As an educator I am dedicated to the experience of knowledge, including to and not limited to the English Language, reading, writing, and effective communication in any situation, mode, or medium. My goal as an educator is to bring knowledge-gaining experiences to students in such a way that necessary skills are transferred to multiple areas, thus promoting deeper cognitive ties. Lastly, my hope is for all students to love words and the power, responsibility, and gifts they bring.
SUNY at Buffalo - Bachelors, English
SUNY at Buffalo - Masters, English Language Arts Education
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that teaching is a two-way street, meaning that while I have knowledge and experiences to share with students, they, too, have knowledge and experiences to share with me. Thus the 'two-way street' allows teachers and students to create a symbiotic relationship with one another that allows for Socratic conversations, self-made creations, and transference of skills. I also believe most students learn best when they are challenged, have room to be expressive, and lastly have the opportunities to demonstrate, apply, and stretch their learning.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During a primary session with a student, I would prefer to create a trusting and comfortable relationship. I believe this can be established by giving the tutor/teacher and the student time to learn about one another. For example, as a teacher it would be important to know the student's likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, goals, stress-triggers, and also what they would like to accomplish in each session. Also, it would be best for the student to know the teacher's expectations, teaching style, and of course their likes and dislikes. All of the preceding categories may be tackled by either an introductory game, questionnaire, or conversation.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe the easiest way to promote independence in all students is to set very clear goals, expectations, and create supports along the way. For example, when students are in their first few sessions, many skills will be introduced and practiced with the teacher. The following few sessions will allow the student to work with less and less assistance from the teacher. Finally, the student will become the "expert" and direct themselves.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I firmly believe that learning is fun--when students are interested, have clear goals, and have explicit expectations of each session. This can be done by frequent "brain breaks" and "rewards" for meeting each goal. Also, holding students accountable for their own learning and frequent praise for accomplishments will allow students to become self-motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Honestly, it would depend upon the situation, student, and specific skills. Many skills are able to be taught in a multitude of manners, while others are more isolated. First, I would try to teach the skill in a different way, and if the student was still struggling, then I would move on to a separate skill, then circle back to the first skill at the end of the session or a future session. I believe that all students are capable of learning, but upon different timelines.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
The first step would be to diagnose where the student has difficulty and where they fall in terms of reading level. Then, I would formulate a plan focusing on close reading techniques that would best support the student in terms of gaining reading comprehension and reading levels. Frequent checks would allow for plan additions and subtractions, based upon student successes and implementation of supports. All the while, the student would have a voice in what they were reading, which would help with self-esteem, self-efficacy, and of course motivation and engagement.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that open, two-way communication is the easiest and most successful way to support a student, regardless of their learning needs. Most students benefit from guided-notes, multiple opportunities for application of skills, and lastly time and space to practice their skills.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would help a student formulate goals and rewards for meeting each goal. Also, I would find an application for English that they do find interesting, which would be used as a platform to begin work.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
The easiest way to assess a student's understanding of material or a skill is to give them ample opportunities to practice the skill or demonstrate their knowledge, without assistance from their teacher/tutor. Once a student is able to do this, then they have mastered the skill or material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Praise! Students flourish when they are praised for their successes. Also, I do not believe students "fail," and instead they made a mistake, which is only an additional opportunity for students to learn more. Honestly, confidence comes from within, meaning self-esteem and self-efficacy. In order to build this confidence, the tutor would give students tasks they are able to complete with very little instruction, then increase the difficulty and provide support. Over time, students are tackling the hardest skills within English-- but now they have the confidence and increased self-esteem, which will allow them to succeed!
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
The easiest way to evaluate a student's needs is to ask them what they feel they need. Then I pay special attention to those areas and implement diagnostic tools to gather additional information, such as word study, close reading, and the like. Student needs are constantly in the forefront of my mind during all tutoring sessions, and assessments are constantly being given.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
It is as simple as asking a student how they learn best, whether that be through moving, reading, talking, or creating. These answers would help me to formulate the best approach to teach my students in the ways they prefer. Also, these needs change over time, thus constant review is necessary.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Typically, I use reading passages, different types of questions (multiple choice, short answer, true/false, fill in the blank, demonstration of skills), guided notes, videos, conversation, demonstrations, and projects.