A photo of Monica, a tutor from Oberlin College

Monica

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My interest in tutoring began when I was a student at Oberlin College: though I was an English major, I took several education courses and tutored a high school student in French. I pursued my newfound passion to Turkey, where I taught English to university students as a Fulbright Scholar. Now I live in New York and my enthusiasm for working with students is as great as ever. These days I primarily tutor English and History. Outside of tutoring, I write and edit breaking news for the magazine Inverse. I am a musician -- I sing and play the piano, steel pan, and baglama -- and I also enjoy reading and traveling. My foremost pedagogical goal is to cater to the unique needs of each student, instead of employing one-size-fits-all tactics. I aim to help my students ultimately become independent learners. To that end, I encourage them to set goals, brainstorm learning strategies, and reflect on their progress. When students are insecure about their knowledge or potential, I challenge their low expectations of themselves and help them grow the confidence they need to succeed.

Monica’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Oberlin College - Bachelors, English

Test Scores

SAT Composite: 2170

SAT Verbal: 770

SAT Writing: 750

AP English Language: 5

AP European History: 5

SAT Subject Test in Literature: 760

SAT Subject Test in U.S. History: 780

Hobbies

Music, International Affairs/Politics

Tutoring Subjects

Adult ESL/ELL

American Literature

College Application Essays

College English

College Level American Literature

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing

English

English Grammar and Syntax

ESL/ELL

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Math

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

Other

Phonics

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I will tailor my tutoring methods to the individual learning style of each student. I am committed to helping students learn not only specific material, but also critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It's not enough that they learn information about a subject; they need to learn methodologies and how to approach a subject.

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

I begin by determining what the student already knows about a subject; identifying the student's strengths, and weaknesses, and learning style; and making a basic plan for our tutoring sessions going forward. I make sure to ask the student what he or she wants to get out of our tutoring sessions and ask whether he or she has any immediate questions, concerns, or suggestions.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I help my students develop methods for internalizing material based on their own learning styles. Once they master personal methods, they do not need to rely on my presence to study effectively.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I believe that it's important to help a student find points of interest within the subjects we're learning. Whether it's contextualizing information or relating material to students' hobbies, I help my tutees develop curiosity in the topics at hand to stay motivated.

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

When a student has difficulty with a skill or concept, I work together with the student to identify the area(s) of difficulty. Together we come up with strategies for working through the problem, and then I help the student implement them. Most importantly: I always maintain a positive, encouraging attitude.

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

It depends on the aspect of reading comprehension they are struggling with; but in general, I help students focus on the "bigger picture" of a passage, as opposed to getting bogged down in the details. If a student doesn't understand a particular word or phrase, I help him/her learn how to infer its meaning through context.

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

I talk to the student about his/her background knowledge in the subject, areas of strength and weakness, and preferred learning methods. Together we create a basic, flexible plan for moving forward.

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

If a student is unenthusiastic about a subject, I often like to relate it to a different topic about which he/she is passionate. I also find that my own enthusiasm for a subject can inspire a similar feeling in my students.

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

I always check comprehension after finishing a chunk of material with a student. I may ask the student to summarize what he/she learned, or I may ask specific questions about the material.

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

My encouragement is unfaltering. I maintain positivity and make sure to point out the moments when a student succeeds. Although it is important to focus my tutoring on what students don't know, I think that it is also important that they have an accurate sense of what they do know. That material is the foundation upon which further learning is built--and it gives students confidence.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

My tutoring sessions are student-centered. I focus on helping students actively engage with the material and regularly produce answers, which means that I am able to constantly assess their shifting needs. I also use comprehension checks after completing a chunk of material.

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

When I begin tutoring a student, I have a conversation with them about their study habits and preferred learning methods. This helps me anticipate which tutoring methods will be most effective. After beginning tutoring, I constantly adapt my strategies based on the student's feedback and my own observations of their learning needs.

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

That depends on the subject and the student's preferences. At the least, I bring paper, writing utensils, a laptop, and any relevant study materials I've created in the past (ex. notes, flashcards) that I think will prove useful for explaining material or demonstrating study methods.