I am both a parent of school-aged children (11th grade, 7th grade, and PreK) and a NYS licensed teacher. As a parent, I know the challenges that many children face with the ever-changing curriculum, more recently with Common Core. I also sympathize with other parents who struggle to help their children with homework which rarely resembles what we learned as children. I know what parents expect from the tutors they entrust their children with and the anticipated outcomes they seek. As a teacher, specifically a Special Education Teacher, I have had the extensive experience across content areas and grade levels in modifying and adapting curriculum (including Common Core) for EVERY type of learner regardless of academic level and learning style. My 12 year old son also has Aspergers (autism spectrum) and have found very creative ways to support his learning.
Undergraduate Degree: Post University - Bachelors, Legal Studies
Graduate Degree: St. John's University - Masters, Education
Dancing, cooking, art projects, & Marvel movies
Elementary School Math
High School Biology
Middle School English
Middle School Science
Middle School Social Studies
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
Teaching shouldn't fit into a cookie-cutter mold. Teaching should be individualized to meet the needs of each child regardless of their academic level or learning style. As a teacher, you must also be compassionate. All children can learn... it just takes the right person with the right amount of patience to reach that child!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, I may start off with some icebreakers. I would like to know my student not just academically, but socially as well. This allows me to determine a student's learning style and figure out which teaching strategies the student may respond best to. By allowing the student to get to know me as well will build rapport. Teaching and learning has a lot to do with building relationships.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I have extensive knowledge and experience in creating and implementing scaffolds and learning strategies to help various leveled learners. I call these the "training wheels." I can help develop individualized short-term goals with these training wheels, and develop long-term goals of removing them, thereby empowering students to become independent learners and being accountable for their own academic success.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
In my experience, I have found that students stay motivated and respond very well through a lot of positive praise and encouragement. I also implement a great variety of engaging activities that help students find the "fun" in learning again.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, I would determine what type of learner the student is. Then, I would identify the misconception or the difficulty. Ultimately, I would have to use a teaching strategy that is completely individualized for that student. For example, if a student is a visual learner and is having difficulty with positive and negative integers, I may use colors to identify every negative in red, and every positive in green. I may incorporate technology to show an animated representation. If the student is kinesthetic, I would use counting blocks and a number line so the student can physically manipulate the math. If the student is auditory, we could use acronyms, a chant, or a song. This is a math example, but essentially the same tactic can be used in any other subject area!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
As a teacher, I am not fond of the term "struggling with reading comprehension." I feel that phrase is too broad and does not truly identify where the student is struggling. I would ask if there was a baseline assessment that I could use as a reference point or give my own. This would allow me to look at a skills analysis to identify if the deficiency. Reading comprehension can be affected by so many skills, such as fluency, vocabulary, decoding, recall, identifying key ideas, and more. Once the skill deficit has been identified, the appropriate strategy can be put in place.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Find ways to make the subject area relevant to their generation. For example, using Jay Z raps to teach The Bill or Rights; asking who makes a better superhero and why to teach argumentative writing; or teaching how to add/subtract/multiply/divide fractions via dance (yes...I know a dance to teach this!).
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
As a classroom teacher, I have a variety of assessment tools that I use. I do not only give standardized tests to check for understanding, I also use performance tasks as well. This can include having a student teach a concept back to me, or create a project that demonstrates understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Positive praise, positive praise, and more positive praise! Even the smallest of victories is still progress. If I get excited, they get excited.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I get to know who they are first. What do they like to do for fun? What do they do when they get frustrated? I have them self-assess too. I learn through asking them questions and asking their parents questions. This way I can determine their learning style and I can figure out my teaching style as I customize it for them.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use the tutoring platform when doing online tutoring as it has so many useful tools built right into it. When having an in-person tutoring session, I bring my own collection of textbooks and workbooks depending on subject. I also bring index cards, mini-white boards, graph paper, my laptop to show videos or find instant graphic organizers, and LOTS of color markers and color pencils! I use a variety of colors when teaching any concept. It helps to visually breakup the material and visually differentiates between concepts and skills. I am a walking classroom prepared with all tools that I may possibly need for any situation that may call for it.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I find that many times I may plan and prepare for anything and there may still be situations that arise that I may not have been expecting. This happens everyday in every classroom. As a teacher and tutor, I have to learn to expect the unexpected and be as flexible as possible. This is the only way to adapt to a student's needs at a moment's notice.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting to know the student first and building a rapport before anything else has worked great for me.