I have written, produced and/or directed over 200 episodes of broadcast or internet documentary and reality programming for ABC, AMC, Bravo, Comedy Central, Discovery, Fox, GSN, HGTVGardens.com, History, Spike, SyFy, TBS and TLC.
Before working in the entertainment industry, I was a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle.
I am also an accomplished songwriter and voiceover artist who has licensed several of my compositions and provided voiceovers to various films, TV series and advertising campaigns.
Along with my entertainment industry experience, I also have over 5 years of experience working as a substitute teacher in the LA Unified School District, am a trained ESL teacher and am also bi-lingual English-Spanish.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Berkeley - Bachelors, Spanish
Film & TV Production, Rock & Pop Vocalist & Guitar Player, Meditation
College Level American History
High School English
High School Geography
High School Level American History
SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The key to getting a student interested in any subject is to find out how it affects their life personally. If it has little or no effect on their life, then it is up to the teacher to guide the student along a creative path that will help them to see how the subject matter is connected in some way to their personal life.
What is your teaching philosophy?
As a teacher, my goal is to motivate students to begin a personal exploration toward mastery of the subject matter I am teaching.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
When meeting a student for the first time, I first like to give them a brief introduction to my personal background and how it relates to the subject matter that we will be studying, and then ask them to describe what is going on in their life, so that I can get a sense of how the subject matter relates to their personal experiences. After giving them a broad overview of what will be expected of them in order to gain mastery of the subject matter, I always like to leave them with nugget of information that they will (hopefully) never forget and be able to build on as they progress in their studies.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I have always found that the best way to get a student to learn something is to show them how I would go about learning it, in a step-by-step manner that they can relate to and understand. I am a big believer in teaching students how to learn, rather than just supervising rote memorization of facts and figures.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The best way to keep a student motivated is to find out what their interests are, and then find a way to make a meaningful connection between those interests and the subject matter. This is not always an easy task, but in the long run, it makes the teaching and learning process easier and more fruitful for all involved.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Whenever a student shows signs of having reached a "dead end," conceptually speaking, I always like to back up as far as necessary in the subject matter until a point is reached where students feel confident that they know the subject matter completely. Then I move forward VERY slowly, making sure that the student has grasped each concept completely before moving on to the next topic.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I have always found the best way to help a student overcome reading difficulties is through a combination of phonetics and etymology. By teaching the student how a word is properly pronounced by the lips, the teeth and the tongue, and then explaining to them the actual origins of the word in question, the printed word is brought to life in a visceral and enlightening manner, making the process of reading less burdensome and ultimately pleasurable.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I think the best way to get started working with anyone, including students, is to show interest in them and what they value in their lives. Making a personal connection always results in people feeling more at ease, and thus makes any kind of work you ask of them easier for them to commit to and accomplish.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I am a big believer in the old saying "The best way to learn something is to teach it." I always like to have students explain the subject matter back to me in their own words, and only help them when absolutely necessary. This gives them a sense of accomplishment and agency in the learning process.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Since every student is different, the teaching modality must be "custom-fitted" so that they never feel like the subject matter is too overwhelming or not relevant to their personal experience. At first, it is often necessary to take "baby steps" so that a student feels like they can handle the subject matter and not be intimidated by it as time goes on.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
A student's needs are primarily determined by a judicious examination of what the parents want and what the student wants, and then discussing with the student in an open and honest manner about how those needs compare and contrast.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Since every student is different, it is really a matter of having a sincere, open conversation with the student about what has worked for them academically in the past, and what they feel they could be doing better. It is then up to the teacher to "make the call" as to what, in their professional opinion, is the best course of action to take given the student's aptitude and predilections for learning.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to keep things as simple as possible when teaching, and rely on pen, paper, and the "Socratic Method" as much as possible. Computers certainly have their place in the modern learning environment, but my goal as a teacher ultimately is to help students learn how to learn and to get excited about the subject matter, rather than just stuff their heads with lots of (to them, anyway) meaningless and disjointed facts and figures.