Hello! I am currently a high school teacher in Columbia, Missouri. I teach 10th grade World History, AP World History, and AP Psychology during the school year. During the summer I also teach Personal Finance. Additionally, I supervise an AP Study Hall (a study hall comprised of solely students taking AP classes) during which a portion of the class period is devoted to ACT and other test prep, so I have experience working with standardized tests. Before I began my teaching career, I graduated from the University of Missouri. While I was a student there, I worked at the Mizzou Athletic Center's Total Person Program, a tutor and mentoring program for student athletes. There, I tutored a variety of social studies subjects and worked one-on-one with student athletes. I am looking forward to working with you and/or your student!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Missouri-Columbia - Bachelors, Secondary Education
Graduate Degree: Teachers College at Columbia University - Current Grad Student, Cognitive Studies in Education
Travel, Running, Reading, TV, Music, Movies, Hiking
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I use a very student-centered, constructivist teaching philosophy. I think it is important for students to really dig into and analyze content, as opposed to that content just being given to them. Particularly with the content I work with, which is primarily history, it is virtually impossible to memorize everything there is to know. Therefore, it is more important to be able to interpret and evaluate the meaning of the information and apply that to a variety of events.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I think it is important to first get to know each other. I want to know not only who you are as a student, but also who you are as a person. Relationship-building is one of the most important aspects of a teacher-student relationship, so I like to start with that.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In the technology-driven world that we live in today, information is so easily accessible that it is not necessary to memorize facts and information. I think it is more important for students to become analytical thinkers and develop critical thinking skills that they can apply in all subjects.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It is important for students to think long-term. What do they want to be doing in a year? In 5 years? 10? 20? I think it's easy to get caught up in the "When am I ever going to use this in real life?" mentality when the reality of school is that it teaches you skills that you need to be successful in a variety of avenues. Really thinking about why success in the present is important for the future will hopefully help students stay motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
We would walk through it together, step by step. Learning is a lot about scaffolding: meeting students where they're at and working up from there. We would need to figure out where the difficulty or misconception is, correct it, and move forward from there.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is so important to a variety of fields that it is not a skill that can be ignored. I work with students daily that struggle with reading comprehension, and one of the most important things to do is practice reading; don't avoid it! Getting students to interact with text as they read is an important component of comprehension. For example, having students make connections, ask questions, summarize, and predict are all strategies that can help improve comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I think the best place to start is to ask the student what they already know and build off of that. What do they already know, and what are they currently struggling with that they want to work on?
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Making content relevant to a student's life is the best way to get them excited about learning. Find something that they are interested in and figure out a way to connect that with a theme or concept in the content area that they are struggling in. Building these connections will make learning more engaging and meaningful.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Asking students questions is the best way to ensure that they understand. Forcing them to confront the fact that they don't know something can be uncomfortable for both parties, but it is a necessary step in the learning process. Having students explain something to you rather than just asking, "Do you get it?" ensures that they know the material well enough to teach it to someone else.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Show them that they already know more than they think they do! Usually, students get down on themselves when they hit a road block, but they likely have a sound base of knowledge that can be built upon. Let's go back to the basics and work up from there.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Ask them what they think they need or what they need help with. The student himself is the best resource here.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Finding what works best for students can be a process. Some students do well with an instructor telling them the information orally; some do better with pictures and diagrams; and others do better with writing. I think trying out a variety of strategies in the early sessions is key to finding what works best for them.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
PowerPoints are important, not only to provide information but also to provide organization and structure to the lesson. What are the objectives we want to meet in this session and how are we going to assess that the student has met those objectives? Also, having the student bring whatever materials they are currently working on in class is important as well.