I believe it takes many skills and attributes to be an outstanding teacher. Among them are: patience, a positive attitude, flexibility, understanding and being a good listener. Children are very perceptive and I believe they know a lot more than we think they do about people. One thing I would like to say about myself, is that I consider myself to be a team-player. Having worked in the business world, prior to becoming a teacher, I found that the most successful people were those who worked as a team. I believe that this can also be translated in the school environment. We are all working for the same team, the students! This means working together as educators, and always being open to ideas and suggestions from peers.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Manhattan College - Bachelors, English
Graduate Degree: Manhattanville College - Masters, Elementary Education
Listening to music, exercising, spending time with family.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
To make teaching fun, and relate it to real life. Connect with students on a personal level, and help them to look at the subject matter from all angles. Help them to think outside the box.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introduce myself. Tell the student a little bit about myself as an icebreaker. Ask them what their favorite subject(s) are, how they feel they are doing, and where they feel they need improvement.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A student can become more independent by giving them the appropriate tools and tactics. For instance, in reading comprehension, I will have students look at the questions first, then read the passage(s), so they can look for those keywords or questions as they are reading.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I usually try to play a game with students which pertains to their subject matter. Something fun, but which could also help them improve: word associations, jeopardy type questions, etc. Playing for points. This always gets students excited.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try to use different concepts or tactics with them. Sometimes even doing something on paper helps. Identifying what type of a learner the student is, like visual, etc.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Like I previously stated, I have them read the questions that they will be asked first, to help them understand what they need to look for when they read the passage(s). This helps them to focus and narrow down what they need to know and understand in a given passage.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Getting to know them on a personal level. Making them feel comfortable with myself. Asking them about how they feel about school or a certain subject.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By asking them what in particular about the subject are they having trouble understanding. Pertaining a subject to a real life situation. Using manipulatives, or playing a game with them that can help them understand a topic or concept better.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Depending on the subject, this can be done by reading about the subject, asking them how they could use this subject in their life. Finding ways that they do use it in real life, and helping them to see it from a different angle, perhaps.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By seeing how they have done on tests, grades in school, and any feedback from parents and or their teachers regarding a certain subject(s).
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Sometimes it's trial and error. After working with a student, you usually find out what works and what doesn't. You focus in on what works for that individual student.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use a dictionary, thesaurus, calculator, and if the student has a laptop, that can be a great tool for education. Students today are very tech savvy. They prefer that to looking at a dictionary, etc.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
That depends on the subject matter. What I would use in math is different than what I would use for language arts, or writing. Manipulatives work well for math: blocks, dice, counters, etc. In writing, I'd have them identify the main idea of a story or passage first. This helps them to understand the content better, like word usage (the different meanings a single word can have). How is the word being used in a particular story or passage?