My passion for literature and the humanities infects my teaching style. My strong performance at Colgate University studying Philosophy, Religion, Theater and Film allows me to bring a broad knowledge base to a diverse array of topics. I believe that each student has a unique combination of interests and strengths that should be honored and channeled for his or her own personal growth.
Undergraduate Degree: Colgate University - Bachelors, Philosophy
College Level American Literature
High School English
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe each student has his or her own strengths and interests that must be acknowledged and channeled into their academic lives. I believe that honoring the unique aspects of a student empowers them to achieve more.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first order of business with a student is to understand his or her needs and to make sure we feel comfortable working together. We will generally begin by ascertaining some appropriate short-term goals. We will also discuss personal academic challenges. At this point we, may begin to implement an action plan, one day at a time, to achieve our longer-term goals. I consider the teacher-student relationship a collaboration.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independence is a skill, and it is achieved by incremental steps that increase a student's autonomous motivation. Recognizing a student's individual strengths, interests and dreams for the future is paramount to his or her becoming empowered. Every large goal starts with a small step in the right direction, with patience and perseverance growing slowly day by day.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I strongly believe that action creates motivation, not the other way around. The more we overcome our own inertia and reach deliberately for our goals, the more motivated we become, the more our self-worth grows, and the more willing we become to take more action.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Some skills and concepts are more difficult than others, and that's okay. the most important thing to understand is that there are many ways to learn the same thing. Some people may learn a topic by memorizing, some by experiencing and others by visualizing. There is no right way to learn, but there is always a way. Patience and the willingness to change tactics are essential to any tutor-student relationship. It is always a collaborative effort.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
There are multiple methods to help a student with reading comprehension. Depending on the level, talking our way through certain passages may be helpful. Additionally, I believe addressing our own thinking is essential to isolating an issue with our comprehension. How are we thinking about a given paragraph, sentence or metaphor? What is the context of the passage and how might it fit into the broader context of the piece? No two students or written works are the same, so no two solutions will be, but a broader knowledge of the purpose of the work and the purpose of the passage that is causing difficulty is essential to improving comprehension.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I believe that fostering a relationship of empowerment and open communication is essential. I need to know strengths and weaknesses so that I can foster an academic program around them. An understand of our relationship as a collaboration of two people with same goals is essential.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
A student is always better off if he or she cares about the subject being studied. Of course, this is not always going to happen directly. However, I believe there are always tangential ways to get a student immersed in a subject they otherwise do not care for. For example, if a student who loves art does not love math, we might be able to stress the overlaps between the two, from design and geometry, to architecture and calculus. By acknowledging the practical necessity of some subjects in our daily lives, we are much more apt to connect with them, and the work of getting motivated is much less cumbersome.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I believe that turning our relationship around and having a student teach me a subject is often the best way for us to determine how strong his or her grasp of the material is. Teaching, I have found, is also a great way for a student to learn and become empowered.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Small, incremental steps are essential to achieving any goal. We start with small goals such as, for example, what we would like to accomplish in the next hour. Then we work our way out to a week, a month, and a semester. In this manner, the work becomes manageable and undue stress is mitigated.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
To understand a student's needs, it is essential to understand his or her goals. From this jumping off point, we can work our way backwards through interests, strengths and weaknesses, and formulate a collaborative action plan around those topics and skills most essential to the student's academic success.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
The two constants in a relationship between a tutor and a student are collaboration and respect. Everything else is dependent upon the particular needs of the student. Age, level, special needs, interests, and goals are all essential components in shaping a tutor-student relationship. There is no one-size-fits-all method to tutoring, because no two students are alike.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Materials used during a tutoring session vary immensely and are determined by the needs of the student. Project-based assignments are often used for younger students to enforce certain pertinent topics. Short essays and Q & A sessions are a great method for older students. There is no generic tutor briefcase, because each student's needs are so different. However, I find digging deep into a topic to build a strong foundation is often a great method for increasing a student's interest. If we are writing a five-paragraph essay, we might start off by understanding the foundations of argument and logic. We might talk about careers, such as law, in which argument is an essential component. We might talk about topics that the student feels strongly about and create an essay outline around one of those topics. Making a subject as relevant to a student as possible is always a great way to introduce a new topic.