I graduated from college with an undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature. Since then, I have spent three years in Paris and New York working in a variety of industries and preparing for a doctorate program in Comparative Literature. I like this cross-disciplinary field of study because it allows me to pursue an interest in the effect of artistic movements on the political and social climate of a particular moment in history.
I think that this interest has given me a perspective on learning that might help some students. I was inspired to study comparative literature when I met a literature professor in college who explained to me that inspiring a student is just about figuring out how to approach the material from a perspective they find interesting. For example, if you are studying the French Revolution, and you are interested in poetry, you can look into the changes in that artistic media over the course of the revolutionary period and think about how it may reflect changes that were occurring in the social climate of the time. If you feel inspired by the material, it is a lot easier to get yourself to do the time consuming tasks of reading and retaining information.
I firmly believe that anyone can learn anything. Learning a new skill set or studying a new subject simply require an investment of time an energy. If you don't feel enthusiastic about that new project, you won't invest the time necessary for success.
This perspective helped me a lot when I was in college. I think it could help other people, and I'd like to help pass it on so that other students can save themselves some of the frustration and hopelessness I felt when I was just trudging through seemingly meaningless exams and papers.
I just moved to Los Angeles this year and am liking it a lot so far. I work at a French immersion elementary school during the day.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Reed College - Bachelors, Comparative Literature
SAT Composite: 2260
SAT Verbal: 780
SAT Writing: 800
Running, playing tennis, photography, watching movies
College Level American Literature
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I had a language and literature professor in college who had a great impact on my philosophy as a teacher. She taught her students to approach learning in a very calm and meticulous way, and without feeling like any success or failure had an emotional impact on them. Whether something is correct or incorrect should not make you feel embarrassed, or sad, or worthless. If you don't learn something the first time, you haven't figured out how to explain it to yourself successfully, and your professor has not figured out how to explain it to you successfully. So you both try again.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I'd like to get to know the student a little--what kinds of study tools they find helpful, which subjects they like and which they don't, etc.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I sincerely believe that anyone can learn anything. It's just about figuring out what is interesting to a unique person about a specific subject. You have to help someone find an approach to the subject that will inspire them to engage with it independently.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I think people, including me, have trouble staying motivated when they don't keep themselves well organized. When you start feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do and learn, you want to just give up. If you take things one thing at a time and don't fall behind as often, you realize how manageable it all is. I have had a lot of trouble with this in the past, so I would love to help someone else learn what I have learned a little faster!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would find a different way to explain it. I think everyone has their own style of learning. Hopefully I would get to know that style after working with a student for a while. Then I would be able to come at a topic from different angles until I found the one that worked for them. It is completely unproductive for an educator to keep explaining something over and over in the same way to someone if it just isn't working for them. It just makes them feel helpless, which is never the case.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I know that I felt frustrated by reading comprehension tests when I was younger because of how dense they can be. Often the information is obscure and the language is convoluted. When you are taking a timed test, it is so hard to spend the time disentangling all those sentences without going crazy. I would try to help someone develop tools for identifying which pieces of the piece you need and which you don't, and how to take it one step at a time so as not to feel overwhelmed.