With a passion for learning, a love for language and a desire to experience the world through multiple perspectives, I am a dedicated student at heart. Up to this point, my entire life has been as a student and I have enjoyed every bit of it - learning new things is a productive, enlightening pastime! That's why I want to help others enjoy learning as much as I have.
I have 8 years of experience with Spanish language and literature, 2 years with German, and a lifetime with writing - although the past 4 years have been on the college level. I graduated Summa Cum Laude and achieved only A's in all of my language/writing/literature classes in college.
I love language in all its forms, and welcome the opportunity to help others with all its intricacies!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Riverside - Bachelors, Language Studies: Spanish and German
SAT Composite: 1960
SAT Math: 580
SAT Verbal: 660
SAT Writing: 720
Reading (especially fiction), Grammar, SCUBA Diving, Bodyboarding, Backpacking, Learning new languages
High School English
High School Writing
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that to enjoy learning something, the reward must be intrinsic to the learner. Therefore, I can't teach simply by giving away answers. Rather, the learner has to find them on their own with my guidance, and the road to those answers should not be painful to follow. I can lend a helping hand when the learner strays from the path, and hopefully they will have enjoyed the journey to get there.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would introduce myself. Then I'd get to know the student's interests, what areas of study they enjoy and understand, and then I would ask where they felt they needed help. If possible, I would pinpoint what areas of the material they understood, and then try to build upon those areas so that the understanding would be cohesive, rather than just throwing something seemingly unrelated at them.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student become an independent learner by showing them that they have the power to learn the material. Maybe they need help with some aspects of learning it, but ultimately the positive reinforcement that comes with understanding a new subject can inspire them to replicate that feeling. With my help along the way, eventually they will be able to accomplish the subject on their own and will love learning, just as I do.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
To help a student stay motivated, I would try to make the subject fun. For example, if we were studying something systematic like Spanish conjugation tables, I would turn it into a game. Also, I would make sure to always use positive reinforcement and show them all the things that they had already accomplished. If they felt stuck in not understanding something, I'd go back to what they did understand and say, "See, you understand this - that's a real accomplishment, and you should be proud of yourself for it!" I would always try to prevent them from feeling discouraged. In certain circumstances I could show them real-life applications for what they were learning. For example, if they watch Game of Thrones, do they remember the palace in Dorne? Well those scenes were filmed at a real palace in Spain - the Alcazar of Sevilla! If they stay motivated to learn their Spanish, they could visit that place one day and communicate with the locals! (And walk in the footsteps of famous actors). I would gauge what motivates them specifically to come up with an action plan.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to get to know my students, and let them get to know me, so that we are comfortable with each other before delving into the books. Feeling free to express uncertainty and ask for help is paramount to a successful tutoring session.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would make it fun! Not everything has to be done on worksheets or out of textbooks. For example, we could take the lesson and apply it to analyzing a song or movie - (this is great for learning foreign languages).
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would have them complete an assessment (either through the tutoring platform or from their applicable textbook). Also, I would ask them if they felt comfortable with the material and clarify any further questions.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
To build a student's confidence, you should build upon what they are comfortable with rather than just throwing out new, potentially discouraging, material. Learning is step-by-step, so you should make sure that they understand the foundations before moving on. If you do this, their confidence will increase because they will be able to learn more effectively.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I ask them what they're comfortable with, what they're uncomfortable with, and what their goals are. I quickly review the material they're comfortable with to make sure that they fully understand it, and then I discuss the topic that they need more help with. I might give them a brief exercise to gauge what they understand already (maybe without realizing it), and see where we should go from there.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I gauge what type of learner they are. For example, some people learn best from visual aids, auditory aids, or tactile aids - I would try to make the lesson in whichever style suits them best. Also, I would do my best to make the lesson fun. Learning is more than just questions and answers, and we could use other forms of media, games, and more to best teach the topic.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Definitely visual aids, such as multi-color pens and blank paper. Personally, color-coding information is how I like to learn and keep things organized. Computers are great for editing papers, or viewing other media that could help with making the lesson more fun (such as songs). It depends on the topic and the student's preferences.