As a middle and high school English and social studies teacher with nine years of experience in public schools, I have a wide variety of expertise across several subject areas. Although I have the most experience teaching writing and working with secondary students (grades 6-12), I am currently teaching ESL to students age 5-12 and have significant past experience teaching social studies and tutoring algebra, geometry, and chemistry in the AVID classroom. I have also instructed a special course with the goal of having high school seniors earning the concordant score on the ACT/SAT, necessary for a high school diploma. I am familiar and comfortable with Common Core standards. I am comfortable and experienced with very young students (phonics, learn-to-read, basic reading) as well as editing college writing. I also have experience with special education students, particularly students on the autism/Asperger's spectrum.
I teach and tutor using a socratic/questioning method, which allows students to be engaged and lets me know exactly how much they understand or how much they do not understand. I do not believe in allowing a student to passively listen, but to be fully engaged in the learning experience. Many of my past students claim that they work hard, but somehow manage to enjoy the work! I have immensely enjoyed tutoring and teaching students 1 on 1 because it allows us to get into subject matter in a way that is near impossible to do in a traditional classroom.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Franklin and Marshall College - Bachelors, History and Classical Art and Archaeology
Graduate Degree: Salisbury University - Masters, Teaching
Swimming, surfing, prone (traditional) paddling.
College Level American History
College World History
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Science
FCAT 2.0 Prep
Florida EOC Assessment Prep
High School Chemistry
High School English
High School Level American History
High School World History
High School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
I have used and am trained in AVID methodologies, using questioning techniques to allow students to gain mastery of complex material. Research has proven that students retain information this way longer, and feel more successful when working with a tutor or teacher.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
After an introduction, in the first session I would have a student bring me their problem from school. Then, I would ask them to talk through their problem. What have they done so far? What materials have they used? I would have them work out the problem and show me how much they can do, and then ask them questions to make them think about the problem and guide them to solve it.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help the student become an independent learner by using higher-level questioning techniques that guide the student to the answer, rather than having them passively listen.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Younger students (ages 5-12) stay motivated in my sessions with reward systems. For example, we create a chain of monkeys to reach a bunch of bananas...one monkey gets added to the chain for a job well done! For older students, I find that listening and acknowledging their hard work and struggle is key, and celebrating their success in big test environments.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
First, I would have them explain their thinking, and offer as many questions as possible to point their thinking in the right direction. Sometimes it is as simple as having a student check their notes while working through a problem. If a student is still stuck, then we might need to think of a different way to work through the problem, or I will learn through the questioning that the student is not grasping the concept due to a lack of foundation about the subject.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I have found that many students who are struggling with reading comprehension struggle because they are unaware of the importance of looking back in the text, or reading with purpose in the first place. We would practice reading with a purpose (finding key vocabulary, looking for a main idea or concept, etc., before reading), active reading, and looking back in the text afterwards.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found the AVID strategies to be extremely successful. Not only are these successful in learning at the moment; these strategies help students become a successful and self-motivated learner in the long term.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
When students are disinterested in history or literature, it helps to find texts that they are interested in. I make the material relatable to the student. I also offer a variety of ways to show what they have learned about the material.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I differentiate my evaluation methods. I typically give students a choice: they may write a regular paragraph, draw, or write something more creative. I am looking for the same bits of information, and as long as it is present in the piece of work so I can evaluate their comprehension or analysis, then their choice is fine.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build a student's confidence in the subject by providing them ample opportunities for success.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate a student's needs by giving them many opportunities and varied ways to show me what they know. I also evaluate the work that the student may have already completed for the class.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Even though I like a certain style of tutoring, I understand not every student responds to that style. Some prefer to go over the same material and have a more tutor-directed session. I am able to adapt if a student learns better that way, but if a student wants to be a passive learner, I will try to get to the bottom of the situation.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
For younger students (phonics, reading basics) I use a whiteboard, alphabet flashcards, magnetic letters, puppets, phonics readers, short reading materials, pictures, and small stuffed animals. For older students, I use white boards, paper, and art materials. If I am teaching online, my student and I each have our own whiteboard and materials.