As a passionate educator and coach, I love to see young minds blossom as students develop the same passion for learning that I have! I have worked as an educator for over seven years, three of those working directly with Middle School and High School math students, and all seven working with students who struggle with learning disabilities. I have tutored in grade 1-12 for anything from math (Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry), reading (phonics, comprehension, reading in content areas), writing (essays, research papers, novels), humanities (US and World History, Geography), and test prep (ACT, SAT, PERT, ASVAB). I specialize in making complex ideas and tasks simple, and helping students see the connections between all learning.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Indiana Wesleyan University - Bachelors, Special Education K-12
Graduate Degree: University of Phoenix-Online Campus - Masters, Educational Leadership & Supervision
Reading, Wrestling, Health & Fitness, Exercise, & Travel
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe all students can learn. As a teacher, it is my duty to maximize my student.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
A typical first session would include several things. First, I would make sure that introductions were made all around. I think it is imperative that the students and parents feel comfortable and have an understanding of where I am coming from and my expectations. It is also vital for me to understand them and their expectations. This is usually done through some informal conversation. Second, I would like to see some evidence of prior and current work. This gives me some insight into the student’s strengths and struggles as well as what content they are working on. Third, I would do some type of assessment that would give me insight into where they are, and also allow me to see them in action. Fourth, I would go over some areas where I noticed immediate concerns during the assessment and review of prior work. Finally, I would give them a task to perform prior to our next session that would cement what we had gone over during this session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I help students become independent learners through modeling, guiding, and questioning. This takes them through the steps of learning where I, the instructor does the work, we then do the work together, and finally they are tasked with doing the work on their own. I first model the task. This could be showing them how to do research for a paper, walking step by step through a math word problem, or showing them how I would deconstruct an essay. Next I guide. Now that they have seen me in action it is their turn. I allow them to do the same task with me giving prompts and pointing them in the right direction. This could be me helping them through steps to follow as we research for a paper, walking them through the steps to find geometric translations, or me helping them find the answers for a history assignment. Finally, I utilize questioning. I will allow the student to do the task on their own as I ask questions. This could be questions that force them to think about why they are doing what they are doing, or even questions that force them to teach me what they did and why.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I help students stay motivated through the following actions. First, I set easily attainable goals. When students are reaching goals early and on a regular basis it gives them momentum and keeps them motivated. Second, I design tasks and learning around topics and activities that they enjoy. They love gaming, then let’s explore the mathematics behind gaming and read for comprehension the history of gaming. Maybe they enjoy making videos. I would guide them to make videos with show their growing expertise in Geometry and how that relates to their love of cinematography.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student struggles with a skill or concept I do the following things. First, I give them a break. Continuing to push through can be frustrating and make the concept harder to grasp. Let’s go to a different subject or even talk about something no academic related. Second, would be adding movement. Just getting up to walk around can be enough to stimulate learning. Finally, I would find a different way to approach the concept. Maybe me telling them is not working. Let's find a video that explains it, an activity that expresses it, or an article for them to read that explains it.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
To help students struggling with reading comprehension I do the following things. First, I find content and subject they are already familiar with and/or enjoy. Teaching the skills for reading comprehension are easier if this is taken care of first. Once the skills are mastered we can then go to topics and subjects outside of these categories. Second, I would model with questions. I would go through a passage modeling the questions I ask myself that lead to comprehension. Third, I have the student read passage and I ask them the questions that lead to comprehension. Finally, I have the student do the reading and asking of the appropriate questions.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The strategies I have found most successful are creating rapport, keeping a relaxed and fun environment, constant communication, regular assessment and feedback, and communication (yes, I said communication twice).
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
To help a student get excited/engaged in a difficult subject I would first try to understand the struggle. Is it a concept in the subject (Geometric Rotations are tough), is it a lack of motivation (I don't care about the war of 1812), or is it an external issue (I'm tired and haven't slept well)? The first two can be addressed with a combination of strategies. Making connections between the subject and something the student is already excited about (a student who struggles with history but love military things could easily be engaged when they see the differences in battles and war throughout history). I would also make a connection between the concept and something real world the student is engaged in (it's easy to make functions engaging for someone who likes football when you show the functional relation between turnovers and wins). I would also find someone they admire/trust/respect who has knowledge or skill within a subject (much more motivation to engage in a subject when someone you think is awesome is engaged in it). The issue of eternal forces (sleep, diet, exercise, social) are things that can also be addressed as they affect everything.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I use a variety of techniques to be sure a student understands the material. First and foremost is questioning. The right questions not only tell me if the student understands the material but also if they can apply their understanding. I also like to use an Exit Ticket at the end of every session. The exit ticket is a combination of a summary of what they have learned in the session, what they feel they need more help with, and how they feel about what they learned. I also use random quick checks (fist - 5 understanding; 1-3 don't know, know, can teach).
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence in a subject comes from understanding and success. Once a student fully understands a concept I give them as many opportunities as possible to have success with it. This includes them teaching me or another family member, allowing them to share their new learning in an engaging way (blog, video, project, etc.), quizzes and assessments, and a variety of other opportunities.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
To evaluate a student’s needs requires me to look at where they came from, where they are at, and where they need to be. To understand where they came from I look at previous work and speak to the student and parents about their previous academic experiences. To understand where they are at I have them take a diagnostic assessment, watch them work, and ask questions based on both. Just seeing their answers doesn't give me nearly as much information as I get from also watching how they go their answers and having them tell me their thought process throughout.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
As I work with the student I better understand who they are and what they need. Maybe we have been going over content through reading it and have not had much success. I see that they are auditory learners, so I find the content they have been reading in an auditory format, and instead of them reading it quietly to themselves we read it aloud together and talk about it. This process is ongoing and constant. Their needs may change daily and even may change based on the subject/content.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use workbooks/worksheets, digital learning platforms, video, skype, podcasts, online articles and blogs, physical and digital projects, and hands-on activities.