One of my favorite teachers when I was in high school was a history teacher that I had my sophomore year. He wasn't afraid to be goofy, he was able to gain the respect of his students, and he made history interesting by relating it to his students lives. He is what inspired me to become a social studies teacher. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater with a major in History and a degree in Secondary Education. I am a nerd for history and social studies in general, and I take every opportunity that I can to learn as much as I can about any topic that interests me. My favorite part about teachings is building a positive rapport with my students because it helps me relate material to their lives and builds a strong level of respect between the teacher and the student. I tutor many different subjects in social studies, such as Social Studies (broad field), US History, and Geography. I also tutor other subjects such as English and Writing.
To me, it is so important to have fun while learning. If a student does not have fun or make their learning interesting, it become rote and mechanical. I try my hardest to get to know my students and build a rapport with them in order to relate the material to their own lives, which makes it more meaningful to them. Building a rapport with a student also helps them become comfortable in a setting. It is vital that a student feel comfortable in their education environment because when a student feels comfortable they will be more inclined to be engaged in learning and express their interests.
I love sports, especially Lacrosse, Football, and Baseball. I have a very adventurous attitude, so I enjoy saltwater fishing, longboarding, surfing, hiking, kayaking and anything outdoors. I am also very musical, and I play the electric bass and the ever popular ukulele.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater - Bachelors, History
State Certified Teacher
Sports, Fishing, Longboarding, Surfing, Electric Bass, Ukulele
10th Grade Reading
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
6th Grade Reading
6th Grade Writing
7th Grade Reading
7th Grade Writing
8th Grade Reading
8th Grade Writing
9th Grade Reading
9th Grade Writing
CLEP History of the United States I
CLEP History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present
CLEP Social Sciences and History
College Level American History
College World History
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
High School World History
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Student wellbeing, motivation, and achievement are at the forefront of my teaching, and the three are interrelated. A student should always feel safe and comfortable in a learning atmosphere. The teacher should make known the rules and expectations, so that all students should know what is expected of them and how they are expected to behave. "Respect for oneself and others," is always a rule in my classroom. When this is achieved, students will not only feel safe, they will feel comfortable in engaging in class, and most importantly, being themselves. When a student can express their self, they are more likely to be positively motivated to engage in activities. Students also become more motivated to engage in material when the material becomes relevant to their own lives. Not only does this method help them relate to the topic, but also it helps them see the material through their own lens as they relate the material to their own personal experiences, making it more meaningful to them and helping them to make connections. Engaging in meaningful learning and making these connections paves a smooth path for higher order thinking and increasing student achievement. Higher order thinking is an essential skill for daily life. By setting up student achievement goals, and building higher order thinking skills, students will have the necessary skills to be successful in life. In my teaching experience, it is imperative to use different activities and styles of questions to access different modes of learning for each student. Not all students learn the same way, so teaching with visual, auditory, kinesthetic activities is a must.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First impressions are very important and it is important that you leave a good impression on the student after that first session. Building a positive rapport with students is also crucial, as it will help motivate them to engage and reach their goals. Rapport is not always immediately built, and it takes time to earn that respect. Upon first meeting with the student, I would get to know who they are and what their interests are. I like to find common ground with students as I feel I am a well-rounded person. This helps me to continue to engage with the student and to help me get to know who they are so that I can make the material more relevant to their life. After learning a little bit more about the student, I want to know what their goals are and the study habits that they might have. Asking the student what their goals are puts them in the driver seat of their own education and experience. It allows them to take ownership of their work, and helps them to be proud of the things they have accomplished and the work they put in once they finally achieve that goal. Establishing work and study habits helps me understand how the student learns and what motivates them. Determining study habits and work ethic will help me understand how the student and I can work together to establish those goals. After we establish both of these things, I would ask what kind of subjects and activities they enjoy and, in general, what kinds of subjects are difficult for them. By establishing this, I can further determine what kind learner they may be, the types of questions and activities that are difficult for the student, and how I can help them improve through different modes of learning that come more naturally to them. After all this, I may ask to take a look at the material to further gauge what it is the student is learning and go over it with them.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A student can become an independent learner through gradual release of responsibility helping them engage in critical thinking to build confidence. For example, the student and I would go over together the material and the questions they may be having trouble with. As we go over the questions, I would use critical thinking questions to help them advance in their answer. It is important to let a student wrestle with a question for a little bit before making it too easy for them. They need wait time to think about their response. Eventually, as the student and I progress in sessions, I would slowly release responsibility to the student in engaging in the material and questions to tackle the problems on their own so that they can take pride in their work and the fact that they were able to independently achieve their goal. My job through this process of release of responsibility is to help build the confidence through positive reinforcement to help motivate them to become a confident independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation is key in helping students achieve their goals. Knowing who they are as a person, what their interests are, and having a general idea of how they operate is vital for being able to help a student stay motivated. Building a rapport with students and finding common interests will help me to find out what interests them and how to relate the material through their own lives through personal experiences and relatable situations. Finding out what drives a student is also key to helping them stay motivated. I like when students have a competitive edge to their personality and follow through with that competitiveness in their schoolwork. Using positive and negative reinforcement techniques is always helpful. Punishment is never a strong motivator, as it makes work less desirable and makes students shut down and less confident.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to get students excited about topics by getting them up and moving and doing enrichment activities that seem like games. This way they are less focused on the fact that it is work and are having more fun exploring and engaging in the topic. Usually I will start off by having the student do a quick kinesthetic activity to get them up and moving and help them explore concepts. Movement is also conducive to helping the brain operate, so any kinesthetic activity is a good opener. I often engage in the activity with the students too if it is not a team effort. Once concepts have been explored and material has been covered, a small or short game can be used to enrich learning. Sharing personal stories that are related to concepts and engaging in a dialogue help students dive into a topic they may have a hard time with. Another very effective way to get students and engaged and excited in social studies specifically is to engage them in controversial topics that are appropriate for age and level. More often than not, these topics will resonate with them in some way and get them to inquire more about the topic.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Checking for understanding is always needed to make sure the student has a grasp of the material. I usually do this by asking questions as we go along to make sure that the student understands the concept and is making connections between concepts. I always have a series of prepared questions that elicit responses that require deeper thinking to express understanding and make connections. I also like to use "exit slips," or a modified version to see what the student has taken away. In an "exit slip," a student must write down a thoughtful response to a question I have prepared before they are allowed to leave. This is a good way to close the material and do an extra check for understanding before wrapping up the material completely.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Building a student's confidence in a subject can start off as something small and work its way into something larger. If a personal goal is set and the student makes one step towards a personal goal, a little praise can go a long way to help build the confidence they need to make it to the next step. Positivity is necessary for growth in confidence. Consistency and maintaining that positive attitude is what I strive for. In my experience, even just saying, "Dude... yes!!" and giving them a solid fist bump when they accomplish one small task can go a long way. My goal is to get the student to break into a smile when I know they are struggling. When I see the smile I know that there has been a change in their demeanor and positivity has taken over and their confidence has been boosted.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student is having difficulty learning a skill or concept, the approach you’re taking is not proving effective and it is time to evaluate the approach. Sometimes we need to step back before we can move forward. An effective educator has the ability to step back and evaluate the effectiveness of an activity or an approach. Constant reflection is necessary to being an effective educator. Therefore, the first thing I would do is stop to evaluate the approach. I know something is not working. Now, it is time to pinpoint what exactly is not working. The student is the one having the difficulty, so I have to evaluate what I might be doing wrong in guiding the student to learning the skill or concept. Some questions I may consider might be: "Am I moving too fast?" "Am I explaining to my fullest extent?" "How can I clarify?" After I pinpoint the problem, I need to reevaluate my approach. I may need to try a different activity or find material to supplement learning, such as visual aids.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
One way I have helped students with reading comprehension is through vocabulary exercises to help them engage in the concept. One of the more effective methods is a concept map. By taking one vocabulary word at a time and diving into the concept, it helps the students take a broad concept and narrow it down to help them place the word in its context. Some activities I have students do in a concept map are to write the word, use the word in a sentence, find a synonym and antonym that they know, and to draw it. This helps them break the concept down in its specifics and to help them match prior constructed knowledge with new concepts. Another type of concept map I like to use that helps with reading comprehension is what I call a "foldable." The students mimic me in folding a piece of computer paper the way I want them to fold it. Then, I have them draw in the lines where they folded the paper. In the boxes they have formed with the lines, I have them fill in individual words or concepts. Each word or concept is related to others on the foldable. Then in each box, the student needs to write out what that word or concept is and how it is related to AT LEAST two others on the foldable. This forces them to make some sort of connection between their given words. Another way I help students is by assisting them in practicing comprehension through context clues. This is good for independent work on reading comprehension and is more skill based.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
As an educator, I am constantly adapting to new environments. First, I need to know what the student's needs are. I am very flexible so most times I am able to adapt and work with what I have. After I know what the student’s needs are, I determine how they can be met. No student is the same, so I take the time to develop an individualized approach to meet the needs of the student.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The materials I may use during a tutoring session may vary. Books are always the go to for content, but I also like to use videos and interactive technology to help supplement the material covered. Technology is always growing and becoming a larger part of kids’ lives and is becoming necessary for work and life in today's society. Along with technology, it is important to be hands-on. So, constructive materials such as paper, scissors, and glue are always good too.
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 like to get to know who they are and what their interests are. Knowing this gives me a lead on what sort of topics they may like and how to go about tutoring them. But, in my teaching experience I found that it is important to make sure the student knows when it is time for work. So, starting out with respect, giving it and getting it, is the most important.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student’s needs through both working with the student and personal reflection. As I work with the student, I see what their strengths are and areas they need to improve on. I also make a point to let the student know what their strengths are as positive reinforcement, and what areas they need to improve on. It is important that I reinforce what their strengths are because they may not be aware of that strength. It is also important that I address areas of improvement so that they know what they should be working on in order to achieve any goal they might have. In my personal reflection, I am constantly reflecting on a daily basis on how the student did, if they met their goal, and what I can do to improve to help the student succeed and achieve that goal based on their individualized needs.