I graduated magna cum laude from Bemidji State University with a bachelor's degree in life science secondary education. After teaching 7th grade science for three years, I decided to pursue my master's degree. I received a Master of Science degree in biology and a Master of Education degree from Stephen F. Austin State University, graduating with a GPA of 3.85. When I completed my thesis research and master's degree there, I was hired for two years as an interim general biology and ecology instructor.
In addition to teaching at the college level, I am fortunate to have a wide variety of other training and teaching experience. I have been able to work with students of all ages from 5 years old on up to adults. I have given private violin/fiddle lessons for 26 years to students of all ages. Before retiring after 28 years, I taught 7th grade math, 7th grade pre-algebra, 6th grade world history, 7th grade history, and 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science. I have also worked with middle school students doing math and science STAAR test preparation during the school day and after school.
I am thankful to be able to continue to use my academic training and classroom teaching experience to tutor students in many subjects, both in person and online. It is truly a fulfilling experience to see my students become more capable and confident at skills that were once difficult for them.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Bemidji State University - Bachelors, Life Science Secondary Education
Graduate Degree: Stephen F Austin State University - Masters, Biology, General
Fiddle, violin, old time music, gardening
5th Grade Math
5th Grade Science
6th Grade Math
6th Grade Science
7th Grade Math
7th Grade Science
8th Grade Science
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Science
High School Biology
Middle School Science
Study Skills and Organization
What is your teaching philosophy?
My goal in working with my students is to make concepts understandable using different methods that are suited to each person's learning style. Everything we learn is connected, and can lead to understanding a new skill later. I continually seek to find ways to connect what my students currently know to the skills I am teaching them. I also want to get to know my students as individuals, and learn about their interests and talents.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
My goal in working with all students is to help them understand why things occur, how one phase of learning connects to another, and not just how to memorize facts and procedures. I believe that if they are able to do this, they can be successful in all kinds of settings where they are required to learn something new.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
During my first session, I make every effort to get my student to feel comfortable with me, and I determine what their needs are. From there, I will begin to assist with the content. Based on these interactions and future interactions, I will continue to seek out teaching materials and ideas that are suited to that student's unique learning style.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I offer frequent praise, encouragement, and feedback at each step of the learning process. I want my students to understand that they can learn, even if doesn't come easily at first. It is my hope that my students will gain the confidence and skills to become independent learners.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I use many questioning strategies to assess understanding throughout a lesson. I also provide guided practice opportunities, followed by opportunities for my student to explain or demonstrate a particular skill or concept on their own.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I make every effort to find prior knowledge or skills to build on, so that my students can make a connection to the current concept. If the concept is abstract, such as in math or science, I use modeling or patterns to help students make connections. I also want my students to understand that they are capable of learning difficult concepts, even if they struggle at first.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I try to determine how each student learns most effectively. If a student is a visual learner, I will use pictures or modeling to help in grasping a concept. If a student is overwhelmed with unfamiliar words and academic vocabulary, I will use strategies to help them remember the meanings of those new words. Throughout the time that I am working with a student, I am making assessments of understanding and comprehension. I may do this by using questioning strategies, guided practice techniques, or other ways to build confidence and learn more about my student’s needs
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I work hard to make my students feel comfortable and know that I care about their success. I strive to give them opportunities to be successful during our time working together, so that they can feel confident when working on their own.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I seek to find the foundational skills and knowledge that my students already have, so that I can build on those when working with information that is new or difficult for them. Often students are overwhelmed with information and just need time to process it, or have it explained in a different way. Once I have gone over information with a student, I check to see that they can demonstrate understanding of it on their own. I make every effort to provide opportunities for small successes along the way, so that it leads to greater confidence.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If they are comfortable with it, I ask my students to do some of the reading aloud so they have more time to process what they read. I will also ask questions before, during, and after reading a passage to help students to verbally process the information. Another strategy I have found to be helpful is to annotate the text by writing notes in the margins.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I work to find a certain level of success with a student’s prior knowledge, and then I build on this. I offer encouragement during our practice with the material, and I let students see my own excitement when I respond to their progress at each step in the learning process.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to adjust materials based on what my students need.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
In order to evaluate a student's needs, I use the information provided by the tutoring company, the student's parents, as well as the individual student. However, it is an ongoing process, as each interaction I have with a student helps me to assess their individual needs and determine what strategies might work to provide assistance or instruction.