A selfless teacher/tutor/writer who believes that in life we are not promised a life free of hardship, challenges and storms but we are promised peace in the middle of it all. A dedicated and focused teaching professional committed to providing a well balanced and engaging learning environment. Ability to be a team player and resolve problems and conflicts professionally. Proficient at tailoring lesson plans to incorporate students' diverse interests, and capture their attention and imagination.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Hartford - Bachelors, English
Graduate Degree: Montclair State University - Masters, Pedagogy and Teaching
Reading, hiking, fishing, travel, music, culture, history, sports, politics.
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know the student. Use their prior knowledge. Get to know their interests. See what their strengths and weaknesses are within the respected subject. Answer any concerns they may have. Create a democratic environment and equitable teaching environment, and be socio-culturally conscious.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I believe that one of the prerequisites of independent learning is the ability to work on your own, with minimal direction and with confidence. This includes a sense of how to manage one's own learning as well as how to respond to difficulties or challenges. In such a situation, it is necessary that the teacher or tutor takes a back seat. After all, how can a student be independent if their teacher or tutor is taking the major role in their learning? I would set up activities in which students are given a framework within which they have to make various choices. This is akin to a football manager developing a formation and then allowing the players to express themselves within that formation. By providing a structure, you are setting the boundaries for the learning and situating it somewhere specific inside the vast mass of all that is possible. By giving pupils options and choices within that framework, I would be encouraging them to make decisions and to be independent. Formative feedback. This is feedback which gives students a clear sense of what they need to do to improve. For example: “In your next report, you should aim to begin the analysis earlier so as to avoid too many passages of description.” Secondly, I would use effective formative feedback, which encourages students to be independent because it allows them to take control of their own learning. If they know what they need to do to improve, they are in a position to make those improvements, therefore acting independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
There are many ways in we can motivate our students. Here are some of the ways I would increase student motivation. Praise students, expect excellence, use a variety of teaching methods that would cater to all types of learners. Hand over some control. Relate lessons to students.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would identify the lack of understanding and determine whether or not we simply need to review or take a fresh approach to the concept to be learned. Sometimes you just have to go back to basics.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I am a big supporter of metacognition. It can be defined as "thinking about thinking." Good readers use metacognitive strategies to think about and have control over their reading. Graphic and semantic organizers are also effective. Answering and generating questions. Modeling or demonstrating, how to apply the strategy, usually by "thinking aloud" while reading the text that the students are using. Guided practice is also a plus. I would guide and assist students as they learn how and when to apply the strategy. Application. I would help students practice the strategy until they can apply it independently.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Think-pair-share is a simple activity I used in the past, and I found it to be very effective in small group or classroom. It gives students time to think and write a few points or statements about a topic, turn to their neighbor for a short discussion, and then share the results with the rest of the class or with a small group. In a 1:1 setting, writing activities of many kinds offer students the opportunity to think about and process information.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
It can be great to help students get motivated, but at the end of the day they need to be able to generate their own motivation. I would help students to find their own personal reasons for doing classwork and working hard; whether because they find material interesting, want to go to college, or just love to learn, it is one of the most powerful gifts you can give them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
From my teaching experience, I learned that each person learns differently. The old adage "What works for some may not work for others" is a crucial point to remember. As a tutor, I have the advantage over instructors of being able to individualize your student's style of learning.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I would try not to correct every single thing the student says wrong. I don't like to interrupt the student when they are talking to correct them -- this will harm their confidence, not boost it. I would set attainable goals from the start of the year. This is a surefire way for students to see how much they have grown. Lastly, I would give students the opportunity to choose what they learn. This will help them build their self-worth.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would use formative and summative types of assessment, which gives students immediate feedback. They also allow me to immediately intervene, to change course when assessments show that a particular lesson or strategy isn't working for a student, or to offer new challenges for students who've mastered a concept or skill.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Before the lesson, I would pre-teach difficult vocabulary and concepts or state the objective, providing a reason for listening. Teach the mental activities involved in listening.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Education is a path to empowerment. Those who possess and apply knowledge tend to flourish; those who lack it tend to suffer. A strong education provides an individual with the skills to pursue and achieve his dreams regardless of whether that dream is additional schooling, a better job, or a newfound perspective. Teachers play an undeniably vital role in the educational process. We are the ones on the front lines; we are the ones who must help students develop the necessary tools and skills. Without effective teaching, the process of learning grinds to a halt. Effective teaching is comprised of several ingredients. A great teacher obviously must have extensive knowledge in his content area; this knowledge serves as the foundation of instruction. Yet, an effective educator must possess more than content expertise. The job of the teacher, after all, is to help students acquire valuable skills. In order to learn efficiently, students must be first engaged and motivated. To promote student engagement, a teacher must demonstrate passion and energy; this, along with mastery of subject matter, lets the students know that they are working with someone who can both answer their questions and hold their attention. Teachers who teach with creativity and passion have the ability to inspire a sense of self-efficacy in students; I consider myself to be exactly that kind of educator. Powerful teaching also requires the use of varied pedagogical tactics in order to meet the educational needs of all learners. Instruction must often be differentiated in order to ensure that all students are adequately engaged and challenged. To that end, a teacher must be able to effectively utilize methods such as small group discussion, whole class discussion, presentation, lecture, and guided practice. Those methods of instruction can be optimized through the use of educational technology platforms. In my current job, all teachers utilize a learning management system; this allows for centralized digital posting of syllabi, handouts, supplemental reading, and multimedia links. Tools like that engage the learning process to operate more efficiently. Excellent instruction also involves extensive collaboration between teachers and students, as well as between colleagues. Through the years, I have found fellow department members to be excellent sources of ideas, strategies, and inspiration. I have worked with them to share best practices. Similarly, I believe that teachers must work with and support students; outstanding education requires effective communication between the two. A teacher must show that he cares about more than just a student.