I grew up in Northern Michigan and attended a very small school, but I moved to Miami as soon as I graduated and got my degree in Sport Management from Barry University in Miami.
I'm a non-traditional teacher, probably because I was a non-traditional student. I have ADHD and always have, so I don't always approach education from a traditional perspective. I worked for the Florida Marlins and the Miami Heat before moving back to Michigan and opening a golf shop. When I had kids, I realized it was important to be that I be involved in education, in no small part because I wanted to make sure the school wasn't as awful for my kids as it was for me.
I taught kindergarten for 4 years in North Carolina and then moved to Indiana to teach at a progressive charter school. When the school closed, I co-founded School for Community Learning in Indianapolis. In the past 4 years I've taught every grade, from Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. Though I've mostly taught middle school math and Kindergarten through 2nd Grade.
I love working with kids who aren't getting the most from their abilities. Whether that's student with ADHD who haven't realized all the advantages that are part of that diagnosis or gifted students who have never learned to really slow down and work because they haven't really needed to, digging in and helping students do their very best is my idea of fun.
I'm a sports nut. As I said, I worked in the front office for the Florida Marlins and as a scorer for the Miami Heat. While teaching in NC, I also was a sports reporter for the Fayetteville Observer. I have coached softball for 20 years. I coached volleyball for 6. I coach my kids' baseball teams. I am a die-hard Detroit Tigers, Pistons, and Lions fan, as well as a Michigan Wolverines fan. I play golf and, in truth, my favorite hobby is playing Strat-O-Matic Baseball.
I'm a bit sarcastic and love to teach with humor, but I'm also currently working on my Masters in School Counseling, so I'm pretty good at knowing when to joke around and when to be serious and supportive.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Barry University - Bachelors, Sport Management
ACT English: 31
ACT Reading: 34
ACT Science: 33
Sports, Coaching, Strat-O-Matic
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
All students can learn. Not all learn the same way.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I'd glad out about them and what they hope to get from tutoring. You can't determine when you've been successful until you've defined success for a specific student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students have to feel success in order to build confidence. Confident students start to take responsibility for their own learning.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
As long as students are experiencing success and growth, they tend to stay motivated on their own.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
With younger students, the key is usually giving them some way to work hands-on. Older students usually just need to find a way to truly relate content to real life.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Comprehension is very closely related to both fluency and discussion. The first step is to re-read as many times as necessary to truly be fluent and to actually be able to think about the content. The second step is to just lead the student in discussion.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I feel like the first step is helping them feel comfortable, which usually means talking about a few things that are not tutoring.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Starting with what they already know and helping them feel successful right off the bat is a great way to get students motivated.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I ask a lot of questions and have students teach me how to do something.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Again, confidence comes from success. Starting with something that the students can be successful with is the key.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
First, by finding out where they want to go and then be starting with some basic questions to see where we're starting from.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I've taught everything from pre-k through college. I think about all topics as being on a continuum and have a lot of success by quickly determining where students sit on that continuum, regardless of where they're "supposed" to be.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Depending on the age and topic, I utilize items ranging from computers and tablets, to calculators, to books and printouts, to handout manipulatives.