My father’s favorite teacher at Archbishop Molloy High School in New York City once said to him, “I don’t teach a subject, I teach young people.” My father told me that quote when I decided to become a teacher. I never truly understood its real meaning until I experienced it myself. Teaching is much more than force-feeding facts and figures to students; it is helping them grow and becoming the best person they can be. Education is one of the keys of success, and without it one’s potential remains untapped.
A career path in education did not interest me until midway through my college career. I stopped playing baseball and had begun coaching during my summer vacations. I knew I wanted to work with young people, but never envisioned being at the front of a or working in school administration. I reached out to my fifth grade teacher who supervised the local summer school program and inquired about an internship. He provided me with the opportunity to work as a teacher’s assistant for five weeks in a middle school math classroom. The satisfaction that I felt when I helped a struggling student through simple arithmetic was something that I had never previously experienced; I craved more. It was at that moment I dedicated myself to pursuing a career in education. I took math and education classes at college, while working towards a degree in Psychology. I tutored at a local elementary school in Gettysburg, and continued to coach club baseball and work at my local summer school during summer vacations. I built a foundation for a career in education, the next step of which is to move out of the classroom and into an administrative role.
During my career in education, I have experienced a wide variety of students and been immersed in a multitude of situations. I have worked in public and private schools, taught boarding and day students, international and domestic students, and middle school and high school students over the past 3 years. While in college, I served as a teachers’ assistant in a public school summer classroom and during the school year served as a tutor for public school elementary students. I had never previously worked with younger students. I learned how to individualize my teaching to best benefit each student and that flexibility is one of the most important characteristics of an educator. After graduation I worked in residential life and as a teaching associate at Ross School; a private boarding school consisting of a large number of international students. I saw first-hand how culture plays a major part in learning and I had to change most of my examples and metaphors I typically used in class. Living with the students reminded me that students are not robots. They are attempting to figure out their lives one day at a time while learning a massive amount of important material -- a challenging task for anyone, especially for a teenager. Saint James School is my most recent home and has been an invaluable experience. I have been a lead teacher for two years in the math and science departments. This opportunity enabled me to develop my own teaching style, and instruct my students on life while covering Trigonometry and Newton’s three laws. Despite being at Saint James for only two years, I have watched young men and women develop and mature, which has further encouraged me to pursue a career in education.
Passion is the most essential characteristic of a successful educator. How are our students expected to be motivated and excited about material if we, the educators, do not feel and convey excitement? Outside of the classroom students need to continue to stay engaged and build positive relationships with their peers, while continuing to embody good morals and be productive members of society.
I teach through experience. As a child, I learned best through action, not words. It is much more difficult to grasp abstract concepts merely though listening, as compared to developing an understanding through application. Once students understand that failing is a step in the learning process, they are more willing to move outside of their comfort zone and take a risk.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Gettysburg College - Bachelors, Psychology
Graduate Degree: New York University - Current Grad Student, Educational Leadership
Sports, Animals, Music, Crosswords
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I teach through experience with a fun and positive attitude. I am a big proponent of practicing rather than listening to a teacher/tutor explain a concept.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know the student first before diving into material. The person I am teaching is far more crucial to learning than the subject matter.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Allowing them to explore the concepts on their own. A student might have a specific way of solving a problem that is different than the path that is traditionally taken.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Create short term, achievable goals. It is easier for a student to see growth and continue to stay driven.