My story of how I became a teacher and tutor was a surprising one. It wasn???t what I set out to do, but I was given amazing opportunities that have set me on this path! My tutoring experience began when I was a sophomore in college. I was desperately looking for a job that would help cover tuition without having to work in the cafeteria, and found a job as an elementary school tutor as a part of a work study program. Every morning, I was assigned a list of Title I students from various grades, and I would take them for 15-20 minute timeframes to work on reading comprehension, phonics, and math. For the next two summers, I worked as a camp counselor with kids in grades 4th through 6th???. probably my favorite job ever! I got to teach kids how to kayak and build campfires and hike and fish and get paid for it! This was a really unique opportunity because it gave me a lot of insight as to how kids in those age groups are understood, what their personalities are like as they start to develop into them, what frustrates and excites them, and how they thrive. I didn???t know it at the time, but both of these job opportunities were preparing me for my greatest challenge yet: accepting a teaching position in South Korea! Right after college I flew halfway across the world and taught English for 1 year at a private school for grades 1 - 8. Even though this experience had numerous difficulties, there was just as much joy and fun in the process, as well as specific learning opportunities for me. As the only native-English teacher at the school, I taught everything English related; from phonics to vocabulary to reading comprehension to debate to thesis-building and essay writing! With the added challenge of teaching these concepts in English to Korean students, I sharpened my teaching skills and really learned how to communicate as clearly and direct as possible??? there simply wasn???t any choice with that language barrier! As an English teacher in a different culture, I learned how my own methods for success are based on a personable and relational encounter because I saw early on that I would never be effective if my students didn???t know I cared about them. Then from this established rapport, I could understand what individual students needed to succeed. Whether it be gentle encouragement or an added challenge, I was able to see learning success in my students as I focused on their individual needs and areas for growth.
When I returned home from Korea, I put a lot of thought into what my next career steps would be. I am thrilled to work with Varsity Tutors because I can see how all of my opportunities since my sophomore year have led me to this amazing position. I feel I can understand and empathize with students because I???ve experienced working with kids of all ages - and different cultures! And I truly feel that my tutoring and teaching experience has given me the resources and passion to see you succeed and thrive- not just in your areas of struggle, but to become a life-long learner!
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Cedarville University - Bachelors, English Literature
Running, reading, writing, hiking, cooking, & drinking coffee!
College Application Essays
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School Writing
Middle School Reading
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe success is achieved first and foremost by a good relationship between the teacher and student. I found in my experience that unless I understood what made my students feel encouraged, I wouldn't be able to challenge them to grow. My teaching philosophy is based first and foremost on relationships and understanding.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, I would love to spend some time getting to know the student; finding out what their favorite subjects are and what their strengths are before discussing areas of needed growth. Then, depending on grade level or need, I would like to see what their study methods or learning habits are as a way to understand how I can best help them. From there we would dive into the subject matter to see how I can best help!
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Becoming an independent learner starts with two things: a sense of confidence, and a purpose. I would be thrilled to see how I can encourage students to gain the skills they need to continue to work well in their strong subjects, and show them how to use learning methods and resources and good study habits to gain confidence in subjects where they might struggle. Once you have confidence in even the hard things, you can gain purpose for all of your work ahead of you!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
There are some important keys that help unlock motivation: eliminating distraction and keeping your main goals in sight. I love to create positive and encouraging learning environments, as well as show students how to create a physical space where they can focus on and complete their work. Additionally, I believe having strong but achievable goals written out and kept visible is a great way to keep yourself motivated when the going gets tough! Knowing specifically what you are working towards is so important, because once you reach your goals, you will want to reach for even more!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Encouragement is key to overcoming difficulties. In this instance, I would probably take a short break with the student and discuss exactly what they feel is difficult for them. From there, I would encourage them in their progress thus far, highlight how well they have been doing in their efforts, and then try to find a different strategy or adjust the method towards what might be more effective.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Something I have found that really helps with reading comprehension is asking good questions. Even if it is a simple story, discussing every aspect in detail with the student is helpful for understanding what is happening and retaining the information as we go along. Simple pause breaks to check in with the student and ask some of these questions is a good method for locking in the student's comprehension of the reading material.