I am a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory and Syracuse University with degrees in music, English and journalism. I have been a teacher, a peer tutor, an essay grader, a TA, a writer, a coach, an editor, and more, and I enjoy working one-on-one with students and developing strong relationships, whether short or long term. I tutor a range of subjects but am most passionate about reading, writing and literatureI have had demonstrable success in helping students to boost their standardized test scores in these areas. Any student can master any subject; it's often just a matter of finding the right motivation. Outside of my teaching pursuits, I enjoy freelance writing, biking, hitting the gym, taking in concerts and traipsing around museums on the weekends.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Oberlin College - Bachelors, Major
Graduate Degree: Syracuse University - Masters, Journalism
ACT Composite: 31
ACT English: 35
ACT Reading: 34
GRE Verbal: 164
GRE Analytical Writing: 5
Music, writing, reading, biking, teaching, editing, fitness,
ACCUPLACER Arithmetic Prep
ACCUPLACER ESL Prep
ACCUPLACER ESL - Listening Prep
ACCUPLACER ESL - Reading Skills Prep
ACCUPLACER ESL - Sentence Meaning Prep
ACCUPLACER Language Use Prep
AP Music Theory
Arrangement and Composition
CLEP American Literature
CLEP College Composition
CLEP English Literature
College Level American Literature
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Middle School Writing
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Setting clearly defined goals is important in any tutoring relationship. Slowly getting a student's input on what those goals should be and accomplishing them helps increase independence. Once the student has experienced the satisfaction of completing said goals, encouraging him/her to take ownership of setting and accomplishing those goals will move them towards autonomy.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Slow down, identify where the problem is (whether fundamental or specific to the skill we're working on), and drill until there's comfort and some level of mastery. Be sure to review in following weeks.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I always start by identifying goals, learning strategies, strengths and weaknesses. There's always a bit of trial and error in the beginning to discover what sort of rapport is most effective, but this doesn't take long.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Obviously, when there's success! Positive reinforcement is huge with a difficult subject. I'd break the subject into small, manageable challenges and tackle them one by one, with plenty of encouragement and positive feedback. If someone feels like they're making progress, it's much easier to feel good and excited about working on something.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I always ask "does that make sense?" after explaining a concept, and I've generally tried to make the student feel as comfortable as possible so that they're ok with saying "no." Of course, this doesn't always work.. sometimes people think they've got it and still don't. If I know someone's struggling with a concept, I'll make a note to review and retest in subsequent session until there's demonstrable mastery.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Breaking the subject into manageable pieces and encouraging the student as they master those pieces, no matter how small. For example, if someone's struggling with grammar, I've at times had to go all the way back to explaining a verb or a noun - the fundamentals really. It's rarely the student's fault if they haven't learned something yet, so letting them know that's ok and tackling things in stages with positive reinforcement is the way to go.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
A mixture of diagnostic questions and tests, and just asking the student what they struggle most with and what they're most confident with. Generally they know where they need the most help.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I've found that tutoring is mainly just being willing to meet the student where they are at in the learning process with a subject. Not making assumptions about what they should or shouldn't know, or how fast they should learn. Some students respond better to a friendlier, "we're in this together" rapport, while others respond better to a firmer, more formal teacher/student relationship. This usually only takes about a session to figure out.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I mostly tutor reading and English and standardized tests. I try to start with whatever the student provides, especially for reading and English. For tests, I start with the source material and then move to the tutoring company's practice problems when these are exhausted.