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Rachel

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I have been working in education for over a decade. While attending New York University I taught elementary aged children, 2 and 3rd graders. This involved a significant amount of test prep masked as funner more creative curricula. After college and getting my BA in Literature and History, I moved to Nicaragua where I taught 6th graders at the American Nicaraguan School (Colegio Americano) Language Arts. During my time in Nicaragua, I also tutored individuals and groups on writing, textual analysis, SAT/GRE prep and other subjects related to literature and the social sciences. After teaching in Nicaragua, I moved to Syria where I taught ESL classes to Syrians at the American Language Center in Damascus. As seems pretty evident, I love to travel and have lived in different countries teaching and learning too.

I currently hold two master's in History and Latin American studies. In both master's programs I worked with college-aged students on their critical thinking, textual analysis, and writing skills. Crafting well-argued and structured papers was my goal with these students.

I have a wealth of other experience related to Spanish language acquisition. I developed a program for foreigners in Chile who wanted to learn Spanish.

Currently, my full time job is teaching people about Fair Housing laws and educating them on the recent developments in this subject area.

I am extremely passionate about helping people learn and understand material. I am also passionate about helping people become confident in their own intellectual abilities. I look forward to working with a diverse set of students here with Varsity Tutors.

Rachel’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: New York University - Bachelors, Literature and History

Graduate Degree: University of Arizona - Masters, History

Hobbies

running, social justice organizing, cooking, reading

Tutoring Subjects

Adult ESL/ELL

Adult Literacy

History

American Literature

College Application Essays

College English

College Level American History

College Level American Literature

College World History

English

English Grammar and Syntax

ESL/ELL

Essay Editing

European History

High School English

High School Level American History

High School Level American Literature

High School Political Science

High School World History

High School Writing

Languages

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing

Other

Political Science

Social Sciences

Social studies

Spanish

Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Spanish 3

Spanish 4

World History

World Religions

Writing


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Each student is unique and has a unique approach and way of learning. My goal is to figure out what works for students and build them up so that they are confident in their ability to learn and succeed in their academic endeavors.

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

I would ask the student about school. What do they enjoy? What do they struggle with? Any particular goals they might have in terms of our collective work in our tutoring sessions.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Provide the student with structure and scaffolding so that he/she is equipped to deal with whatever they might be asked to do in class. My goal is to get students tools and practice using these tools so they can feel confident in their own academic abilities.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Games help. Setting goals for our sessions and for the semester/quarter. Goals though are huge. We must figure out from our first session what our short term and long term goals are together.

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

First, I would need to assess where the student is struggling. I would have the student walk me through their thought processes. After learning where the student is faltering, I would then guide the student through the same process, correcting or shaping the student's actions along the way.

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

I would start with assessing where the student's abilities are. From there I would find fun, engaging, and progressively more challenging texts to build the student's overall comprehension level.

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

Getting to know my student. The more I get a feel for how my student thinks and what my student is motivated by, the more I am able to tailor my overall work to their needs/ambitions/etc.

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

Make the course subject/matter less daunting and intimidating. I would break down the issue at hand into its different aspects/components and help the student see that they can tackle this, and they are capable. I would also present the subject as something that is relevant. If it were History or Literature, these subjects are esoteric, they speak to very real situations and lives.

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

Different types of assessments: quizzes, writing assignments, presentations, etc.

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

Again, you make the subject seem less daunting and intimidating. Break the question or problem down to its different components and demystify it for the student.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Assessments help with this. Also, just watching how students approach a subject. Evaluate the strategies students use to deal with their school work and see where they can be built upon or reshaped (if needed).

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

Again, I like to see what students are doing in their respective course work. I spend the first few sessions just getting a feel for how the student approaches his/her work. From there, I can best work and build upon their strengths.

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

It depends on the course. For language courses, I like to use flash cards, images, oral presentations, and texts. For social studies/literature/history courses, I like to use texts as well like: newspaper articles, images, pictures, etc.