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I graduated in 2013 with a Bachelors in Literature/Writing from UC San Diego, and am currently a Master's student in Literature at San Francisco State University. During my gap year between degrees, I privately tutored my neighbor in AP English and coached her with college applications, and it made me realize how much I enjoy helping a student slowly master a skill and achieve their goals. Currently, I work at San Francisco State's on campus tutoring center as a Reading/Writing/Study Skills tutor and supplemental writing workshop instructor, and in the fall I will be teaching a freshman composition class as a graduate instructor.

The subjects I find most engaging to tutor are Literature, Compositional Writing, and coaching students applying to colleges, though I enjoy all humanities topics. I feel like critical reading and writing skills are key parts of education that many students see no point in. Therefore my goal as a tutor is to show students the purpose behind a humanities education, and how critical reading and writing are practical skills relevant in their everyday lives. I also find that a lot of struggling students' learning problems can be resolved by teaching them the practical study skills and habits which will make their studying most effective, which includes anything from knowing how to best use a textbook to test-taking skills to time management. Standardized testing or high stakes assignments don't need to be scary if students can learn and apply effective study skills, as well as honing the critical thinking skills they already have.

When I have free time, I like to listen to memoirs on audiobook, knit while watching television, go to Giants baseball games, and work on jigsaw puzzles.

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Katie’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California-San Diego - Bachelors, Literature/Writing

Graduate Degree: San Francisco State University - Current Grad Student, Literature

Test Scores

SAT Verbal: 710


Knitting, musical theater, reading YA and fantasy/science fiction novels, listening to podcasts, tumblr/fandom, going out for afternoon tea, watching Giants baseball, watching Youtube (educational and vlogs), baking, doing jigsaw puzzles, a capella and choir singing, board and card games, listening to audiobooks of memoirs, going to museums, keeping up with current events, listening to k-pop music

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

9th Grade Reading

9th Grade Writing

Adult Literacy

American Literature

AP English Language and Composition

AP English Literature and Composition

AP US History

British Literature

College English

College Essays

College Level American Literature

Comparative Literature

Creative Writing

MCAT Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills


Essay Editing

Expository Writing


Fiction Writing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Homework Support

Introduction to Fiction




Persuasive Writing


SAT Reading

SAT Subject Test in Literature

SAT Subject Tests Prep

SAT Writing and Language


Short Novel


Social Studies

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization


Test Prep

World Literature


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I want to tailor my teaching to each student's particular needs, goals, and learning style. Also, I try to balance what the student wants to work on with what I feel should be prioritized as an expert in my fields.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

Generally, I would spend a little time asking what the student knows they need help with, and what kinds of assignments and skills they struggle with. Then I would want to see a sample of their work, or for testing I would work with them on a couple of sample questions, to diagnose other problems that students themselves may not be aware of.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The most important thing to do is to create a model and explicitly break down its parts and purposes/functions. Then I guide students through applying the models themselves so they can get practice with immediate feedback. After tutoring practice, I would want a student to try applying the model independently without me there and then see it in the next session, so that students can see they can become independent learners of new skills and conventions.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I always try to explain the purpose behind certain activities, assignments, or genres so that students can understand what the end goal is rather than just doing a task for the task's sake. I find this really helps with motivation and perseverance when a task is difficult.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I would try multiple approaches to teaching the skill or concept, like switching between an auditory to a visual approach, and see if any of those approaches work better. And if the student still doesn't get the concept in the first session, I would stress the value of practice and review and try again in the next session.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I find that reading aloud and checking for understanding every couple of sentences (or every sentence, depending on the student's needs) and asking for verbal rephrasing from the student helps a lot with getting the student to understand a passage as a whole by connecting fully understood sentences together. I'd also teach vocabulary context clue strategies and the meta structure of different kinds of writing, but overall a student will only get better at reading by practicing it constantly.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I like to both ask a student what they think they need help with and what kind of instructor feedback they've received, so that I can give the student some agency in their learning while also balancing what goals need to be met in their classroom in order to succeed. Then I try to set an agenda that can meet both goals.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I try to relate pop culture and media, things that students usually already love, and show the connections between the academic subject and properties they love. If you can make it relevant to the student's life, they're more likely to become interested and motivated.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I always ask for verbal rephrasing of a concept/idea or a mostly unguided demonstration of a skill/structure to confirm that a student fully understands what they've just learned; that way I can make last minute corrections or find out what parts of the material got lost in the shuffle. If there are no problems, then I know the student can independently apply the material and that I can move on to more complex things that build on the mastery of that first material.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

First, once I read a sample of their work I point out what the student's strengths are, so that the student doesn't start out feeling like a complete failure. At the end of sessions I try to remember to go over all that we've accomplished so that students can see how far they've come, as well as periodic longer term reflections where they rate themselves on skills they've worked on over a longer period of time. Also, simply praising them once they've mastered a single concept or skill within a session can go a long way towards boosting a student's belief about what they are capable of.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Doing a quick questionnaire allows the student to feel like their wants and needs (as well as his/her instructor’s) are being heard and gives me a better picture of what the needs are. Also, reading a sample of the student’s work or seeing the score sheet on a diagnostic test helps me notice new possible needs and then set priorities in terms of what needs to be tackled first.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

If students know what kinds of learners they are, I try to accommodate that learning style whenever I can. In general though, I try to treat tutoring like laying out for students different tools they can use, and then letting them decide what tools to keep in their toolbox based on what works for them. I try to provide lots of options, alternatives, and methods for executing or understanding something so that a student can see what sticks.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

For testing, I use test practice books and sample questions because the best way to learn question format and test strategy, as well as kinds of content, is to practice on similar content. For writing, I try to stick to the prompt and the students’ notes or drafts, and possibly their readings if that applies. Also, for grammar, I like using handouts or workbooks or have students make reference cards for later use. I'll have students use highlighters and index cards for certain activities having to do with writing and reading, but mostly I rely on my own bank of knowledge and let students learn from that however works best for them.

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