A photo of Tierney, a tutor from California College of the Arts


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I've taught students of all ages at all levels; from volunteering in inner city elementary schools to working as a teaching assistant in a top-ranked university. I'd like to think that each student has had as much impact on me as I have on each of them. I met my first students and caught the teaching bug as a volunteer for Reading Partners.

For the past several years, I worked one-on-one with elementary school children in under-served communities in Oakland, California, as well as in private homes. A number of my students improved their reading skills by 2 full grade levels within the school year. I evaluate each student's pace and identify opportunities for growth. Often, the children I worked with in economically depressed areas had working parents or spoke a language other than English at home, thus it was difficult for their parents to assistance with studies. I have seen firsthand the impact that early intervention has, and I always miss working with my students when they inevitably reach their education goals and no longer need my help. I hope that one day I might encounter one of them again in a college classroom.

In college classrooms I provide one-on-one mentorship and assistance to my students. Especially at the university level, I believe strongly in encouraging and fostering growth. As a rule, I encourage my students to rewrite papers or redo assignments on which they did not do as well as they would have liked. This way, they can put my feedback to use and see positive results right away. I have learned and impart to my students the importance of organization and time management in all aspects of education.

Shortly after graduating college, I received my TESL/TOEFL certificate from Oxford Seminars. This was a vital infusion of information about educating and more importantly, reaching people.

My own undergraduate studies at California College of the Arts (CCA) were comprehensive and provided me with a strong foundation in art. I have more than 15 years experience with figure drawing, as well as extensive training in painting including acrylic, oil, and gouache. At CCA I studied both the Media Arts and Film programs. As a result, I was educated in experimental media, film, video, and performance, all of which are valuable assets I incorporate in teaching.

Tierney’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: California College of the Arts - Bachelors, Media Arts

Graduate Degree: University of Southern California - Masters, Art and Curatorial Practice in the Public Sphere

Test Scores

GRE Verbal: 162

GRE Analytical Writing: 5


Art, Baseball, Hiking, Reading, Dogs, Film, Music

Tutoring Subjects

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I like to use both the materials that a student provides -- such as a textbook or handout -- and outside sources to create a richer experience for the student.

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

In my first session with a student, I like to ask where they feel they have the most opportunity for growth.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I help students become independent leaders by helping them develop excellent time management skills, organization skills, and multiple approaches to studying.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

My students stay motivated through the rewards of success.

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

When my student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, we take a step back, slow down, and break down the problem into its parts.

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

I encourage patience with all of my students, and this applies especially to reading comprehension. We will stop and review material as often as necessary to ensure complete comprehension.

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

I find that each student is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all and I tailor my approach to each student individually.

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

When my students are struggling with a particular subject, I find a way to relate it back to something that they are excited about or engaged with.

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

The best way to be sure that my students thoroughly understand material is to review and discuss as often as necessary.

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

My students build their confidence in a subject by observing their own growth.

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

I like to use both the materials that a student provides--such as a textbook or handout--and outside sources to create a richer experience for the student.