I am currently teaching Social Studies at Bluestem High School, which is in a rural community just East of Wichita, KS. I am moving to Colorado June of 2016. Throughout my three years as an educator, I have been consistently teaching US History, Psychology/Sociology, and Current Events. I consider myself a life-long student; my hunger for knowledge is insatiable. I am always trying to learn from others and gain knowledge in order to help myself become the best teacher I can be. My passion for education translates into my teaching style, where I try to instill hope and success for each student.
I believe that everyday is an opportunity to progress and build upon the knowledge gained prior. My favorite aspect of teaching Social Studies is making the connections from the past to the present. This is essential for student achievement and individual growth. Aside from my rigorous social studies curriculum, I have leadership discussions each week. They focus on specific leadership traits and how the students can apply them to make positive changes: in school and in life. This is my attempt to go beyond the everyday curriculum and try to inspire students to follow their dreams.
Aside from the world of education and helping young people achieve their goals, I like to stay active and creative. I have a serious interest in music, literature, movies, writing, and enjoying the outdoors. Hiking, fishing, and camping are great ways to enjoy the outdoors, especially with friends and family. I am also a self-taught guitar player. Even though my neighbors would disagree, it has been a fun and fulfilling process.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Fort Hays State University - Bachelors, Secondary Education & History
Rock n' Roll Music, Playing Guitar, Recording Music, Reading, Writing, and Camping
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I am interested in becoming a tutor for many different reasons. The first is my love for education and sharing knowledge with students. Through teaching social studies, I thoroughly enjoy the process of teaching young people how to analyze social studies content and how they can apply this knowledge to their lives. This will create a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities. Making positive connections with students is another amazing aspect of my teaching experience. In my classroom, every day is an opportunity to get better: for the students as well as myself. I am constantly striving to become a better teacher. This can occur through positive interaction, clear communication, preparation, and mutual respect. Some challenges I anticipate facing in the classroom are synonymous with realities of students living in poverty. Right now, I teach in a community that has been heavily affected by generational poverty. These students face challenges with attendance, classroom learning, classroom productivity, and a vision for the future. The school and the classrooms within need to be the support system for these children in order for them to succeed in life. With our dedication, love, and support, we as teachers can lift the spirits of struggling kids, show them they have value, and help them create a better future. It’s my goal to create hope and success for all the students that step into my classroom.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The typical first lesson should be an introductory lesson. That way we can fully understand the topic at hand, along with what to expect as we progress through tutoring sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Through guidance and cooperation. Interested and inspired students become independent learners. In my experience as an educator, it's all about listening to the interests of the student's. Once we figure the interest level, then it is up to the teacher to guide and assist the student in developing ways to become an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Planning, Communication, & Inspiration. Having a well-planned lesson that inspire students to learn will always help in keeping students motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would go back to the "drawing board" and find a new approach. Learning how re-teach lessons is essential to catering to various learning styles.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would assist them by using tools and exercises that help build learning comprehension skills.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The most successful strategy I have used is essential to teaching all subjects. I have found success by creating lessons that connect the subject matter to everyday life. Real-life application is essential to creating interesting and important lesson plans.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By showing them how they can apply the information they are learning/have learned to their lives. That is what I enjoy the most about teaching Social Studies.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use the techniques that work best for the student. I pride myself on flexible to the different needs of different learning styles. Once we have established what works best, we go from there to ensure full comprehension of the material being taught.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Through positive reinforcement. As an educator, it is essential to build and maintain confidence in the subject being taught. This can be done with positive interaction and this can be contagious. Confidence in one subject can lead to confidence in a variety of other subjects.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Through communication with the student and parents/guardians, and through the assessment of each tutoring session with data and reflection. Exam and assignment scores are important, but reflective practice helps with evaluation as well. It is of the utmost importance for teachers to be reflective and open to new techniques that help students learn.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Through flexibility with teaching style. It is my goal to adapt each tutoring session to fit the needs of diverse learning styles.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It depends on the tutoring session. I use a variety of different to tools to help the learning process. Everything from educational videos to scanned government documents to interviews and speeches, with an emphasis on primary sources. Primary sources are essential in Social Studies.