I earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, a Bachelor of Arts in Latin, and a Master of Music in Historical Musicology at the University of Texas at Austin. I am certified to teach high school science, all areas, in Texas. Since graduating, I have worked internationally, in Hong Kong and El Salvador as a curriculum developer and classroom teacher. I have taught and tutored in both the humanities, social studies, sciences, and fine arts. In particular, my subjects include but are not limited to: chemistry, physics, astronomy, AP Environmental Science, environmental studies, Latin, Ancient Greek, algebra, music history, writing. Outside of academic and education, I am a fan of performing music, traveling, and cooking.
Teaching and tutoring are forms of helping others to get to where they need or want to be. Some things are difficult to learn on one's own, or they are difficult with one version of learning those things. I hope to help others by providing a different or clear way of thinking about what gives them trouble.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: The University of Texas at Austin - Bachelors, Chemistry
Undergraduate Degree: The University of Texas at Austin - Bachelors, Latin
Graduate Degree: The University of Texas at Austin - Masters, Musicology
listening to music, playing music, cooking, traveling
High School Biology
High School Chemistry
High School English
High School Level American History
High School Physics
High School Writing
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
The teacher, the tutor, or the instructor is truly a facilitator in the learning process. My job as an educator is to empower students with the confidence to take up the challenge of learning by themselves. This, of course, does not mean that a tutor simply solves a problem and asks the student to repeat it independently. It means that I provide pathways for those skills to solve a problem so that, when I'm not there, the student has a better ability to learn and to work through difficulties. It is not an easy feat and requires patience and persistence for both parties. "Rome wasn't built in a day." "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introductions are important since teachers and students are ultimately humans. I'll ask directly or indirectly about perceived strengths and weaknesses, or things they like to do. I find relating something that they already know to what is currently unknown helps in teaching.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It's important to know what the student already knows and then to chart out, explicitly with the student or implicitly by going through a problem, what the goal is. I will typically do the problem with the student and explain along the way at first, and then let the student try on their own. Connecting the theory to the practice is also important too. If a student does not know why a given step makes sense or why it must be taken, then explaining the concepts are equally as important as just solving a problem. Fluency--having a basic conversation about the skill or concept--will show that difficulty has diminished!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Some questions to ask: Is the student reading too quickly? If so, for more difficult texts, slowing down may help comprehension. Can the student read for context clues and structure of the text? If so, then those signals can tell the student what to expect, if a topic is about to change, an example is explained, or a conclusion is starting. Does the student have questions about words, phrases, or concepts in the text? If so, it may be helpful to write them down, and even immediately look them up to remove some frustration. Does the student understand what a given section is talking about, or can the student summarize what was just read? If so, then there is some comprehension. Can the student ask about the content, for clarification, for another explanation, to further what is already understood? If so, then more can be understood.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Introductions are important since teachers and students are human! It's good to know interests, hobbies, and perceived strengths and weaknesses, since I will use any and all to relate a difficult topic to something that is already familiar-- to build bridges of understanding. I frequently use comparisons to explain topics. Visual aids can be useful. Going through a problem together and explaining along the way is better than just showing what to do.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Many subjects we study are vast in the range of topics, perspectives, and subtypes. Because of this diversity, I try to find something that might appeal to a student, using a story about a person, scientist, artist, celebrity, or whoever that interacts with the subject. This illustrates the usefulness, the humanity, and the connection to the student's interests. Ultimately, I hope the student keeps feeling fascination!
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Being able to hold a basic conversation about the topic; showing fluency is a meaningful way to show understanding. Being able to summarize what just happened or what the point of the material is-- to tell what the beginning, middle, end of it is-- can show understanding. Being able to stand one their own, to do the problem alone, to do another type and similar problem alone, and especially, to explain to others to the point that they also understand strongly indicates understanding.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Certainly, available materials, especially those used in the student's course, are helpful during the tutoring session, since each instructor and teacher has his/her own style. Aside from that, I use the whiteboard frequently to draw or write out what I'm talking about. The presentation style is similar to what online videos are like.