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I’ve spent the last 6 years working to help students take control of their education and realize their even their loftiest goals. Over these years, I’ve tutored many kinds of Math and Science, worked to help some improve formal and creative writing, and a few other nonconventional topics like Musical Theatre, American Sign Language, and Music Theory. I graduated cum laude from the University of Rochester, with a B.A. in English Literature and a Master’s in Secondary English and Reading. My goal in tutoring is to work with students to identify their goals, and help them make a plan to get there with my support; I strive to tailor my tutorage to each student, their strengths, and weaknesses. In my life outside of school and academics, I sing competitively, video-game with friends and work on my own creative writing.

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Clay’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Rochester - Bachelors, English

Graduate Degree: University of Rochester - Masters, Teaching and Curriculum

Test Scores

ACT Composite: 31

SAT Math: 700


Singing, Writing, Video Games, Anime, A Cappella,

Tutoring Subjects

ACT English

ACT Reading

ACT Writing


Algebra 2

College Algebra

College English

College Essays

Comparative Literature


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing



High School English

Homework Support



Music Theory


Public Speaking


SAT Math

SAT Mathematics

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization


Test Prep


Q & A

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

In the first session with a student, I would ask them about their goals for school and for tutoring. I would work with them to identify measurable and achievable goals and identify working and feedback preferences. The second half of the session would be spent working through some content. Lastly, I'd ask students to fill out an interest inventory and fill out a survey to start getting to know them.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Students become independent learners by figuring out what academic skills and strategies match their learning and academic approaches. I help them to identify practices that do this but also meet their academic needs. I support them in developing habits by expecting consistent application and provide feedback in developing these "soft" skills.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Motivation is what results when someone feels success, support, and excitement. Maintaining motivation is about celebrating success and momentum. Essays seem overwhelming until you realize that intro is finished, and is so solid it helps write the rest of the paper. I help students make the connections that the work they're doing is beneficial, quality, and worth celebrating.

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

Break-it-down and re-contextualize. I'd work with the student to identify the key misunderstanding or difficulty. Isolating the content and moving into a situation or context where the student feels successful can be a powerful tool. Any time outside experiences and proficiencies can be brought in to support learning it can be a powerful experience.

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

Students get better at reading when they do it often with texts they enjoy. Close reading, text-dependent questions, and frequent check-ins where students question their understanding are all powerful tools to identify strengths and weaknesses in comprehension. For me, it's about teaching students these skills are transferable; if you can do it with your favorite book or blog you can do it with any text.

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

When starting work with a student it's so important to build a solid foundation in understanding what they are best at. These strengths can be leveraged in so many ways; each help to make learning enjoyable. Similarly, when starting to work toward improvement, it's important to not take on too much too soon, but instead master new skills before taking on more.

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

I'd make students re-teach me or someone like a sibling or family member the material. Teaching is great because genuine questions and the social process help to identify what material has solid underpinnings and what could use more reinforcement.

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

Celebrate success. Nothing feels better than doing a good job on a difficult task, so sharing this with important stake-holders or rewarding major accomplishments. Similarly looking at unsuccessful situations can be rewarding if plans for success are formulated and followed through. Lastly, looking at overall growth can be a powerful motivator in continuing to do great work.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

A great place to start is asking the student what it is they think they need. Informal inventories can also be really helpful quick ways to get an overall impression of what's needed. I think a deep understanding comes from error analysis. I ask questions why students weren't successful, what obstacles run into, and what tools they have to help them overcome these obstacles.

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