Coming from a family of teachers, you could say education runs in my blood. I grew up seeing the highs and lows a life in education can bring, and those experiences shaped me before I even taught my first lesson. At the heart of my educational philosophy is an idea often quoted to me by my father: Education hasn't changed since Socrates. It's about relationships. I approach every day of instruction with this in mind. Only through cultivating these relationships and understanding our students can we truly impact their lives. Without these bonds, meaningful learning simply isn't possible.
Of course, if we truly care about our students, we must be properly equipped to help prepare them for the educational standards they must meet, and more importantly, life after high school. I love English; the big questions it grapples with, its real world application, and the creativity it inspires in students. I strive to have that passion show every time I teach, as I truly believe in the importance of what I share. I do my best to ensure every student who comes through my door (or screen!) not only meets the standards, but learns to appreciate English as well.
Undergraduate Degree: James Madison University - Bachelors, English
Graduate Degree: James Madison University - Masters, Education
I enjoy all things English and soccer related. When I'm not reading, writing, or doing soccer related I enjoy hanging out with friends, playing guitar, and binge watching Netflix.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy centers on answering the greater Socratic questions surrounding English. Personally, I do not see it as enough that my students know their prepositions from their personification. Such rote memorization is important of course, but it is my hope that through my instruction they will develop reasoning and critical thinking skills that they can utilize in their personal and professional lives. I want to build life long learners and lovers of English.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
While it is important to maintain personal and professional distance, it is important I get to know my students so I may better tutor them. I would ask my student to answer several personal questions about themselves and give them a chance to share what it is in particular they feel they are struggling with. After that I would give a few baseline assessment questions to get an idea of how I can best assist my students.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
First and foremost students must have a solid understanding of basic English skills and concepts. Without that mastery focusing on more advanced topics is simply building on a foundation of sand. Once that is established I would help my student understand the value and function of English in their daily lives. Fostering independent learners is all about knowing how to show your students the utility of the skills you are teaching them. Only then can they develop the desire to learn independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Going off my previous answer, helping students stay engaged is about getting them to focus on the journey of learning, not the destination of a grade. The beautiful thing about English is that everyone is continuously learning about it. Having students understand that we are all on an ongoing journey to master English can be a powerful realization.