I received my BS degree from Colorado State University in Mathematics and Education. I later went on to get my MBA from Syracuse University. And outside of my official school programs, I frequently take classes that interest me, because I love to learn!
I am a lifelong learner. I love to learn which really supports my ability to teach. I find that when I teach something, it helps me learn it at a much more complete and deeper level.
In order to learn, I have to break concepts down into their most basic parts in order to understand the concept. I've been told I ask too many questions and why would I want to know that?? But that's the level I need to break things down in order to learn.
As a result, I have great compassion for questions and ongoing inquiries in the attempt to learn and understand. Because I have been relentless in my need to understand, I can break concepts down, especially math, into very tangible pieces. I can relate most math concepts into day to day life which can really make it come alive and meaningful to the student. Math can be a bunch of confusing numbers and symbols all jumbled together, or it can be a language that concisely describes our day to day lives.
I received my Math Education degree along with my teaching certificate several years ago. I taught for a short time and then my career path took me into working as a mathematician and software engineer. I went on to get my graduate degree in Business Administration and have since owned my own Staffing Services business and invested in several small businesses.
I use my love of numbers, mathematics and the application of math in business every day. It serves me well in my business and as a teacher.
Very few educational systems require any kind of personal finance course and many parents are uncomfortable teaching money skills to their children. This is one of my passions... to help people understand how to manage their money wisely. How to budget so that they can have what they need to live day to day and also save money and invest. How to use credit wisely.
For me, how to manage money and learning math go hand in hand. The more a person understands the concepts of math and can see them operating in their day to day life, the fear of math will go away. Since money management deals with numbers also, comfort with math has a direct link to people learning and feeling comfortable and confident managing their own money.
The most important aspect of my teaching is creating a safe environment. An environment where the student knows they are safe to reveal their questions and speak freely about the stumbling blocks they run into while learning. In my presence, no one will ever be made to feel stupid for not understanding something. It is simply a learning opportunity. What is the source of the gap in understanding? And how can we creatively fill that learning gap? An open and collaborative environment between myself and the student are imperative for identifying where the gaps in learning are. And then the subsequent discovery in how to bridge those gaps so the "ah ha!" can happen and we can move on to the next learning step.
I am a huge nature lover. I live rurally and I love the unique silence that is found in the countryside. I love to walk in the trees and pastures, saying hello to all the animals I encounter. I love animals also! I live in the farmhouse that has been in my family for generations and we have 12 barn cats running around... 6 of them kittens. They are so cute!
I love to eat and try different foods. I love to share meals with friends. And I love to read. I am very contemplative and spend much time on my own enjoying nature, a cup of coffee or a good book.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Colorado State University-Fort Collins - Bachelors, Mathematics Education
Graduate Degree: Syracuse University - Masters, MBA
What is your teaching philosophy?
Learning is a grand adventure! I best learn when I am able to break the topic down into its most basic pieces, so I truly understand what I'm learning. I apply this to how I teach... by breaking subjects down into their most simple, basic parts, and helping the student understand each basic part. And then, put them together piece by piece into the more complex whole. No question is "stupid" or wrong... just a clue as to where things need to be broken down further so the understanding and learning can happen.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
First, we will spend a little time just getting to know one another. You are trusting me to help you with something you don't understand. That can make you feel vulnerable... so you need to know I'm trustworthy. I'll ask you several questions to understand where you are seeking help. I'll listen to understand the areas that are causing the most trouble. Then we will dig further to refine the exact areas where to begin and get to work!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Besides working on your subject areas, we will talk about a plan of when and how long your study sessions will be during the week. You will write out your study plan and share it with me, and we will check in and see how that goes from week to week. What's working? What's not? We will find a study plan over time that the student can use that supports their own learning that they can actually stick with. Part of the challenge is to develop new habits... and to form a new study habit requires repeated practice over several weeks. But once the habit is formed, the student will feel confident they can support themselves in their learning journey.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would ask the student what I could do that would help his or her motivation. Is it a check-in call in between sessions? Is it an award to be given at the next session if the student's goals are met? I am all about helping students stay motivated, and it will be a joint venture to find the best way to motivate each unique student.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would approach it from as many angles as I can think of. I'm a big believer in experiential learning, so if there is an experience I can create to learn the concept, I'll do it. Also, metaphors are great learning tools. Taking a concept the student already understands that is similar, and relating it to the difficult skill or concept to bring understanding.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Since I am focused on teaching math, I would provide practice problems for them to do. A right answer is a good indication they understand the material, but I would take it farther and have them talk me through the problem... what steps did they take to solve the problem and why? I'll ask lots of questions to gauge comprehension, not just memorization of a formula and its application.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Practice, practice, practice. And build the belief that there are no stupid or bad questions. Curiosity is an incredible thing... more than anything, I want students to enjoy learning, no matter what the subject is. When students feel confident in their ability to learn and enjoy learning, confidence in any subject grows also... because they believe they can learn.