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I am an educator with 20 years of experience. I am currently seeking a Masters of Social Work at Smith College in order to compliment my existing teaching experience. I have worked with math, science, humanities, and English. My preparation to go to graduate school enabled me to become very familiar with test prep strategies and I am also a competent guide for preparing to take both college admissions and graduate admissions exams.

I enjoy working with people from a wide variety of educational backgrounds and ages. From the young people who are learning to make education a lifelong part of their development to adults returning school, I feel confident helping people at different stages achieve their academic goals. I love learning and believe it should be a enjoyable experience. I look forward to working with you and being able to share this joy with you!

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Sylvanwillow’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Massachusetts-Boston - Bachelors, Gender Studies & Human Services

Graduate Degree: Smith College - Current Grad Student, Social Work

Test Scores

GRE Verbal: 164


knitting, reading, dance, art

Tutoring Subjects

Adult Literacy


Algebra 2

American Literature

AP Research


Art History

British Literature



Clinical Psychiatry

Clinical Psychology

College English

College Level American Literature

Comparative Literature

Creative Writing


Elementary School

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Science

Elementary School Writing


Essay Editing

Family Law

Fiction Writing


High School Business

High School Economics

High School English

High School Level American History

High School Level American Literature

High School Physics

High School Writing

Human Development

IB Dance

IB Film

Introduction to Fiction


Life Sciences


Medieval Literature

Middle School

Middle School Math

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Science

Middle School Writing









SAT Reading


Social Sciences

Social Studies

Social Work


Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

World Literature


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

The reasons that motivate a person vary from individual. So the first step is to talk with a student enough so that I can understand what does or may motivate them. For some, reaching specific goals can be quite motivating. For others, it may be more about feeling that they have mastered the material. For others, it may be rewards. Whatever the motivation, I think it's important to encourage a student's progress. Nothing can be as demoralizing as feeling like you are not moving forward. At key moments, it can also be helpful to remind students of what they are working towards.

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

It can help to look at the subject from a different perspective and to show the student that the subject is applicable to his/her interests. (Like connecting math to a sport the student plays...) Finding a new format to work on the material can also be helpful. A more interactive format can be especially effective. (Examples: playing a game instead of doing standard math problems, doing an experiment together to illustrate scientific principles...)

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

No matter how much a student is struggling with a subject, the student still always has strengths. Focusing on these strengths is essential to helping a student build confidence. Many students have been taught to believe that certain subjects simply aren't for them, making them feel they will never succeed or do well in those areas. This entire viewpoint is problematic and does not build confidence or lead to success. It's okay for a subject not to feel natural or make sense immediately. By sticking with a subject and bringing one's own special skills and strengths, a student can build confidence and succeed in any subject.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

The process of evaluating needs changes depending on the subject. For many subjects, however, diagnostic tests are quite helpful at determining where a student's strengths and weaknesses are. It's also helpful to review the student's past work in the field. Personally, I always like to sit down with students and hear them describe their needs in their own words.

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

This varies so much depending on both the subject we are working on and the individual student. I do find that regardless of the subject, it is always helpful to have the basic materials of paper and pencil. It's amazing how helpful these can be, even when the work is being done on a computer. They allow for practice, explanations, demonstrations, experimentation and much more. Besides that, I like to tailor the materials I'm using to the needs of each student.

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

Very simplistically, I will work on whatever it is the student needs help with. The first step is always to figure out what this is by evaluating a student's needs, giving us an idea of where to start. Additionally, when evaluating a student's needs, it's crucial to get a sense of his/her learning style so that I can figure out the best approach to working with them. The more I work with a student, the more I can adapt to his/her specific needs.

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