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Sierra

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With over ten years of tutoring and teaching experience and multiple advanced degrees, I am the ideal candidate to help students succeed in any academic environment. My educational background includes in-depth study in politics, philosophy, art history, and practical communication (public speaking and performing arts). Specifically, I have an MA in Performance Studies from New York University, an MA in Rhetorical Studies from Hofstra University, and a BA in Political Science (with an emphasis in international development and a philosophy minor).

I have taught students of all age levels in public, private, and one-on-one settings. Some of my past experiences include: peer-tutoring throughout high school and my undergraduate education, substitute teaching English, history, government, speech/debate, and drama in a secondary school, organizing and teaching acting and technical theatre at a performing arts summer camp, teaching English, reading comprehension, and writing to gifted/advanced 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students, and assistant coaching collegiate level speech and debate. It is most certainly apparent that my favorite subjects to tutor are writing, public speaking/debate, and performing arts.

I want to work to promote a love of art and culture in my students as I am also a working artist. I act, write poetry, create conceptional performance art, and provide curatorial assistance to a gallery in North Brooklyn. You can be assured that any student I work with will cultivate writing, comprehension, and critical thinking skills that will serve them well throughout their academic and professional lives.

Sierra’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Brigham Young University-Provo - Bachelors, Political Science and Government

Graduate Degree: New York University - Masters, Performance Studies

Hobbies

Theatre, art, film, photography, dancing

Tutoring Subjects

ACT Writing

American Literature

Civics

College English

College Essays

College Level American Literature

Comparative Literature

Creative Writing

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

Gifted

Government

High School English

High School Level American Literature

Homework Support

Introduction to Poetry

Literature

Other

Philosophy

Political Science

Public Speaking

Reading

Social Sciences

Social studies

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Summer

World Religions

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Every student is different and I believe any effective teacher needs to listen to the needs and wants of their students and be able to adjust their style and methods accordingly. Flexibility and creativity rule the day.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I would take a little bit of time to introduce myself and get to know the student. Not only personally (asking about hobbies or other interests) but as a scholar. How do they feel about school or the subject I am helping them with? What are their goals? Their passions? I would also try and evaluate their learning style and discuss strategies they may want to explore.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

If you can get a student excited about a topic, whether by connecting it to things they already care about or showing how the subject can help them achieve their goals, etc., they will be more than willing to explore their new knowledge independently.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I think feedback is very important for maintaining motivation. By providing praise for achievements they have made and pointing out places for improvement, you help the student recognize their own progress.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I would find a different way to teach them the skill or concept. Maybe a hands-on approach would be more effective. Maybe there is a YouTube video that illustrates the concept better. Looking for other enrichment opportunities will help the student connect to the concept in ways that work for them.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

First, emphasize that speed isn't everything. Reading slower is a basic way to increase comprehension. Second, invite the student to read more. The more practice a student has the more proficient they will become. Finally, by making sure I have an honest and open dialogue with a student we can work together to overcome whatever specific obstacle is in his/her way.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

The most successful strategy I have found is allowing students to discover their own inherent abilities.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

If you can find a way to connect a topic to something that the student already has an interest in then they will potentially be more open to focusing their energies on it. For example, using illustrative examples from a favorite movie or TV show or providing an opportunity for outside enrichment like visiting a museum or seeing a play.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

You can allow them the opportunity to teach you (or another peer or a parent) the topic. If a student can explain a concept in their words then that means they usually understand it well.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

You build confidence by providing feedback, pointing out the student’s strengths, and constantly reminding them of their personal positive progress.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

This requires a two-fold strategy. 1) By asking the student and maintaining an open and honest communication channel and 2) tracking the student's progress through various quantitative and qualitative methods.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

A tutor and a student should be constantly co-creating workable strategies for progress. I will continue to sound like a broken record on this point, but a tutor must be a flexible and creative problem solver.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I usually make sure we have paper and writing tools, any books/materials the student requires for the specific task they are working on, and a computer with a reliable internet connection.