I have been teaching since grade school, when my sister and I always got to be the teachers whenever we played school because WE had the nun costumes. (Thanks, Mom!) As a high school sophomore, I was asked to teach the freshman German class because I had learned so much of the language on my own, with the help of an older sister who was studying it in college. (Thanks, Sis!) As a graduate student, my advisor asked me to teach a year-long course in electronic music, a subject that at the time I didnt know well at all. (Thanks, Dr. Stokes!) Thats when I really learned how to learn and how to teach - fast. Since then, I have taught a variety of subjects to everyone from preschoolers to adult learners - and Im still going to school myself.
My background in the arts enables me to take novel approaches to asking questions, while my background in health care gives me a strong appreciation for arriving at evidence-based answers. That combination of discipline and creativity is something that I try to pass along to all of my students. If that appeals to you, I would love to work with you!
Undergraduate Degree: University of Wisconsin-Madison - Bachelors, Music History
Graduate Degree: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities - Masters, Music Composition
What is your teaching philosophy?
I love to learn, and I love to share that enthusiasm with the people I teach. I encourage my students to "own" their learning process by helping them to identify what they want and need to know in any given subject and why, and what the best way is for them to do that learning. I then help them to create a process that will enable them to reach their goals, and I work alongside them to help them do that.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, I would begin to get to know a student and share a few things about myself. Then I would assess what he or she knows about the subject they're working on, what they enjoy about it, what they find difficult, and what they still need to learn. I would ask them questions about their other academic experiences and their learning style in general. Then I would begin to devise an approach to the subject at hand that capitalizes on that style.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student become an independent learner by helping him or her understand their own learning style, by showing them how to devise creative approaches to learning that capitalizes on that style, and by infusing them with a sense of curiosity and an enthusiasm for learning.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I help students stay motivated by giving them positive feedback, continuously varying and fine-tuning their learning process, helping them to make new connections between what they're studying and other subjects, and reminding them of their goals.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When something seems hard, I back it up, break it down, make unexpected connections, and/or turn it upside down. It can also be helpful to take a break and come back to a topic with a fresh mind.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If someone is having trouble reading, I will try to identify where exactly the difficulty lies, and address it accordingly. For instance, I might focus on building skills in that particular area, and/or select reading material that is more appropriate for the student's skill level. I will also engage all of the learning modes - visual, kinetic, and auditory - to enhance overall comprehension and confidence.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
That depends on the student.