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Hello! I am currently pursuing an undergraduate dual major in English Writing (Poetry) and Linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh. I have tutored students of all ages through many programs over the past four years. I believe that in order to learn successfully, one has to be willing to challenge the status quo. In my spare time, I enjoy playing tennis, hiking, practicing various musical instruments, and "nerding out" with some retro videogames.

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John’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus - Current Undergrad, English Writing (Poetry)/Linguistics

Test Scores

SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1530

SAT Math: 710

SAT Verbal: 780

SAT Writing: 750


Tennis, Tetris, writing, and hiking!

Tutoring Subjects



AP English Literature and Composition


College Application Essays

College English


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Writing




Public Speaking


SAT Prep

SAT Math

SAT Reading

SAT Writing and Language


Test Prep

Vocal Training


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that two-way communication is the best way to teach. As a long-time tutor, I've encountered most of my success when the student did not hesitate to ask questions or have me explain complicated material again. In building this type of relationship, there comes a sense of trust that promotes a healthier learning environment, oftentimes leading to more success for both parties.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

First, I would like the student to tell me a little about himself/herself: hobbies, favorite subjects, etc. Afterwards, I'd ask the student how he/she learns best, whether it be through pictures, audio, or some combination of methods. Thereafter, I would ask the student to take a brief diagnostic test in the subject area that he/she wants to be tutored in. Then, we'll set both short-term and long-term goals on where he/she wants to be by the end of the session and where he/she wants to be after multiple sessions. Whatever time remains will be given to tutoring.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

For me, a deep understanding of the subject promotes a student to become an independent learner. By learning how the material relates to other subjects and to the student's life, he/she will become more engaged with the material and have a stronger drive to do work independently from our sessions.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

For me, it's always been about small steps. No person just decides to run a marathon tomorrow and then can actually do it. I will help the student set up small, achievable goals with a larger, end goal in mind. By teaching this form of compartmentalization, the student will be less overwhelmed and more focused on material.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

First, I would ask the student questions pertaining to the core elements of the skill/concept in order to determine where the problem originates from. Afterwards, I would break down the question to its most basic elements and show the student how it relates to previous lessons. Then, I would systematically integrate the more difficult pieces of the problem back into the workspace so that the student can establish a solid foundation prior to accessing the parts that he/she had trouble with.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I like to break the passage down into small pieces in order to determine where the student is encountering difficulty: does the student not know what the overall message or theme of the piece is? Does the student not know what a few of the key words mean? Once I've established some kind of groundwork from which to build up from, I guide the student through the passage, sentence by sentence, asking them to repeat to me what the sentence says but in their own words. By doing this, the student slowly acquires an understanding of the passage.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

Getting to know the student has been crucial to every successful tutoring opportunity that I've encountered. Instead of hounding them for answers, I choose to ask the student what he/she likes to do in and out of the classroom in order to relieve some of the tension that may come with the tutoring process. A successful tutoring interaction works as a two-way street, with both parties feeling content with how things are going.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I find that applying the material to one's own life makes the information stick better. I want others to share my passion for a variety of subjects, and I believe that my enthusiasm can get the student moving just enough to carry some momentum forward.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I would introduce problems that involve the same concepts but have a slightly different application. In doing so, I'll be able to see if the student truly understands the material or if he/she was just listening saying "yes" to everything I've said. Also, I would ask them to paraphrase concepts in their own words in order to solidify their understanding.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

For me, like a lot of other things, it's the small steps. I like to give the student chunks of information that he/she can comfortably manage and then give the student something that stretches just a little outside of his/her comfort zone. Through this technique, the student can apply his/her knowledge in a new way that builds security in his/her capacity to use new information.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Typically, I ask the student what he/she performs strongly in and what he/she does poorly in. Then, I like to give the student some sort of diagnostic test to either prove or disprove that the student was accurate in his/her assessment.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

If I find I'm moving too quickly for a student, I will try to hand them smaller pieces of information with increased explanation. The opposite is also true: if I find that I'm slowing the student down, I will give them more challenging and involved problems in order to keep them interested.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I always have a notebook available for random notes that I think may improve the student's learning. Normally, when it comes to test prep, I like to have a few practice sections in front of me because I firmly believe that exposure to the test and its format will raise the student's confidence due to increased familiarity with the exam. When it comes to the more academic subjects, I prefer to ask the student ahead of time what he/she is doing in order to determine what I need to bring. I have access to a local library that will probably have whatever the student needs.

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