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I am a recent university graduate with extensive language experience in both English and German as well as academic and real-world international business experience. I also have spent the majority of my life in choir, vocal ensembles, and private voice lessons, so I have a deep understanding of the human voice and how to train it.

As the daughter of an elementary school teacher of over 35 years, I understand the value of education and the tools necessary for a student to succeed. I also understand that teaching is no easy task. It's most important to me that a tutor/educator tailor a student's education to the learning styles in which he/she learns best. It's also imperative that the learning process not only be challenging, but fun as well. This works best when the tutor/educator is not only a master in the topic, but passionate about it as well.

Over the course of my career, I have tutored individuals in German, English, voice, and other subtopics related to these three.

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Ellen’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Webster University - Bachelors, German

Tutoring Subjects

Adult Literacy

AP German Language and Culture

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing


German 1

German 2

German 3

German 4


Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing


Vocal Training


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

It is most important to have fun and be passionate about the subject you're teaching. I feel that only when the instructor feels this way and projects it onto her student can the student fully benefit from the education. In addition, the teacher should not only be a master in the subject, but she should also know how to take that mastery and translate it into words that a beginner can understand. Anyone can be a master in a subject, but not just anyone can teach it.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

It's best to get to know the student and identify the proper learning style. Of course, the most successful education comes from a mixture of styles, but identifying how a student learns best is the first step to teaching. In addition, it is also important to understand on a personal level so the tutor invests herself in the student's education.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Once again, identifying the proper learning style for the student is the first step. Teaching the student effective ways of learning within this style are the next foundational steps to the student becoming an independent learner.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Making the learning process fun, and developing the student's passion for the topic is the best way to keep a student motivated. If it feels like a chore, motivation will suffer.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I would find different ways to teach the skill (get creative wherever possible), and continue introducing new methods until we find one that works.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

It is most important to determine exactly what the student is struggling with. Identify the points at which the student struggles, and work on those specific areas one by one. In addition, determine the areas where the student excels, let them know that he/she is doing great in that area, and continue to practice those skills (not as frequently as the skills where the student still struggles) so the learning process still involves fun, moments of achievement, and brief breaks from problem areas.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

The strategy I have found is most successful is having a positive and trusting relationship with the student. If it's clear to the student that the tutor has a vested interest in the student's success, it will allow the student to feel comfortable voicing his/her struggles and the tutor can more effectively address those areas. In addition, the student will usually be willing to work past any obstacles, because he/she knows that the learning process is a team effort.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Focusing on areas in which the student is already successful will help dull frustration the student is experiencing. In addition, if the tutor shows passion in that particular topic and continues to voice that excitement, the student will often begin to mirror that excitement and engage himself/herself more than he/she originally would have.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

One of the best techniques to ensure a student understands the material is if the student can teach it back to you. Teaching a subject accurately is a sign of mastery. Another technique is quizzing the student and seeing if he/she can not only answer the questions, but if he/she can answer them without hesitation. In addition, if the student can apply the material to other subsections within the topic, that shows that the student has not only learned the material at hand, but he/she understands the topic so well that he/she is expanding on the topic and learning more outside of what is discussed during tutoring sessions.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Always letting the student know his/her successes is vital. It's important that the educator give credit where it is due, otherwise the student may feel that he/she is making little to no progress when the opposite is true. Positive reinforcement is key.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I evaluate a student's needs first by talking to them and seeing what he/she feels the needs are. Then, we begin learning and within the first couple lessons, a good tutor should be able to determine from the sessions themselves what the full extent of the student's needs are. In addition, school grades also can help determine a student's needs.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

If a method works, I continue doing it. If it doesn't, I keep trying new things until I find one that does work. It's pretty obvious when you discover a method that helps a student achieve success, and when you do, keep using it so long as you still have a need for it.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I typically use written materials (textbooks, literature, etc.) and some audio/visual materials; however, I typically use materials that are specifically tailored to the student's needs. This means that, although I have materials I would typically use, I do not restrict myself to just those, because what is most beneficial for the student is most important.

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