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I have interests in a variety of subjects, but my favorite one is teaching Geography. I hold both a Master of Arts in Geography and a Master of Philosophy in Geography.
I believe that geographic understanding is key to understanding the world. There are many aspects to the subject and it is often divided between physical and human geographies. This is an unfortunate division because because while human geography cannot be thoroughly understood without an understanding of the Earth on which we live, (so much of live is influenced by terroir), physical geography has no real purpose without human geography because, as far as we know, it is only humans who study Earth. In other words you can study rocks or culture, but when you look at them both, your world becomes larger and your view of that world deepens.
Geography is the study of interrelationships, but not just between people, but between the rocks, water, climate, biologics and people. Physical geography serves as a context for humanity. These interrelationships make the subject a fascinating study for me. Geography is known as the "mother of all sciences" and provides the connecting points between various ways to understand events and the resulting situations.
I have taught at Rutgers and Montclair State University and am currently teaching geography at William Paterson University and at Mercer County Community College. For three of the past four years I have been an AP Reader in Human Geography, and two years ago I worked on a short project for a group within ETS called NAEP on the nation's report card, so I am somewhat aware of how the College Board thinks.
Getting good grades on tests requires specific skills. I am quite good at taking standardized tests because I prepare well for them and look at them with what I think is the proper attitude.
The biggest problem a test taker faces is the fear of failure. At any level or age, if you allow fear to creep in, your thought processes will freeze up and you will struggle. I don't struggle, rather I enjoy them. They are challenges that I know that I can overcome. I want to share my knowledge and experience. I prepare by learning about the test and the test writers and what they want and how they think (as much as possible). Then I practice taking tests, making mistakes and correcting them as I go along.
My favorite hour was spent in taking the Miller Analogy Test. I enjoyed every minute. I took lots of practice tests, but you couldn't really study a particular subject because the questions were all over the place, from philosophers to pasta and even word fragments. You simply needed to understand relationships. The AP Human Geography test, for the most part, deals with fairly basic concepts in multiple choice format. There are lots of tricks I use for that format, such as that the answer is often contained in the stem. The free response questions are far more difficult, because often, they are misleading, but I have had some experience with the rubrics and can navigate through them.
It is these skills that I bring to the table, together with a love of geography and history and the desire to inform and help people gain understanding.
In teaching Geography, I cover quite a lot of American History, including the Dust Bowl, and its causes (both economic and environmental). More importantly, I try to give my students a good method for writing a research paper. I explain, for instance that when you write and submit a paper to your teacher, you have no idea who else will read it. Therefore, you must write it well and properly. I have some guidelines that can help your daughter become a better writer.
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