I was born and raised in the North Hills of Pittsburgh. In 2009, I graduated with honors from North Allegheny Senior High School and then studied education at Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. In August of 2018, I completed my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Gannon University. I am certified to teach Early Childhood Education (PreK-4), Grades 5-6 (all subjects), Special Education (PreK-8), Social Studies (7-8) and Middle School English and Math (6-9). I have experience with children ranging from grades PreK-8.
Currently, I teach at Seneca Valley Middle School in Harmony, PA. I teach learning support classes in the resource room setting for Reading, English, and Math. I also teach a support study hall which focuses on developing organizational, study, and social skills. I support students through co-taught inclusion classes for Science and Social Studies. My eighth grade students have severe specific learning disabilities in the areas of reading, writing, and math. Many of them also have speech and language needs as well as emotional/behavioral needs. My aim is to provide the best quality education possible and help my students grow by collaborating with the families and other professional and support staff. I am certified to administer both the PSSA and PASA tests.
I have also taught at Eden Christian Academy, a private non-denominational Christian school in Wexford, PA. I specialized in 3rd Grade Language Arts and Writing; however, I also taught Reading, Spelling, Science, Social Studies, Handwriting, and Bible. The students I have worked with throughout my experiences have presented needs such as ADD/ADHD, OCD, anxiety, autism (ranging from mild to severe), Down's syndrome, mild vision and hearing impairments, and giftedness.
I love teaching because of the influence, impact, and importance education has on a child's life. To me, serving in a role where I can partner with families and colleagues in order to make something "click" for a child, and to be able to rejoice in those small victories, is what teaching is all about.
Outside of school, I enjoy reading, making crafts, and spending time with loved ones. To relax, I like taking strolls around the neighborhood or going to the spa.
I look forward to speaking with you and providing any additional information which might be helpful to you. Thank you for your consideration!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Westminster College - Bachelors, Early childhood education and special education
Graduate Degree: Gannon University - Current Grad Student, Curriculum and Instruction
Cooking, reading, volunteering with church, taking barre classes, spending time with family and friends
Elementary School Math
High School English
Middle School English
Middle School Reading
Study Skills and Organization
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, I will ask the student to complete some surveys - both to share information about their personal interests and their thoughts regarding the specific content area(s) of focus. In addition, we likely will complete some diagnostic assessments in order for me to see the student's present level of performance as well as needs of growth. I would wrap up with a review game specific to the content area or topic.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I strive to help my students see the importance and value of the content they are learning by establishing connections with their world - whether it is a connection to a personal experience or something related to a familiar book or movie. By providing context for my students, they are able to build upon their prior knowledge base. In addition, I model useful strategies and offer plenty of opportunities for the students to practice with my support. Ultimately, the students will be able to assess which strategy to use in each scenario so that he/she may independently apply the best strategy in a given situation. I encourage independence by using focus questions to guide the learning for each session and by asking students to "use their resources" (reading the directions, using self-talk, or brainstorming possible solutions).
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Each tutoring session is guided by a focus question. This question incorporates the key concept or essential "take-away" for the session. Introducing this focus question at the beginning of the session allows me to informally assess the student's background knowledge. Concluding the session with the same question provides an opportunity to see what the student has retained throughout the session. I also use "exit tickets" as formative assessments or ask the child how he/she would describe the concept to a younger student. Using review games, hands-on application activities, and practice tests are also helpful tools.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I am a firm believer in the growth-mindset. My praise and encouragement focus on the child's effort, use of strategies, or motivation rather than vague compliments. By maintaining data from earlier sessions, I can document progress to show the student and family how far the student has come in a given period of time. I strive to show my students that I also make mistakes and am a lifelong learner.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe: -Every child comes to school with a story to share. -Children are capable of great successes if they are provided with the necessary social and educational skills. -Each child learns in his or her own unique way. -Enthusiasm and positivity are contagious. My tutoring sessions: -Provide an organized and encouraging learning atmosphere. -Clearly demonstrates what I expect from the students and what they can expect from me. -Offer an environment where my students feel secure enough to take the risks necessary to explore and grow. -Afford each child the attention and support he or she needs to succeed. -Provide activities that make content more accessible to students.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
First of all, it is important to establish a rapport between the student and myself. I do so by demonstrating an interest in the child's likes and dislikes. I want to know how he/she views school and what intrigues him/her outside of school. I also aim to demonstrate how I learn through mistakes to show students that mistakes are proof that you're learning something new. In addition, incorporating rewards like game time or an activity selected by the student can be a great motivational tool.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
For students struggling with reading comprehension, it is essential to find readings that are interesting and enjoyable to the student which are also at the student's instructional reading level. If a passage is too difficult, the student will likely lose focus or motivation. I utilize strategies such as previewing the text and the comprehension questions, think alouds (where I model how I approach a text), question dice (where the students roll a question to focus on), restating the question, and highlighting the section of the text where the answers can be found or supported.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I vary the materials utilized in tutoring sessions, however you can expect that I may use the following materials: -surveys -worksheets -highlighters -focus folders -review games -exit tickets -manipulatives -educational games or apps on an iPhone/iPad.