I’ve been doing this a long time. I mostly work with families now, but when I started I volunteered as a mentor in a juvenile detention center in central Virginia. I’d go in once a week and spend the day there working with kids who had been locked up for months, sometimes for years, and were working towards their GED. This was a group of ten or so kids of totally different ages, in different places in their education, with behavioral problems and learning disorders and disabilities, and it was my job to guide them towards getting that diploma.
At first, I had a lot of trouble with it. I would show up and try to review math concepts or make them read books, and that never worked. They just weren’t interested. It’s because of who they were and where they were: they thought that the work wasn’t worth doing or that they weren’t capable of doing it. I had to step back and rework my entire approach: my job wasn’t to teach them math, but to teach them that math was worth learning and that they could learn it.
That transformed my entire approach to education. Sure, I can teach the content, but that’s not really my job. My job is to teach students that they can learn something and that they should learn something. I learned how to do this in probably the hardest place to do it: in juvie, where the kids are literally there against their will. So I had to get good at that kind of inspiration, and I’ve carried that expertise and that lesson with me into the rest of my career.
So if your child believes, because of their learning differences or their personal history or for whatever other reason, that they can’t learn something or that it’s not worth learning, I can help. I’ve seen it before, and I have built confidence and mastery in students just like that.
My qualifications include:
- Nine years of one-on-one tutoring experience.
- Currently studying for a Master’s of Education from Villanova University (expected graduation date 2022).
- B.A. in Storytelling from the College of William and Mary, where I also minored in Computer Science and Religious Studies.
- Nearly five years at Inspirica, a New York based private tutoring firm that has provided exceptional tutoring to select clientele for nearly 40 years–first as a full-time test prep tutor, then as the Education Technology Manager.
Before I was a tutor, I:
- Scored in the 99th percentile on the GRE, using the same study methods I now teach my students.
- Attended William & Mary as one of four 1693 Murray Scholars in my class of about 1,800 (a full-ride academic scholarship).
- Scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT, though I didn’t yet know why my method worked.
- Attended the Loudoun County Academy of Science, a competitive STEM magnet school in Northern Virginia.
Though my career often requires me to be a businessman, a researcher, and an IT specialist, I consider myself an educator first and foremost. I take this responsibility very seriously, and I strive to be the very best educator I can be. This does not always mean pursuing the highest test scores or the best grades in the class. In fact, I find that, for most of my students, high test scores and good grades are merely a side effect of our work together.
I believe that education is the single greatest force for change in the world, and that the purpose of education is to empower people to change their lives for the better. As an educator, my role is to guide my students in building their own future. As a one-on-one tutor, my role is to do that through meaningful collaboration and transformative dialogue, not a one-way transfer of information. I also believe that self-reflection and self-awareness can and should be taught, and the liberatory potential of education lies in learning to understand yourself and change yourself.
My philosophy of education is rooted in the American educational tradition of Pragmatism, but is heavily influenced by the work of Paolo Freire. My methods vary based on the subject being taught, but I prefer an inquiry-based approach to most academic subjects. For test prep topics, I prefer to teach strategies for timing/pacing and strategic guessing before teaching content. In all areas, I take a data-driven approach to my methods, and assess regularly to adjust my approach for each student.