I'm an instructor with 5+ years of teaching and tutoring experience. I'm enthusiastic about helping students meet their own goals and develop useful skills. I began tutoring as an undergraduate, for history, French, German, and Latin. I also have extensive experience editing English essays (my own, those of my peers, and those of my students.) I spend a lot of time thinking about these subjects, and about how to help others understand them better.
When I'm not doing academic work, I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and exploring on my bicycle. I attempt to bring the same creativity and adventurousness to tutoring as I do to these pursuits.
Undergraduate Degree: Messiah College - Bachelors, History and German
Graduate Degree: Fordham University - Current Grad Student, History
Cycling, trying new recipes, and going to the opera
Elementary School Reading
High School English
What is your teaching philosophy?
I want students to see learning as a shared endeavor.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Clarify what the student's goals are, both for the particular session, and for the course/exam that the session is designed to help with. I'd then ask for the student's perceptions of what their chief struggles are so that I could help them with their main learning priorities.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By helping them practice useful skill sets so that they can become (for example) more confident editors of their own work, or more skilled at close, careful reading of a text.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
By asking the student to prioritize skills they'd like to practice and by breaking down large goals into small, concrete tasks.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try a different method of explanation; think of other contexts in which the student might encounter the concept, or practice the skill; as a final resort, suggest that the student work with another tutor who might find a way of explaining that clicks better for them.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Breaking down a passage into discrete parts encouraging students to take their time, to read closely for ideas, rather than jumping to conclusions. Also, acknowledging that reading can often be hard work, especially when dealing with texts from unfamiliar historical or cultural contexts. That isn't a reflection on the reader!
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find it very helpful to have students articulate both their own goals, and their own difficulties. This gives me a sense of where they are, and where they want to be. Also, students have told me that communicating these things has helped clarify their own thinking about them.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Showing them examples of how they might use the skills they're working to acquire, whether that's ordering ice cream in German, or enjoying (rather than slogging through) a nineteenth-century novel. I'm also a firm believer in breaking a subject down into its component parts. Organizing a paragraph is much less scary than writing an entire essay.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I'd ask them to explain it to me or to correct the explanation offered in a textbook or prompt!
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Affirming what they've already mastered and affirming the effort they're investing in developing new skills.