I'm Syd and I enjoy mentoring and teaching youth. I believe we all have both a student and a teacher within us. We can learn from each other.
I am a graduate of The Ohio State University (Go Buckeyes!) with a degree in Microbiology. I have always been an active learner. In elementary and middle school I maintained an 95% average and received a special award for maintaining a consistent position on the honor roll.
I graduated top 10% in my high school class and have tutored for over ten years.
I am also the founder of a non-profit organization called Better Youth that equips young people with innovative learning skills through media arts and creative writing.
I am a published poet currently completing my third book of prose and poetry and have been featured in The New York Times, Variety, and People Magazines. I have published works in the following publications: African Voices, Rolling Out, QBR Magazine, The Lasting Joy, America at the Millennium, Signifyin Harlem, and Under a Quicksilver Moon.
(Little known secret...I played a poet in an HBO movie called Everyday People).
My favorite movie is Finding Nemo, favorite food is birthday cake with rainbow sprinkles (yummy) and because of this I love yoga and working out. :+/
Oh, and I LOVE poodles.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Oregon State University - Bachelors, Microbiology
ACT Composite: 25
SAT Composite: 1200
Poetry, Film, Theatre, Acting
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
As a learner-centered tutor, I try to understand the skills my students need to learn in order to design explicit skill and learning experiences to advance their aptitude and provide opportunities for them to demonstrate their success using manipulatives and learning tools, creative engagement, open discussion, and reflection.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session with a student, I will ask a series of questions about hobbies, personal interests, and school subjects. We will work together to identify learning strengths and areas in need of improvement. We will devise a study plan together so that we can commit to a success strategy. After that, we dig into the first lesson.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Every student can learn, and building confidence in the ability to learn is crucial. To become an independent learner and critical thinker, you have to strengthen your analytical muscle. I would help a student to increase his/her ability to discover or reveal (something) through detailed examination and practice. "Practice makes the master." - Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
My motivation methods: 1. Students will care more if they identify themselves or their everyday lives in what they're learning. 2. Set high, yet realistic expectations and short-term goals. 3. Acknowledge the student's hard work, and celebrate when goals are achieved. 4. Emphasize improvement and revisit mastered concepts once struggled with to refresh their confidence.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student was having difficulty with a skill or concept, I would reflect on my teaching style, make modifications based on what the student is having trouble with, and try a different teaching style or approach in presenting the information.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I use metacognition, graphic, and semantic organizing techniques. I also employ these basic strategies: give students a purpose for reading, focus students' attention on what they are to learn, help students to think actively as they read, encourage students to monitor their comprehension, help students to review content, and relate what they have learned to what they already know.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that personalizing and catering the lesson to the individual student is most effective.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I think getting a student engaged starts with your technique. I would be positive and encouraging about the subject matter and give a personal story of my own learning difficulties and how I overcame any challenges. I create a fun and safe learning atmosphere that allows the students to make choices, discoveries, and mistakes without penalty. I also use an incentive system as a way of rewarding hard work and commitment.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I utilize role playing where the student has to teach me what they have learned through creative exercises, such as skits and manipulative learning tools.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I use a skill tracking method that demonstrates concepts and skill levels reached, and I share that information with the student.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I administer a needs assessment pre-test.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I adjust my curriculum deployment based on the aptitude level of the student.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use learning materials according to 21st century needs. There are different types of learning styles: visual, aural, read-write, and kinesthetic. Graphic displays such as charts, diagrams, illustrations, handouts, and videos are all helpful learning tools for visual learners. Aural (or auditory) learners learn best by hearing information. Kinesthetic (or tactile) learners learn best by touching and doing hands-on lessons.