I am recently arrived from Spain where I spent almost a full year and got the opportunity to improve my Spanish level while honing my teaching skills, working with students of varying age levels and backgrounds. Teaching English for agencies and as a freelancer, I had the freedom to create my own lessons, selecting various multimedia, dynamic components to suit particular learning styles of individuals. Beyond this, I met new friends, explored many cities, and became equipped with the necessary tools to access Spain's culture and history.
In addition to my love of language, both English and Spanish, other passions include literature, art, history, and politics. Outside of academics I also like film, music, dance, and fitness, (including running, soccer, yoga, and surf.)
I am a jack of all trades and love to share my enthusiasm of subject matter with students, as well as learning from them and about them, which comes with being a teacher. When I started out in school I didn't possess many of my current interests, nor could I foresee that they would later lead me towards the dream of living and immersing myself in a European culture to do the type of learning which is active and authentic, providing new experiences daily, in which I would be able to integrate all of my listed interests in one. I believe that although academics can be tedious, learning takes us in unpredictable directions and ultimately leads to a fulfilling life.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Rutgers University-Newark - Bachelors, English
ACCUPLACER ESL Prep
AP US History
College Level American History
Elementary School Math
FCAT 2.0 Prep
High School English
High School Level American History
IB Language A: Language and Literature
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Learning is an adventure. Learning is a trial, and error is a required part. My teaching philosophy always begins with the student and that student's unique set of talents, interests, and goals. I teach with an emphasis on relevance, but also to insure that the student acquires the practical tools necessary in order to pass the test!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, I would want to get to briefly get to know my student and find out about his or her general interests, talents, academic and professional goals. Next, what are the specific reasons the student has sought out a tutor? Finally, at least half of the class should be devoted to examining areas of weakness, through both student material and diagnostic material prepared by the tutor. This is the most effective way to at once begin to develop an efficient game plan towards tackling goals, while also beginning to tackle them right away.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Many of the strategies in reading can be applied to all subject matter. That is, we must be aware to apply a method to any discipline where we drill certain pointed questions: Do I understand the general meaning of a passage? Have I read carefully and understood the question? If I cannot get at the general meaning of a passage, how can I search for context clues or eliminate choices to increase my chances of answering correctly? By drilling such questions as these each time, the student will eventually internalize them and employ them towards accomplishing goals.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would present constant feedback to students and offer liberal praise when praise is due. A student should know when she/he is on the right track, steadily surpassing each hurdle along the way. Also, brain breaks can be important, so making sure that there is sometimes productive downtime provided, in which student and tutor can strengthen their relationship. How often a student requires a break depends upon the individual learner. Sometimes, that learner may instead require a little push forward.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, an area of weakness must be isolated so that we can understand where there might be a pattern. Is there some unique way to look at the question from what the student already knows? Next, we can develop a strategy towards troubleshooting the problem area. This will most often include breaking up what the student may find intimidating into smaller component parts so that the stress, phobia, or fear is alleviated.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
A way to approach reading comprehension might be to have the student read a passage independently and begin with the more general questions, such as with respect to main idea, and then moving towards more specific. After a diagnostic test such as this is offered, I might then model the way I would go about reading the same passage, asking pertinent questions as I go. By modeling certain techniques, the goal would be to inculcate them so that the student begins to internalize and employ the same strategy consistently. Through the diagnostic test it may be revealed that the student needs to read more frequently to develop general knowledge, or to develop more speed by applying skimming techniques, or broadening vocabulary through the use of root words and context clues.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
First, it is important to know your student by informal interview, questions, or survey. Next, to learn where the student wants to improve. Then, setting out a workable goal to accomplish. It is important to offer the student consistency, reliability, feedback, encouragement, and challenge.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
The best way to build student interest is to start from a point where the student is confident. Probably the student knows more about the subject than he or she may realize. If we can relate something that is unknown to our own experience, we often become more curious about it and eager to integrate it into our existing body of knowledge.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
We can use diagnostic tests, anecdotal evidence, drill the student with questions, etc. The easiest way may be to present the student with a short, written test.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Oftentimes, a student may not realize all that they already know about a subject. Therefore, it is important to hear out what they bring to the subject, including opinions they may hold. Next, it is logical to start generally with any subject matter, meaning from easiest to hardest. They should be offered liberal praise so that they understand when they are headed in the right direction. Praise may also be reported publicly to the student's caregiver. But finally, confidence and motivation are strongest when they are felt intrinsically, meaning when the student can see for his or herself that their test scores are rising and grades improving.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Most often, a student will know clearly where she or he has the most trouble. Diagnostic tests can also help a teacher to evaluate more specifically which areas are trouble spots. For a wider perspective on a student's academic achievement, past final grades in coursework, tests, and quizzes may also be helpful.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I talk directly with the student to find out where she needs help. Next, I question the student to see how much prior knowledge they possess. I can also find out what sort of learning styles appeal most to the student, whether it be verbal, reading, spacial, kinetic, or otherwise.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
If a student is studying for a particular test, the test booklet is most useful. But oftentimes, a video from the internet, article, or handout may also do the trick, depending upon student's need.