I am a graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington. I received my Bachelor's of Science Degree in Elementary Education in 2006. I am continuing my graduate degree in Special Education through Ball State University, and have completed 15 hours towards my Master's Degree. I have 10 years of classroom teaching experience at the elementary level, and experience working with children aged 5 to 15. I've also taken on many tutoring opportunities throughout my ten years of teaching, mostly centered around reading and math. It is my strong belief as an educator, as well as a stakeholder in the public school system, that every child can learn. It is my job to facilitate that learning and to help each child reach their optimum potential by differentiating my instruction and inspiring students to get excited about the content they are studying. I take education very seriously, as it a very valuable key that opens the door to so many opportunities later in life. I am here to create life-long learners. I am available to tutor Elementary level Reading, Writing, and Math. I am also able to help students prepare for standardized tests. When I am not working with my "kids" in the classroom, I am home with my own two children, 4 years and 8 weeks old. I enjoy spending time outdoors with my family, reading, traveling, and singing. I am so happy to be working with Varsity Tutors and I look forward to working with your family!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Indiana University-Bloomington - Bachelors, Elementary Education
Graduate Degree: Ball State University - Current Grad Student, Special Education
Spending time with my 4 year old boy and newborn baby girl, reading, singing, playing outdoor games, listening to music, watching movies, attending festivals, shopping (especially at flea markets)!
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
ISEE-Lower Level Mathematics Achievement
ISEE-Lower Level Reading Comprehension
ISEE-Lower Level Verbal Reasoning
ISEE-Lower Level Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
All children can learn. The appropriate instructional match between educator and student is a vital step in that learning process. As educators, we are charged with finding the methods and strategies that work best for each individual child, so that all students can master the content and reach their optimum potential. Organization and study habits are a critical piece of the puzzle when trying to achieve success, both in the classroom and in other environments. I implore my students to take ownership over their learning, and to continue asking questions, long after the lesson or novel is over. One way this can be accomplished is through activating prior knowledge. Learning takes place each and every day through our experiences, and it's important not to disregard those experiences, but to bring them to the classroom or learning environment to be used as tools. Lastly, in order for mastery to be reached, both teacher and student must be held accountable, and understand that giving up is just not an option.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session with a student is a time to get to know each other. I do a lot of listening. In order for our partnership to ultimately lead to your success, I need to know what you DO understand about your topic, what experiences you have surrounding your topic, and what concepts seem unclear or even intimidating to approach. Together, we will then look at resources and class materials and come up with a plan that will tackle those insecurities and eventually lead to your success in the classroom.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help students become a more independent learner by first exploring and deciding on a way to stay organized. This certainly looks different for everyone, but we all must have a "system." Next, I will build an arsenal of study habits and tools that will allow the student to take ownership over their learning and to be less dependent on adults for guidance. I will check in frequently to make sure what we have in place is working, and work with my student to make changes if necessary.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Different things motivate different children. For example, some children benefit from frequent and specific verbal praise. For other students, it's writing a quick note to their parent or teacher about something they did well during the session. Most importantly though, I will help the student understand that success and mastery of content does not happen overnight. There are many milestones along the journey to success that are worthy of celebration, and it is important for students to see that they are on the right path.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would have to do a lot of investigating before working with that student to come up with an appropriate plan. I would need to know what about the concept or skill seems unclear. Is the child missing a subset of skills that were taught earlier in their education and simply need to be revisited? Does the child have the correct answer but struggle to transfer it into written form? Maybe the student is working on a concept that involves multiple steps, and has been repeatedly doing just one step wrong that continuously causes them to arrive at the incorrect answer. I would need to find out where the breakdown was and go from there. I almost always begin with what the child does understand, and then work my way backwards.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
There are many reasons a student may struggle with reading comprehension. For example, if a student is not a fluent reader, meaning they read at a slower pace in two or three word phrases, they cannot retain information long enough to continue to build meaning. They may be a good "word caller," and read each word correctly on the page, but they are not creating meaning, or stopping to monitor and clarify their comprehension. If a text is at a level way above the independent reading level of the student, they have undoubtedly abandoned the text shortly after coming to a few words that they do not know the meaning of. Some students are just learning to decode words, so those lower-level books have a lot of repetition and word patterns to build fluency and increase rate and accuracy.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found that whenever I can relate content to the child's real life, or use physical objects that allow the student to manipulate and build/construct their learning, the child reaches mastery at a higher rate.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would first find out what about the topic seems boring. Sometimes students who aren't feeling confident about a topic feel that way because they believe they know nothing about it. I would first help the child to build their background knowledge, and draw out of them things that they do know that could be built upon to understand the content at hand. I would then help them to understand how they can connect the content they don't care for to something in their life that they know a lot about and enjoy.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I stop often to monitor and clarify a student's learning. If I am reading a story with a second grade child, I am certainly going to stop several times to ask the reader questions about the book and their understanding before we get to the end. Next, I also have students restate their learning. How do they understand the answer, in their own words? Are they able to recall each step taken and show you how to do each step in order to arrive at the correct answer? All of these things are important. The ultimate affirmation, of course, is if a student can successfully teach the concept to a peer.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Again, building prior knowledge helps students realize that they aren't completely without information. This gives them the confidence needed to dive in. Continuous verbal praise along the way, and giving specific feedback when students use particular strategies or make improvements, is also essential to building confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate the student's needs differently depending on the age and content. I may use informal or formal assessments, examine graded work, and talk to parents, classroom teachers, or all of the above.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I keep the lines of communication open. If something isn't working, it's wasting time and keeping us from reaching mastery. Students will know and feel comfortable with coming to me if they feel adjustments to their instruction need to be made. With that being said, younger students do not always recognize this, which is where informal and ongoing observation on my part comes in. I will also talk to the parents and teachers to get more input on what seems to work at home and in the classroom.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
This depends a lot on the student, the topic, their age, how structured the student's topic is, and many other factors. I have access to just about anything we may need as far as resources go.