In high school, I was known as the person to go to when any of my friends were struggling in one of their classes. Even if it was a class I did not share with them, my friends knew I had the patience and study skills needed to bring up their grade. Now that I'm older, I still love tutoring others in a variety of subjects. I have tutored both privately and as part of the AVID program, and I have experience working with students from 3rd grade through high school. While I am most confident and practiced in English and math, being a part of AVID meant I had to be prepared for any question a student brought in, no matter the subject. I helped students find answers to their questions about biology, world religions, ancient civilizations, life, and so much more, by guiding them through their notes and materials in the spirit of inquiry. Ive always preferred to let my students come to the answers themselves, with my guidance, than to simply tell them how to solve the problem. I bring humor and patience to our tutoring sessions, while never letting us veer from the work at hand. I encourage my students to try without fear of mistakes, because mistakes are how we learn best. Parents and teachers have said the most significant impact Ive had on their children is in building up their confidence, both in the field we studied together, and in their overall academic ability.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Mills College - Bachelors, English
ACT Composite: 30
ACT English: 31
ACT Reading: 33
I'm an artistic person; I love creative writing, drawing, theatre, and dance. I've always loved math, especially calculus. My main hobby is reading, and right now I'm obsessed with Marvel comic books.
10th Grade Writing
11th Grade Math
11th Grade Reading
11th Grade Writing
12th Grade Math
12th Grade Reading
12th Grade Writing
9th Grade Math
9th Grade Reading
9th Grade Writing
Ancient and Medieval Heritage
College Level American Literature
Elementary School Math
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Introduction to Fiction
Introduction to Poetry
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in the spirit of inquiry. Learning is all about asking questions, both the tutor prompting the student to think through problems and the student feeling comfortable enough to approach the tutor with anything they want to know more about. No one should be embarrassed to not know something--the joy of learning is discovering new things you don't know about yet.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The important thing to do in a first session is to make sure that I am a good fit for the student, and that I am capable of providing the student with what they need. This means I will always begin by asking the student what they hope to get out of our tutoring sessions and what their goals are. I will also ask how they learn best so that my teaching style can match their needs. We would then work on a problem set to get a feel for how we work together.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Confidence is the most important tool a student can have, and the ability to learn independently is all about confidence. I try to foster a sense of academic confidence in my students by never speaking over them or directly telling them how to solve a problem. I will prompt the student through questions and lead them to find the answer. I want them to feel safe asking questions because questioning is how we learn. I also lead by example, admitting the things that I don't yet know and showing how I would go about finding my answers.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
What always motivated me the most--and what I provide to my students--is a clear outline of goals broken down into smaller tasks. It is important to have goals that the student feels are important, that the student is eager to achieve. It is also important to break goals down into smaller parts so that nothing seems too daunting and the student doesn't get frightened or frustrated. I believe in positive reinforcement and celebration for each task achieved, no matter how small, so that the student feels they are always accomplishing something.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student was having a hard time with a particular concept or skill, I would try to reframe the problem. For example, if we were working on a math problem, I might get together items that the student can actually put their hands on, to see if learning it physically works better than learning it orally or visually. I would tap into different learning styles until I found one that worked for the student.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
The first thing I do when a student is struggling with reading comprehension is ask them where exactly in a text they are having difficulties. This is as simple as pointing to a passage or a sentence. I would then ask questions about the passage to see what exactly is causing the confusion. I would address the confusion based on its specific nature. If it's a vocabulary issue, we'd get out a dictionary. If it's a content issue, we'd try to restate the passage in our own words. Together, we'd look around the troublesome passage to see if we can find any clues in the text to help us. Once we solved the problem, I would have the student restate what confused them in the text and what strategy they used to resolve their confusion so that they can use that strategy again next time they face a similar problem. I also believe in using visual aids, if that is helpful for the student. Creating storyboards and Venn diagrams can help a student see the text in a new, more accessible way.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I find the most important thing to do when I first begin to work with a student is creating a safe space. I don't think that learning can happen when a student feels embarrassed to ask a question. I try to develop a warm friendship with the student so that they feel safe approaching me with all of their academic questions. I find this is an important first step if a student is to succeed. I've worked with students in the past who simply did not click with me, and it was hard for us to get any work done because they were always struggling against me instead of working with me. I want my students to feel that I am on their side.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
It can be hard for a student to drum up excitement for a subject they simply do not like. However, I find that more often than not, the problem is not that they truly dislike the subject, but that they feel they are not good at it, so there is no point in engaging with it. This is a confidence issue, and the best way to build confidence is through positive reinforcement. I believe in celebrating every success, no matter how small. Once it started to set in that they actually can do well in the subject, they start to enjoy it a lot more. This is a long process, however, so in the meantime, I try to make the subject engaging by tying it into the student's personal interests.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I like to ask my students questions to check for understanding. If they can't summarize the content without my prompting, then I know we have more work to do. I make sure to check in at the end of every lesson to see what we still need to work on for next time. I also begin each lesson by having the student sum up to the best of their ability what we learned in the last session. If a student feels they express their thoughts better through writing or art, I'm okay with them summarizing that way. I like my students to explain, however they like, what they learned, what they feel they succeeded at most, what they wish they were better at, and any concept that still confuses them. A deep reflection like this gives me a good sense of the student's understanding.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I'm a firm believer in positive behavior support. Often all a student needs to boost their confidence is to be told that they CAN do it--but they also have to believe you mean it. I always start small, celebrating every success they make. Whenever they get a problem right or figure out a tricky concept, I praise them. At the end of every lesson I have us reflect on what we think the student is doing really well at. It's important for students to praise themselves as well. However, the other side of confidence is not holding yourself to too high of a standard. People make mistakes when they're learning something new. It's important to me to normalize that experience, often by admitting when I make mistakes myself, or by sharing stories about the concepts that I've struggled with in the past. I think to be a good role model, you have to show where you've come from so that the student can see themselves as on the journey to academic success, even if they aren't where they'd like to be yet. I emphasize that learning is a journey, with downs here and there, but even more ups. I'm always confident in my students so that they can learn to be confident in themselves.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs first by asking them what they hope to get out of our sessions. I think most students have a good idea of their own strengths and weaknesses, and I want to make sure that whatever I'm teaching them is going towards improving what they consider to be weaknesses. Their own feelings are what matter most to me. I will then ask about their prior learning experiences to get a sense of what they already know and where there may be gaps. I may put together an assessment of some sort so I can get a sense of how the student works through challenging problems. I will also ask questions to determine which learning style is most effective for the student.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Supporting different learning styles is very important to me. For example, if a student needs a more hands-on approach to their teaching but is only receiving lectures in the classroom, then I will provide them with a kinesthetic learning experience. I will also use pre-assessments to gauge where the student's knowledge gaps are, and then develop a curriculum that will fill those gaps.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
When I tutor, I use a wide variety of materials. There is always a place for paper-and-pencil learning, practicing problems like the student may see on a test together. However, I also like to change things up by bringing in educational games, manipulatives, and art supplies. I will play to the student's strengths so that they can learn in a way that is comfortable.