I rely on a holistic approach to education by integrating both the students’ and my own head, heart, and hands in the teaching process.
Without knowledge, one cannot make informed choices. Without informed choices, one cannot solve problems. If students are not taught to be problem-solvers then they lack empowerment and self-awareness. My main goal as a teacher is to instill a sense of empowerment and self-awareness through Literature and the Language Arts in the skills of reading and writing. The art of literature and all that it encompasses can be a powerful tool in the discovery of one’s self and others, for literature can open new doors to new worlds while at the same time validate one’s own life and experiences. The art of writing can do the same; it is a source of self-expression and a window into someone else’s world. Literature and the language arts are naturally holistic; they touch the head, heart, and hands making learning relevant and valid. These traits are some of the aspects I value the most in my discipline, and what I hope to teach my students to value, for knowledge is power—a power that I hope to instill in my students.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Shepherd University - Bachelors, English Education
Graduate Degree: Shepherd University - Masters, English Education
Reading, biking, gardening, hiking, skiing
High School English
High School Writing
Introduction to Poetry
ISEE-Lower Level Writing
ISEE-Middle Level Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would build a rapport by talking and getting to know the student. I would want to make sure that I understand what it is that he/she is struggling with, and that I can deliver that help.
What is your teaching philosophy?
English is an art of the humanities, and in being one, it reflects and empowers how we view the world and ourselves; all forms of art do this. I believe that the arts naturally lead to higher-order thinking skills while creating awareness of other paradigms. The more we learn about the world and others, the more understanding and compassionate we become as a race. All the arts are naturally holistic and present many teaching opportunities for gaining knowledge.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would try to show the student the power behind the knowledge. I believe knowledge is power.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Although motivation can be a challenge, again, I would focus on the power behind the knowledge. It's an intrinsic human trait to want to be considered "smart or educated."
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use both formal and informal assessment. Informal could as simple as a thumbs up, down, or sideways. Formal could be in the form of a quiz/test, a writing assignment, or a project. I am not a fan of true/false or multiple choice assessment unless prepping for a standardized test.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Respect is such an important tool. When a student puts forth a genuine effort, I respect that, and I make sure the student is aware of my appreciation. I think this interaction builds a sense of confidence in a student.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Spending eleven years in a classroom has given me the skill of evaluating a student's need effectively and quickly. I have a tool bag that I start the year with, which helps greatly with this issue.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adapt my teaching or tutoring to my student's needs by listening to what it is the student wants, by what h/she is struggling with, and by aiming for the goals set by that student.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
The materials I would use would depend greatly upon the task at hand. Of course, there are the usual tools: books, computers, paper, and writing utensils.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would diversify the concept. There is certainly more than one way to teach a concept. I am also a big believer in modeling for the student.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would break the text down into small chunks and look up words the student doesn't understand. Once done with the small chunk of text, I would ask the student to tell me what he/she just read through either a verbal or written summary.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I'm old fashion. I truly believe in teaching middle school students to diagram sentences. Diagramming teaches comprehension skills, writing skills, grammar skills, and thought process. Students who did use this strategy in middle school are so much better prepared for high school and, in turn, college.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to find some kind of angle that the student is interested in and connect it to the subject. Often letting a student pick out his/her own book is very effect for the subject of ELA.