I am a published novelist and a graduate of one of the most prestigious law schools in California. I have been a staff member on a presidential campaign, and I have been around the world. I am enthusiastic about learning, and about communicating my knowledge. I get along with almost everyone and I have outstanding morals, ethics and values.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge - Bachelors, Political Science and Government
Graduate Degree: University of San Diego School of Law - Masters, Law
ACT Composite: 28
ACT English: 31
ACT Math: 26
ACT Reading: 30
ACT Science: 28
SAT Composite: 1480
literature, film, baseball
ACCUPLACER ESL - Reading Skills Prep
CLEP American Literature
CLEP English Literature
CLEP Introduction to Business Law
CLEP Introductory Psychology
CLEP Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I approach each individual and task in a specialized manner. I vary my approach in accordance with the student and subject matter. I believe that learning can be (almost always) fun, given the proper attitude and approach.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would spend at least a few minutes talking to the student about his or her interests, and assessing how to best relate the student's personality to my teaching style given the subject matter at hand.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
This depends largely on the student. Some students prefer to be as independent as possible, and so they might be given little guidance other than instruction and discussion of their work. Other students require a more hands-on approach, and become independent only with confidence in their knowledge of the subject matter.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It depends on the student. Some students need only guidance. Others may dislike the subject matter, or have difficulty maintaining their focus, and so it is important to tie the material in with their other interests, or focus on the necessity of completing the work in order to get beyond it.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would repeat my approach only a few times, and then change it, adapting to the student's ability and interests. Frequently complex assignments can be broken into smaller, more manageable parts. In either event, I would present and discuss the material in a slower manner than I would otherwise.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It helps if they are interested in the material, and in some cases simpler material is in order for a time. I am a strong believer in phonetics, and so I would emphasize breaking down difficult words, and taking a best shot at single-vowel words. I would see what works with this particular student, and focus on that, and then broaden my approach as circumstances dictate.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I believe that it is important to establish personal rapport with the student, and then translate that rapport into the subject matter. Some students are shy, while others are outgoing. The student's personality and skill set must be taken into consideration, as a one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work in teaching.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
It is important to find something about the subject that they do well, or are interested in, and focus on that. From there you may broaden the approach. It may be that a step back from the curriculum is in order, as some students may simply lack the ability or frame of reference to properly engage a particular assignment. It is important to go at a pace that the student finds comfortable, in order to minimize frustration.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
A brief discussion of the material is a pleasant way to start. Many assignments have brief questionnaires at the end that assess fundamental knowledge. I believe that it also assists the student, if he has mastered a subject, to put it into a more universal perspective.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
It's important to quickly understand a student's ability and interest in a subject. From there you must work from what the student knows, and assist in expanding his or her knowledge by adding to the knowledge that the student has, in accordance with his or her abilities. The main concern is not to go too fast; some students may have to address some subject matter at a slower rate, and it is my role to assess the possibilities.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
A brief initial conversation of a few minutes is often enough to evaluate a student's general knowledge, abilities and motivation. Any student's needs will vary from subject to subject, and so it is important to adopt an approach that will work for that student, as well as evaluate how well, and quickly, the student will be able to learn the subject matter.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student has a different personality. My approach must be fitted to that personality in a way that most facilitates that student moving forward academically. Some students are more shy, others are outgoing, some are entirely confounded by the material, and others already have some knowledge and/or grasp it quickly. The key is to use an approach, including speed of information given, that allows the student to form a solid foundation of knowledge, and proceed from there.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Generally materials are provided, and so form the foundation of what I'll use. Depending on the subject matter, I might bring in other written materials or suggest a film for the student to consider on his or her own time.