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Didi

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I have recently graduated from the University of San Francisco with an MFA in Writing. I obtained my first Bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Communication Studies. I obtained my second Bachelor's degree from the University of Houston in English-Creative Writing. I LOVE writing and reading. I write and read everyday. I am currently working on several novels, short stories, poems, and a blog.

In the past, I have worked as a reading teacher, a reading and writing tutor, and a special education teacher. I have a total of 13 years experience working with youth.

I specialize in teaching reading and writing skills and techniques to make reading easier and more enjoyable. Some strategies I teach include: essay writing formulas, speed reading, fluent reading, and vocabulary decoding.

My goal as your tutor is to develop advanced writing and reading skills while helping to stimulate a life-long love for the written language.

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Didi’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Houston - Bachelors, English

Graduate Degree: University of San Francisco - Masters, Writing

Test Scores

ACT Composite: 28

SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1340

LSAT: 135

Hobbies

I love reading! I try to read every day. I love writing! I am working on a novel and a poetry collection.

Tutoring Subjects

American Literature

AP English Literature and Composition

College English

College Level American Literature

Conversational Spanish

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing

English

English Grammar and Syntax

ESL/ELL

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Languages

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

Phonics

Public Speaking

Spanish

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe in pushing students to meet high expectations while aiding them with a variety of strategies and techniques to absorb and retain critical information in a way that suits individual personalities and learning abilities.

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

During a first session with a student, I would begin with introductions and getting to know the student through their own understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. I would look over any work samples or progress reports. I would then invite the student to list their goals for tutoring and whether they have any upcoming assignments they need immediate help with.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The best way to move students into independent learning is to provide them with modeling and scaffolding supports to build confidence. Over time, students will begin to replicate the techniques they have learned until they have become capable of learning independently.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Helping students stay motivated requires building rapport and a solid relationship. Being dependable and trustworthy shows students that they can count on me to provide them with the supports they need to succeed. I strongly believe that positive affirmations and accomplishing goals help improve performance. Using inspirational quotes and sharing anecdotal stories of my experience also help students to feel understood and optimistic.

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

To help a student learn a difficult skill, I first assess what they do know as a baseline. With this starting point, I can develop a snapshot of the student's current ability as an indicator of how to teach them personally. This overview of the student's current ability will determine the best approach for teaching more challenging topics.

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

Like all reading skills, the best way to improve them is with practice. I would begin by providing the student with simple passages only a few paragraphs long. I would read the passage to the student, or allow the student to read the passage on their own, and then discuss the reading with the student. This discussion would include answering questions about the main idea, important details, rhetorical devices or figurative language used, and other elements, like sentence structures or graphics. I would repeat this process with increasingly more difficult passages, and with less leading to help the student practice and develop the discussion previously modeled.

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

The best strategy I have found is to show the student that I care about them, and that I am genuinely interested in what they care about. Building rapport and a strong relationship from the beginning helps students to feel that they can trust me as a dependable support system for their academic growth.

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

The best way to stimulate excitement in a student is to show and exhibit excitement myself. When I want students to get excited about a book we are reading, I use a very enthusiastic tone. I smile and make jokes to show the student how thrilled I am to be reading a book with them. The same goes for writing or math. By being excited about a particular subject, I can help to put the student in a good mood and open them to taking on the challenge. Over time, this enthusiasm becomes infectious, and the student can't help but be engaged and focused no matter how difficult it is.

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

Informal assessments are a simple, quick, and easy way to test student understanding. Asking open-ended questions helps to determine how much a student has retained since it tests their ability to explain it in their own words. Formal assessments also help to show a student's understanding of the material. This can be a quick quiz or a longer written response to a prompt.

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

The best way to build a student's confidence is to start with what they already know and allow them to build upon their successes. For example, if a student reads at a 5th-grade level, I would start at the 4th-grade level. I would introduce a few concepts the student already knows in order to generate correct answers and stimulate some esteem in their abilities. I would then introduce one new concept or skill that they do not know. If the student struggles, I would remind them how well they had just done to show they can accomplish this new goal. Afterward, I would end with a review of the concept the student already knows to remind them of their successes and end on a positive note.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

A student's own responses are the best way to evaluate their needs. Most students are capable of identifying their areas of struggle and need, and asking the student what they need help on would be a good way to get started. Additionally, formal and informal assessments help determine what areas a student might be struggling in if they are not that aware of them. Open-ended and multiple-choice questions would also be useful in determining student areas of need.


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