I'm a professional actor working in theater, film and television, supporting myself in between gigs by providing fun, engaging, and razor-sharp tutoring to students seeking homework help and test prep. Born in Massachusetts, I was raised in Boston, Palo Alto, and Paris, France, and I now live in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. I graduated magna cum laude from Occidental College, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Even though I majored in theater and I now work in the arts, I was always a straight-A student who tended to excel in all subjects, including math and science. I had a special knack for taking standardized tests, so while I love doing homework help, I really live for test prep! I believe there are many different forms of intelligence, and one's score on a standardized test is only one measure of how smart you are (and definitely shouldn't be used as a measure of self-worth!), but testing is just a fact of life in today's educational world, and we all have to live with it for now. With that said, there *are* strategies for doing well on tests, so you *can* practice and get better at them! I'm here to provide sensible, down-to-earth prep so you can get through the test with a minimum amount of discomfort, and move on with your wonderful, exciting life.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Occidental College - Bachelors, Theater
SAT Composite: 1500
SAT Math: 700
SAT Verbal: 800
AP Calculus BC: 5
AP English Literature: 5
AP US History: 5
AP Music Theory: 5
Cooking, watching great TV/film/theater, crossword puzzles, reading
AP Music Theory
AP US History
College Level American History
Elementary School Math
High School English
High School Level American History
Middle School Science
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
We'll get to know each other, I'll listen to the student's concerns, and we'll talk about our goals for our time together. We'll set out a schedule for the foreseeable future, and then get to work on any assignments the student may have with them or formulate a plan for how to proceed with diagnostics and/or extra practice if needed.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to find interesting stories about the subject or ways to relate the subject to the student's life or the world around them. Almost everything we learn in middle and high school has some relevance in the world today and in our daily lives, so I try to point that out as much as possible.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I ask a lot of questions and try to get the student explain things to me rather than spend too much time talking myself.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I'll use whatever the student provides, and I'll also supplement with additional practice worksheets, workbooks, and explanatory/educational videos or games, if appropriate. I also always bring my "tutor box" with me with pens, pencils, highlighters, calculator, post-its, and paper clips.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy as a tutor is to make myself redundant. I try to inspire and encourage students to have the confidence to become autodidacts and give them the tools and attitude they need to become lifelong learners, so that they, and no one else, will be in charge of their own education.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I train students to continually ask themselves, after each sentence, paragraph, or section: what is the overall point of what the author is saying? Why are they even writing this? How do these details fit in with the overall idea? If you keep that in the back of your mind as you read, and look for clues, almost as if you are reading a detective story, you will train yourself to read for comprehension and understanding, not just facts and figures.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I tend to take a back seat initially and let the student show me what he or she knows or doesn't know about a subject. That helps me to evaluate where their strengths and weaknesses are. Once I know where a student stands, I will make notes on things we need to work on, and find ways to bring those concepts or areas up in future sessions, for constant review, until the student has mastered them.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
There's nothing like praise for building confidence, especially if you can find areas where the student is already strong in the subject. I'll also find ways to point out where the student can bring their strengths in other areas to bear in the area where they may be having difficulty. For instance, a creative/artistic kid may think they're bad at math, but I'll take every opportunity I can to point out that being a creative thinker can often make you a better problem solver, and that's an incredibly valuable skill in mathematics, especially at higher levels.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I spend a lot of time listening and watching the student as they work, either on work assigned from school or on little exercises I'll give them out and ask lots of questions to see what they do and don't understand, and areas where they have difficulty. Obviously, I also take into account feedback from the student themselves, as well as parents and teachers.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I'll try to find out within the first couple of sessions what style of learner the student is and tailor my help in that way. For instance, if a student is a visual learner, I'll break out my pad of paper and a pen, and we'll find a way to draw a picture or visualize the concept.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
As we work together, I'll "think out loud" as I determine what to do as a tutor, just as I would "think out loud" to demonstrate my thinking process as I solve a problem or think through the answer to a tough question on a math or language assignment. That way, the student learns how to think like a tutor and become their own best teacher.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I keep in mind the goals that the student gave me at the beginning of our work together and use them as a carrot to remind them of why they agreed to come to tutoring, and why they (not their parents, not their teachers, not even me) want to stay at it and keep improving. Internal rewards are much more important to me than external ones (praise, good grades, approval, etc.) Besides, usually, when you use internal rewards to motivate you, the external ones usually follow.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If it's a concept, I would look at other ways of coming at the idea; maybe there is something in the student's own life that they can relate the concept to, or we can build on understanding in some other area. Sometimes it's just a matter of re-framing. If it's a skill that the student is having trouble with, rather than a concept, usually that can be remedied by frequent reviews/breakdowns of the particular skill and how to perform it, as well as plenty of rigorous practice.