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My background is in teaching composition, creative writing and analytical writing to college students. I have a PhD in Comparative Literature and I've published essays, stories, and plays. I taught at the University of Notre Dame for nine years. I am happy to be tutoring now because it gives me the opportunity to have an impact on students' lives from an early age.

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Jessica’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Barnard College - Bachelors, French, Women's Studies

Graduate Degree: New York University - PHD, Comparative Literature


Visual art, photography, theater

Tutoring Subjects


American Literature

AP Research

College Application Essays

College English

College Level American Literature

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


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


Public Speaking


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Every student is different. Their attention is different, their enthusiasms are different, and their learning is different. I try to understand each student on emotional as well as intellectual terms. I want to be in synch with them on every possible level so that my own approach is calibrated for the best possible outcome.

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

I'd want to get to know the student, and I'd want him or her to get to know me. I'd like to start by chatting a bit with the student and, if possible, with the parents, in order to get a better sense of what we hope to achieve and how we hope to achieve it. Then we'd get down to business!

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

My early training was as a teacher of English as a Second Language. The method used was called "The Silent Way," and we learned to make sure we didn't confuse our students in any way by talking too much. We needed to strike a balance between giving information and holding back and letting students discover the way on their own. I continue to use aspects of this method in my teaching today. Students don't need someone who is going to be a crutch; they need to be inspired to work on their own. I try to determine how much help and encouragement will be useful, and then I supply the student with the tools to carry forth on their own.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

When a student is struggling with motivation, I would work on executive skills. We would talk about how, where and when to study. We would talk about taking breaks and what kind of snacks to have. We would talk about technology use. I would also try to figure out what motivates them to do other tasks and work individually to address what's going on.

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

Sometimes learning is negatively affected by pressure and stress, so I would definitely back away from the skill or concept at first. Then we would return to it when the student felt more at ease. In the meantime, I would ask the student to teach me what they already know as much as possible, since it is by taking control of information that students become self-motivating.

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

It depends on a student's level and on where the difficulty lies. Some students may be having trouble with understanding written rather than spoken words, and some may be having more trouble with the concepts involved. First I would evaluate the situation, and then try to address it. If the student has trouble with written language, I might read aloud to the student to help with comprehension. Then we would proceed to address the issue of the students' reading. If the concepts were the issue, I would address it differently. If it made sense, I might find other examples for the student to read that would approach the subject from another angle.

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

I make sure I understand what the student wants from me and what his or her learning priorities are. So the first session begins with a discussion.

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

I would look for an "in" that grants him or her access to engagement. The "in" will depend on what the subject is. It may be a story or a game. It may just be having someone listen to their anxiety. Usually I discover that students know more than they think they know.

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