In all of my capacities as an educator and tutor—which range from lecturing at the University of Michigan to instructing summer courses on college-application essays to tutoring elementary students as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand—I continue to see the power of critical thinking when fueled by curiosity. I believe that this coupling of curiosity—or "inquiry," as some of us call it—and textual analysis can change the world. Being able to think critically about who we are, what we believe, and why we believe it given our personal contexts allows us to enter into new, exciting spaces where we can really, tangibly, impact our culture. Guiding this process is my passion.
I will be starting my PhD (Media Studies) this Fall at Northwestern University and look to continue tutoring throughout my studies. Although that will place me in Chicago, I'm a Michigander at heart, having lived most of my life in mid-Michigan. I received my B.A. (Journalism) at Michigan State University; I taught college composition at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University; and nothing makes me happier than strapping up my kayaks and exploring the state's rivers and lakes. I am confident in my ability to help students with any situation where they are trying to convey a purpose to an audience—be it in the form of ACT/GRE prompts, college-application essays, textual analyses, newspaper articles, or just basic essay editing.
I also have two years of experience teaching ESL from my time in Thailand. :)
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Michigan State University - Bachelors, Journalism
Graduate Degree: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee - Masters, English
kayaking, moviegoing, camping, songwriting
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Writing
GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment
High School English
High School Writing
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I chose to pursue teaching for two primary reasons: I am passionate about people, and I am excited about the sharing of ideas. I believe that learning needs to be a space of encouragement and exhilaration, where students take part in a process of questioning, revising, embracing, positioning, and re-positioning themselves. Working in the fields of composition, communication, and culture, my goal as an educator is to help students develop a set of critical-thinking, rhetorical, and communication skills that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
It is important to me that students feel supported, cared about, and empowered, and it is impossible to tutor writing without knowing the writer and his/her context. I'd spend some time getting to know the student and asking about what matters to them. From there, we can figure it out together!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
This is a crucial question, and it is why I don't focus on the "rules" of writing. Once students comprehend the discursive, conversational nature of writing and the ways they can engage, arrange, and put forth new ideas, their curiosity about the world kicks in. At the same time, I work to provide students with the tools they need to enter into that new frontier.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
First, I ask students what matters to them about their writing. The next step depends on the topic or prompt, but I like to sit down and really explore the topic with the student. What would happen to the world if everyone shared a view like yours? How could this topic change someone's life? Who cares about this topic? Working together with the student to brainstorm the importance of writing (in general and topically) usually helps bring forth motivation and curiosity. Additionally, sometimes students aren't motivated because they feel they "aren't writers." When this happens, I try to provide students with a more complete understanding of writing as a skill.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
This would largely depend on the skill or concept. Asking questions, brainstorming, asking more questions, and outlining never hurt!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Working on this can be so frustrating for students! I try to find the ways in which students connect with their material. I might ask students to try on a few different reading strategies (close reading and/or distilling larger paragraphs) before moving forward.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
From my experience, students love thinking about the world around them. For some reason, many students think of writing as something disconnected from the real world, as nothing more than a required subject. When I start working with a student, I try to emphasize critical thinking before anything else. I often invite students to perform a basic rhetorical analysis on texts that matter to them.