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Teaching, writing, and languages are my passion. Few moments compare to when a great instructor and a great student come together and accomplish their objectives. My goal as a Varsity Tutor is to help you accomplish yours.

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Ivan’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: The University of Texas at Austin - Bachelors, Philosophy

Graduate Degree: The New School - Current Grad Student, Creative Writing, Fiction

Test Scores

GMAT: 680

GRE Quantitative: 153

GRE Verbal: 160


Collecting CDs and old books; Hiking, Skiing, Sailing; Learning new languages

Tutoring Subjects

Adult Literacy

American Literature

College Application Essays

College English

College Level American Literature

Conversational Spanish

Creative Writing


English Grammar and Syntax


GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Analytical Writing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing


Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing




Public Speaking

Social Sciences


Spelling Bee


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Student-centered, 100% of the time.

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

I would ask the student two questions. First I would ask them about their top three academic goals, and then I would ask them how can I help them accomplish those goals.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By providing them the tools, models, and support they need to succeed. As the saying goes, "Give a man a fish...".

How would you help a student stay motivated?

My top hope is to foster a positive learning environment where my enthusiasm for learning passes onto the student.

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

Difficulties often arise from a lack of support, patience, or enthusiasm. The moment a student is reminded of his or her goal and is supported through skilled tutoring, any learning difficulty is powerfully overcome.

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

We would spend the first session learning more about one another.

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

I would find the reason for us coming together (learning) and unite under that cause. Once that happens, the sessions unfold on their own, and both the student and the tutor are "pulled" towards goals, rather than "pushed".

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

I can only be sure a student has learned a topic point or internalized a lesson if he or she can demonstrate independent production; this is what I look for and ask of the student.

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

Through incremental, gentle, and patient skill-building. "One step at a time...".

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

By asking them about their needs first. Then through reflection-in-action (during the session), and reflection-on-action (after the session).

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

By personally building the lessons around the student's needs. Also, understanding that the sessions are principally for the student's growth as a learner at all times.

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

A chalkboard, email, and cut-outs/print-outs.

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

Reading is a skill like any other, and it is one that must be built bottom-up. If a student is struggling at a certain level, it is likely they need to go back and practice reading at a more primary level, and slowly (and joyfully, because reading is fun) build their way up.

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