Aisha is a Yale graduate (class of 2013) who holds a B.A. in English and is currently engaged in graduate study towards an M.A. in English at Southern New Hampshire University. Professionally, she is an Independent Public Relations Consultant and Administrator, but her true passion is English Language and Literature. Her tutoring specializes in reading comprehension, writing, test prep, ACT and SAT Reading and Writing, but she also can assist with proofreading and editing, college essays, and organizational/study skills. Academically, Aisha is interested in multiple genres, but most specifically 19th-Century British Literature, Post-Colonial Narratives and Narratives of Oppression, Feminist and Gender Theory, Children's Young Adult Literature, and most prominently, Utopian and Dystopian Narratives under the broader umbrella of Science Fiction. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on the Young Adult Science Fiction works of Scott Westerfeld. In her free time, Aisha enjoys reading, cooking, DIY, music festivals, and archery.
Undergraduate Degree: Yale University - Bachelors, English
Graduate Degree: Southern New Hampshire University - Current Grad Student, English
ACT Composite: 32
ACT English: 32
ACT Math: 31
ACT Reading: 33
ACT Science: 32
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1490
SAT Verbal: 710
SAT Writing: 800
GRE Verbal: 165
GRE Analytical Writing: 5.5
SAT Subject Test in Biology E/M: 720
In her free time, Aisha enjoys reading, cooking, DIY, music festivals, and archery.
High School English
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that teaching is one of the greatest responsibilities and privileges that exists among people. As a student myself, I know that there are a variety of different learning styles that can make learning certain types of material more difficult than others. My philosophy about teaching is that learning for learning’s sake is its own reward. Inspiring the sparks of interest and curiosity within my students is a great passion of mine. That being said, I also recognize the great importance of testing well and succeeding on paper academically. For those reasons, I want to teach my students to think in a way that gets them asking the right questions, open-mindedly considering possibilities, forming arguments from an informed and well-rounded perspective, and enabling them to connect their learning to both concrete, tangible examples and philosophical, theoretical perspectives.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, I want to get to understand my student both academically and personally. I will ask you questions about your interests, where you believe you struggle and succeed academically, what goals you have for our tutoring sessions, what issues are important to you, and why. Then I will administer a brief assessment to determine existing abilities and challenges. We would then spend the remainder of our initial session creating a study plan and discussing thought exercises to get in the right frame of mind.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independent learning requires good fundamentals, personal focus and determination, and strong critical thinking skills. In order to effectively learn without guidance, students have to have a good framework for what they should expect from the process. Through our sessions, I will help you to become an independent learner by encouraging you to think about the way you think. Why do you ask certain questions and not others? How do you organize and remember information? Do you glaze over facts others would consider important while focusing on less important details? Through assessing your learning style, putting your practices into the context of fellow learners, helping you get to understand your learning process, and teaching you good study techniques, I can help get you started on a path of independent learning and exploration.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It can often be difficult to stay motivated academically, particularly when studying a subject that’s not very interesting to you or one with which you struggle. I believe that academic motivation is easiest to maintain when we form connections between the material we’re learning, our goals in learning it, and its relation to our real world lives. I always want my students to connect their learning (or learning processes) to something larger within their own lives that personally resonates. Maybe you don’t care about 18th-century epistolary novels; but do you like romance stories? Have you ever written a journal? Do you find courting and cultural norms from the past interesting? Literature expresses humanity’s collective experience of life, and therefore finding a meaningful connection between what you study and how you live, what you believe, or what you want to achieve creates a motivated student.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student has difficulty learning something, the first thing I want to figure out is why. All of us have different learning styles and understand concepts or pick up new skills in a different way. Sometimes understanding can be gained merely from rephrasing information or coming up with a clever analogy. Other times, a visual explanation is required, or perhaps creation of a mnemonic device can help. By understanding what the student is struggling with and figuring out why that type of information is difficult to grasp, we can work together to find hacks and methods that work for you as an individual.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is all about extracting the primary (and often secondary and tertiary) meaning from a passage and being able to summarize or synthesize that information. Those who struggle with comprehension do so for a number of reasons, but most often, it seems to be because they have difficulty filtering through flowery language or unfamiliar words and miss the “essence” of what is being said. To aid students struggling with this process, I help them sculpt a specific “active reading” mindset and develop a framework of questions to ask themselves during reading that will allow them to extract important information and understand it in a cohesive, straightforward way.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
There’s a big difference between memorization and understanding. In schools, we’re often taught to memorize things just so that we might remember them on a test, but for whatever reason, we don’t connect what we’re learning to our broader collection of knowledge. Truly testing understanding requires a conversation, not just about the content of a subject, but about its interconnected issues. Especially in English, I want to have conversations about what response the text elicited, what questions it awakened or other works it made you think of. Understanding is largely context, and so I encourage my students through dialogue to synthesize literature in their own way, noticing the other things that come to mind as they read and connecting them to the subject at hand.