I have been teaching for eleven years at a small middle school in western PA. Ten of those years have been spent as an 8th grade language arts teacher. I love what I do because I love working with young adults and exposing them to different texts. I find that I work well with this age group and am able to relate to them.
The cornerstone of my teaching philosophy is that once students know you care about them and their success, they will put forth extra effort to do well in your class.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Waynesburg University - Bachelors, Writing and Literature
Graduate Degree: Waynesburg University - Masters, Education
Reading, volleyball, spending time with my children
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Writing
College Level American History
College Level American Literature
High School English
High School Level American History
High School Level American Literature
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy of teaching is that who I am teaching is more important that what I am teaching. I am always invested in my students and want to see them grow as members of society and as learners, and I have always found that once students know how much I care about their success, the more effort they put forth. Once this motivation is in place, we can really start to focus on the material that needs to be mastered.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would spend time just learning about the student's life and his/her attitude about school and the subject matter in general. I would also want to know what the end goal of our tutoring should look like. Then I would have him/her do a few independent assessments so that I could get an idea of where we were starting.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would first model what I want my student to be able to accomplish without me. Then we would do it together, and finally I would monitor the student completing the task independently. I would be sure to reinforce the idea that he/she is capable of doing the work alone.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation is often the most difficult factor to account for. I have always found that if I can make connections between the skill we are working on and the student's life, he/she will be more motivated to work.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would take a step back from the content and approach it from a lower grade level. Once the student found his/her comfort zone, I would then slowly increase the difficulty of the skill. We would need to bridge the gap between mastery and I have no idea what's going on...
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I like to have them take notes while reading. These notes can be anything from plot events to character observations to questions about the text. They help me understand students thought processes and where they begin to go astray.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I think that trust is the first hurdle to get over. Once a student trusts you and knows you have his/her best interest at heart, the real work can begin.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to find a way to personally connect what we are reading/working on with the student's life. If it is relevant to him/her, he/she will be more apt to get excited about the material.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I am a big believer in frequent formative assessments. These can be oral assessments, quick multiple choice exercises, or lengthier reading/writing practices. I like using variety to keep the student interested.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I am very sincere in my praise. I don't lavish it unwarranted, but when a student is truly trying his/her best and making strides with the material, I always make him/her aware of how proud I am.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
No one knows more than the student what he/she is struggling in. I would ask the student what he/she needs. That in addition to my own assessments would give me an indication of what needs to be practiced.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I find out what works best for him/her and that is where we start. Then I would slowly add new methods of teaching/assessment as needed.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I generally make all of my own materials, other than novels.