I graduated from New York University with honors and a B.F.A. in Playwriting. For the past two years, Ive been working as a T.A. for several writing classes at NYU, and its quickly become my favorite job. I love helping students find their writing voices. Ive been developing my own method of guiding the young reader or writer who has just begun discovering what he or she has to say, but has not yet discovered how he or she can say it. In addition, Ive been tutoring reading, writing, algebra, and SAT prep. I had a difficult time with the multiple choice reading and writing sections in high school, and I empathize with students who struggle with that format, with students who have trouble narrowing their ideas into one single-letter answer. My teaching technique is one that Ive learned from favorite teachers over the years, one that inspires focused, investigative, creative learning: Im committed to the belief that the only way students learn is by by doing. I ask questions, I guide, I challenge, and I direct, but I always enable the student to find the answer on their own. I believe this is the only way that students learn not only to do the work, but to understand the work. Outside of teaching, I love theatre, movies, poetry, art, and running around the city.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: New York University - Bachelors, Theatre
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1540
SAT Math: 750
SAT Verbal: 720
SAT Writing: 790
Movies, poetry, art, and theater.
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Writing
High School English
What is your teaching philosophy?
Lead the student to an understanding, not to the answer. Ask questions until the student can solve the problem on their own. Teach not just the formula but the logic behind the formula. Teach not just the ways to answer the question but the ways to figure out how to answer the questions. Lead with what interests the student. Figure out what is unique about each student. Figure out how each student learns.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, I'll jump right into some questions, or problems, or a writing prompt for the student to work through. This will help me get a sense of not only what the student needs help with but how the student works. By diving right into the teaching, I figure out how to best help them by doing it, not by thinking about it. I'll also take some time to get to know the student. What interests them? What's their #1 favorite thing?
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I teach students not only the formulas and strategies but the reason why those formulas and strategies work. I teach them not only how to answer the questions but how to figure out what the questions are asking. I figure out what interests them so that they'll want to learn.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I motivate by staying positive and reminding the student of their progress, by figuring out how what interests the student can apply to what we're working on. I also set up the SAT as a complicated game or maze that the student has to defeat.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I give a lot of examples. I try to provide a real-world application. I draw it out, if the student is a visual learner. I go slowly, and from the beginning, to make sure the student understands it every step of the way. I break it down into simpler steps.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I spend some time each session teaching vocabulary or drilling vocabulary words with flashcards. I teach the student how to break a sentence down into parts and how to use context clues when there are words they don't know. I teach them how to underline and doctor up the passages so they can look back and see what's important. I ask questions and help guide the students toward the meaning. I teach concepts like allegory, foreshadowing, and irony that students can use to unpack meaning and tone. I find pieces of writing that I think will interest them and use those as examples.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
One of the best strategies is asking a series of questions. What is the question asking? What does this word in the question mean? If we don't know the word, how can we figure out? How can we go about looking for the answer? Asking these questions helps me take a good look at the student's problem solving. Also helpful at the beginning is having the student explain to me in their own words what they feel confident about and what they struggle with.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I find things happening in the world now that have to do with the subject, anything that makes the subject not seem dull and old. I find comparisons that make the subject seem like something else. Determining the tone of a reading comp passage is like decoding a text message. Algebra is like determining how fast a pumpkin pie gets eaten, based on who is in the room.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I have the student describe concepts to me in their own words. I set aside the questions, or problems, or test prep and have a conversation about the topic that has nothing to do with results. I ask the student "What other questions might your teacher or a test ask you about this? How would you go about answering them?"
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I remind the student of their progress. I break down new concepts into parts so that the learning is not overwhelming, but like a long, many-stepped ladder that the student is climbing with ease. I remind the students that the subject is difficult, that many adults can't even comprehend it. I let the students know when they're working hard, and I thank them for it.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I listen to what the student tells me. I watch the way they go about answering a question. I figure out what helps the student best. Do they need me to explain a concept to them for five minutes, and then leave them to their own devices? Do we have to work through some questions together before they feel confident? I pay attention to when the student gets frustrated and when they seem motivated.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I ask the student what is most helpful to them. I plan for maximum efficiency in each tutoring session. How long will I need to explain this concept before we can take a practice test? How do I structure each session so that the student doesn't become tired or frustrated? When does the student need to take breaks? How can we prioritize what the student is most stressed about?
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I'll use flashcards if we're studying or memorizing a lot of terms. I'll bring a notebook or journal for the student if I think it's helpful for them to have something unrelated to school or tests, something that they can write all their thoughts on. I'll use an SAT prep book or printouts of practice tests if that's what we're focusing on. I'll bring in articles and books if I think I can illustrate something I'm teaching with an example.