I discovered my passion for tutoring when I took a job at a tutoring center in high school, and I've been growing as an educator and honing my craft ever since. I've enjoyed tutoring in a college writing lab, a K-5 reading center, various tutoring companies and school programs, as a volunteer, and as the coordinator of a community college tutoring program. My love of tutoring, particularly in the areas of reading, writing, and critical thinking, led me to pursue my MS in Education with an emphasis in reading instruction. I teach English, Reading, and academic skills at the community college level, so I am able to integrate my experience and knowledge from my studies and years as an educator to assess individual needs, learning preferences, and continually develop strategic instructional strategies for my students.
My greatest joy as an educator is seeing a student gain confidence in his/her abilities. It is my motivation to never stop improving myself as a tutor. I want my students to do more than just get better grades on tests, pass benchmarks, or get a good grade on an essay; I want them to have the strong metacognitive skills, critical communication abilities, and content knowledge that will allow them to succeed in the classroom and beyond. I use a diagnostic-prescriptive style where I continually assess students' strengths, needs, and growth to determine and adapt my instruction. I assess measurable goals, but also teach attitudes and skills that will serve students throughout their academic careers. Learning is a complex and holistic process, so I approach it as such in order to better serve students.
Undergraduate Degree: California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo - Bachelors, English
Graduate Degree: California State University-Fullerton - Masters, Education with an emphasis in reading instruction
Reading, cooking, needlework, hiking, camping, singing
ACCUPLACER Elementary Algebra
ACCUPLACER Reading Comprehension
ACCUPLACER Sentence Skills
AP German Language and Culture
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is that it is my job to guide students from the skills and knowledge they already possess to the abilities and goals that are beyond their reach. I do this through supporting them with the skills and strategies they need to slowly master more and more difficult challenges, while I slowly pull back my support until students can work independently at a higher level than they started.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Before a first session, I check in with students or parents to find out what they feel their goals and needs are for tutoring. I use this information to choose assessments that will teach me about a student's strengths, needs, self-concept, motivation, and ability level. By using effective, appropriate assessments in the first session, I can make better, more informed overall goals and lesson plans in subsequent sessions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Almost every instructional strategy I use is geared toward helping students become independent learners, but a very effective strategy I use constantly is scaffolding. Scaffolding is the idea of the tutor working as the support system a student needs to be able to work just above where he/she could comfortably work independently. At this level, I provide various types of support and help to teach the student skills, knowledge, and strategies necessary for harder work, and then slowly pull away that support until he/she can do the work independently. This process not only helps a student get through one test or one piece of homework, but also teaches the student how to approach difficult tasks or problems in any situation.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
In most tutoring scenarios, I don't believe that using external means of motivation is particularly helpful to nurturing a love of learning and ability to work independently in students. I prefer to give students the tools to unlock their own intrinsic motivation. Examples of this include giving positive feedback whenever possible, helping students set themselves up with habits that improve concentration and focus, and talking with students about what to do when they are tired, frustrated, bored, etc. while trying to learn.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Whenever a student has difficulty with a skill or concept, I backtrack to see what the underlying cause(s) of that difficulty may be. I check the student's understanding of background skills and concepts necessary to the new skill or concepts through open-ended questions, and help the student fill in any gaps in knowledge or abilities before returning back to the new concept. Additionally, I try to have multiple ways of presenting any skill or concept, and would work to find the instructional method that would best suit the particular learner I was working with.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When students struggle with reading comprehension, I assess how they are doing with all the skills and knowledge they need in order to devote mental time and space to comprehending a text. If a student were still struggling to pronounce unfamiliar words, we would work on word-solving strategies. If a student seems to have trouble with fluency, we would practice reading at a good pace with prosody. Whatever the various other needs that might be informing a student's comprehension struggles, I would model good comprehension strategies through read-alouds and paired reading with the student. Many students don't naturally realize they need to think about their own thinking when they read. Checking reactions to the text, learning to self-monitor comprehension, and making and checking predictions are all cognitive strategies that many students don't naturally acquire. By modeling them for the student, asking the student questions which teach him/her comprehension strategies, and addressing other reading issues during the guided reading process, I work to help the student synthesize all the skills and knowledge needed to comprehend a text well.