If you're looking to ace your German class, write that A+ essay, or just up your German conversation skills to impress that cute Jungen or Mdel that you met at the Biergarten last weekend, I'm your guy. I got my B.A in German at Colby College and studied abroad in Berlin for a full year during my undergrad. I've lived with Germans and worked professionally with Germans, and I am certified at the highest proficiency level in the German language (CEFR Level C2, if you're curious). Full disclosure, I'm not a native speaker...just an enthusiastic learner.
I'm also a GMAT tutor. I took the test in April 2016 and scored a 740 out of 800. That's a 97th percentile score, one that I'm very proud of -- but I only got there by studying diligently. My aim in tutoring the GMAT is to give back to others and give some advice along the way that I wish I'd had. Working with me, we'll work not just on the core concepts and test-taking strategies, but also on an effective study strategy. The test *can* be beat, so long as you have a good roadmap to take you there.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Colby College - Bachelors, Economics, German
I love to read, I probably read a book or two every month. I play guitar, swim, and dabble in computer programming. Between my hobbies and the subject I tutor, you could say that I have a lot of interests!
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Everybody can (and should be) empowered to learn, and a great teacher is somebody who can light the way for a student to discover new things about the world.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In our first session, I want to get to know you and what you want to accomplish. You made it this far! I want to know what brought you here. We'll go over your goals, how you feel that you learn best, and lay out a study strategy. Most importantly, I want to know you and what gets you motivated.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There's nothing more fun than a good challenge. As your tutor, I want to help you uncover the challenges that learning a new language or studying for a test brings. Once you've struggled with a concept for a bit and found the answer, the satisfaction of rising to the challenge becomes addicting. My hope is that I can help you to navigate that process and become an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Set goals! Goals are the stuff that keeps us going, and not just when you're learning. When you exercise, or when you build something, goals keep you honest and remind you why you want to keep going through the tough spots. As your tutor, we'll set goals and always keep in mind the prize at the end -- be it that GMAT score that you want or a better grasp on German.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It's my strong belief that every hard problem is built up of smaller, easier problems. 99 times out of 100, if you're grappling with a tough question, the hard part is breaking the problem down to where you can solve it easily. As your tutor, it's my job to a) help you break down those hard problems, and b) give you the tools to be able to do so yourself.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I'll answer this two ways, because I'd tackle things differently depending on whether I'm teaching the GMAT or German. Reading Comprehension on the GMAT can be a pain if you're not invested in the subject that a passage is about. (If we're being honest, that's probably most of the time.) Beyond guided practice and review, I have two suggestions. First, *pretend* that the subject that you're reading about is interesting. It's a bit of mental gymnastics, but it can work really well. Second, read in your own time to up your chops. It's fun, and you're getting extra study in while you do! If you're struggling in reading comprehension while learning German, I want to help you pinpoint the problem areas. Do adjective endings throw you off? Do you understand the vocabulary that's being presented? From there, I'll take you through exercises that will solidify the grammatical building blocks so that the flow of German prose starts to feel more natural.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I try to bring the humor. I know that sounds cheesy, but hey, if you're here to learn, hopefully you can put up with a little cheese! I try to keep the GMAT and German fun and interesting by keeping things lighthearted. My professors did the same thing for me when I was learning, and it was a huge reason why I stayed motivated to learn the language for years.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Again, I'll give a German answer and a GMAT answer. There's more to the GMAT than just having the right answer or the wrong answer. I want to make sure that you have the thought process that will get you to the right answer every time. To do that, we'll go over practice problems that challenge you to apply what you've learned in a different way; in other words, to use a toolbox to solve the problem. For German, I'm a big believer that practicing your speaking will help your writing, practicing your reading will help your listening, and so on. Making sure to work on these four modalities (writing, reading, speaking and listening) will have knock-on effects, and testing you on them will help shed light on how well you've absorbed a topic.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
This is what our first session is for, in my opinion. If you're able to come to our first meeting with some examples of how you've done on the GMAT or German assignments before, great. If not, no worries: we'll do some beginner exercises to help me gauge where you're at, and how you learn. If you're already advanced beyond the beginner work (and ever if you're not!), this is a time that I want to get to know you a bit better.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
This is the beauty of tutoring, in my opinion. Do you like games? Then let's make a game out of practicing German vocab. Are you a visual learner? Let's turn a GMAT problem into a diagram. This is 1-on-1 learning time for you, so you're in the driver's seat when it comes to your learning preferences, and I'm here to support that no matter how you feel you learn best.