As an educator, student success is my priority and my passion. When a student has been struggling with a text, a concept or a skill and then the light bulb goes on in an "aha!" moment of enlightenment and understanding...those are the moments that I as a teacher live for, and those are the moments that I work towards every day. Your success is my success, plain and simple.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: CUNY Queens College - Bachelors, English Literature
Graduate Degree: CUNY Queens College - Masters, Secondary English Education
I am a voracious reader of both fiction and non fiction and an avid gardener and accomplished long distance and marathon runner. I also enjoy traveling our great country through family excursions and traveling the world through cooking culturally diverse and exotic cuisine. When possible, I try to volunteer for causes dear to my heart.
College Level American Literature
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is pretty simple: find what each student's strengths are, and build upon them to help support their weaknesses. I strive to learn about my students' learning styles and topics of interest, using real-life practical activities, so that learning in any content area has individual real-life relevance and cross-disciplinary effect.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session with a student, I might first have a student complete a student interest inventory to help me get to know a little more about a student, and then I would perform a pre-assessment of skills and concept knowledge so that I have a springboard upon which to jump into specific content area differentiated instruction.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
To help a student become an independent learner, I would share with that student the skills and techniques most often and successfully used in English Language Arts, Reading and Writing, and the concept and skill of metacognition and growth mindset, so that students can actually monitor their own learning through reflection and pre- and post-assessment.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I think of myself as a teacher and a cheerleader. I believe it is essential to celebrate students' individual successes, no matter how slight incrementally, so that students can see that improvement is taking place. That alone is often enough to set a student on the road of success. We can't climb mountains in one giant step -- it takes a thousand tiny ones placed carefully with fortitude, tenacity and patience.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student is having difficulty learning a skill or concept, I go back to that student inventory that I have stored in my memory and try to pull out a real-life example that is analogous to the concept or skill in question. I also use visuals to help assist in understanding, whether it be a sketch, diagram or video clip, because so often students are highly visual and hand-on learners.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
When students are struggling with reading comprehension, I instruct them in several reading strategies that help support understanding, such as double entry journals, highlighting, annotating, questioning the text, chunking and reflection in a technique I call "Hey, what's the big idea?!", partnered discussion such as Socratic Seminar, philosophical chair, etc.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
There are several strategies that I have found most successful with students at the beginning depending on the content area and skill. For instance, when students are having trouble writing, I always tell them to "think on paper" first, which is basically a free write on the topic. I have also acted as scribe for students, asking them specific questions and then typing their answers so that they can see that yes, they are able to address the questions, it is just the physical writing that seems to be standing in their way. I have also used visual aids to assist in writing such as theme posters where students create a web of sorts with text excerpts in bubbles that address a particular thesis, and then a thought bubble extending from that excerpt where the student is commenting on how that excerpt addresses the thesis, which later on I explain is the elaboration needed when writing an argumentative or informational essay. In all content areas, I like to use hands-on and visual activities as well as music to scaffold a particular skill or concept, hence making it more accessible for the student.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
To bolster student engagement, I always try to connect the subject or topic to their own real lives. If a student, especially an adolescent student, cannot personally connect to a topic or subject, then most likely he or she will not become personally vested into it. I believe, in order to get the student's buy-in, the subject must always be brought to the student rather than the student brought to the subject.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I always use exit tickets or slips to check for understanding, even if it is a red-yellow-green metacognition form of exit slip. Post assessment is imperative. Usually a post assessment will be in the form of an exemplar practicum activity if we are focusing on a particular skill; however, post assessment can be as simple as having a student explain to me how to use a particular strategy, or what the implied main idea of a text is in his or her own words.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I try to build a student's confidence in a subject by showing how much a student actually does know about it in a less academic form. For instance, for theme, I may use music lyrics to scaffold when teaching about themes across texts; or for implied main idea, I may use graphic cartoons or comics to scaffold before going on to more rigorous texts. I believe that students need to see that education is a ladder, and that each step is an achievement, even if it is one rung at a time.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs through pre-assessment on a particular content area, concept or skill. I also use the student's own reflections on his or her own needs. If a student is not "getting it", I explore a variety of possible alternative instructional strategies so that I can get that student to a point of understanding. As a teacher, I am constantly assessing students' needs in an informal process through observation and questioning.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my tutoring to a student's needs by being flexible and bringing to the table, both figuratively and literally, a variety of differentiated materials that can assist in that adaptation.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
As an ELA teacher, I will obviously use whatever grade level text we are using, as well as a small whiteboard for visual aids, graphic organizers, and a laptop to pull up ad hoc supporting materials.