Every student has their own unique talents. Every student has the ability to master information. Every student can succeed in different ways and on different days.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Shenandoah University - Bachelors, Music Education
Graduate Degree: Boston University - Masters, Education
music, films, poetry, swimming
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School World History
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
There is value in all learning though we may not recognize it while we are going through it. But one piece of information, one skill we mastered, will one day be critical in achieving a goal we really want. Hard work is the price we pay for getting to that place where we can enjoy learning and doing.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to ask a lot of questions, let my student talk about themselves, explore their strengths, their interests, and their dreams. Then, we can create a plan for accomplishing the short-term goal of improvement or enrichment.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
When I learned to ride a bike, my dad held the bike for me and walked slowly beside me while I learned to steer and push the pedals. Then, after a while, he started to run with me, helping me balance while I learned to go faster and steer more smoothly. Then one day he let go, and I was an independent bike rider. This pattern repeats itself in learning academic skills and concepts. Gradually, it is my job to withdraw my support as a student learns more about how they learn. But, it is also my job to find alternate routes to learning when a student is stumped.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
A student has to motivate himself or herself, but it has been my experience that gentle, persistent urging and encouragement helps students find their motivation again.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It is my duty as a teacher to find alternate ways to help any student learn a concept with which they struggle. Skills take time to develop; they must be practiced repeatedly before becoming comfortable. Concepts can be connected to personal experience or personal perspective in order to make sense.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
There are many different ways to help a reader, but I will list three here: 1. Helping a student read more smoothly will increase comprehension. Students who must struggle to recognize several words in a row can't retain the meaning of those words long enough to understand what the sentence is stating. 2. When a student responds to questions that cover all levels of thinking, their reading comprehension increases. 3. When students are given the opportunity to draw and write about what they read, their reading comprehension improves.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
A successful working relationship is built on trust. When a student trusts me, and knows I recognize and value their past efforts and struggles, we can begin to succeed. When a student finds out that I, too, have struggled, then that student sees the possibility of success for himself or herself. When a student learns to persist without becoming frustrated, we both can find joy in finding solutions and discovering potential.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I think most students have had an experience, or is familiar with a person who has had the experience, of having to do something they don't like to do in order to be able to do something they do enjoy doing. When they remember that experience, they can find the courage they need to keep trying, to find ways to tell themselves "I may not be able to do this now, but if I keep working on it, I will find a way."
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
The best way to make sure a student understands what is being taught is to trade roles and have the student teach me. If a student can draw and explain a concept to me, or can teach me or another student how to learn a skill, then that is a sign to me that enough understanding of the material is accomplished, and we can move on.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Remind a student of their past successes, in academics, or in other arenas of their life.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Some academic needs are quickly assessed through pre-testing. I can give a progressively more difficult test in arithmetic operations, for example, and tell the student to simply answer the questions they can, and we will find our starting place. Other needs are not so quickly identified, and the program of instruction needs to be adapted as those needs become apparent in a student's work.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I ask a lot of questions. I try to find out what the student expects of our work together, what strengths and weaknesses (s)he thinks (s)he possesses, and what level of success the student expects.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I try to use visual aids, objects, and some kind of aural learning in most of my lessons.