I hold a Bachelor of Science degree with a dual major in Elementary Education (K-8th grades) and Special Education (K-12th grades). I enjoy working with students of all ages and ability levels. I am however exceptionally passionate about working with children on the Autism Spectrum and those with behavioral disorder diagnoses. It is my personal belief that all people are capable of learning if they have the right teacher. This belief informs my mission, to provide all students with the tools not only to pass, but to excel.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Grand Canyon University - Bachelors, elementary and special education dual major
Sewing, cooking, gardening, animals, recreational target shooting, camping, boating, country music/dancing, psychology
Basic Computer Literacy
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Writing
Introduction to Fiction
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Science
Middle School Writing
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is that all people are capable of learning. Teaching should, whenever possible, incorporate physical objects, hands-on activities, and real-life scenarios, so as to cater to as many learning styles as possible and help ensure mastery of material/concepts.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would utilize information provided prior to the session to help determine the area(s) of need. Then, spend the first session getting to know the student's strengths and interests as well as his/her philosophy on education for him-/herself.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would start by providing scaffolding for whatever is being taught, and then gradually reducing the scaffolding as the student becomes more independent and more responsible for his or her learning. An example of scaffolding instruction for a student would be: I am tutoring a struggling reader who is in 2nd grade. The student is struggling to apply phonics rules to written words when reading aloud, which in turn is also causing his/her fluency to suffer. I would start building fluency at the reading level where the student is currently able to show success in order to build his or her confidence. I would also be providing lower level instruction in phonics, targeting the specific letter/sound areas where the child struggles. As the child shows proficiency in the phonics area, I would work him/her up slowly in fluency exercises. Once the child starts having success in the phonics area, I would start using less direct instruction and instead utilize questioning to help the student figure out on his/her own which phonics rules apply to specific words. Moving from direct instruction to questioning, and raising the student's fluency exercises level, is an example of removing scaffolding as the student becomes more proficient at what he or she struggles with.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Initially, I would probably use extrinsic motivators such as "first...then" statements/visuals (first 15 minutes of work, then 5 minutes of video games or food break). As the student's confidence builds, I would slowly withdraw the external motivators. I have seen where students who conquer a struggle initially require external motivation but later thrive simply on praise and the positive feeling they experience when they realize they are successfully and more easily learning something they previously had difficulty with.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Assuming the instructional style is the reason for the difficulty, I would change my instructional style/strategies until I found what is necessary to help the student be successful. If, however, a casual/formative assessment indicates the student is not able to learn the concept due to gaps in necessary prior learned knowledge, I would back up and teach the child the basics necessary to be successful at the current level of work.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would first determine the cause of the comprehension difficulty. If it was caused by a fluency issue (cannot read at an appropriate speed so as to understand the total statement), I would work on building fluency first. If the comprehension issue is not related to fluency, I would start slowly reducing the reading level of the material the student is working on until I found the highest level at which the student is able to successfully comprehend the material. In this case, the comprehension issue is likely being caused by lack of necessary foundational knowledge and skills to be successful at the current appropriate reading level for the student based on age and grade.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Most children learn most successfully when learning incorporates everyday items and activities, and also when it incorporates the strengths of the student.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would find a way to apply the subject to real life. I would use materials that are commonly found in everyday situations whenever possible. Probably most importantly, I would make efforts to utilize hands-on learning as much as possible.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I always use formative assessments at the start of a lesson so I know what the student knows/remembers from the last lesson. Then, I use formative assessments at the end of each session. Depending on the frequency of tutoring sessions, I would incorporate review and summative assessments into my sessions to ensure the student is retaining the knowledge we are working so hard to build.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
The more successes a student has in learning, the higher his or her confidence will become as he/she continues to learn. It is important to ensure each lesson ends with at least one success so the student ends the lesson with more confidence, and therefore, is more likely to be willing to work hard and be successful again in the next lesson.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Evaluation would start with any information I can obtain regarding where the child is at in terms of his or her current grade level. I would also take into consideration the subject matter which I am being employed to tutor in. I would use this information regarding his/her progress at the current grade level to develop a plan to best meet the needs of the student.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Incorporation of different instructional styles and a variety of materials in tutoring sessions is a necessary adaptation to help ensure the student is able to be successful in his/her learning. If a student has disability related issues that make learning difficult, I would ensure materials and lessons would be customized to reflect this issue and to still ensure the student can be successful.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I prefer to use real-life common objects, story learning using real-life scenarios, and, if necessary, electronic devices (computer, tablet, etc.). Utilizing multiple learning media helps ensure each student is capable of understanding what is being taught and is practicing using multiple methods.