I’m a laid-back Southwesterner just trying to “make it” in The Big Apple. Born in the Midwest and raised in New Mexico and North Carolina, I’ve had an incredible opportunity to see a huge portion of the U.S in a relatively short period of time. I am an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where I received three Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Spanish, and Drama, and I’m currently pursuing a career in Television and Entertainment Production. When I’m not tutoring, that is.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved travel and cultural immersion. Learning and teaching language, be it my own native tongue or one of the many I’ve picked up in my adventures, have always been two of my favorite hobbies. I see language as a superpower that can unlock a piece of the world and a population of new ideas and ways of life that might never have been discovered without it. I’ve lived in England and in Spain, and I’ve galavanted all around the rest of Europe and parts of northern Africa. I’ve taught English in Poland, French in Italy, Spanish in Whales, and a little bit of everything here at home in the U.S.
I believe in a healthy, attainable, and holistic approach to education. As a teacher, especially one of languages, literature, and writing, it has always been my goal to craft a safe learning environment for my students where “learning” and “exams” and “homework” lose their, often negative, connotations and, instead, become exciting opportunities that promote an insatiable intellectual curiosity and encourage a level of pride in a student’s recognizable accomplishments.
The world is a scary place, especially for those who know little about it. One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching culture, is building a level of tolerance in students that allows them to come face to face with ideas and lifestyles that are the complete polar opposite of their own and then be able to walk away from those interactions having not only gained new insight into the world but having also learned to appreciate the beauty of the differences.
In my opinion, the most valuable gift a foreign language instructor can give a student is not fluency in the language of instruction, but rather, so deep a love and appreciation of the language and the culture of its people that the student sees no other option than to, one day, reach fluency after years of contact with the target language.
To me, education should never exclusively be about attaining some arbitrarily set level of measurable skill. In fact, I would suggest that education is, ironically, a process of discovering just how little we all actually know. The key, however, is developing the confidence to understand that that is perfectly alright. More than anything, education is about teaching students to become good listeners, to always be open to new ideas, and to never stop challenging themselves to grow.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of North Carolina at Greensboro - Bachelors, English, Spanish, and Theatre
I'm a runner and artist. I love good food, good friends, and lots of laughing. Film, literature, foreign language, travel... The list is endless. :)
College Application Essays
College Level American Literature
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Q & A
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In my experience, tutoring tends to be most effective when the student feels comfortable asking questions and talking openly about his or her struggles with the subject matter. I always like to have my students start by telling me a little bit about themselves. After that, I like to offer them an opportunity to really express their frustrations with the content or their current instructor, or whatever else might be giving them some trouble. From there, we'll dive right into the material, so we can really make the most of the session. Not only does that allow me to quickly craft a personalized and effective tutoring lesson plan with the student, it also gives me insight into the way the student thinks, which ultimately helps me help him/her make sense of the information in a significant and long-lasting way.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Every student learns differently because, ultimately, no two students have the same life experiences or points of reference. Part of what makes a teacher or a tutor good at educating their students isn't so much their level of skill or their number of years of experience, it's about learning to really cater the education to the unique needs of the student. It's about learning how the student's mind works and then crafting an educational plan that complements the student's current understanding of the world.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
It's always important for me to get a sense of who the student is as a person before jumping too far into the tutoring process. Every student learns differently, so the more I can understand about how a particular student sees the world and how he or she best processes information, the more effective I can ultimately be at helping them achieve their academic and educational goals.