Education is a passion, as well as a life-long commitment, for me. I was a National Merit Scholar finalist in high school and then graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a history major and a comparative area studies minor. I graduated from University of North Carolina School of Law in the top 15% of my class and later returned there as an adjunct professor of Legal Research and Writing. I later received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from UNC-Chapel Hill where I had a 3 year National Science Fellowship and was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student award twice. I then taught for over a decade at Montana State University in the Native American Studies Department. I have since tutored high school and college level students in the social sciences and English for over 7 years.I am an exceptional writing tutor. I have numerous scholarly articles published as well as editorial experience on an academic journal. I have two published books as well. I also tutor for the PSAT/SAT/ACT, as well as helping students with their college essays. My students and their education are very important to me. I enjoy helping them achieve their objectives. I tailor my tutoring to their individual needs and learning styles. I am personable and warm; students like me and find me easy to work with. I have had great success with students mastering school subjects and standardized tests after working with me. Many have made exceptional improvements.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Duke University - Bachelors, History
Graduate Degree: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Juris Doctor, Legal Studies
Graduate Degree: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - PHD, Anthropology
Creative non-fiction; photography; travel; film.
AP US History
College Application Essays
College Level American Literature
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
SAT Subject Tests Prep
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe teaching must be tailored to fit an individual student's objectives, strengths, and learning styles. I talk to my students to assess what type of lessons benefit them most. I also believe students learn much more when they are interested. I constantly brainstorm how to make my lessons interesting. I give detailed feedback, including positive feedback to motivate them further as well as build their self-esteem regarding academic performance.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first thing I do with a new student is talk to them. I ask them about the specific subject we are working on and have them tell me their objectives with regard to it. Then, I ask them about what they feel are their strengths to accomplish those objectives, as well as the obstacles and problems holding them back. I follow by asking them as to what learning styles are most effective for them--verbal, visual, etc. Based on their answers, I come up with a proposal and outline as to how we can work together to achieve their goals. If there is still time in this initial session, we start right away on this plan.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I teach students skills as well as subjects. I try to foster analytical thinking, clear expression of ideas in both oral and written communication, good study habits, and academic self-confidence. I also do my best to get students interested in learning by encouraging intellectual curiosity. All of these skills foster an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I always remind students of their overall goals. I remind them that to achieve that future goal, doing the present work is important. I also help students stay motivated by reminding them of the importance of the subject we are studying and making the lesson plans as interesting as possible. I have also found that reminding students of the progress they've made and giving positive feedback keeps them motivated.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
The first thing I do is ask the student to tell me as specifically as they can what is confusing to them about the skill or concept they are having difficulty with. I listen extremely carefully so that I can zero in on the problem to best address it. Then, I break down the skill or concept into the smallest, simplest units possible and teach them one-by-one. If necessary, I may bring in visual materials or any other relevant tool that may help. I encourage the student to ask me any and all questions they may have, telling them that I want to know anything that is confusing them. I make sure that they fully understand the skill or concept before moving on.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I teach students specific skills and strategies that help with reading comprehension. For non-fictional reading, I teach them to focus in on the thesis, as well as the main ideas of each paragraph. I show them how academic authors generally construct their writings so they can better understand what is important and what they need to look for. I also teach them ways to speed up their reading without compromising their comprehension. I work with them on vocabulary and teach them ways of making good guesses at the meaning of words they don't know. I help students improve their reading comprehension with regard to literary passages by reviewing with them elements of fiction, such as plot, characterization, tone, symbolism, etc. I then teach them how to use these concepts to analyze literary passages.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I initially treat a student with friendliness, warmth, and respect so s/he feels comfortable with me. I let them know that I am their coach, as well as their teacher. I am not grading their performance; I'm helping them achieve their academic goals. Therefore, they should feel free to ask me any question they might have, or for any kind of help they might need, --even if they are afraid it might be trivial or "dumb". I always talk to students about their objectives, assessment of their academic strengths as well as weaknesses, and what learning styles they work best with.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
If a student is struggling with a subject, I first show them how mastery of that subject is necessary for them to achieve their academic and long-term goals. I also tell them why a certain subject is important to get them more engaged with it. Additionally, I try to make the subject more exciting in my lesson plan and session with them.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I ask a student several times in each session if they understand the material we have covered. I emphasize that if there is anything that is unclear to tell me and I'll explain it as many times as necessary for them to understand it. I also use exercises, worksheets, simulated tests, and other tools to make certain they understand the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I always begin by telling students that they have the capability to do well in the subject. I emphasize that for most people mastery of a subject comes from hard work. Then, as we begin to work on a subject, I give them positive feedback and encouragement. Throughout our work, I compliment them on their improvement and remind them how much progress they have made.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs through multiple sources including: (1) what the student says about their own needs, objectives, strengths, and weaknesses (2) parent input as to what needs they believe need to be addressed (3) any tests, papers, or other work from school or standardized testing (4) letters from teachers, counselors, learning disability evaluators, or others, if relevant (5) my own evaluation tools and ways of assessing academic needs.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I always tailor my tutoring style to an individual student's needs. I ask them at the very beginning what learning style works best for them, such as oral, written, or visual. I also tailor my lessons to the skill level of that particular student. I keep the student's personality in mind as well. If they are very shy, for example, I draw them out and use even more positive feedback than normal.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use different types of materials depending on what subject I am tutoring in and the particular student. For standardized tests, I primarily use sample tests, as well as my own information sheets on what is most important to know. If I am tutoring a student in a school subject, I use their textbooks, readings from class, as well as relevant secondary sources. Often, I will use my own PowerPoint presentation to summarize or look at particular areas giving them problems. With tutoring regarding writing, we use their written assignments and talk in detail about my corrections, suggested revisions, and comments.