I have spent the past three years working in Chicago Public Schools, earning my teaching license through The New Teacher Project, and developing my personal teaching style in two diverse schools with very underserved populations of students. Working for Chicago Public Schools for three years has taught me an enormous amount about reaching students who are deemed by many as “unreachable.” I want to bring the skills I’ve learned as a teacher to a wider group of students through Varsity Tutors. Before deciding to get my teaching license, I received my master’s degree in music cognition from Goldsmiths College, University of London, where I also worked for a year in an electroencephalography lab. Every day in my classroom I aim to learn as much as teach. Preparing the world’s future critical thinkers is a privilege I take very seriously.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Agnes Scott College - Bachelors, Neuroscience, Music
Graduate Degree: Goldsmiths University of London - Masters, Music, Mind & Brain
ACT English: 33
ACT Reading: 33
Cooking, baking, reading fiction (I especially love historical fiction!), neuroscience, psychology, music, harp, singing, going on walks with my husband
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in equipping students with the tools to be proactive in their own learning. Teachers should be facilitators and coaches, whereas students should drive their education. I want to foster independence and curiosity in my students, as well as the grit to attack even the most difficult subject matter. Students need to discover their own unique learning style and advocate for themselves when they are struggling. As a teacher, I believe it is my job to help students recognize their learning style, develop their perseverance when approaching difficult subjects, and teach them how to advocate for themselves respectfully and efficiently.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session with a student, I want to learn what drives that student. Building a relationship is such an important part of the student-tutor experience, and I want to get to know that student outside of just their academic strengths and weaknesses. What do they love? What are they passionate about? In a first session, I also want to dive into that student's specific learning style, so I can help them be successful. Students need to learn how they learn so they can self-advocate and persevere through the tough material.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Becoming an independent learner is a multi-step process. First, a student must understand what drives them internally. What are their goals? What's the 'why' of learning? Then, a student needs to discover their unique learning style. Do you need to take notes in order to process auditory information? Do you need to have a hands-on experience to solidify content? Finally, students need to take their knowledge of their internal driving forces and their learning style and figure out how to advocate for themselves in a classroom. Being a true independent learner means you can take information presented in any way and modify it so that you understand and internalize it.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Staying motivated is so tough, especially when the driving forces of motivation changes from student to student. The student and I would have a conversation about what motivates them, and I can give them some examples of motivation techniques. Maybe a student needs a physical tracker where they can keep track of their progress. Maybe another student would prefer verbal encouragement when they reach a milestone. Another one might like an extra break when they've reached a goal. When a student can articulate how specific rewards motivate them, then they are one step closer to being an independent learner.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
One of the most important steps in becoming an independent learner is being able to recognize where and why you hit roadblocks in your learning. When a student has difficulty learning a skill or a concept, we would discuss why they think they're struggling with this concept. I can help coach their thinking and give them options for how to approach the skill in a different way, and then we can try it. If it's successful, the student can tuck that experience in their toolbox, so they will know how to approach similar situations when they arise.