I am a National Merit Scholar and a graduate of Smith College. I hold a B.A. in American Studies and am currently pursuing a Master's degree in International Studies at the University of Oklahoma, where I am also a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Before matriculating at OU I taught English full-time in South Korea, which allowed me to hone my pedagogical skills. My favorite subjects are History, Geography, English, Government, Civics, and Critical Reasoning.
I believe that everyone can excel with enough dedication and the right guidance. Whether it's drilling critical reading skills for the SAT or GRE, developing writing strategies for AP classes, or helping to give context to a World History class so that the student can do the best they possibly can on the final, I will always do my best to give students the tools they need to succeed on their own terms.
My personal passions are popular culture (music, movies, television, books- I like it all, and have written papers about most of it!), live music, science fiction and fantasy, and spending time with my family.
Undergraduate Degree: Smith College - Bachelors, American Studies
Graduate Degree: University of Oklahoma Norman Campus - Current Grad Student, International Studies
GRE Verbal: 166
Popular Culture, Science Fiction and Fantasy, International Relations
College Level American History
College World History
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
High School World History
What is your teaching philosophy?
The core of my approach to teaching is making sure that each student can connect the material we are working on together to his or her everyday life. With subjects like History and Political Science it can be really difficult for students to form those connections on their own, but once a student feels personally invested in the material, it becomes easier to both understand and retain information. All aspects of the humanities and social sciences are interconnected, and as students develop a feel for the threads that tie them together it makes studying and excelling in those subjects a much less daunting task.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
After introductions and getting to know each other, I would really dig into what a student's goals are for studying with me, and what they see as their biggest impediments to achieving those goals are. In order to make the most out of tutoring both of us need to be on the same page, and getting a really good understanding of what I can do to facilitate a student's achievement is of utmost importance in a first session.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
One of the most important gifts that any of my teachers in school ever gave me was from a math teacher, which is somewhat ironic as I have always struggled in that subject. She told me that I could memorize answers for a test, but unless I figured out how the principles at work in the material applied to my life, I'd never really understand them, and subsequently would almost immediately forget them. This has proven true to me not only in math, but also in every aspect of my life. I would seek to help my students find those personal connections for themselves, so that they will be able to continue finding connections between their personal lives and the material they study long after our tutoring relationship has ended.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If at first you don't succeed, you try a different method. In the humanities and social sciences, there is always more than one route to understanding and mastery of a concept, and through my years of teaching and tutoring I've become proficient in figuring out which ones will work best for a given student, but that also means that I have plenty of backups if the first method doesn't prove fruitful.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Sometimes the biggest difficulty with reading comprehension is what I like to call the "forest vs. trees" conundrum: It can be easy to spend so much time worrying about the importance of a specific unfamiliar word that you lose sight of the greater whole, but spending too much time trying to figure out the larger symbology of a passage can make it easy to miss the one word that throws a wrench in your interpretation. So I try to encourage students to balance those two impulses, especially during their first read-through, so that they can develop speed and accuracy through practice that will allow them to excel in all tasks where careful reading is required.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I've always found that being able to develop a personal relationship with the material is key to allowing a student to go from feeling overwhelmed by a subject to being excited about developing mastery over it. Since I always ask students about their personal likes and interests in my initial session, I can use those hobbies or pastimes as doorways into more arcane or unfamiliar subjects. Whether it's sports metaphors to explain how poems are constructed or explaining the political process in terms of online games, once a student finds one way of making the material make sense to them, it often gives them more confidence and enthusiasm for their further studies.