Hello! I've spent the majority of my professional life teaching -- as a classroom teacher, as substitute teacher, a special education paraprofessional and as a theatre teaching artist. I'm also a playwright and work for a nonprofit arts center in downtown Hartford.
I'm passionate about education, and I love the experience of one-on-one teaching. It's my way of giving back to the incredible teachers that shaped my childhood and offered me the doors to the professional experiences I've been fortunate enough to have.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Louisiana at Lafayette - Bachelors, Theatre - Arts Administration
Playwriting, Reading, Sci-Fi, Hiking, Camping, Cooking
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
5th Grade Math
5th Grade Reading
6th Grade Math
6th Grade Reading
6th Grade Writing
7th Grade Math
7th Grade Reading
7th Grade Writing
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Writing
9th Grade Reading
9th Grade Writing
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that great learning happens when a student feels supported and empowered. Creating a safe space to learn and creating a space that's supportive of a student's learning style and strengths make great learning a reality. Good teaching begins with the student -- knowing where they are, and teaching to that place.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
We'll begin with some conversation about their educational experience as a whole. Find out their goals for learning, the things they feel confident about, and the things they feel less confident about. We'll also talk about what they like outside the classroom. Teaching towards a passion area, like the arts or some hobby, makes learning more personal and more powerful. We can also discuss how they learn best: does talking help, are they better with pictures, do we need to pursue tactile ways to learn concepts? Altogether, the first session will be about crafting the most personal learning environment for the student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
It's all about teaching process over product. It's about incorporating into the learning experience the "how and whys" of getting to the answer. It's about focusing on building a toolbox of critical thinking skills, regardless of the lesson. By empowering students with the confidence that they "know what they're doing," you give students the tools to learn on their own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
First, it's about defining success and progress. Mastering portions of a skill, improving from lesson to lesson, and grasping one part of something they didn't grasp before. These are all successes. Focusing on that keeps the moving toward the goal. It's also about finding ways to connect their learning to their life. Many students think that school and their life are completely disconnected, but if you can show a student how the thing they're doing in the lesson impacts their world (or can be found in the context of their world), they stay engaged.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I'd begin by having them take me, step by step, through their process as it stands. If we can find the weak link or the faulty step, we can better address the difficulty. Then it's about finding another way in. Not every student learns the same way. So trying different approaches to the problem, visualizing it in a new way or contextualizing it differently, might crack the code for them.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
One of the first things I like to do with students is to jointly set goals. I set some goals, they set some goals and we create some shared goals. That gives us something to work towards, and it helps both of understand where we're coming from and what we want out of the process. I also have new students spend time explaining to me how they're processing their information and their learning -- how are you getting to your result, how do you approach this kind of question, how do you organize information. This helps me speak their "learning language." It makes our time more productive.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I encountered this a lot with my middle school math students. What always worked for me was connecting concepts to the things they're interested in. If we were trying to teach them percentages, we'd center our practice work on things they cared about instead of generic "I went to the grocery store and bought apples." We'd also try to show real world applications for things. Getting students to see that this concept they were struggling with had real world uses made them put up with the fight a little more.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
We do what I'd call a "step by step." I ask the student to take me through the process of solving or answering the problem. Basically "teach it back to me." This focuses on process over product, and demonstrates that the student knows the how and why of the solution.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Redefine success and progress. Focusing on where improvements are happening -- even small ones -- is important. Making sure a student knows that overall mastery isn't the only measure of success and worth. Making the journey valuable.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I locate problem spots through the "step by step" approach -- basically, having the student teach the concept back to me. That way, we can see where the weak links are in process, and we can go from there. It's also about listening. Listening to how they talk about their work, their success, that particular subject. Hearing where they are helps focus the work.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
You try new techniques until you find one that fits. I try to stay mindful of learning styles and which ones work best for a student. If we hit a wall, we try another.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
It depends on the lesson. I'm very pro-Internet tools. There are tons of online resources for games and exercises that focus on certain skills. And students now really respond to Internet learning. I'll make paper tools of my own, or we'll sometimes focus on more arts-based experiences to aid learning. I'm very much open to a flexible, creative learning space that uses whatever works for the student.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I'd break it down into individual comprehension skills. We'd take a passage and just work on what makes sense and what doesn't make sense. Make the connections (personal, to other texts, to the world). We'd take a passage and just focus on making inferences from it. By isolating the comprehension skills, we can see where the issues are and work on them individually.