I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and as a child I never would have predicted that I would end up living in the Bay Area. I attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where I studied art history and archaeology. After college I moved across the country and earned a master’s in history from UC San Diego, where I focused on the ancient Near East. As part of my graduate studies, I worked on archaeological excavations in both Israel and Jordan. After teaching part time in San Diego for the next few years, I knew that if I wanted to take being an educator to the next level, I needed to go back to school for teaching. I moved to Los Angeles and completed my California teaching credential at Hebrew Union College. I have learned that the best educators never stop learning. I try to continually push myself to learn from my teachers and from each of my students how to more effectively teach each individual as an individual.
I taught history and English to middle and high school students for over five years in Los Angeles before moving up to the Bay Area. In teaching a full class, I learned the importance of planning and that each student learns in their own way and at their own pace. I also served as the school’s SAT coordinator and helped my students prepare for the test itself and to navigate the sometimes confusing world of the College Board.
Both as a teacher and in my years as a student, I have always felt that the personal connections we make are what really help push us to excel. All too often students feel like no one really sees them. I know first hand that classroom teachers work hard to make that connection with every student, but in a full classroom it can really be a challenge. After teaching in a more traditional classroom for over five years, it was the one-on-one nature of tutoring that really attracted me. Tutoring allows me to give my students the full attention they deserve and to personalize the learning we do together. As a tutor, I always want my students to know that I see them and that I will listen to them. Everyone has their own unique strengths and their own challenges. As a tutor, I strive to help students build on their strengths and to develop the skills and techniques they need to face their challenges. I love to help my students think out of the box and learn to approach new problems from multiple angles. Each challenge holds the opportunity to help develop a new skill or hone a strategy.
I have always loved logic puzzles and brain teasers; perhaps that is where my interest in standardized testing truly began. Each question and each section challenges us to approach a problem we have never seen before. It is this puzzle that energizes me, and, just like any other type of puzzle, with practice we can learn skills and approaches to help us break down each challenge. At the end of the day, a test score does not define who we are, but at the same time a score that more accurately reflects a student’s true potential can help to open new doors.
When I am not teaching, I love to play board games. For me a good board game is another puzzle to dive into and explore. I also enjoy creating intricate cut paper art (imagine the “snowflakes” a child might fold and cut, but forming an intricate web of images and designs).