Learning and teaching are my greatest passions, and my goal in life is to find a way to share my knowledge of academia with others. My favorite part of teaching is to see that spark of recognition in someone’s eyes when they really understand a concept. That “Eureka!” moment is one I aim to achieve with all my students.
I recently earned my PhD in Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester in England, and I also have experience with museums and universities here in the United States. During that time, I’ve been responsible for teaching courses, helping students learn to write college-level essays, grading assignments, with a part-time gig scoring standardized tests.
My archaeology and ancient history training has qualified me to tutor in European and World History, as well as Classical and Medieval Civilization. I am also a qualified tutor in Latin and Ancient Greek languages– language-learning is my favorite subject, and I have many tips and tricks to share. More generally, I’ve been through grad school, and I have experience in the tests and skills involved in getting through it all: the GRE, writing skills, reading comprehension.
My aim in tutoring is to help students understand what the test-writers and professors are looking for when they give assignments or standardized exams, but my philosophy is “serious goals, fun getting there.” I try to include games and integrating pop culture references or silly mnemonics to help make the learning process a little more interesting.
When I’m not tutoring, I keep myself busy with museums, baking, calligraphy, board games, and learning more history.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Iowa - Bachelors, Anthropology
Graduate Degree: University of Leicester - PHD, Archaeology and Ancient History
ACT Composite: 30
ACT English: 32
ACT Reading: 31
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My philosophy is that it's important to connect what you already know to what you're trying to learn. You need a scaffold to build a cathedral! My aim is to give my students the basis from which to think and reason through the exams and assignments they come across, as well as to make the knowledge they need more memorable.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first thing is to get us both on the same page, and find out what the student wants to get out of their tutoring. Then, we can both work toward that goal together. Doing a quick assessment also helps me figure out where my student needs help they might not even know they need!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
No matter how discouraged you get, there are usually things you are doing well! Reminding students of where they have made significant progress is important, even if they are still struggling with some things. I think seeing how far they have come helps motivate students to continue on. Plus, throwing in a few fun games doesn't hurt!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student is having trouble learning something, it's time to try a different method. Coming at something from a different direction can often help the student look at it in a new way and make new connections that help them finally master the skill.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Break it down now! First, I find it helpful to help the student break down the passage they're struggling with into more manageable passages, and then guide the student through putting the passage in their own words. I find breaking it down into a more simplistic, easy-to-remember summary to be very effective. I also try to help my students understand the common structures and structure-words people use to signpost the important bits while reading.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Students become independent learners once they gain confidence in their own abilities to work through problems. My goal is to show a student how to build the skillsets they need, and how to apply them to a wide variety of situations, and not just to drill them on facts.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Little anecdotes are a fun way to get students involved in the subject. I like to throw in extra stories that make the material more interesting. Using games is also a fun way to take a break from a study session where the student may be tempted to over-think the problem.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Checking understanding with a periodic assessment is always important. It also gives students confidence that they can face the real thing when they see how far they've come on something designed to be like their real test or essay. Small "homework" assignments can also be useful for making sure the student really understands the material without needing help from the tutor.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Nothing builds confidence like seeing the progress you've made. Having a baseline measurement from the start of tutoring and comparing it to a measurement of the skills or content at the end can help a student realize their ability to succeed. Learning is a journey, and no one can teleport from the start directly to the finish line- they all need some perseverance and a good coach along the way.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Many times, a student knows what they need to improve on, thanks to teacher feedback or having taken an exam before. Where the student is unsure, developing a short practice test or exercise helps me get an idea of what kinds of areas we need to work on, and what the student has already mastered. Walking through a problem the student has trouble with and seeing how they work through it also gives me a good idea of where they need help.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student learns a little differently and is coming from a different place in terms of their experiences, their previous knowledge, and their way of looking at the world. My job, as a tutor, is to try different teaching methods: learning by flashcards not your thing- what about repeating out loud so you can hear instead of see the answer? Finding the right strategy for the right student is my goal. I also encourage my students to be honest with me if they feel like a tactic I take isn't working.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
For courses, I like to start with having the materials the student has access to: textbooks and, if possible, lecture notes. Then, I can read ahead and get an idea of what might be the important points they'll be expected to master. For standardized exams, I like to use an array of practice books, so that we have a wide array of strategies and examples to work with. I also like to have plenty of scratch paper or a digital whiteboard to work with, so we can diagram out our thoughts and see how we arrived at our answers.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Find out what they need from the tutoring, first and foremost, because every student will need something a little different. What are their goals: just to pass a test? To master course content in more depth? To clarify points their teacher isn't clear on? Figuring out a goal and deciding how to work towards it is the most important first step for me as a tutor.