher, I wrote curricula for the social justice class and filled in at the 2nd grade level as well. Furthermore, I have experience preparing lesson plans and teaching classes on civic engagement, social justice and social inequality at the high school and college levels.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Columbia University in the City of New York - Bachelors, Political Science; Spanish/Latin American Studies
Basketball; Soccer; Lacrosse; salsa dancing
AP US History
College Level American History
High School Biology
High School English
High School Level American History
SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is based on the notion that each student learns in a manner unique to them. Therefore, instruction has to be holistic in order to effectively motivate and benefit the student.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Typically, a first session for Spanish includes auditory and spoken assessments in order to gauge the level of speaking and comprehension. First sessions for reading comprehension entail initial assessments based on current event articles and short passage questions. First sessions for writing include grammar correction practice assignments as well as persuasive essay writing in real-time. For biology, first sessions vary depending on the specific subject matter the student needs.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student become an independent learner by providing them with both the computational skills and the most effective study techniques best suited to their learning style. Consequently, the student feels more confident in their abilities to tackle homework and studying on their own, which is the foundational crux of becoming an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I help students stay motivated by establishing a positive and engaging learning environment; by setting step-by-step goals that are applauded upon completion; and by providing encouragement when a student is struggling with a concept.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
In this situation, I ask the student to take a step back and state all of the information pertaining to the topic that they do recall. With this information, I assess where the gaps in knowledge reside and I explain the concept in a way that they will understand based on the knowledge they recalled.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If the student is a visual learner then I suggest they draw a quick sketch any time an important event takes place in the story. This assists individuals that need the mechanical movement and the visual stimulation simultaneously in order to remember the plot of the story. Once this practice becomes habitual, it is possible to delve deeper into character analysis.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that, for most students, a combination of visual, auditory and written practice is most successful in the majority of the subject areas I teach. In addition, incorporating techniques that require physical movement in order to demonstrate a scientific process - such as global warming - is especially valuable for students in middle school and elementary school.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I help students find the areas in each subject that connect to their interests and hobbies. For instance, if a student loves football, then I align the subject materials to their interest: short stories and articles on football for reading comprehension in English, the changes in the process of muscle contraction at the cellular level for biology, Spanish language newspaper articles on football for Spanish reading comprehension, etc.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
For the sciences, reading comprehension, writing and Spanish, I use both written and verbal assessments in order to evaluate students' understanding. For Spanish comprehension, I also utilize videos in order to provide greater variance in tone, accent and colloquialisms.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
The first step to building a student's confidence in a subject is establishing a level of trust between tutor and student. I create this level of trust via my personable and friendly nature. I strive to learn the interests and hobbies of each of my students so that the instruction is personalized. During instruction, I applaud my students when they demonstrate comprehension and I foster an environment of perseverance rooted in patience when they do not. In order to build a student's confidence, the most important take away for the student in a moment of failure is reassurance that they can try again and they will be better prepared to answer correctly next time. I assist my students by practicing study skills that they can utilize throughout their entire lives. By having patience, a friendly personality, and encouraging perseverance, I am able to help a student build their confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs based on the initial assessments that pertain to the subject matter as well as through vital conversation on the background, personality, learning style(s) and study habits of the student.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
In addition to the initial assessments I conduct, I give pop quizzes as well as homework assignments in all of the subject areas I teach. Based on this information as well as real-time conversations, I adapt the tutoring lesson plans and strategies accordingly.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The materials I use for a Spanish lesson often include reading and writing workbooks, conjugation guides, vocabulary lists, audio media and video media. The materials for reading comprehension in English typically include books, poems, current events articles, scientific articles. Writing sessions include many of the aforementioned materials plus a computer or paper for real-time writing practice.