William Butler Yeats said that, "education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." I couldn't agree more. My job as a teacher is, and will always be, to inspire curiosity and a hunger to explore the world through critical examination!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Ottawa University - Bachelors, Psychology
Graduate Degree: Atlantic Acting School - Current Grad Student, Acting
ACT Composite: 25
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1330
I love to read, watch movies - especially documentaries as of late. I played college basketball and still love the game. I love dogs, I love to sing (in private!), and last but not least, I am an actor, which is something I value in my life as much as anything - everything I've learned through my acting, and all the ways that it connects me to the world around me.
What is your teaching philosophy?
William Butler Yeats said that "education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." I think that about sums it up. My role as a teacher should be to inspire curiosity and to encourage a full engagement of their critical faculties - tools that will make them self-sufficient and self-reliant as they move forward with their learning.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first step with a new student would be to establish some parameters for our relationship, and lay out some simple goals, both of which will serve the student better if they are on his terms. Imposing rules and goals upon the student won't serve the process as well as if they are things that he decides that he wants.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Try to get to the root of what is proving confusing to the student, and identify whether the confusion is semantic, or more technical, and experiment with rewording the problem, reexamining it through examples they may intuitively grasp more easily, and try to find common ground that assists in their interpretation.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By finding the ways that the subject relates to them personally. I struggled the most in school with things I didn't see the relevance of. When I found what made them important and relevant to my life and the world I was occupying, they came alive and inspired me.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By helping them recognize that they aren't as lost as they might think they are at the outset. Identifying the ways that their preexisting knowledge will serve them, and showing them that they aren't as far as they might think from a solid understanding, makes the goals more attainable and manageable.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I would start on the surface, and see whether they are able to articulate their needs, and if that doesn't seem like a way to find what they need most, it would become a matter of using example problems to see where the troubles arise within the exercise.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The best way to adapt, I think, is by being present and attentive to what is really going on with the student, in as specific of terms as possible. Specifically identifying what the student's needs are is often the most difficult step in this process. Once the issue has been clearly and accurately identified, I think it becomes a matter of using one's intuition on a case by case basis to arrive at a remedy.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I am going to brag a bit, here, and say that I have become quite a self-sufficient independent learner. So, one way to help a student in that regard is to continue to model that behavior in myself. The people that have modeled that behavior for me made the passion to learn infectious. Being around them made me want to learn more about the world, and made me hungry to start tearing through books and plays, watching lectures and TED talks, and finding great documentaries. So, I can help a student by continually embodying that passion for self-sufficiency in learning and educating one's self, and also by finding ways to make the subject matter and the process relevant to the individual student. Part of that involves figuring out what makes that student tick, and tapping into that well of curiosity to make the subject matter more compelling.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Goal setting, and tying short-term goals to deeper motivations and passions, is a necessary component to sustained interest and motivation. So, at the outset of working with a student, identifying some deeper passions and purposes in their life will help shape our learning together, and give each day and each lesson meaning.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Finding the fun in each problem that we come up against, and reshaping the way we view the word problem. Coming to view problems as opportunities rather than frustrating obstacles can help keep the process engaging and meaningful.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
A great way to test the student's understanding is to have them teach the concept back to you, or to have them apply the concept to a different problem, to prove that the fundamentals of the concept we are working on are sticking, and are something they can apply - most importantly.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I think a great place to start for any struggle in learning is to start with what the student DOES know. From that, we can begin to extrapolate deeper meaning from any passage. I've had the privilege of working on and analyzing some of the most complicated stage plays ever written, and the key to penetrating the material is to start with what does make sense. It not only clarifies what progress needs to be made in understanding, but it's encouraging to feel that you're not as lost as you previously thought.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The materials we would go over would depend on what the student needed the most help with. The student's textbooks and homework assignments would be the starting place, but outside resources I might reference or use could be plays, novels, film clips, or world events that seem relevant to the given subject matter.