Hello! And, thank you so much for taking time to learn about me and my work as a Varsity Tutor!
First and foremost, I love teaching and believe in life long learning. I am continually learning and growing as a teacher and student. I choose to work as a tutor because I enjoy sharing what I've learned in my years as a student and via my professional experiences as an elementary teacher, special educator, living skills trainer and behaviorist.
I understand why students struggle and am a talented diagnostician who can hone in on achievement gaps and can help to close them. Above all, I love to work 1:1 with students. I feel this is an opportunity for students to engage in learning directly in a fully individualized experience. In a one-size-fits-all educational system, sometimes kids need a support from an out-of-the-box thinker and educator.
I have the knowledge, experience and ability to develop systematic approaches which will work; across the elementary/middle school academic subjects of: English Language Arts/Literacy, mathematics, behavior (social/emotional learning), science, and social studies. Additionally, I have a great deal of experience tutoring in writing for: high school/college level courses, essays and for test preparation.
I have a highly flexible schedule and am available to meet the needs of your student across the internet, or right here in the mountains of Colorado. Thank you for choosing Varsity Tutors. I wish you the best in your journey to academic success for your student!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Rochester - Bachelors, English literature/public health
Graduate Degree: University of Rochester - Masters, Education - general/special
Hiking, camping, skiing, climbing, reading, cooking, music (live), bicycling, disc golfing, movies/film, exploring, traveling and so much more!
Elementary School Math
High School English
WISC IV Prep
What is your teaching philosophy?
Everyone can learn. This starts with developing foundational approaches and scaffolds, resulting in greater ability to problem solve with independence over time.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, I want to understand who the student is as a person and learn what they want from the tutoring experience. Next, we can start setting goals/objectives and develop a plan for getting there. Finally, we determine a starting point (present levels of performance) and get going!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By identifying current levels of achievement in a specific area I can help a student to grow in a linear, errorless discriminatory process. Repetitions and practice in differing formulations increases the ability to demonstrate comprehension and over time, to synthesize and create.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I strongly believe in positive reinforcement through praise and assurances, especially in the beginning. Ensuring a student has increasing successes and a feeling of accomplishment is also important. I will also happily work with the parents/guardians or other adults to include home-based incentives, as appropriate.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Assess and discover the foundational gap because the only reason a new skill or concept is difficult is if there is a lacking area of comprehension. Starting from the basics and working back up to the new concept should correct the problem. This could also include accessing other ways of learning something (watching a video, using manipulatives, drawing pictures, making a chart, et cetera) until the individual is able to show they understand why/how to do what they've been asked to accomplish.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading Comprehension issues can stem from a variety of places. Often, it's related to prosody and the ability to decode. However, some students can read fluently but lack the processing skills/memory to make meaning. Therefore, different students need different approaches to correcting reading. I strongly feel a well rounded approach is inclusive of: word families, site words, root words (plus pre/suffixes), phonics, vocabulary and opportunities to read a variety of themed leveled texts - and answer questions is the best approach.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Being friendly in general, using humor and kid-friendly language is important. Asking about interests and likes/dislikes is another way to break the ice and also a way to engage a student in the actual work to be accomplished. From there, accurate assessment of achievement levels can make the learning process feel much easier.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Using my knowledge of a student's preferences, learning style and starting point, there will be a way to make it more interesting. Struggles come after a problem, but once the problem is identified, correcting the error in learning acts as a strong motivator because students will rapidly see progress.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Formative and summative assessments are part of any good lesson. Asking comprehension questions or for a quick problem solving (i.e. exit ticket) before the end can help the tutor determine how successful the lesson was. This also means the next session will begin with a similar review before new concepts are introduced.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Starting from the basics and working back up frequently fixes gaps. So, once the issue is identified relative to a subject, the student's lessons can be designed to scaffold them up through modeling and practice to a more firm comprehension of a subject.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Using available tools and a knowledge base of human development, academic progressions and current achievement. This is individual and dependent on the needs of the student. I am able to conduct standardized academic assessments with my Special Education license.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Everyone is unique and deserves a personalized experience. This comes from a love of working with others (especially students) and understanding the beauty of humanity. I want to ensure students leave each session feeling their best.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I think the internet is a critical resource for any process in this day and age. I use a lot of reference websites and teaching websites. I think having a variety of physical materials available (especially for younger students learning math) is also very important. I always prepare for the needs of my students and will bring what I feel will help them the most!