I have spent much of my life trying to amass materials for my own self-gain, and this process has ultimately left me feeling emotionally empty. Last spring, as I was on a ten-day silent meditation retreat, I realized on a penetratingly deep level that in order to glean meaning from life, I need to serve others. I am a tutor not only because I have excellent test scores and did well in school. My goal is to contribute to the educations of those seeking help because I possess a lifelong passion for learning.
Since walking age, I’ve insisted upon spending as much time in the wilderness as possible. Along the way I’ve certainly cultivated the skills and experience of an outdoorsman; but more importantly, I’ve benefitted directly from the therapeutic value that intentional time spent in nature affords. My 2013 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail offered the most concentrated period of emotional and spiritual growth I’ve experienced to date. The walk from Georgia to Maine took six-and-a-half months and spanned over 2,100 miles. My immersion in the woods allowed a quietude in my mind that served as a lens through which to better view the deeply-ingrained inner workings of my own psyche. been planning it mentally and logistically for years in advance) and follow through with it, despite numerous challenges.
While studying abroad in Brazil in college, I volunteered at three different sites throughout the city of Salvador. During this time, I taught English and guitar to impoverished children from slums and worked at an orphanage with children infected by the HIV virus. I additionally worked gainfully in Thailand last year teaching children the English language. Though not directly clinical in nature, these experiences have provided me with excellent interpersonal skills, working with individuals and in groups. Furthermore, they have offered perspectives of people enduring hardship or living in manners vastly different from my own.
Between semesters while in college, I worked at a summer camp unique in that it offered more than the standard canoeing, hiking, and crafts. This particular summer camp is more of an experiment in community, offering ideas and activities for children to cultivate self-awareness, actively practice love for one another, and ponder philosophical ideas relating to our physical world as well as the metaphysical. My program directors urged me to examine myself and notice how I affected my community; as a counselor, I reflected the same intention onto my campers. I was solely responsible for a cabin of six boys and designed programs for the community of campers at large. I also formally led my campers on week-long backpacking trips. These activities and experiences pushed campers to discover their emotional selves and express their honest truths within a group setting.
I currently live in Louisville and am starting a Master's degree in Wilderness Therapy at Naropa in the fall. I spend my time hiking, gardening, singing, reading, and dancing until I fall over.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Virginia-Main Campus - Bachelors, English
Graduate Degree: Naropa University - Current Grad Student, Transpersonal Counseling Psychology
SAT Writing: 730
GRE Verbal: 162
GRE Analytical Writing: 6
hiking, dancing, gardening, music, playing guitar, reading, cooking, sports
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
9th Grade Reading
9th Grade Writing
College Application Essays
College Level American Literature
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
The most important aspect of teaching is direct verbal communication with the student. My goal is not to provide my students with the correct answers; rather, I offer techniques to allow the student to succeed independently. I incorporate creativity and hands-on learning into my lessons. Although the student ideally produces a polished product, the process of creating that product deserves more importance than the product itself.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would ask the student about their own interests and hobbies in order to get to know them better. I would also discuss my own interests so that we could find common ground and general rapport before jumping right into tutoring. I would then ask the student what they are most excited about in school and what they want the most help with. We could then outline some goals together and begin working on the most effective learning techniques to reach those goals. Each student is different, and I tailor my approach individually.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help students learn independently by offering techniques to succeed rather than simply providing answers. I am a process-based tutor. Although scoring highly on an assessment is important, I believe the process and tools by which a student attains that high score are of utmost importance.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I bring passion and excitement to all of my lessons, and showing that I am motivated will help keep the student's motivation high. Additionally, I use creative and relevant lesson plans rather than simply reading out of a textbook. It is important for a student to be able to apply the learning material to his or her own life in a practical and engaging way.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student seems to hit a wall, I believe it is important to temporarily move on and then come back once their head is clearer. If a student is simply struggling but still has mental strength left to try to master a concept, I would begin to teach it from a different angle, using real-life examples and other approaches until the student can teach me the concept back. I believe patience is key in these situations.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I go through each sentence of a reading passage with a struggling student and ask them to write down the main idea. Once completed, the student has, in their own words, a list of the main ideas of each sentence from the entire passage. This helps break the concepts of a passage down and allows for deep accessibility for a struggling student.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find I am most successful when I can establish a friendly relationship with a student. It is important for the student to want to be tutoring with me. I try to relate to my students on a personal level rather than establish a hierarchy or separation between tutor and student.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would apply the subject matter to their lives. I would tell a relevant story about my own life. I would explain to them how the subject matter could be useful to them in their day-to-day life. I would integrate fun games rather than just going over information.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
If a student truly understands the material, they should be able to teach it back to me. We would switch roles to assess the student's level of understanding. Also, simple observation of a student trying to solve subsequent problems and active discussions about the student's process offer excellent assessments of a student's understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build confidence by using encouraging statements and always offering praise. I am consistently able to find things that the student does correctly rather than reprimand or point out what the student cannot grasp. I use patient nudging if a student offers an incorrect answer or is struggling, and make sure to stick with them until they can get it right on their own.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I create an initial mental evaluation of a student simply by meeting with them and looking over their previous work. Another way to evaluate a student's needs is by speaking with their parents. However, I prefer to observe my students directly, and make note of areas that they excel in or areas in need of improvement. Once I take note of these specific areas, I focus my energy on improving those specific areas with my students.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
All of my students have different needs, and I do not employ one particular style for all of my students. After assessing a students needs, I change my style to fit their particular learning style. For example, some students prefer conventional classroom work and can master concepts as they are taught from a textbook. Other students need games or real-life scenarios to apply their learning to. I can adapt to any learning style.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I have used music, video clips, board games, flashcards, and art supplies. I am always looking for new ways to work with students as well.