1. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
Of course. I just finished my Ph.D. not long ago, I continue to teach college courses, and I use Latin on a regular basis in my own research. I've published two peer-reviewed articles and am working on more, along with a book.
2. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
I have an extensive background both in the subjects themselves and in teaching those subjects. I have a B.A. in Classics and a Ph.D. in English, and I've taught 15 college courses over the past few years. I've also privately tutored dozens of students in a variety of subjects, with a focus on their individual progress. I'm able to design customized lesson plans for students and I'm familiar with areas that often give a bit of trouble.
3. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
Last year, I helped a student struggling in Latin to move from failing to the A level over the course of several months.
4. Do you tutor the math portion of the SAT/ACT/etc as well?
No, I don't. I can recommend a good tutor for that subject, though. Just send me a note.
5. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
Well, I'd suggest they take a look at the area's demographics and figure out who their most likely students would be, then advertise for them. In terms of experience, the more the better.
6. What sort of group tutoring have you done?
Well, as one example, I put together a 6-week Latin review course for a group of 8th-graders starting up the school year. I broke down their previous year's material into separate lessons and then gave them each individual attention as we walked through it all.
7. How do you teach?
Pedagogical methods are always being revised and revised again. In my experience, the best way to teach is through practice and careful attention to the individual student. In most cases, I work first to identify patterns of error or particular weak spots or needs, and then to address them. Depending on the subject, that takes different forms. I'm also sensitive to how much time the student has to work on a subject, and I'll try to focus on the areas that'll give the most bang for the buck. For younger students especially, I try hard to emphasize the fun and illuminating aspects of learning.
8. What are your most common types of jobs?
I tutor a lot of middle-school and high-school students in English or Latin, or help them prep for the ACT or SAT. I've also tutored for the GRE and GMAT. The "quick-question" service I offer is picking up, too, which is great. Of course, I've taught hundreds of college students more formally as well.
9. How did you decide to get into your line of work?
I enjoy teaching, and tutoring just flowed naturally. I've found it to be very rewarding so far; I enjoy being able to offer individual attention to students.
10. What important information should clients have thought through before seeking you out?
Ideally, you'd know exactly what problems exist and where you want your student to end up in terms of progress. That hardly ever happens, though. So, all you really need to know is that you'd like some help improving your or your student's current skills. Some idea of what gives a bit of trouble is good, too. If you have some past work or old tests, those can help me get a quick idea of where you are what I can do to help. If you're not sure where to start, don't worry; that's what I'm for.
11. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Look around and see who's available, then call up a few of them and tell them what you need. See how they interact on the phone and if that's someone you want to work with yourself or want to hire for your student.
12. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
Though some corporate tutors (Kaplan, etc.) are very good, don't go with the big companies just because you recognize the name. You'll get more individual attention and customized lessons with a private tutor.
13. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
One of my students was a retired teacher who said she'd always wanted to learn Latin but had never gotten the chance. In a couple of weeks, she was reading simple Latin sentences. The smile on her face was great.
14. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
I think a lot of customers wonder how to judge quality. It's difficult to do, because even with the best tutor, you or your student might not show immediate improvement. But some things to look for are: education, familiarity with the material, attitude, and teaching methods. Always look for someone who positively reinforces students when they do well, not someone who criticizes them when they do poorly.
15. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
"How fast will my son/daughter improve?"
It's a hard question to answer, because it depends a lot on the student. You can't throw too much information out too quickly. Everyone has their own speed and style and part of the trick to good tutoring is to figure out how to work with that. I can never guarantee improvement, but I can say that so far, it's always happened.
16. What do you like most about your job?
It's good to work one-on-one with students and watch how they progress. It's not something I get to do too much of when I teach a college course.