I graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors in Elementary Education. After my graduation I went on to teach 4-5th grade for seven years.
During the course of those years I worked with students in many exciting clubs. I led a team of students in LEGO Robotics Club, taught using Minecraft in the classroom, and helped my school organize computer programming classes for students 4-8th grade. If you can't tell already, I love technology and it's uses in the classroom! Recently, I moved across country to Washington, which has opened up some time for me to be available for tutoring. I plan on tutoring while awaiting a full time teaching position. Through my experience teaching, I have extensive knowledge about what is required from each student in each state. I also have tons of experience working with Common Core Standards and translating them into something that easily makes sense to students.
When I'm not teaching or tutoring, I enjoy playing computer games of all kinds. I also love reading, and spending time indoors where it is warm and not snowing. Occasionally I'll play basketball or soccer, but that doesn't usually last long because I am terrible at both.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Arizona - Bachelors, Elementary Education
Teaching, reading, video games, programming, playing with cats, filling out Interests/Hobbies forms.
Basic Computer Literacy
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Science
Middle School Writing
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that patience and a positive attitude can really make a difference with students. I believe that many learning issues can stem from a lack of self confidence and that building up that confidence is just as important as teaching the learning material. I believe in strong positive reinforcement and that a teacher's attitude can greatly affect a student's attitude. I believe that just like any physical skill, mental skills take time and practice. There may be some skills a student might innately posses, but most skills improve through practice and perseverance. I believe that teaching needs to grow hand in hand with technology. The more a teacher can engage a student through that technology, the more motivated the student will be.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the first session with a student, I will typically gather data on how the student performs and what specific tasks are challenging for them. I will observe their thought process and identify key points that will need to be reviewed for future sessions. I will also note any personal challenges and attitudes that a student might have towards the subject we are covering so that I can help improve their motivation as well.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
A student can only become an independent learner when they feel confident in themselves and their abilities. In order to accomplish this, I usually use a simple method called "I do, we do, you do." Through this method, I will demonstrate the correct way a method is to be used. Afterwards, I will work with the student to solve a problem collaboratively. Finally, I will observe a student's attempts to solve a problem on their own, making notes on areas of improvement. While nothing is particularly special about this method, I have found it is often the simplest and best way to create an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
A fun attitude and positive reinforcement can go a long way in helping students stay motivated. Often times, a student's preconceived notion of what they are bad or good at can affect their motivations (e.g. "I am bad at Math" or "I can't spell."). Supporting a student with positive reinforcement and a patient attitude can help break through these barriers to motivation.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Usually, identifying that skill or concept with a student is not that difficult. The harder part is identifying WHERE or WHAT is causing that difficulty. Most times, a student's difficulty with a skill stems from not having a good understanding of the more basic concepts. For example, a student may be struggling with adding or multiplying fractions because he/she does not have a clue as to what a fraction even means. Or, a student might be having trouble with spelling because they lack an understanding of word parts and origins. Going back and reviewing some of those basics can oftentimes make a huge impact, especially since this is usually hard to do in a classroom full of students.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
For some students, a large piece of writing can seem like a daunting task to read. The hardest part about reading comprehension, for most students, is the ability to slow down and read carefully. I would help students by separating out a piece of writing into smaller bits. I would guide them in making frequent stops in their reading and constantly question what was just read. I would show students how to make connections between what they read and their own lives in order to increase motivation.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that I learn the most about a student by watching what they do incorrectly. I find the most success when I can create a learning environment where a student can feel safe making mistakes. I never make a student feel bad for getting something wrong and instead focus on what an incorrect problem can do to help improve a skill.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I have found that the best way to get a student excited to learn is for the teacher to be excited to teach. If a student is struggling in a particular skill and becoming frustrated, it is important to point out the different things a student is doing correctly without focusing too much on what they are doing incorrectly. If a student can feel like they are doing something right, they may be encouraged to keep going and practicing.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would use both formal assessments (test and quizzes), as well as informal observations I would make while teaching to assess when a student understands something. I will only move on from a skill once I am confident that a student can practice that skill without my intervention.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Confidence is key. By remaining patient and positive, a teacher can help a student's confidence grow. Pointing out what a student is doing correctly (even if it is something small) can help a student feel better about a difficult task. Looking back at improvements and goals a student might have met can also be a great confidence booster.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
First, I would get some background information from both the student and the student's parents. Knowing what kinds of experiences a student has had with a topic in the past can give valuable information about their present needs. I would also observe how a student solves problems on their own in order to identify where the mistakes are being made. Watching the thinking process of a student can show a lot about what topics need to be reviewed.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Each student has a unique set of needs, and the key to understanding them is simple. Communication. The person who knows what they need the most is the student themselves. By creating an environment where a student can communicate openly about what they are struggling with, I can easily change topics and methods to accommodate. Some students might need a clear visual about what they are doing, while others might prefer a more "numbers only" approach. As long as there is an open line of communication, all of a student's needs can be met.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Many times, I will bring an iPad to in-person meetings, loaded with specific apps that I know will be beneficial to the student. I also have a large amount of websites I've used over my years of teaching that I can pull from if needed. Usually, I will try and bring activities that actually involve doing something rather than a simple worksheet to fill out.