A photo of Maria, a tutor from Saint Josephs College

Maria

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Teaching and learning is more than my vocation, it is my passion. I tremendously enjoy learning about my students so that when I teach, I can engage them with whatever it is that they find most interesting. Students learn the best, when we've build a positive relationship with their teacher, find success in their learning and have fun throughout the process. My responsibility as an educator is to find out what excites every child and bring it to their learning.

Maria’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Saint Josephs College - Bachelors, Human Relations

Graduate Degree: Dowling College - Masters, Literacy and Elementary Education

Hobbies

I enjoy outside activities such as gardening and swimming. When I'm home I love to cook and enjoy the company of my family.

Tutoring Subjects

Elementary School

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Science

Elementary School Writing

English

ISEE Prep

ISEE- Lower Level

ISEE- Primary

ISEE-Lower Level Mathematics Achievement

ISEE-Lower Level Quantitative Reasoning

ISEE-Lower Level Reading Comprehension

ISEE-Lower Level Verbal Reasoning

Math

Other

Phonics

Science

SSAT Prep

SSAT- Elementary Level

Test Prep


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe all children can learn. There are several important factors to ensuring student's success. One is fostering a positive relationship with the student and building their confidence so that they are willing to take risks in their learning. Another is to involve the student in every aspect of their learning so that they are invested in their own success. This includes developing goals and incorporating their interests into lessons that are engaging and well-designed. Leading students toward self-discovery is also an integral part of building project-based learning into everyday activities.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

The first session with a student is key to building a strong, trusting relationship that fosters trust and risks in learning. Allowing time for students and their families to get to know me is just as important as me getting to know a student, their likes and dislikes, interests, strengths, and needs in the content areas.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Students become independent learners when we give them the power to make choices (our job is to provide well-designed choices), when we provide timely, detailed feedback, foster learning with clear objectives and instruction, and teach students how to assess their own progress by constructing rubrics with them that have clear goals.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I use different methods to motivate students based upon the student themselves. Once I get to know a student, I know what their interests and likes are and use that as a motivational tool. Using real-life examples in lessons are also helpful to keep students engaged. I have also discovered that including hands-on, self-selected, project-based activities keeps students motivated for extended periods of time.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Teaching a skill or concept to students with needs in a specific area is the essence of one-on-one teaching. It's the challenge that makes teaching worthwhile. I have found that changing modalities, introducing short segments of videos, applying the concept to real-life situations, and breaking down the tasks to small pieces truly helps students to be successful.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

Reading is one of the keys to a student feeling successful. Reading is integral in every content area. Depending on the age of the student, I have always found that starting just below the child's reading level helps them rebuild their confidence. Then, moving on to both nonfiction and fiction in a subject that is of high interest to the child truly makes a difference. I also like sharing reading responsibilities with students. Then, they don't feel like they have to do it all.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

The strategy to build success is just that...success! Children, in fact all learners, need to realize that they can meet small, reasonable goals. Success builds confidence, especially with the struggling student. Humor is another bridge for many students. Making sure to laugh, showing we all have vulnerabilities, and having fun while learning are key.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

Students build excitement by taking control of their learning, making decisions about how to proceed (though it is our job to lead that decision), and using what they already know. This takes time to cultivate, but is worth the investment.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

There are a multitude of assessment techniques to ensure that the student is learning during and at the end of every lesson. From fun and creative ideas using post it pads, to open discussion, to larger assessments i.e. creating a video with the concept in action, assessment is ongoing and cumulative. It guides what I teach or reinforce next.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Confidence comes with success and a belief in a student being capable. Over the years, the US Department of Education has cited that a child's success/confidence in school depends on the parent's belief in the child, and then the teacher's belief in the child. Both are essential, and I firmly believe that builds the child.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Regular formative and summative assessments are part of every lesson. I use lessons to guide instruction, reinforce learning, and evaluate student progress.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

"If a student hasn't learned, the teacher hasn't taught." Teaching is not about the modalities, styles, and techniques that I am comfortable with but rather my job is to meet every student's needs. Talking with colleagues, continuing to take advanced courses, and observing other classrooms allows me to adapt my teaching to the needs of every individual student.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

The materials totally depend on the content area. I love creating math manipulatives with students so they understand how they work. I enjoy trade books, magazines, and popular series to spark a student's interest in reading. Maps for social studies students and hands-on science experiments are a must for building knowledge in these content areas. To build student's understanding of assessment taking, completing past assessments and analyzing answers together seems to be the ingredients to building success in this area.