I studied at Dexter high school, and I have completed two semesters of college at UMass Boston. I am currently working towards a certificate to teach English abroad (TEFL) so I can teach English in foreign countries. I have been interested in teaching all of my life. I helped out peers of mine throughout grade school, and when I reached ninth grade I tutored a sophomore in Latin II. During the summers of these years, I taught music at a children’s day camp at the same place I went to high school, Dexter.
I tutor a variety of subjects. As for languages, I tutor Spanish, French, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Mandarin, and Latin, all at different levels. When it comes to music, I tutor guitar, piano, and music theory. My favorite language-based subject to tutor is Brazilian Portuguese for many reasons. One is that its sounds are interestingly foreign, so both student and tutor can enjoy exploring beyond our comfort zones regarding phonetics. With music, I absolutely love tutoring guitar. I have spent countless hours practicing guitar and have achieved a considerably advanced level at playing.
My teaching philosophy is that learning should be fun. With the proper motivation, anything can be fun. I try to take the “real-world” approach to motivating students, assuring them that these skills learned during the tutoring session will be truly fulfilling and add a whole new dynamic to life. My primary motivational tool is to say: “Students, do you want more opportunities to connect to people and more media in which to do so? If yes, learn languages and music, two of the most effective ways to communicate with others and develop new friendships.”
Studying languages and playing music are definitely my primary activities, but I am also interested in art, specifically with the media of the pencil and colored pencil. I believe that there is a level of detail and precision that can only be achieved by a pencil, an instrument with a sharp, definitive point, but still one that doesn’t dominate the picture like a pen, which for me has always ended up making my picture looking like a cartoon when I sought to make my picture more realistic.
I also love to write. I wrote a romance novel two years ago and I asked my family to read through it. Hearing feedback from people who know me was a great bonding experience for me, because I showed and told my family how I was feeling about the topic of potential love between two people, and they were pleased to see that side of me finally come out as I grew older.
Overall, I consider myself a character with a witty personality. I try to take everything at least somewhat lightly, because humor always lightens the mood, as long as it is called for and appropriate. I want my students to learn, of course, but I want most of all for them to have fun. I believe that enjoyment and productivity can be one in the same.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: UMass Boston - Current Undergrad, Spanish
Learning languages, playing music, drawing, writing
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I try to show the student why he or she should learn the subject in question, and why he or she would have a better quality of life if they studied the subject. The student has a real life example of how much joy languages and music can bring into one's life: me!
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Introduce ourselves. Spend some time before the lesson begins to get to know each other. Start to build a friendship. Then, start with the very basics of the subject.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
In languages, I would show the student all the grammar he or she needs to know as quickly as possible, and then leave the rest to online dictionaries, which the student can use without my being there. In music, I would teach open and Barre chords right off the bat, so the student can be a singer-songwriter very early on.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
More and more over time, I would interact with the student through the medium of our discipline. I could have a conversation in another language or work on a song together with him or her.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to lay the concept out in as many perspectives as possible. The more ways one looks at something, the more ways one can memorize something. Also, some concepts just take time, and I would gently remind the student of that.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is a problem that I take very seriously because I sometimes struggle with it myself. I would tell the student that it is important to be interested in that which one is reading because then the information will stick more naturally.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Learning about each other and how we as individuals operate is key, in my opinion. The information of a subject is the same all the time, but how one operates or cooperates in the presence of others is different with every pair or group.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would explain the reasons that I myself study what I like to study. Why not have a secret conversation in Spanish that your parents can't understand? Haha, just kidding folks.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
In music, if the student can play a scale, then he understands the material already to a decent extent, and over time he or she will learn to manipulate the scale in a way that suits his or her style. In languages, proper usage of the material a conversational context proves that he or she grasps the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Positive reinforcement. Kindness, understanding, and patience. Learning takes time, and I am always sure to remind the student that it is important to just keep working at it, and eventually goals will be met.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I like to get to know the student enough to be able to gauge what makes him or her happy. Then I'll show him or her how to play the kind of music that he or she likes, or talk in other languages about the topics he or she likes.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I would focus more on whatever makes the student have a good time, while still being productive. Doing both is possible!
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Not a lot. In music, a guitar or an electric keyboard. In languages, we would need the internet to look up vocabulary and stationary to practice writing.