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Sherry

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To Teach is to Learn
To teach is to touch a life forever is a saying that I will always remember. I received a card from a student many years ago with this inscription on top of a beautiful picture of a heart carefully drawn in the middle of a mandala that was colored in with precise and careful deliberation. I bought a gold frame to preserve this memory forever and placed it on my living room wall. Many times I look up at this gift as it rekindles my inner fire compelling me to teach and touch lives. Ive also re-discovered the phrase and how much meaning it truly holds.
As an educator, I am always searching for new ways to motivate my students. I keep up with all the newest teaching trends. However, lately, Ive also discovered how truly golden my time is with my students in the world we live in today. I am talking about more than the mere facts I am teaching them and more than ways to navigate through their school experience. To touch their lives forever, I need to spend time quality time with them. Ive been on the search to further my education and knowledge about the ways I can go above and beyond to make a positive impact in not only students education, but on their drive to learn. Ive scanned through my files, browsed on-line, Googled, and searched endlessly for exciting things to incorporate into my lesson plans to enhance their learning experience. I then figure out ways to personalize this learning in ways each student can relate to as unique individuals.
As I reflect on these teaching strategies, it dawned on me that I have a responsibility, not only to teach these children, but to instill the value of learning I know to be true. I have learned in the last few weeks, the best lessons I can teach these students arent found in my filing cabinet or online somewhere, they are found in my heart. And if I give them each a piece of my heart every day, I will touch their lives in more ways than I can count.
To teach is to touch a life forever is a phrase that now resonates in my mind and heart each day. Lately, Ive learned more than I ever thought possible. Sometimes, I feel like the lessons that come from listening to our heart are the best lessons.

Sherry’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: California State Fullerton - Bachelors, English

Hobbies

hiking, horseback riding, animals, nature, dance

Tutoring Subjects

American Literature

College English

College Level American Literature

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing

English

English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

Phonics

Special Education

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My Philosophy of Teaching - "To teach is to touch a life forever" is a saying that I will always remember. I received a card from a student many years ago with this inscription on top of a beautiful picture of a heart carefully drawn in the middle of a mandala that was colored in with precise and careful deliberation. I bought a gold frame to preserve this memory forever and placed it on my living room wall. Many times, I look up at this gift as it rekindles my inner fire, compelling me to teach and touch lives. I've also re-discovered the phrase and how much meaning it truly holds. As an educator, I am always searching for new ways to motivate my students. I keep up with all the newest teaching trends. However, lately, I've also discovered how truly golden my time is with my students in the world we live in today. I am talking about more than the mere facts I am teaching them and more than ways to navigate through their school experience. To touch their lives forever, I need to spend quality time with them. I've been on the search to further my education and knowledge about the ways I can go above and beyond to make a positive impact in not only students' education, but on their drive to learn. I've scanned through my files, browsed online, Googled, and searched endlessly for exciting things to incorporate into my lesson plans to enhance their learning experience. I then figure out ways to personalize this learning in ways each student can relate to as unique individuals. As I reflected on these teaching strategies, it dawned on me that I have a responsibility, not only to teach these children, but to instill the value of learning I know to be true. I have learned in the last few weeks, the best lessons I can teach these students aren't found in my filing cabinet or online somewhere, they are found in my heart. If I give them each a piece of my heart everyday, I will touch their lives in more ways than I can count. "To teach is to touch a life forever" is a phrase that now resonates in my mind and heart each day. Lately, I've learned more than I ever thought possible. Sometimes, I feel like the lessons that come from listening to our heart are the best lessons.

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

The first thing I do is get to know the student. I encourage the student to talk about himself/herself. I use self-inquiry prompts such as; what are your interests, what are some strengths and weaknesses (if the student is older), and how do you learn best? If the student has trouble giving me an answer, I give examples. As soon as the student feels comfortable, I often give an assessment to see where the student stands in relation to the skills he or she has in the subject being taught. I carefully go over the assignment that the student needs to complete, and I ask the student what he/she understands about it and ask pertinent questions, throwing out hints to enable the student to feel that they have personally contributed to the understanding of the directions required to complete the assignment. I will lead the student to the answers by guiding each one through inquiry.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I refer to the assignment and encourage feedback from the student to assess the level of motivation the student currently has about doing it. I try to plug it into the student's life by gauging his or her interests, environment, and prior knowledge. I also assess each student’s level of need for each assignment and scaffold accordingly, reducing the amount of scaffolding as the student becomes proficient in each prerequisite skill. Scaffolding includes modeling the skill, guiding the student through the process, practicing the skill, and fading the support as the student can perform the function independently. At each stage of mastery, the progress is noted, and when the skill(s) necessary to meet the criteria set in place by the goal are mastered, the revised goal or different goal is created.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I capitalize on each student’s interests and strengths. Let’s say that a student is good at sports and clearly has an interest in them. An expository paper is due about a topic of choice. I ask the student questions about what sport interests him/her and instruct them to brainstorm by typing in ideas about the sport or sports. After, providing an online interactive graphic organizer, and an example of a well- developed essay. After that, I guide the student(s) through the rest of the graphic organizer, explaining what sections are the introduction, supporting details, and conclusion. Then, they explain to me justifications for word placement of ideas on their paper. I later give them a list of transition words, and we discuss how they increase fluidity when expressing ideas and moving from one point to the next. I provide a packet of correct MLA citations, and we go over the importance of using them and not plagiarizing someone’s work. I show each student examples of references that are credible to use and others that are not. In addition, I give them access to online resources so the citation is given in correct MLA format. Finally, I help them transfer the material over to an essay. For math, I have students write, in their own words, the steps for each math problem with examples. I also initially model the steps.

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

As children grow more comfortable with reading, you can start asking them to make predictions on what they are about to read and what may happen as the events in the story start unfolding. These can be based on pictures and illustrations or the title of the text. You can ask questions like, “What do you think the story is about? What do you think will happen?” After reading the text, check if the predictions were correct. Asking children to summarize a story they have read and to retell it helps them articulate their thoughts. We are able to assess their understanding -- what they consider as important, what are the main ideas as they have understood it and how they connect these ideas, the sequence in which they retell the story, and how much they remember.

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

It is also important to link each activity with what the students have learned previously and what they will learn in the new session. Write the activity instructions down so the student can see them or project them, to save the time spent repeating what to do and to attract the student's attention when he/she comes in. Finally, use Do Knows as a routine, so the student will form the habit of immediately focusing on learning.

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

Change activities frequently: Today’s students are accustomed to getting information instantly. Knowing this, we cannot expect them to come into our learning session and sit still for sixty minutes while we lecture on about subject-verb agreement. It helps to remind ourselves of the world in which our students live and adapt our teaching to it. This means lessons should be broken into shorter segments and topics should be changed frequently. The more you keep students on their toes, the less likely they will be to get bored and act out. I try to keep lessons and activities to a maximum of twenty to thirty minutes.

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

Avoid yes/no questions and phrases like “Does this make sense?” In response to these questions, students usually answer “yes.” So of course it’s surprising when several students later admit that they're lost. To help students grasp ideas in class, ask pointed questions that require students to use their own prior knowledge. During the last five minutes of class, ask students to reflect on the lesson and write down what they've learned. Then, ask them to consider how they would apply this concept or skill in a practical setting. Have students summarize or paraphrase important concepts and lessons. This can be done orally, visually, or otherwise.

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

Start a unit of study by activating prior knowledge. Students who can connect new learning with previous knowledge will be far more likely to persist in facing learning challenges than those students for whom each concept in the material is unfamiliar. Begin a unit of study or even smaller assignments within that unit with work that is easier than it will be near the end of the unit or assignment. Once students see that they can do the work, they will be less intimidated. Break longer assignments into smaller, more manageable ones so that students won't be overwhelmed at the thought of a long task.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

A rubric is a good way to evaluate a student's performance. It is a type of scoring guide that assesses and articulates specific components and expectations for an assignment. Rubrics can be used for a variety of assignments: research papers, group projects, portfolios and presentations. As teachers collect data on student performance, it is useful to organize that information for easy analysis. Tracking student progress is not an end in itself, but a means of monitoring and promoting positive student outcomes. It propels student academic growth by helping the teacher accurately identify students' strengths and areas for development, make more strategic decisions about future lessons, and plan for differentiated instruction that leads to student mastery.

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

Use homework reminders, planners, and assignment charts. I believe these should be in every classroom. These create a "to do"? list for students that can easily be checked off when completed. Depending on the student, you can also ask for parents to sign off each evening, getting parents involved in the homework responsibility. Set reasonable goals and ask questions about the assignment while they are working. Checking on student progress will allow you to see if they are working correctly or need assistance. Use shorter tests or oral testing for those students who struggle with test taking. Some students freeze when it is test time. If the test is multiple pages, giving one page at a time will help with test anxiety.

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

I'm going to come at this from the online tutoring angle. Surely the materials I outline for an online session will vary from what's required for an in-person session, but I think it's important to discuss the finer details of emerging learning technology. The following is of materials and tools specific to what a tutor and/or student would use during an online tutoring session in the tutoring session. *A smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with a reliable Internet connection *Any homework, assignment sheets, project outlines, etc., that pertains to the lesson (files can be shared between the tutor and student) *HD video/audio feeds *Live chat *Any textbooks relevant to the lesson *Materials for physical note taking, because some students and tutors like to take notes with a pen and paper.