Some things in life you learn to do, some things you grow to love, and some things you are simply born to do. To me, teaching is one that I was born to do. I've spent my life in careers helping others, with the last 5 years teaching 4th and 5th grade. I LOVE teaching and am constantly finding ways to better myself and improve my strategies when working with students. I believe that learning is something everyone is capable of- sometimes we just need a little more support in certain areas. As a tutor and a teacher, I believe in the power of fun, humor, and motivation. I love to use games, music, and technology to help students achieve their goals.
I try to find what works for each particular student. Each student is an individual with their own interests, strengths, and weaknesses. I hope to work with you to find these strengths and make some of your current struggles your future success!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Delaware - Bachelors, Sociology
Graduate Degree: Chestnut Hill College - Masters, Elementary Education
Riding my bike, being outside, spending time with my family, listening to music
College Level American History
Elementary School Math
High School English
High School Level American History
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that teaching requires great flexibility and creativity. Every student learns in their own way, and teaching should not follow a formula, but rather be a response to the specific needs of each student. It should be fun, meaningful, and engaging.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In my first session, I will spend time getting to know the student. It's so important to build a relationship while also building knowledge. I want to know a student's interests and what motivates them, so that I can use these things when planning tutoring sessions. I'd also spend some time getting to know the student's academic needs so we can map out a clear path for tutoring sessions in the future.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independence is something that should be fostered, learned, and celebrated. To be an independent learner, a student needs to be motivated to learn on his or her own. I first do this by making sure they are interested and engaged. I slowly and gradually release the learning into the hands of the student, so they are gaining independence and confidence at the same time. Before they even realize it, they are seeking their own answers and learning independently!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I celebrate small successes along the way. I help students focus on growth and not just a current grade or number. I also use current events, music, movies, games, and the students’ interests to keep them engaged in our activities.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student is not learning the way you are teaching, you need to teach a different way! If a student is not getting it, then I will try a different strategy to teach it. I will keep working with the student, gradually increasing their independent practice, until they are able to do it on their own.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I use a variety of resources and tools to help with comprehension. We work on reading strategies before focusing on reading skills. I like to help students think about their own comprehension and learn how to monitor themselves, then to use "fix up" strategies when they realize they need to go back and reread. We start by using these strategies in movies and video clips (practice the strategy, don't worry about the reading). Once the student feels confident about the strategy, we move that to reading passages. I use the student's independent and instructional reading levels in both fiction and non-fiction.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to have the student first identify their past success (there is always something to celebrate) in that subject. Then we can discuss what helped them be successful in that subject and apply it to the current skill. I also use their personal interests to keep them excited and engaged. Games, friendly competition, and laughter are always a great way to keep the student engaged and having fun, so they don't get frustrated and give up.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I check-in and do mini-assessments throughout the lesson, so that a student never goes too long without understanding the material. This way, we can catch misconceptions quickly and fix them. I ask probing questions, have the student try new skills and concepts on their own, and sometimes have them "tutor me" - you know that you have mastered something when you can teach it to someone else!
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I praise students for the things they do correctly and use positive wording when helping students fix mistakes. I help students track and focus on their overall growth instead of one single score. I have students tell me what they are proud of and always "brag to me" about at least one thing they do well in their struggling subjects.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I develop a plan for the student by speaking with the student, their parents, and their teachers (if available). I would do a series of pre-tests to determine a student's current abilities, then discuss where the student should be and would like to be by a certain date or time.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I learn the student's individual learning styles, as well as their personality styles. I also keep each tutoring session focused on the skills specific to the student. I will adapt my tutoring to the level, personality, and skills of each student. As a great teacher, you need to be flexible and willing to meet each student where they are!
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use a variety of materials that will keep the student engaged. I like to use technology, video clips, music, etc. We will use hands-on tools when applicable. We will also practice the "old fashioned" pencil and paper question form, as that is most often how students are asked to demonstrate their knowledge in school.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
The beginning is significantly about building a relationship with the student and getting to know one another. I like to learn what makes the student "tick" socially, emotionally, and academically. I use some diagnostic tools to get a sense of where the student is, so that I have a better vision for their path in tutoring.