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James

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I'm a working Musical Theatre actor who has a passion for teaching and tutoring, especially in English and standardize tests. As a child, I was horrible at focusing in the standardize tests, and missed an entire section because I was "bored". As I grew up, I learned how to focus and became quite good at understanding the methods of creating the questions and understanding what they were testing. I became interested in grammar and literature particularly, because it is fascinating to get into. So many different words to describe life, and so many stories to delve into! When I was a teenager, a good number of my poems, stories and essays were published professionally. I was also one of the five finalists of the Profile in Courage essay competition for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in 2009.

While theatre is my dream and career, I decided to become a tutor so I could help others who needed assistance with something that was just fun for me. Practicing for my own PSATs and SATs, watching my scores (practice and real) go up and up gave me a satisfaction that its almost indescribable. Helping people reach their own goals, and seeing them succeed is really important for me.

My approach is more relaxed, because learning should always be fun. I believe in practice making close to perfect, and repetition is key. The easiest way to remember something is writing it down a time or two. It works with all subjects, and it forces your attention to be on what you're doing in the moment.

I got into some of the top schools in the country, but ultimately decided on Catholic University of America because it had the best Musical Theatre program, which was the most important part of choosing a college in my view. With a degree in theatre, Shakespeare and other such play analysis is just about second nature to me. When I was in High School, I was in Honors and Advanced English throughout my time (AP Language and Literature), and got 5's on both exams. Also, when I took the SAT (back when the writing portion was required), I never got less than a perfect score on my essay. Once I got to college, I decided to be a peer advisor/editor for papers to earn a little money while in school. Once my school work got too crazy, I stopped, but I helped a lot of papers turn from Cs and Ds in the rough draft portion to As and Bs.



James’ Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Catholic University of America - Bachelors, Music and Psychology

Hobbies

Singing, Acting, Reading, Playing Catan and Munchkin, Going out to Movies

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade

10th Grade Math

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

1st Grade

1st Grade Math

1st Grade Reading

1st Grade Writing

2nd Grade

2nd Grade Math

2nd Grade Reading

2nd Grade Writing

3rd Grade

3rd Grade Math

3rd Grade Reading

3rd Grade Science

3rd Grade Writing

4th Grade

4th Grade Math

4th Grade Reading

4th Grade Science

4th Grade Writing

5th Grade

5th Grade Math

5th Grade Reading

5th Grade Science

5th Grade Writing

6th Grade

6th Grade Math

6th Grade Reading

6th Grade Science

6th Grade Writing

7th Grade

7th Grade Math

7th Grade Reading

7th Grade Science

7th Grade Writing

8th Grade

8th Grade Math

8th Grade Reading

8th Grade Science

8th Grade Writing

9th Grade

9th Grade Math

9th Grade Reading

9th Grade Writing

ACT Reading

ACT Writing

Adult Literacy

American Literature

AP Psychology

Audition Prep

Classics

College Application Essays

College English

College Essays

Comparative Literature

Composition

Creative Writing

Elementary School

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Science

Elementary School Writing

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

Fiction Writing

GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

GMAT Verbal

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Subject Test in Literature in English

GRE Subject Tests

High School

High School Chemistry

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Homework Support

IB Theatre

IB Theatre HL

Literature

Math

Middle School

Middle School Math

Middle School Reading

Middle School Science

Middle School Writing

Music

Music Theory

Other

PSAT Critical Reading

PSAT Writing Skills

REGENTS Prep

SAT Reading

SAT Verbal

SAT Writing and Language

Singing

Social Sciences

Social studies

Study Skills and Organization

Summer

TACHS Prep

Test Prep

Vocabulary

Vocal Training

Voice

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that everyone should read more, because reading affects all areas of learning. Reading helps math, science, history, and especially English! Taking time to read up on subjects teaches more in depth than just doing the bare minimum.

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

Evaluate strengths and weaknesses. What they would like to get help with, and also find areas they're already strong in. To get a sense of what they're good at helps with how to approach things they need a little extra help with.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Guiding them to an answer is much more efficient for learning than telling it to them outright, even if it takes more time. If they can get the answers for themselves with guidance, they will start to get them without guidance. That's what a tutor is there for: not to give them an answer, but to show them to way to get the answer themselves.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I believe in a system of rewards, and that not reaching a reward is punishment enough. It's easy to get disheartened with punishments, and then rewards lose charm. However, if they know that a reward is waiting, or just the disappointment of no reward, they try harder.

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

Figure out a method to relate it to something they already get. If they are a visual learner, draw it out. If they are a verbal/audio learner, either put it in words or say it aloud. Relating it to something they already get is most effective.

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

Patience is key always. Set up a smaller section for them to tackle, and then add to it. Huge reading comprehension sections can be daunting, but starting small and getting bigger can make it less so.

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

Assessing strengths and weaknesses is more important, and figuring out how the learn quickest. Some people are visual learners, some prefer to write things down to remember, and others just need to listen and hear the words. Figuring out the ways a student learns what they're good at, and applying the same method to areas they need help in, is one of the best techniques I have found.

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

Relate it to areas they don't struggle in. If a student does well, they enjoy something more. If it can be related to something they enjoy, or can be related to their life rather than seem academic, it will become much easier to understand and learn.

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

Testing is the easiest way; not long testing, but quick examples that make sure they truly understand. The more practice a student gets at applying knowledge they have gained will make it stick.

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

Always be positive. There are positives in every negative, so focus on those. If they understand one concept, but are confused on another, praise them for the one they know. Then, we can apply the ideas of the first concept to the second to make it easier.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Practice questions; see where they excel, where they need work, and figure out a way to work both. For example, SAT Prep; the most important start is a practice test to see where they already fall. Do they score high in one, and low in another? Low in both? High in both? What types of questions did they get incorrect? Text analysis? Algebra? Geometry? Grammar? Finding out what exactly needs help is important, because it would be silly to spend too much time on things a student excels in.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Figure out what way is best for them. Do they need to look at pictures? I'd draw it out. Do they need to read? I'll write the lesson down to make sure they have it. Do they just need to listen? I'll make sure they tape the audio for the lesson so they can go over what we discussed. Finding out what works best, and running with it is the best way.

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

Practice test books. I believe practice is the most important thing. Grammar guide books are also very important. Going over basic grammar technique will score much higher on tests, the SAT, Essays, College Essays, etc. Well written papers are important, almost as much as conveying the content within the paper.