I'm currently in grad school working toward certification in special education, but it's been mainly through tutoring that I've gained experience with children with attention difficulties.
In fact, I'm reluctant to call them attention difficulties, because they can be so useful -- people who know when an idea has run its course, or who can respond to small environmental changes can be extremely valuable to society. However, they can be challenging to a linear learning process.
As a tutor, I seek to find ways to make learning fun for children who are stressed by the "sit still and listen method" they regularly encounter in school. Sometimes a young child can focus better if a puppet gives the directions, or if she can dance while reciting new rules (of grammar or spelling, for example).
Usually, older children have been "identified" with ADD or ADHD and may be taking medications to control symptoms, but even so, they deserve to be engaged in learning. Learning happens when material becomes compelling enough to hold attention.
I aim to increase students' reading time. I break down writing assignments into small, manageable tasks that add up to a complete project. I am patient and build in constructive breaks as needed.
I'm currently in graduate school for certification in special education and have recently been accepted into a master's program in special education with a certification in autism education.
My interest in this area stems from personal experience helping people with communication disorders, especially people with extremely high visual skills. I have learned how to help these students translate what they picture into words and to translate words into pictures for easy access/reference. This stimulates the two hemispheres of the brain at once, leading to cognitive growth and the creation of a more flexible thinker. Flexible thinkers display fewer symptoms of autism, and can better integrate sensory experiences.
Gaining rapport with highly visual thinkers is one of the most stimulating and rewarding experiences I have enjoyed as a teacher.
I'm currently in grad school seeking certification in special education for grades K-12. This means I'm required to be aware of and understand the regular education curriculum for elementary students and higher.
As a trained CMT tutor, I've taught reading, writing and math skills to children from kindergarten to 5th grade. As a school volunteer, I've directly taught 6th grade classes. As a Girl Scout leader, I've taught skills to girls from 3rd to 6th grade. Additionally, as a substitute teacher, I've taught kindergarten, high school, and all ages in between.
I taught myself how to read when I was four years old, and by third grade I had "burned out." Why? Because the books for my age level were supposed to be "good for me" and build character. Also, that was the year that my family finally got a TV.
I understand how boring reading can be in comparison with other options for entertainment. I now realize that part of that boredom has to do with choosing the wrong books -- the variety of books for young readers has never been richer or better written.
I also know that reading is hard if readers lack effective reading skills. I can teach those skills, and bring a "boring" book or piece of expository writing to life so that students can more effectively analyze its meaning, its writing qualities and its value.
By fifth grade, I was a pleasure reader again: I discovered that my favorite movies and TV shows were being written as books, and this way -- in the days way before digital recording -- I could "watch" them again and again! By college, I found literature so interesting that I minored in English.
Now, as an adult, literature continues to introduce me to fascinating people I will never meet, and to take me to amazing places I will never see. I hope to help your child enjoy this way to new worlds and people (real and fictional).
Even students who love to read worry about facing the Critical Reading section of the SAT. This is because it's unnatural to read under pressure, especially for readers who like to "see" and savor what they read -- to imagine scenes and characters, and to make connections with what they already know.
During the SAT, students are expected to read a passage, answer questions about it, and move on quickly to the next passage. There's very little time to apply the skills that make reading enjoyable. Further, students who already struggle with reading report feeling overwhelmed by passages that seem long or confusing and questions that seem tricky; the time pressure makes it all seem even more difficult.
Doing well on the Critical Reading section of the SAT requires a.) knowing several basic tactics for answering the questions, and b.) knowing vocabulary words that can help guide students to the right answers. Mastering these tactics and understanding these words can take as little as four to eight lessons, with independent practice in between.
My students complete tutoring ready to approach the Critical Reading section calmly and with confidence.
I have completed a graduate program for certification as a special education teacher. I have applied for state certification, and expect to receive it in June 2014.
I have student taught at both the elementary and secondary levels -- 16 darling third graders and 37 wonderful 9th-12th grade students. These students had cognitive delays, emotional and behavioral disorders, and specific learning disabilities. They needed help with language processing, study skills, sequencing, and motivation.
I taught math, reading and writing to my third graders. At the high school level, I planned and taught two daily English classes, two math classes and one biology class. At both levels, my lessons were based on Common Core State Standards and employed only evidence-based instructional methods. I made sure that my lessons were both interesting AND genuinely challenging. Because teaching reading and writing comes naturally to me, I'm proudest of the high level of academic success my high school students achieved in math and biology -- mostly A's!