I wasn't used to listening. In high school, my flair for the dramatic led me to the stage: I was comfortable there in front of audiences, filling auditoriums with my voice. And so, when I arrived at Brown University, I thought teaching would be a natural extension of my inner (and, to the occasional dismay of friends, outer) thespian. When I stood in front of my first classroom, teaching English during a sweltering Providence summer to ten eight year-olds, I realized that not even my loudest volume could bring order. And so, I began to learn what my teachers throughout schooling had implicitly taught me: listening to and building relationships with students is perhaps the most essential tool in a teacher's arsenal.
Throughout my time at Brown, I lent my ear to various different teaching opportunities, learning to know when to lead, and when to step back and be led. As a tutor with Brown Refugee Youth Tutoring and Enrichment, I met with Yonas, a fourteen year-old from Guinea, to help him with scholarship applications. He was confounded by the prompt: "describe yourself." Together, we worked to clarify what that meant to craft a narrative that would help him succeed. He got that scholarship, and the essay he wrote, though informed by conversations with me, was all his: it was his story, his words, and his voice. Later, I taught German to sleepy undergrads. In the classroom with twelve students, I balanced teaching a lesson at the front of the classroom with walking through the desks, observing, questioning, and facilitating conversation. In my weekly office hours, I sat one-on-one with students, encouraging them to come with questions or just a thirst for conversation: in the lobby of the school library (my "office"), I sat for hours with my students, discussing everything from the subjunctive to our favorite kinds of wurst.
My approach to tutoring is much the same: my sessions are personally tailored to each individual tutee's needs and interests. I am a firm believer that learning is not static it must be informed by a mutual exchange between tutor and tutee: learning not just the "why" of a question, but also the "how."
Undergraduate Degree: Brown University - Bachelors, Comparative Literature & German Studies
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1480
SAT Math: 700
SAT Verbal: 720
SAT Writing: 700
GRE Verbal: 163
SAT Mathematics Level 2: 730
SAT Subject Test in Literature: 700
Singing, Writing, Baking, Theatre, Exercising
High School English
What is your teaching philosophy?
A curriculum is always personal; anything I teach is necessarily informed by my student's needs, interests, and learning styles.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
We'll begin with a discussion, getting to know one another's interests, etc. This gives me an idea of what kinds of things to incorporate in lessons in order to keep them engaging and compelling. I will follow this with a brief, informal "assessment." This assessment mostly consists of a guided exercise to give me an idea of the student's strengths and opportunities for growth, and also gives the tutee a flavor of what we will work on together. Lastly, we'll chart out goals for our time together.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe firmly that a tutor's role is not to give his or her tutee hard answers, but rather ask the questions that help facilitate the tutee to learn independently. When writing an essay together, for example, I never will put my words in my student's mouth. Instead, I will ask guiding questions that let the student take hold of his or her own voice. When learning concrete skills, my role is less to regurgitate facts, but rather to support my student through guided exercises and lessons as she or he begins to take agency over discovering the answers.