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"I am so adjective, I verb nouns."

I believe relationships are more important than test scores, and people more important that numbers, budgets, or grades. But if we have to play along with this this game, we may as well play with skill.

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Matthew’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Arizona - Bachelors, English & Creative Writing


Hiking, camping, war and strategy board games, role playing games, home brewing, vinyl collecting, spirituality

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

9th Grade Reading

9th Grade Writing

ACT Writing

Adult Literacy

American Literature

British Literature


College English

College Essays

College Level American Literature

Comparative Literature

Creative Writing


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing


High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Homework Support


Introduction to Fiction

Introduction to Poetry




PSAT Critical Reading

PSAT Writing Skills

Public Speaking


Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization


Test Prep


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

The guiding question I always ask myself while teaching is, "How can I support students to face their challenges and fears so they can take on cultural activity that awakens rather than anesthetizes them?"

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I might spend some time getting to know the student and having them get to know me. I would set expectations and guidelines for the process and outline how we will proceed. And, I might, time permitting, ask the student to provide a sample of work so that I can get a sense of their current skill level, as well as determine what specific issues need to be addressed.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I do two things to foster independence. The first is to make sure to build academic or learning skills while we practice the more subject specific skills. The second is to build opportunities for metacognition into the learning—reflection, goal-setting, and self-evaluation.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

This is specific to the student—there is no one-size-fits-all motivator. Knowing the student, their personal struggles, likes and dislikes, personality, and character shapes the nature and type of motivation. Sometimes, it's as simple as an encouraging word. Sometimes, I might negotiate a deal or offer a reward. Sometimes, having the student reflect on their own growth process facilitates motivation.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Often, difficulty arises from the student trying to grasp too much at once. As such, I would break down a difficult skill or concept into smaller pieces and help the student practice and master the smaller pieces before putting it all together.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Again, this varies depending on the student—some students merely lack motivation and confidence, while others need practice with specific and targeted reading strategies.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

In addition to spending some time getting to know the student personally, I have found that having the student set their own goal, and then periodically returning to that goal, facilitates tremendous success.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Again, this is specific to the student. But, in general, I might help the student with what they are struggling with by connecting it to something they are passionate about.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I would use formal and informal assessments to confirm understanding and, ultimately, mastery. Informal assessments might be as simple as having the student explain, in their own words, what they have learned. Formal assessments might be essays, quizzes, or exams.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Again, this varies depending on the student, because low confidence can be caused by many factors. If it is an issue of past failure, we might explore and work to defeat a bad past pattern of thinking. If it is more personal, I might give opportunities for goal-setting and reflection that will demonstrate for the student their own growth.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Depending on the skill or issue being addressed, I might perform a formal or informal pre-assessment of the student's skills or ask for a work sample to evaluate.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I adapt tutoring to the need of the specific student by building strong relationships, using pre-assessments and assessments to evaluate growth and mastery, and letting the student themselves engage in goal-setting.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

The materials I would use are dependant on the need, the subject, the skill, and the student. It might be as simple as pen and paper, or as complex as charts, graphs, special websites, craft materials, or even physical tools.

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