A photo of April, a tutor from University of California-Santa Cruz

April

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I'm a professional journalist and teach kids yoga on the side. I've taught SAT/ACT/AP test prep in the past with great results, and I'd love to help make writing, reading, history and grammar way more fun and accessible for you!

April’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Santa Cruz - Bachelors, English Literature with a minor in History

Hobbies

Running, rock climbing, poetry, art, yoga, hiking, camping, gardening, exploring the world.

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

1st Grade Reading

2nd Grade Reading

3rd Grade Reading

4th Grade Reading

5th Grade Reading

6th Grade Reading

7th Grade Reading

8th Grade Reading

9th Grade Reading

9th Grade Writing

ACT English

ACT Reading

ACT Writing

Adult Literacy

American Literature

AP World History

British Literature

College Level American Literature

Comparative Literature

English

English Grammar and Syntax

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Middle School Reading

PSAT Writing Skills

Reading

SAT Reading

Social studies

Test Prep

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I think learning should be an interactive experience. I don't teach by lecturing or droning on and on about a topic. I involve games, topics the student is interested in, and make our study sessions into a fun, back-and-forth conversation.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I find games and flashcards to work wonders. I also think going off-book and bringing fun materials in from the student's life.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I'd ask them about their struggle first, and have them lay out for me the very worst part of it. Making it clear it's okay to talk about frustration and what you absolutely hate helps students trust you to help them. Then, we'd find a creative way to make the subject easier and way less scary, together.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I'd use practice tests, flash cards and practice assignments. Because "test" is a scar word for a lot of people, I'd make it clear that they aren't being graded or really tested, but I'm just checking in to see where my teaching could use some work.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

I think pointing out their strengths, however seemingly small, can definitely help do this. Also, tracking their progress and showing them how much they're improving can really help boost confidence. Any improvement is an improvement and should be celebrated!

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I start out by asking lots of questions, to get to know the student and their interests. Then, I'll walk through a few test questions with them to establish their current skill level and what might need the most work.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

In addition to the actual required reading and test prep books, I like to use flashcards, board games, art supplies and music videos (which give us lyrics to use for creative reading practice).

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

The first session is all about laying the groundwork and helping the student feel comfortable learning from you. You don't want them to dread every tutoring session, so I tell them about myself, ask them about their interests and set the stage for future learning. I'll also talk shadow them and talk to them through one or two homework assignments or practice tests to assess their needs.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

My teaching style, which involves tons of back-and-forth and student engagement, is focused on nudging students to become more and more independent. I'll show them study techniques they might not have thought to use, and involve them in the entire process, hands-on.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I think making learning as fun as possible can help with motivation. If a student were really struggling to stay engaged I'd develop a rewards system to help them feel there was more of a solid goal to work towards. Something like "gold stars" or "stickers," depending on the student's age group and personal interests.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I'd switch it up, try new techniques, and ask tons of questions to assess where the real roadblock was.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I tend to bring in alternative reading materials, such as magazines, websites, favorite song lyrics, even video games with text, to get the student engaged with what we're reading. If it's not an issue of motivation or engagement, I talk through the bare bones of the story with the student, check in with them, and involve a call and response style of learning in which they are relaying the meaning of short paragraphs back to me as they read. If they don't understand, we talk through it. I think slowing the pace and reminding students it's okay to struggle through the process is a huge part of success with learning.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I treat each student like the individual they are and begin our sessions by investing the time it takes to get to know them, their interests, and their learning styles. I do this via games, conversations and maybe some simple (and fun) tests. Then, we go from there.