I have been fortunate to teach at the middle, high school, and college level, and I truly enjoy helping students across all these age groups achieve their goals. I am currently a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I have served as the instructor for the writing-intensive sections of Intro to American Government course and as the T.A. for Survey Research Methods. Prior to coming to Madison, I earned a Masters degree in Education at the University of Florida and then taught for six years at a college preparatory school. I have experience teaching American History to both middle and high school students, as well as AP U.S. Government and Politics. In addition, I have experience with both SAT and ACT tutoring.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Florida - Bachelors, History
Graduate Degree: University of Florida - Current Grad Student, Political Science and Government
When I am not teaching or working on my dissertation, I enjoy playing and watching baseball, training for triathlons, and generally being outdoors.
AP US Government
AP US History
College Level American History
High School English
High School Level American History
SAT Subject Tests Prep
US Constitutional History
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Motivated students should never be impeded by not having access to a quality educator. A quality educator is someone who recognizes that students learn differently, but that all students can learn. A quality educator recognizes that different strategies work for different students, and they adapt accordingly.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would first tell the student a little bit about myself and try to learn something about them. I would try to find some area of life (outside of school) that we may have in common. I have found that students will be more relaxed and able to focus when they are comfortable with their teacher/student, and finding a way to relate to students outside of the subject area being discussed is a good way to do this. A key component of the tutor-student relationship is building trust, and this is a process I would want to start with the first session. Depending on the subject matter, I would do my best to identify why I find a particular problem to be difficult. It is important for the student to feel that they are not alone in being challenged by a subject/concept.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation begins to wane when the student feels like they are not making progress or, on the other hand, they do not feel challenged. In the former condition, I would make it a priority to review with them the progress they had made up to that point, and make sure they realize what they are now able to do that they could not do before. In the latter condition, I would do my best to scaffold increasingly difficult problems for the student that builds on what they have already learned.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First of all, I would not tell them to "think" or "try harder." I would essentially "back up" with respect to the question at hand. I would break down the question into core components (this works whether it is math, history, English, etc.) and build confidence by asking questions I know they can answer, helping them draw connections between those answers until we get back to the original problem.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Asking specific questions rather than general ones. Using analogies (especially rooted in real-world interests of the student). Beginning sessions practicing/talking about a problem or concept the student has already demonstrated competence in.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Be excited yourself. This is one element of teaching I have always felt particularly accomplished in. I have found that it is especially useful for middle school aged students.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
A most effective technique, regardless of the subject matter, is to ask the student to teach me how to complete a problem.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
At the end of each session, I ask student a handful of questions that I am confident they can answer, and I would point out to them how they were able to answer those questions using newly learned tools/concepts that they did not previously possess.