Writing is like a building project: you need ideas and vision to come up with the design. Then you need a solid foundation poured. After that the construction of story after story. Then the details that take it from a mere building to one that no one forgets. Once it's polished up you open the doors and let everyone in.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of San Diego - Bachelors, Mass Media Communication
Graduate Degree: Emerson College - Masters, Writing, Literature & Publishing
Writing, reading, photography, ballet, travel, hiking, interior design
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Learning is at its core about intellectual curiosity; about gathering knowledge and ideas and thoughts, because they fill us up and help make us whole, as humans. Teaching is guidance and discussion and discovery.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
For the first session, I would focus most on getting to know you: what do you love to do? What are your passions and what do you enjoy less? How does that relate to the subject we're discussing? How best do you like to learn? Since I teach writing, it's a perfect subject for exploring these answers while doing the very thing we're discussing: writing.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help you become an independent learner by helping you identify what you are doing that works well. Once you truly understand that, it becomes so much easier to see the areas where work is needed. This is key, because if you don't know what writing works well (and why) and which doesn't, it's very difficult to improve your writing in a meaningful way.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
We just keep working on it as a team. I'd like them to know they aren't in it alone: I'm here as their tutor to help them whether it's coming easy or is proving very challenging. We will brainstorm, change things up, flip ideas upside down and get fun back in the process.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
We'd break it down. Everything is easier to comprehend when it's first broken down into chunks, and then put back together to be looked at as a whole.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I've worked with kindergartners to high schoolers, and no matter the age, the strategies must be flexible and dynamic. No one strategy fits for each student, and no one student thrives with just one strategy. So, the overall strategy is nimbleness. Thinking on my feet, so the student can think on theirs.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Relate the subject to something they ARE interested in. Start there, well within that, and then work our way out to the greater subject area.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I'm a writing tutor. And because of that, we have a very good 'technique' to use, which is the student's writing itself. I'm not here to do the student's work for them. So, if they complete a piece of writing and they feel it's their best work, using what we've been working on, then we look at that best work and we talk about it. If how to write a strong, essential piece is still foggy and vague to the student, it will show in the writing. Then we just keep truckin'.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Focus on what the student is doing well, first, and continuously, even as we work on those areas that need more support. No one functions well when they feel overwhelmed, which is what happens when only the "problems" are highlighted.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Background information regarding their schooling, their grade, their work, the expectations of school, parent and student. But then the most important part takes place: talking and working with the student. We need to be able to communicate well, so that it's clear what the attitude toward the subject is, and what the student's true needs are (which may differ than those the school or parents or teachers may present.)