My name is Debra and I have an MA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. I really like engaging with the humanities and hope to help students improve their understanding of history, the social science, writing, and grammar.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Notre Dame - Bachelor in Arts, Anthropology
Graduate Degree: University of Chicago - Master of Arts, Anthropology
ACT Composite: 32
ACT English: 36
ACT Math: 28
ACT Reading: 34
ACT Science: 30
Cooking, Volunteerism, Reading, Yoga
College Application Essays
College World History
COMPASS Writing Skills Prep
Elementary School Writing
High School English
High School World History
High School Writing
IB Social and Cultural Anthropology
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Writing
SAT Subject Tests Prep
What is your teaching philosophy?
I like to be as conversational as possible, because I think that's the best way to communicate ideas. I try to be pretty informal, because I find that formality can turn students. Overcomplicating the subject matter is not helpful, so I try to make things as simple as possible and build on that foundation.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I'd like to get to know the student's goals, what they perceive as their strengths and weaknesses, and then discuss how they'd like to use their time in our sessions going forward.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I want to get the student interested in the subject matter so that they'll want to learn about it. Just focusing on scores and numbers is not going to make a student be an independent learner. By explaining the ways that certain subjects (such as history, grammar, etc.) can be applied in a real-world setting, the student will be more interested in learning and more motivated to learn on his or her own.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would give the student a lot of encouragement and feedback, which I think would help the student stay motivated. By seeing the incremental improvements in their comprehension of a subject like history or English, they'll gain confidence in their ability to learn and be more willing to keep at it.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to give the student as many resources as possible to help them understand a concept. Maybe a YouTube video could break a concept down in an easily digestible way, or maybe drawing a diagram may help. I will try whatever I can find that will keep the student engaged and interested in the subject.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I would break down the text into easily digestible chunks, and then ask questions about these portions. I'd also encourage the student to take his or her time in reading a passage. Stressing over time is only going to hurt the student's performance.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to get to know the student and his or her goals and ambitions. By understanding the motivation behind desires for better grades/test scores, I have a better idea of how to motivate him or her.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to find an example of the applicability of the subject to real-world situations. For instance, writing is massively important when composing a cover letter. If you have poor grammar, an employer is not going to be very impressed. Beyond that, though, writing can be really fun. Even just practicing with some writing prompts can increase the student's creativity and ability to learn.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I'd ask frequent questions, and then have the student repeat to me how he or she understands the subject material. I've found that feedback is massively important; lecturing for an hour is not a very good use of time if the student doesn't understand what I'm saying.