A photo of Maureen, a tutor from New Paltz State Teachers College

Maureen

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I have been teaching for 40 years, first as an acute care medical/surgical nurse, then as an instructor in a private school, and maybe my most important teaching, raising 2 children.

Now, I may seem old but let me tell you I have a wonderful zest for life and remain curious about the world I live in and the people I meet. My students have told me: "she's tough but in a good way", and "she's the best instructor I've ever had". I love sharing my knowledge with young people who have their whole life ahead of them with all of the wonderful possibilities open to them.

Maureen’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: New Paltz State Teachers College - Bachelors, Sciences

Graduate Degree: Psychiatric Institute of New York - Current Grad Student, Registered Professional Nurse

Hobbies

kayaking, cycling, walking, art, watercolor artist, writer, avid traveler and reader

Tutoring Subjects

American Literature

British Literature

College Application Essays

College Level American Literature

Creative Writing

English

English Grammar and Syntax

ESL/ELL

Essay Editing

Expository Writing

Fiction Writing

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Medical Terminology

Medicine

Medieval Literature

Other

World Literature

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I think every human being has an innate intelligence, so I act as a guide based on my knowledge and experience in the particular discipline a student is learning. I get to know how a student learns best, their own individual learning style. I research what they are studying, and then in initial talks, I find out what their concerns/worries are about a particular course and create an individual learning plan. I listen. I encourage problem solving and critical thinking. I also try to instill the pure joy of learning. Knowledge is a tool to make a student's life more fulfilling, and that is my goal.

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

Listen to get an accurate assessment of why they feel they need tutoring. Find out what concerns and worries they have about the subject they are being tutored in, and ascertain the student's learning style.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Find out the mood they are in during a particular tutoring session: are they worried about something; are they tired with too many things 'on their plate;' or are they getting enough rest and eating properly? Do all that I can do to maintain my enthusiasm and try to instill the pure joy of learning in order for them to succeed. Encourage a student and praise them for work well done. Share proven methods to help them manage their time and study more effectively.

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

I'd first have to find out why they feel they are having difficulty; is there a particular part of the skill or concept or is it the whole concept. Then, I would problem solve with them about how to approach the difficulty or stumbling block.

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

I would start with something, a text, that was simple. I would then make up a short question sheet addressing particular points in the text for them to answer. I also think that sentence diagramming is a lost art and would teach them how to do that: separating out the verb from subject and how they relate to one another, and then the purpose of descriptive adjectives to bring a subject to life. Then adverbs: how, where, when and why. Breaking down any reading into smaller parts for clearer understanding.

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

Developing a relationship of trust that would include active listening, open mindedness, and honesty. Sharing who we are as people: background, interests, and what each of us expect from our tutoring sessions together. Avoid being dogmatic and judgmental. Having a sense of humor.

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

I would express excitement about the subject. I would share my own personal difficulties with a subject, how I overcame those difficulties, and how overcoming those difficulties helped me succeed in a career path I had chosen as well as interpersonal relationships.

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

I would break down learning sessions into smaller parts, and then ask questions about comprehension for each of those parts. I would pay attention to body language and tone of voice. Students may often say they understand something but, due to embarrassment, not admit they don't understand. I would ask them specific questions for each part studied to make sure they understand.

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

Commiserate. For example: "yes, I know that this seems so difficult at times, but look back at all you've done so successfully," or "look at so many things you've done well outside the field of study and give yourself credit." Always approach any difficulty with courage, moxie, and chutzpah.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

By actively listening to students and asking pointed questions that require specific, descriptive, and detailed answers.

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

After one or 2 sessions, I should know quite a bit about a student: do they put off studying; do they know the most effective ways of studying for themselves for retention of material; do they organize their time effectively.

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

It would depend upon the student and how they learn most effectively: point of reference; association; visual; or written. Then, based on our assessment together, choose those materials that will work best for them.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Don't do their work for them. I would act as a guide, taking advantage of their own innate skills then build upon those skills. Encourage them to research using reputable sources from the internet on their tutoring subject. Always encourage problem solving, critical thinking, and confidence in their own abilities.