For most of primary and secondary school, I attended an international school in Indonesia where my parents worked. I then completed my Bachelor of Arts at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA and my PhD in English Literature with a concentration in Religion and Literature at Baylor University in Waco, TX. Though I have been teaching at the college level for a number of years now, I often miss the one-on-one interactions that I had with students in the Writing Center. In addition, I do not want to lose my ability to relate to and to teach younger students (such as those in high school). I am fortunate to belong to a family that is passionate about education, as some of my great-grandparents, both grandmothers, numerous great-aunts, aunts, uncles, both parents and a sibling work in some way with schools and universities around the world. Working with Varsity Tutors offers me a chance to maintain my teaching and tutoring skills, to keep my knowledge of literature fresh, and to help students achieve the goals they set for themselves. When I am not tutoring, teaching, or researching, I love to travel, scuba dive, and dabble in a number of creative outlets - movie making, knitting, baking, scrap-booking, quilting, and fiction writing.
Point Loma Nazarene University - Bachelors, Literature
Baylor University - PhD, English
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that writing and reading are skills that students should master so that they can apply them elsewhere by themselves. In addition, students learn best by doing. A lesson should start with a demonstration or example, time for questions, a chance for the student to practice what is discussed, time for more questions, and an assignment that the tutor and student agree to work on before the next meeting.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During a first session with a student, I would try to determine their current level of skill, their overall goals for the individual session and for tutoring in general, and the students' individual learning style.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students best become independent learners when they are given the opportunity to learn about subjects that interest them via perspectives, methods, and mediums that interest them.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Students should stay motivated by being given reasonable yet challenging tasks, especially when they understand the reasons behind given assignments and the benefits derived from completing them. When possible, tasks should be oriented towards an overall goal that will grant students a sense of accomplishment.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When students have difficulties with skills or concepts, I break down the skill into steps or the concept into component parts and work on approaching the explanation with analogy or an entirely new angle.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Students who struggle with reading comprehension should be given things to practice reading that actually interest them. The best way to increase reading comprehension is to read more often -- not starting at a level where reading is a struggle, but starting at a level where students can understand well enough to be immersed in a story or informational essay because they are interested.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When I start to work with a student, I have found the best strategy to be getting to know a student and tailoring the subjects of reading or writing assignments to their particular interests. Working together with a student to make a plan also grants them ownership of their own studies and encourages them to participate fully.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Students can get excited about or engaged with a subject they are struggling in when they discover the intersections of their own interests and the subject itself. For instance, a student struggling with reading but interested in sports might enjoy reading about the history of sports, the business aspect of running sports, famous athletes, etc.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
To make sure a student understands the material, I would discuss the material with the student asking a number of open ended questions; first, to judge whether they understood the content, and secondly, to determine whether they are able to make connections between the content and their own lives or interests.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Corrections and assessments should always begin with praise, particularly if the student has shown improvement. In addition, students should be able to see, over a number of tutoring sessions, their own improvement. For instance, something that is a challenge in early June might be reintroduced in late July so that the student can see how much easier it is after they have developed their own skills.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Student's needs should be evaluated based on their current skill level and their end goals. The tutor and student should work together to move toward those end goals. Current skill level can be determined by the tutor's initial assessment when first meeting the student. In tutoring writing, this might mean asking for a writing sample. In tutoring reading, this might mean asking the student to read a short passage and then asking questions to determine reading comprehension.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Tutoring should be adapted to students' needs not only by addressing students' current rather than ideal skill levels, but also by tailoring reading and writing projects to their interests, working toward goals that the student sets for themselves, and repeatedly checking and reassessing to determine whether or not the student is learning in the styles that the tutor and student are using together.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
During a tutoring session I use a computer or tablet, word processor, pencil/pen and paper, books, and occasional visual aids such as dominos and photographs.