I recently graduated from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa with a B.A. in Psychology along with a minor in German. Since graduating high school, I've made it my mission to align myself with work that gives me the opportunity to help students realize their potential.
As an individual who grew up in a low income single parent home, I know first hand what a good education can offer. I am part of the first graduating class of the Partnerships in Unlimited Educational Opportunities Program (PUEO), a nonprofit educational summer program, that awards students-with-potential free college prep courses from sixth grade to their senior year of high school at Punahou School. After my first year of college, I applied and was offered a position at PUEO to work as a teaching assistant. Since then, I've taught English, Film, and Magic to rising middle schoolers every summer, and I loved every minute of it!
I've also served as an administrative assistant and part time tutor at a tutoring company for two years, aiding students from 4 to 17 in subjects like: SSAT Prep, ACT/SAT prep, and general tutoring. I've also worked with students who have been diagnosed with some form of learning difference. Much of my time with the tutoring company included not only me being responsible with administrative duties, but also the tact to help students find their own learning styles.
My goal is to give my students the confidence to be risk takers. To take challenges in stride and find connections with what they're learning to what they love. I am a tutor who welcomes mistakes and questions.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Hawaii at Manoa - Bachelors, Psychology
Running, hiking, songwriting, reading, making friends, and creating lame jokes
Elementary School Math
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
My main teaching philosophy is to not let the fear of making mistakes control you. As someone who considers herself a perfectionist, this is easier said than done. However, mistakes are part of the learning process. As Wayne Gretzky would say, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
One of the great things about being a tutor is being able to establish that one-on-one relationship with a student. In traditional classroom settings, it's easy for students to get lost in a sea of faces. What I typically like to do in the first session is let the student know that they can rely on me as their guide and that it's ok to ask questions and make mistakes. I also like to make sure students know that I genuinely am interested in them as individuals, and won't treat them as 'Student A.' What I usually like to do is ask them about themselves, what they like to do in their spare time, make a couple jokes, and really find out the areas of improvement needed during my time with them.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The best thing a tutor can do for a student to become an independent learner is to give them the confidence to be OK with making mistakes. Making mistakes is part of the learning process, and ensuring that my students feel comfortable with that fact does not only make them better learners, but individuals that take challenges in stride.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I help students stay motivated by connecting their lessons with what they're genuinely interested in. Learning and fun should be synonymous, and that's the kind of experience I like to create in my sessions. I also like to incorporate small breaks, where students can recuperate and refocus, rather than grinding away at problems.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student were to have difficulty grasping a topic, I would take the time to use different approaches and explanations. When working with a student, I like to figure out their learning style, and through that, I incorporate it throughout the lesson, so their strengths can aid their weaknesses. I have also found it helpful to ask specific questions to the student on which part of a problem or concept they don't understand. If there is an occasion where a student is getting heated or frustrated, I would suggest taking a mental break from the subject and returning to it later, when the student is ready to try again.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
A large part of my strategy in helping a student struggling with reading comprehension is giving them the tools to actively read. Many times, a person can read every word on a page with fluency, but ignore the details and/or the intentions the author makes. My favorite strategy is game-ifying the reading process, where we read aloud together, close the book, and ask each other questions on what has happened in the passage. The goal of the game is to try to outwit the tutor through reading comprehension questions.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Strategies that I have found most successful when starting to work with a student is first establishing that one-on-one bond. Letting the student know that I want them to succeed, and that they can feel comfortable with me. When beginning a session, I always make sure to ask the student what they want to understand the most and what they want to accomplish by the end of the session. With their goals in mind, I help them make a session schedule, which includes how much time they want to work on a subject, what specific concepts they want to understand, and when they want to take breaks. It's important for the student to acknowledge that their learning is up to them, and I am a resource they can use to help them find their way to their goals.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would first have the student try out problems that I know they can solve in order to build confidence. A lot of times, I have found students get so discouraged, that they don't even want to try. Gaining confidence in what they know is essential to scaffolding what they know into what they love. A previous student of mine struggled with fractions. However, after some simple problems, she was willing to move onto problems that required more thought. I discovered she liked baking, and through that, we developed a recipe of cupcakes that she could supply for her whole class. By breaking that barrier of low confidence, and then connecting what she loved to the topic, she was able to fully grasp fractions.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I find conversational quizzing very helpful when it come to understanding the material. Much of my "reviews" on new subjects include the student teaching me the material. If the student is able to present the information in a way I or another person can understand, that indicates the student's full understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Building a student's confidence includes starting with what they know. Many students come into tutoring sessions with the assumption that they don't know anything, which isn't necessarily the case. In a session, I would have the student review what they know on a topic they feel uncomfortable with. Next, we would review the finer points, connecting the gaps between what they already know, to what they can begin to grasp. Once a student shows me that they are ready to take on more challenging situations, we practice some more. I always also like to make sure my students know that their mistakes are taking them closer to the answer rather than setting them back.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
A lot of my evaluation comes from how the student feels about their abilities. I believe students have a better idea of what they need, but may need help in finding ways to achieve that goal. With every session, I like to chat with my students about why they're coming in for tutoring. Do they feel they need tutoring? What topics do they feel are areas of improvement? How do they feel when they're in the classroom? What would make them feel more comfortable and have more fun at school? These are the types of questions I ask my students. I like to give my students the role of responsibility for their learning, while I act as a guide to what strategies they can use to build confidence.