I have been in education for almost 25 years. I have taught middle and high school, during which time I did part-time teaching at a university. Then I spent 12 years as a college professor and curriculum designer.
I have three higher education degrees: BA, MA, and a PhD in Literature, Theology and the Arts, which helps me to be an interdisciplinary thinker and the ability to think broadly through all subjects.
I enjoy interacting with students and they have the freedom to have fun with me. Learning is a process and I expect progress at the individual's own pace.
Let's get learning and together we will know more today than we did yesterday.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Vanguard University of Southern California - Bachelors, Religion
Graduate Degree: University of Glasgow - PHD, Literature, Theology, Arts
College Application Essays
College Level American Literature
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
IB World Religions
Middle School Reading
Middle School Writing
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
To teach literally means "to cause to learn," which leaves the precise methodology open for methods to facilitate learning in various ways. Knowledge is knowable, and we can all access it through the properly ordered steps of facts and reason.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would get to know them personally and understand what their educational aspirations are, including likes/dislikes, struggles and triumphs, and future academic goals. Then I would explain what we would do that best fits their personal and parental objectives.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
One of the most valuable tools to give a student is critical-thinking skills, which leads to independence. Teaching them to ask, "Who said that?" or "Where did you get that information?" or "Why do you accept that as truth?" are all ways of teaching them independence. Furthermore, giving them a love for learning will better ensure that they will be lifelong, and hence by necessity, independent learners.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Going back to the first session, stating what their goals are and keeping those goals in front of the student assists in this transitory stage of learning. Words of encouragement based upon realism will boost motivation and confidence.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student has difficulty grasping a concept, we try again with a slightly different approach or from a different angle. If I, as the tutor, run out of angles, then I too research how I might try a new approach.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I have no problem advising them to read slowly, pause and ask "What does the reader now know? What is the author trying to communicate?" I furthermore have no issue with supplemental readings.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Success is often as easy as being personable and patient. If I find that the task is beyond my skill-set, I am humble enough to pass the torch to someone whose skill-set is better suited for the task.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
A student can get more excited about a topic when they can find an immediate application for a concept. Sometimes it involves offering facts on the periphery that help the student connect the dots and to find of interest details that help relate concepts and truths together.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I appreciate the Socratic method of asking questions to lead the student to the correct answer. Sometimes this takes a tangential direction, and I as the tutor must ask myself if this is a healthy and helpful direction or if it will truly digress from the objective.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I like to reward a student's progress verbally and follow with a new challenge. Often I will state that the new challenge is difficult, and then when they master it, the reward of knowing they have conquered something is not only verbally recognized but also builds a sense of self-confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
First and foremost, I would survey those who know the students best: the student him/herself, the parents, the teacher, etc. From that point I would pay special attention to their lapses along the way. If they are consistent, they are easier to address, but often the holes seems to lack consistency, and that's where individual attention to detail must play its part.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
What works best for the student to facilitate their learning according to their intrinsic learning style? As a counterbalance to this, I would obligate myself to give the student what s/he needs, and not just what they want.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I would use the student's textbook and class notes to see if these are matching. Then, I would supplement with anything that seems pertinent or helpful in the process.