My curriculum, or education plan, is customized to the specific needs of the individual.
Teachers often expect students to change how they learn to accommodate how they're taught. My philosophy is the reverse. I want to know how the student learns and then build lessons based upon their strengths. I've had former students fail tests miserably, but then speak with me and answer everything correctly.
Instruction and assessment cannot be cookie cutter style. Some people learn visually, others aurally, others kinesthetically. The old saying that youu can't judge a fish by it's ability to climb a tree is the best example I can give.
Another example is my husband, who didn't graduate high school, yet learned English (for the most part) in only three years, simply by watching movies and listening to music ( and my incessant corrections). I have studied Spanish since the sixth grade. It was my major at University, and I also lived abroad in multiple countries, for many months. What took him three years has taken me half a litetime. We both have our strengths and weaknesses, but in the end, our abilities to acquire language are completely opposite. It doesn't make either of us better or worse, it just goes to show that each individual learns differently. And my job is to nurture and encourage those differences, in a world where they're often seen as faults.
Everything! School was not always easy for me, and some of my favorite subjects were the ones at which I performed the worst. But through passion and dedication (and stubbornness), I surpassed even my own expectations!
A student may have the complete capacity to learn very well, but if they're not taught in a way that is compatible with them, they'll end up feeling like failures. So, what I love most is figuring out the best way to educate a person in a way that makes sense to them and then watching that "ah ha!" moment in their eyes.
Learning isn't "one size fits all", so educating cannot be either. Every single person is capable in their own way. They just need help to find it!
Mrs. Thomas took the time to figure out where I was struggling and why. Then she prepared lessons that were focused on the parts that were hard for me and also taught them to me in a way that I understood. I finally felt like it wasn't my fault for not understanding, and that because I learn differently doesn't mean I can't learn well.
Since my teaching is based upon the unique way of how an individual learns, I always start by asking my students to tell me about which areas of academics they feel they excel at and/or are not as much of a challenge for them.
Then I like to see if they are able to identify in which types of assessments (essays, multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, oral presentations, etc.) they feel they perform well.
From there, I look to see if there are any correlations that perhaps give me insight into their learning style.
Afterwards, I discuss with the student what he or she has in mind as far as goals. We then collaborate on a personalized plan to reach those goals. Basically, before anything, I need the student to "teach" me how they learn.
I graduated cum laude from Oakland University with my degree in Secondary Education K-12. I majored in Spanish Language and Literature and minored in English Language and Literature.
I also have my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification.
I completed my student teaching internship at Oxford Middle School, an International Baccalaureate school. Upon completion, I taught at Language Arts at OMS for almost two years, to both seventh and eigth graders.
I then moved to Costa Rica, where I taught English to grades 5, 7, and 11.
When I moved back to the US, I worked at an immigration law firm as a translator for our Spanish speaking clients. Most cases I assisted in dealt with refugee, asylum, and deportation matters.
Over the years, tutoring (both individual and group) has been a part of my life. It is a very rewarding experience to be able to help students directly and see the results firsthand.
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