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When I begin teaching a student who is struggling in his or her English class, the very first thing I try to do is get the student to start communicating with his or her teacher. Often, students that are frustrated with their grades are frustrated with their teachers. However, treating teachers like allies instead of enemies can improve students’ understanding of course topics and assignments, and consequently their grades. You’ll often hear teachers tell students at the beginning of the year, “Please do not be afraid to raise your hand and ask a question.” They really do mean this. Think about it this way: Teachers are educating a class full of students with different learning styles. Their students probably have varying degrees of familiarity and comfort with different topics. Plus, teachers constantly introduce new and challenging material. So, teachers are not surprised when students need help, and they encourage their classes to ask questions to better their understanding... read more

Taught another class this past week, this one a killer. Eight straight hours of non-stop words. My throat was raw from talking, my thumb numb from pushing the button to slide up to the next graphic, my feet sore from standing. So why do I bother...? Not fortune, for sure. I’d make more sitting in the big chair, working the phones and running a film. Nor fame. Even if enthusiasm were really riches, there are limits to working the backroom at the software store. Then why...? Reason #1. Good students make smarter teachers. Happens every time I teach a class like this. A hand shoots up or a voice shuts me up. And someone asks something I’d never considered before. And in an instant my whole world lights up like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. I gain Insights I’ve never seen before, concepts I’ve never conceived before. Good questions like that kick the rust out of the immovable parts of a brain and grease the gears to turn again. After... read more

Greetings current and prospective tutees and families!   Today I would like to share with you an optional part of my tutoring services--working with your student's teacher. Since the teacher is the one who works with your student on a daily basis, his or her insight and input regarding students' performance, learning styles, strengths, and weaknesses can be extremely valuable. As a tutor, I would love to be able to work with your student's teacher in order to quickly gain a broader picture of your student's needs and how I can effectively address those needs.   If you are interested in having me work with your student's teacher, let me know. I'd be glad to discuss goals for adding the teacher into the mix in order to maximize our tutoring success!   Happy Learning!   -Sarah J.

I've been through a long journey with music, and have changed my style and genre focus according to what is fun for me. Music is my profession and my passion, so if I'm not absolutely loving it, why bother?   Here are my tips that make my tutoring fun!   1. ASK QUESTIONS! What does my student want to learn? What musicians do they admire? Who do they want to sound like? What songs do they want to cover? Why do they love music so much? This lesson isn't about me, it's about the student. I'm here to help them along on their journey, and give them the skills and reinforcement they need to get there!   2. BE SILLY! Music is personal, and I have experienced musician's shyness myself from time to time. By letting my students know that lesson time is the time to learn, be silly, be yourself, and make mistakes, they can let go of needing to feel "perfect" and just focus on improving! Music isn't about perfection, it's about expression.   3... read more

Title 1 provides academic assistance to selected students who are failing or are at risk of failing to meet the State’s challenging content and student performance standards in reading and mathematics.   The challenge lies in pinpointing where each student is struggling and providing support to each student individually.  You cannot simply help in general terms, you must be specific and goal oriented.   I have found that most importantly, the classroom environment has to allow for every student to be comfortable in trying out new things, making mistakes, learning from them and from other students.   In my Title 1 classes, although I am the teacher, I encourage the students to explain their thought process when solving problems.  Other students will agree or understand a different approach, which is more efficient than just hearing my methods.  The board has now become their scratch paper and they use it constantly to work out... read more

I have had many good teachers in my life, but not all necessarily in formal educational settings.  I had a WONDERFUL preceptor when I first came out of nursing school. Vielke was calm, knowledgeable, helpful, nonjudgemental, friendly, and the patients and staff loved her.  She could work her way around a difficult patient load, while never panicking.  My third grade teacher, Miss Glass, was someone who loved teaching.  She taught us how to have fun while we learned.  I still can sing the 50 states in alphabetical order because of her.  Vickie was my mentor in womens' health education, specially childbirth and parenting.  She was so invested in her students.  She used her humor, passion, and personality to teach in a charming and endearing way.     There have been many teachers along the path, each making their own impact on how I teach and why I teach.  But the part of teaching that I am most thankful for is how much I... read more

I will never forget my favorite math teacher. Mr. Lazur taught ninth grade CAS Geometry (my school's version of AP) and also twelfth grade IB Calculus, so I was fortunate enough to have him as a high school freshman and then again as a senior. I'm incredibly thankful for Mr. Lazur because his fun and informal teaching style got even the most anxious students to actually enjoy math. In his classes I learned to think about math on a more “macro” scale, thinking about the concepts and how they related to each other rather than getting bogged down in numbers. He also knew exactly when and how to give a practical demonstration of a confusing concept so that none of us would ever forget it again. One of these demonstrations has stuck with me ever since, and I don't think I'll ever lose the knowledge it provided. We were in Geometry, working on volumes of solids. The previous day we'd learned the formulas for volume for cubes and cylinders, and today we were supposed to be learning... read more

"Girls often believe themselves to be bad at math, in accordance with gender stereotyping, and often experience high levels of anxiety about the subject. That anxiety appears to be driven by social influences, and may be vanishing in early education. Still, identifying its causes could help eliminate it at later stages of education, and prevent it from making a reappearance in young girls. A new study suggests that elementary school may be a breeding ground for this anxiety. The study found that when elementary school teachers, who are primarily female, displayed a high level of anxiety about math, that skittishness was transmitted to their female students. Those students who spent a year with a math-phobic teacher displayed lower math achievement and an increased belief in stereotypes about female mathematical ability...   ...Seeing a math-anxious woman encouraged female students to buy into the stereotype that girls were unskilled at math, thereby allowing... read more

I remember the moment clearly even now: Mrs S., brandishing the loose-leaf pages in front of my fourth-grade classroom, her wild-eyed look at odds with her precise hair and immaculate apple-printed skirt. I remember how I had quietly slipped the papers into tray of finished homework, how I had felt somehow embarrassed by the inked words. I remember her words: "Julie is going to be a famous writer someday!" And I remember the feeling: elation, pride, and a stark wonder that someone believed in me this much.   Now, years later--after a college degree in Creative Writing and a few published pieces in literary journals--I think back on the powerful impact that Mrs. S. had on my writing. I was an extraordinarily shy student. English had been my second language, and I had been shuffled through ESL classes all throughout my early elementary school years. But for me, English was not a hardship—it was a refuge. I lost myself in books, and found myself in paper and pen... read more

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