A photo of Sarah, a tutor from Tufts University

Sarah

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Young teacher who enjoys the one-on-one interaction of tutoring relationships. I believe that every student should feel confident of who they are as a learners and should feel equipped to be successful in school.

Sarah’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Tufts University - Bachelors, Child Study & Human Development; English

Test Scores

ACT Composite: 33

ACT English: 35

ACT Math: 35

ACT Reading: 33

ACT Science: 27

SAT Composite: 2060

SAT Math: 630

SAT Verbal: 730

SAT Writing: 700

GRE Quantitative: 151

GRE Verbal: 159

Hobbies

Yoga, cooking, dance, music

Tutoring Subjects

ACT English

Algebra

College Application Essays

College Essays

Conversational French

Elementary School

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing

English

Essay Editing

French

French 1

French 2

Languages

Math

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

Other

Phonics

PSAT Writing Skills

SAT Writing and Language

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Test Prep

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

There is nothing I believe in more than what my students are capable of accomplishing when they are unconditionally supported and set their minds to it. I have high expectations for my students and praise their victories, no matter how small. I encourage them to struggle and embrace challenges in the quest for progress. I strive to give intentional guidance that allows them to be the leaders of their own learning, to fearlessly and continuously ask tough questions, and to keep exploring, creating, and tinkering on the path to discovery. This type of student engagement takes motivation, confidence, and my utmost respect of their opinions, ideas, strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds, and styles of learning.

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

To start, I would want to get to know the student. I think it's important for me to know who they are as a person, and for them to know who I am too. I would ask about what classes they like or don't like, what their interests are, why they think they might be struggling in a certain subject, what they are doing to excel in a different subject, what they would want me to do to help, what they want to do, and what goals they have for themselves both in the short term and long term, etc.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I think once a student has a better sense of who they are as a learner and student, they can become much more independent. I strive to help students find strategies that work best with how they learn. Once we do that, I think it's important to remind students of their goals and that even though I support them and help them, it is their responsibility to do their work.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

When I think about how to motivate students, I think it's so important to emphasize with them how far they have already come, and to reflect on what they have done to be where they are now, or what they've done to be successful at certain things. Helping students find their intrinsic motivation to complete certain projects or papers is the hardest thing, because sometimes these tasks are really daunting. So, I usually help students try to break things down into smaller tasks, things they know they can do, and all the while, reminding them that progress is made through struggling with difficulties. It's their choice to put in the effort, but it's important for them to see what happens when they do.

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

I'd try to incorporate as much of their other interests into the subject as possible. For example, if they are struggling with word problems but love drawing, I'd encourage the student to draw things out, make little cartoons here and there to remember equations, etc. Additionally, I think it's important to break things down, remind students of how far they have already come, and to show them that they already know how to do many of the small pieces required for the big task, and that they can do it.

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

I try to help the students bring the words to life, because I think it can be easy to get bogged down in the typed words on the page. I'll have students use different color markers or highlighters to engage with the passage and make the important information pop out so that it helps them remember that vocab is in blue, or the main idea is highlighted, or whatever else they decide to do. Sometimes I'll do paragraph stoppers where the student has to recap the paragraph in his/her own words. I think if they can put the reading into words, they understand or are more likely to use, they are also more likely to comprehend what it was they just read.

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

I think it's important to know what the student is interested in - both in and out of school. I also want to get to know what type of learner the student is, what kinds of materials or sessions work well for them, and even if they don't exactly know, I like to try out different things. I like to use videos or other outside materials that can make information more engaging and personal.

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

Sometimes as a teacher, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and look silly. This might be one of those times. If I can show the student my enthusiasm or make a song or a video or something fun out of the material, maybe they will be more engaged.

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

Besides smaller assessments, I like to help students create materials so they can test their knowledge in real time. I'll make study guides with flaps they can turn over, or Triple Note Totes so students can quiz themselves and I can also see how much they understand the material.

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

I try to give students process-based praise and feedback when they are doing well. Gaining confidence comes from knowing the student can look back and see how far they have come, or how much closer they are to reaching their goal. Having students reflect on questions like, "What strategies did you use to study for that science test?" or "What are you doing in your English class to make sure you never forget to do your reading?", the student can reflect more on their own styles of learning and can take more ownership over their learning.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Firstly, I just ask the student. I think students really do have a strong sense of what works or doesn't work for them in their classrooms, and they may have their own suggestions. Of course, it is also important to check in with their classroom teacher and parents.

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

I make tutoring sessions more personal by incorporating elements of the student's interests into the activities we do. It's important for me to know if they are a more audio or visual learner, do they respond well to the use of media, do they like to work more independently or together, etc. It takes a bit of time to figure that out, but that's why it is important to always ask students for their feedback about what is working or isn't working for them.

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

Worksheets and handouts, YouTube videos, students' homework, etc.