John’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
John’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
I received my J.D. degree from Boston College Law School in 1990. I passed the Pennsylvania Bar Exam in 1991.
FL & MA state certified in grades K-6; FL state certified in science grades 5-9.
I have a FL subject area endorsement in middle grades math, grades 5-9. I also have extensive experience in the classroom and as a tutor working with Everyday Math, Singapore math, and middle school math through Algebra. I want my students to "really get math" in the way that a serious student of a foreign language really needs to "get it" in order to be fluent. Just like learning to speak a foreign language fluently is not merely about memorizing vocabulary and learning to conjugate (I should know; I've studied several foreign languages but only one---Portuguese---to real fluency), learning math is not about memorizing algorithms and mnemonics ("Keep/Switch/Flip" is my "favorite") or moving numbers around on a page. Math is a language of symbols and patterns that can be understood and appreciated by even very young students. I achieve this lofty goal by clear explanations, hands on math, use of manipulatives, drawing pictures, playing games---whatever will work for this particular student on this particular day.
I have a FL subject area endorsement in middle grades science grades 5-9. More important, I know that science is much more than facts and figures (How fast does light travel in a vacuum? How many electrons in the outermost shell of an atom of helium?). Science is all about developing a working model, a good understanding, of the world around us, from the quantum to the microscopic to the galactic and "beyond." I want my students' experiences with science to include: tapping into their inner "font of curiosity" about the world in which they live, asking questions, wondering, marveling, reacting with awe and excitement, and enjoying. Science should not deaden the senses (in the way that a purely textbook version of science surely will); it should awaken children to the incredible world in which they live. Also, every good scientist has to come to the realization that s/he is ignorant about more things than s/he knows and be excited by that ignorance. "Knowledge is a big subject," says Stuart Firestein of Columbia University, "but ignorance is a bigger one. And it is ignorance--not knowledge--that is the true engine of science." Finally, I want my science students to develop a healthy skepticism about, well, everything. If you really want to know something, you have to figure it out, investigate, experiment, read, question, form hypotheses, test them, find the similarities and differences, connect the dots, notice patterns, and then take your acquired knowledge with a grain of salt. Be humble, especially when you're sure you've discovered the truth!
For four years I lived in Brazil and taught 4th/5th grades at an American School in Sao Paulo. Since I returned to the US to teach, I've been back to Brazil as a tourist at least a dozen times. I speak (eles dizem) fluent Portuguese.
Over the past decade, I've worked with several dozen students as a private tutor, mentor, and learning coach. While much to most of the work I do with my students is substantive and academic (test prep, homework, re-teaching and clarifying concepts, academic content skill-building), at least some of the work I do with some of my private students is in the areas of organization, attention, and motivation. Come to think of it, I do all of this in my position as a classroom teacher. The two, obviously, go hand in hand.