As a student who came up through New Orleans Public schools I know firsthand the difference that a devoted teacher can make for a student. I was a decent student during elementary, middle, and high school, but I didn't work to my potential. The educational experience that changed my life was due to my displacement following Hurricane Katrina. I had the opportunity to take a physical science class in which I was constructively challenged. Through this class I discovered an intellectual curiosity that I didn't know I had. My teacher always spoke about how the tests became fun if you understood the material, and in the midst of difficulty found a reason to push on. It was refreshing to have an adult taking an interest in my academic achievement – someone who wanted me to exceed my own expectations.
My passion to educate and to be the change in other students’ lives stems from my experiences with phenomenal teachers, tutors, and mentors. Teaching both middle school and high school courses has allowed me to become familiar with the opportunity gap that is affecting students across the country. Considering my own academic journey and how fortunate I've been, I don't merely feel compelled to help young students; I feel duty-bound. Helping to shape the minds and lives of young people is the least I can do to make a difference and honor those who have sacrificed on my behalf.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Notre Dame - Bachelors, Physics
Fishing, camping, snowboarding, NCAA football and NFL, home technology, automotive repair and modification
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that every student can learn. I know that everyone learns differently and that knowledge must be presented in various ways to reach various personalities. I intend to meet students where they are regarding their academic achievement and understanding. You can count on me to devote the necessary time to guide my students to success.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to gain an understanding of how a student learns. I also think it's important to learn who the student is: hobbies, extracurricular activities, interests, etc. Additionally, I like to assess how well the student knows the subject by asking diagnostic questions.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independent learning occurs when the student has built confidence and has the motivation to take on new academic challenges. I believe that building a foundation of understanding from which the student experiences sustained success is one of the best ways to promote confidence and motivation.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
The skill or concept can and should be broken down into smaller parts to facilitate the student's understanding. Additionally, explaining the skill or concept from a different angle via different examples or analogies may also be helpful for the student.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Gathering information from the text at the student's pace is important to help them succeed at reading comprehension. Making sure the student understands who or what the sentence is about or what the sentence is asking is just as important as being able to actually answer the questions. Starting small and progressing to the bigger picture will help the student grasp what is being told or asked via the text.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
First you must try to understand what the student's needs are, and then you must meet them there. I believe repetition is very important at helping information stick. Telling stories or analogies are also fun ways to improve retention. Additionally, using acronyms can be useful when trying to help students remember challenging information.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
You have to remain positive and reinforce things that the student is doing well. I would explain to the student that learning is a process and that it takes time. I would also explain that making mistakes, struggling and failure give rise to success, but that they are a part of the learning process.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I like to ask diagnostic questions throughout the lesson to assess the student's understanding. I also like to recapitulate the most important ideas or concepts with a topic before moving on to the next topic. I also allow time for the student to ask any questions in between topics or problems. Additionally, I try to pay attention to my pace, and I allow the student to indicate if I am moving too fast or slow.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I like the student to experience wins. They can be small wins, but the student needs to know, early and often, what it feels like to be correct. As the teacher, it is my responsibility to set the student up for success. This means asking questions that guide them to the right answer and offering comprehensive feedback when they misunderstand something.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I like to view or ask about the previous experiences in a subject or the recent grades received. Additionally, I ask diagnostic questions that increase in difficulty and help gain insight into where the breakdown of understanding begins.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
After recognizing what the student needs most, I may decide to spend more time on fundamental concepts rather than tutoring advanced concepts. I will progress to more advanced material as the student gains confidence and understanding. I would also incorporate different approaches including but not limited to analogies, examples, stories, and personal experiences.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I incorporate drawings, pictures, and videos as visual aids. I also like to use models and props that students can physically manipulate in order to solidify their understanding. If time permits and the materials are available, I like to do demonstrations that make abstract concepts easily understood.