I am a trained historian driven by a love of learning, and a passion for seeing that love instilled in others. I hold a MA in public history from Georgia College and State University, and have spent my academic career primarily learning how to help make the very stuff of history accessible, digestible, and dilectible for anyone and everyone. I am not limited to that field, however, and spent two years at GCSU and a school year at Edventure Children's Museum teaching science to students of all ages. I possess a diverse range of skills including creative and persuasive writing, public speaking, background knowledge in major world religions, a passing ability for conversational German, and last but not least am a fiercely meticulous editor of written projects. I have presented research at a Georgia Association of Historians conference, took part in Coker College's literary magazine, and have spent many years volunteering as a researcher, presentation teacher, and educational game organizer/coordinator at South Carolina's Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum to help students learn and enjoy their state's rich military history.
I have worked with a very wide variety of students in my three years of professional and student teaching. In GCSU's Academic Outreach program I was literally teaching and working with students of all ages; from pre-K children, to elementary, middle, and high school aged students, the occasional team building and outdoor education day with college students, youth leadership organizations, and regular weekly work with adults with developmental disabilities at Milledgeville's Life Enrichment Center. With Edventure Children's Museum, I assisted elementary students across South Carolina's Richland County first and second school districts to learn and enjoy science, but also helped them to get through the day to day grind of homework and any problems they may have had therewith. My best aptitude lies with teaching middle school to college age students. I have experience working with students and colleagues alike from many different backgrounds, including international students and those with special needs; though I will not claim to specialize in them.
The best words for summarizing my general teaching approach are context and connection. We are all products of nature and nurture in kind, with unique personalities. We all learn differently. I understand this, and can be trusted to help students find a strategy with which to tackle their assignments, master their obstacles, and carry forward into their lifelong practice of scholarship. Typically, we learn and retain best when we are able to form connections between data, and are able to see the item of our focus in its context. I also endeavor to make connections with my students and understand the context from which they work, and help them to see the subject of their study as a smaller part of a greater whole. Most of my teaching work has been rooted in either introducing new, potentially difficult material to a student in a more accessible way; or helping them to reinforce and master a subject that they have already covered in a formal class setting. We will identify and strengthen what could be a weakness, play to the existing strengths, and help to develop comprehensive and lasting understanding of material.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Coker College - Bachelors, History
Graduate Degree: Georgia College State University - Masters, Public History
Writing, painting, tabletop gaming, hiking, crafting, nearly anything related to history
What is your teaching philosophy?
True learning is in comprehension, rather than mere retention of facts.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know them of course, trying to learn strengths and weaknesses as well as personal interests. In short, figure out how best we can personalize our future sessions, whatever the subject.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Loosely inspired by Socrates as I am, the goal of any teaching session is to help the student ultimately reach understanding of their material on their own. I try to guide them to the right path to the conclusion, and then ensure that they can replicate the process for other problems.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It's all about playing to their goals and interests. If I can tailor lesson material to areas that interest and excite the student, then great. If not, focus on the goal at hand and approach it as a small step on that path. One has to learn a bit of the science behind aerodynamics and rifling in order to understand changes in warfare throughout the age of gunpowder.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Some problems are just a matter of practice, but I also try to make sure that the student isn't having difficulty due to material or a process they've not quite mastered in previous material. Barring that, find some ways to reinforce with extracurricular material if possible, or attempt alternative learning methods, EG visual/material manipulative tools.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
In my experience, practicing and enhancing vocabulary is typically an easy fix for such problems. Otherwise, note taking and outline-building from material students otherwise find dense has proven useful. The end goal in such a case is helping the student break difficult material into more digestible information.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I have a bit of a knack for making analogies and connections between subjects, so if I can tie the problem subject into something the student enjoys; be it another subject they like more, or a movie or book setting they particularly like; I'll do it. If all else fails, I'm not too proud to accept that sometimes a subject can't be made interesting, and can fall back on diverting the student's excitement from the prospect of success, completion of the material, etc., into the mountain they must surpass.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Depending on the student's level of performance and engagement, I would have them start with working through some practice material without any help from me to make sure they can do it on their own. The ultimate way to be certain, in my experience, is to have the student switch roles with me and teach the material back to me as if I were the student, and they the teacher.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Start from the bottom up! It's easier to cover weaknesses and gradually move forward once the student's favorite/most successful and least successful strategies for learning are established.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Give them opportunities to succeed, and a plan to follow should they waver. Usually all it takes to build confidence are simple practice questions and exercises.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I usually try to have their feedback from school, and whatever stated needs the student knows of established beforehand. From there I can watch for signs of confidence or distress. My goal is for us to constantly communicate what they're feeling and thinking throughout the sessions, and look for what we can improve on.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I can change my teaching style based on what works well for them. I'm prepared to do anything to make sure they succeed, including having to do some extra learning of new strategies myself.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I usually use written or visual material based on the area of study, but I also have a good library of audiovisual material to recommend for students' enjoyment and edification outside of our sessions.