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Joya A.

Columbia Undergrad specializing in SAT prep and special needs

New York, NY (10027)

Travel radius
5 miles
Hourly fee
$45.00
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My name is Joya and I'm a third-year biomedical engineering/pre-med student at Columbia University. I've been tutoring since high school in a number of subjects ranging from middle school pre-algebra to SAT preparation. I work with kids of all ages and abilities, and I've had years of experience working with children with special needs (5 years of martial arts instruction and 2 years of camp counseling). I pride myself on being a thorough tutor, and I like to make sure that parents and, if necessary, teachers are kept in the loop about a student's progress. I love working with different learning styles and I think that creativity always has a place in the classroom. I am very easy to reach, I have flexible hours, and I'm very willing to travel within the five boroughs.

I have been working with kids with special needs for six years. I have done childcare and tutoring for kids with special needs in my hometown since high school, I taught martial arts to kids on the autism spectrum for five years, and I have also been a camp counselor for the past two years. I've worked with kids with a whole range of special needs, including autism, Down's Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. I am experienced managing mobility aids and feeding tubes, and I am proficient in American Sign Language. I have found that a lot of kids with special needs are dismissed as "unable to learn" by their schools and peers and I do my best to dispel that myth. Everyone has the potential to learn and thrive; it's simply a matter of tailoring the learning style to the child in question. I love working with kids, and I think I have a lot to offer both children and their families.

In terms of my academic subjects, I can tutor in a wide variety of them. As a high school student, I tutored kids from my local middle school and elementary school in all the basic subjects - reading, geometry, arithmetic, grammar, etc. I continued to tutor in those areas after graduation as well, and I find that my college education as an engineering student has only served to reinforce those skills. As an engineer, I love math, but I also grew up in libraries and I love reading as well. I was and still am a logophile, so grammar and vocabulary will always stay close to my heart. I took the ACT, SAT, and SAT Subject tests in 2010 and I've been tutoring in those areas ever since. Ultimately, succeeding in standardized testing is about understanding the mechanisms of the tests and aligning your knowledge with those mechanisms. I've done a lot of analysis on the inner workings of tests like the SAT and ACT and I am well-versed in how to succeed.

Basically, I love to learn and I love to teach. I was lucky enough to grow up with a love of learning instilled in me by my parents and teachers, and I only hope to do the same for my students. A lot of times when I've worked with struggling students, I've found that either the material isn't being presented to them in a way they are able to understand or that they haven't found a way to engage with the material. In both cases, I find that a creative and empathetic approach is the best one. There is nothing better or more rewarding than seeing a child truly engage with their academic material, and I hope to be able to give that experience to as many kids as possible.

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Joya’s subjects

Corporate Training:
ESL/ESOL, Grammar, Public Speaking
Test Preparation:
ACT English, ACT Math, ACT Reading, ACT Science, PSAT, SAT Math, SAT Reading, SAT Writing
Homeschool:
Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Biology, Elementary (K-6th), English, ESL/ESOL, Geometry, Prealgebra, Precalculus, Reading, SAT Math, SAT Reading, Study Skills, Writing
Special Needs:
Business:
Elementary Education:
Elementary (K-6th), Elementary Math, Elementary Science, Grammar, Phonics, Reading, Spelling, Study Skills, Vocabulary
History:
American History, Geography
Language:
ESL/ESOL
Science:
ACT Science, Anatomy, Biology
Math:
ACT Math, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, Prealgebra, Precalculus, SAT Math, Trigonometry
English:
ACT English, ACT Reading, English, ESL/ESOL, Grammar, Public Speaking, Reading, SAT Reading, SAT Writing, Vocabulary, Writing

ADD/ADHD

I have been working with kids with special needs for six years. I have done childcare and tutoring for kids with special needs in my hometown since high school, and I have also been a camp counselor for kids with special needs for the past two years. My experience with kids with special needs is not only academic, but also social. My most recent counselor position was specifically dedicated to building social skills. I use stories and games to explain and reinforce the guidelines of social situations and I create safe spaces for my kids to learn what behaviors are acceptable and why. I also incorporate elements of personal responsibility, such as focusing and paying attention, which is specifically geared towards my kids with ADD/ADHD. I think that all kids have the potential to learn, both academically and socially, and it's simply a matter of finding out what works best for each individual child.

Aspergers

I have been working with kids with special needs for six years. I have done childcare and tutoring for kids with Asperger's in my hometown since high school, and I have also been a camp counselor for kids with special needs for the past two years. I use stories and games to explain and reinforce the guidelines of social situations and I create safe spaces for my kids to learn what behaviors are acceptable and why. A lot of kids with Asperger's are very focused on their own interests and struggle with widening their topics of conversation, so one of the things I really emphasize is working with kids to learn how to talk about things that other people are interested in instead of just talking about their own hobbies or interests. To do this, I help them find connections between themselves and other people using role-play techniques and conversation simulations. Sometimes I ask them to write stories about two characters having a conversation and then we talk about how the characters might improve their conversation skills. I keep the mood light and focus on positive reinforcement.

Autism

I have been working with kids on the autism spectrum for six years. I have done childcare and tutoring for kids on the spectrum in my hometown since high school, and I have also been a camp counselor for kids with special needs for the past two years. My experience with kids on the spectrum is not only academic, but also social. My most recent counselor position was specifically dedicated to building social skills. I use stories and games to explain and reinforce the guidelines of social situations and I create safe spaces for my kids to learn what behaviors are acceptable and why. I think that all kids have the potential to learn, both academically and socially, and it's simply a matter of finding out what works best for each individual child.

Clarinet

I have been playing the clarinet for ten years. I played in a school symphonic band for seven years, and for the past three years I have played in college jazz ensembles and pit orchestras for musical theater performances. I am a skilled sight reader and I also play the piano, which is perfect for accompaniment. I have taught beginner-level lessons to people of all ages. I not only teach them how to play the clarinet, but also how to read music and how to understand a score if they are playing in a band. I cover basic music theory and sight-reading, as well as a wide range of musical styles, including improvisation if they are interested.

Dyslexia

I have been working with kids with special needs, including learning differences such as dyslexia, for six years. With dyslexia, I like to incorporate physical tools to help with learning, such as "focus wands" (laminated strips of paper that can be held under a line of text and moved down a page to create a more visually striking focus) and color-coding letters that are easy to mix up, like d and b. It is very important to me that my students feel comfortable learning, even while they are being challenged. One technique I find helpful with children with dyslexia is repetition. For example, if I give an instruction to a student, instead of just giving it once and moving on, I'll ask the student to tell me what they heard me say or read aloud what I wrote on the paper so that they can use both their visual and auditory learning pathways.

Elementary (K-6th)

I have been working with elementary school students for seven years as a private tutor, and I've always felt very comfortable with that age range. I have worked with children referred to me from their school systems for remedial work as well as children who are looking for enrichment, and my experience spans all ability levels. I've been a camp counselor for kids with special needs for two years as well. I try to bring a creative and fun approach to learning for my kids, incorporating mnemonic devices and games so that there are positive associations made with schoolwork. I love working with kids and I think I have a lot to offer them and their families.

Public Speaking

Coming from a performance background, public speaking is something that I value highly. I think that being able to eloquently and concisely express oneself to a large group of people is a skill that ought to be taught early and nurtured throughout life. Communication is the foundation of all relationships, both personal and professional. I've been doing public speaking for years, and I've also coached for things like speech and debate tournaments, mock trial, and stage performances.

My personal public speaking experience comes from student leadership positions in high school and college (chairperson of my community service council, president of an a capella group, and student representative at diversity conferences), political fundraisers and rallies in my hometown of Philadelphia, as well as social justice work with SAALT (South Asian Americans Leading Together) and the White House Initiative on Asian American Affairs. I've spoken at the White House on numerous occasions, including presenting the Teacher of the Year award at the Presidential Scholars banquet in 2011 and speaking on LGBTQ issues in the Asian community in 2012.

The trick to being an effective public speaker is being at ease on the stage. However, the "on the stage" part is what troubles most of my students. Overcoming that fear is often about preparation. I like to help my students to know their material well and to be comfortable with the words they are going to say so that the fear of forgetting everything onstage is lessened. I also like to incorporate mnemonic devices for memory, as well as drama/theatre exercises to loosen up and overcome nerves. I love helping people transform from shy, nervous speakers into confident, clear ones.

SAT Math

I took the SAT in March 2010 and received a perfect score, and I've been tutoring in SAT prep since 2011. I've worked with a wide range of students with varying levels of success with the test over the last 2 years, ranging from kids with scores in the high 2000s looking to get a perfect score to kids with scores in the low 1000s looking to meet a minimum requirement for college. I work with students of all ages and abilities, and I have a lot of experience working with students with special needs.

I always tailor my tutoring methods to the student, but there are definitely some common threads that run through my lesson plans, such as attention to detail, using the information provided in the test to supply oneself with answers, and time management. With the math section in particular, I make sure that the student actually understands the mathematical concepts behind each problem and not just how to guess well. While guessing can get a student to the right answer sometimes, having a good foundation in arithmetic, algebra, and pre-calculus will get a student to the right answer much more frequently. I like to work through the free response questions with my students, as well as encouraging students to actually solve the multiple choice problems on their own before looking at the given answers. I encourage critical thinking and creative approaches to problem solving, and as an engineer, I particularly love this section of the SAT.

SAT Reading

I took the SAT in March 2010 and received a perfect score, and I've been tutoring in SAT prep since 2011. I've worked with a wide range of students with varying levels of success with the test over the last 2 years, ranging from kids with scores in the high 2000s looking to get a perfect score to kids with scores in the low 1000s looking to meet a minimum requirement for college. I work with students of all ages and abilities, and I have a lot of experience working with students with special needs.

I always tailor my tutoring methods to the student, but there are definitely some common threads that run through my lesson plans, such as attention to detail, using the information provided in the test to supply oneself with answers, and time management. With the reading section in particular, a big focus of mine is close reading of texts and passages. Many of the questions that tend to confuse students are inference based (ex: why did the author write sentence a? What was his intention?). Students can be frazzled by these questions, thinking that they need to be psychic to get them right, but the solution is much simpler. The answers to questions about author intent are almost contained within the specific language used in the passage given. Having an understanding of nuance and implication in the English language is very important for being able to discern intent. This also means that I stress vocabulary quite heavily. As an avid reader, I love the skills that the reading section develops, and I dearly enjoy helping students unlock the mysteries of critical reading.

SAT Writing

I took the SAT in March 2010 and received a perfect score, and I've been tutoring in SAT prep since 2011. I've worked with a wide range of students with varying levels of success with the test over the last 2 years, ranging from kids with scores in the high 2000s looking to get a perfect score to kids with scores in the low 1000s looking to meet a minimum requirement for college. I work with students of all ages and abilities, and I have a lot of experience working with students with special needs.

I always tailor my tutoring methods to the student, but there are definitely some common threads that run through my lesson plans, such as attention to detail, using the information provided in the test to supply oneself with answers, and time management. With the writing section, and the essay in particular, I encourage my students to prepare topics ahead of time. While there is no way of knowing what the essay question will be, it's good to have an "idea bank" of sorts, a collection of potential examples that are easy to write about. For example, if I have a student who loves sports, I encourage them to have some facts and examples of famous sports figures they love or personal experiences they've had on hand so that they can apply those examples to any question. The trick is to know specific things but to also have a broad enough topic that it can be stretched and manipulated to fit a plethora of essay questions. Since this is the newest section, many people struggle with it, and I make it my mission to help every student earn the highest score possible.

Sight Singing

I have been a classical choral singer for fifteen years, performing with ensembles locally, nationally, and internationally, and I have been with a jazz a capella ensemble at the university level for the past two years. I have also been a musical theatre performer for the past fifteen years. I have taught voice to girls and women for four years now, and I am very invested in giving a well-rounded musical education. Sight-singing is the basis of my musical knowledge, and I believe that being able to read music is the most valuable tool a singer can possess. I can read music in bass and treble clef, and I can both sight-sing and sight-play (piano and clarinet).

Special Needs

I have been working with kids with special needs for six years. I have done childcare and tutoring for kids with special needs in my hometown since high school, and I have also been a camp counselor for the past two years. I've worked with kids with a whole range of special needs, including autism, Down's Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy. I am experienced managing mobility aids and feeding tubes, and I am proficient in American Sign Language. I have found that a lot of kids with special needs are dismissed as "unable to learn" by their schools and peers and I do my best to dispel that myth. Everyone has the potential to learn and thrive; it's simply a matter of tailoring the learning style to the child in question. I love working with kids, and I think I have a lot to offer both children and their families.

Voice (Music)

I have been a classical choral singer for fifteen years, performing with ensembles locally, nationally, and internationally, and I have been with a jazz a capella ensemble at the university level for the past two years. I have also been a musical theatre performer for the past fifteen years. I have taught voice to girls and women for four years now, and I am very invested in giving a well-rounded musical education. I do a lot of work with vocal technique and safe singing, including breath control and range development, but I also highly emphasize reading music. I play the clarinet, piano, and guitar, so my music reading skills are varied and strong. I can assist with preparation for auditions as well.

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Education

Columbia University (Biomedical Engineer)

Excellent and personable tutor! Joya has been working with our son for several weeks on SAT prep. She is friendly, professional, dependable, highly articulate, extremely thorough in her lesson summaries, and prompt in her delivery of those summaries. Our son is very bright, but on the autism spectrum, so standardized testing is a challenge due to the wording of problems. Joya has figured out how to teach a thinker like him an ...

— Michele from New York, NY on 9/19/13);

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $45.00

Cancellation: 2 hours notice required

Travel policy

Joya will travel within 5 miles of New York, NY 10027.

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