Rebecca W.
Dedicated and Compassionate IB Biology HL/SL Teacher and Examiner. Highly knowledgeable In IB Environmental Systems. Holds a Masters Degree in Biology and 30 Graduate Credits in Education with 18 Years of Experience (9 directly related to IB) teaching students of all backgrounds to love science.
Master of Science in Biology, California University of Pennsylvania, California, PA, May 2001
Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology, California University of Pennsylvania, California, PA, May 1998


I have taught IB Biology for 9 years and am experienced in IB Environmental Systems. I am an IB Examiner for Biology (Internal Assessments and Paper 3 in English). I have supported many students in writing their Extended Essays when they have focused on Biology or Environmental Systems, my goal is to assist you in reaching your goals.

Teaching Experience

IB Biology
* Taught HL from 2007-2014 at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda, MD.
* Taught HL and SL 2017-2019 at Coppell High School in Coppell, TX.

What is your teaching philosophy?

As a secondary education teacher, I strongly believe that fostering critical thinking skills is at the heart of what we do in education. I am committed to giving students the tools they need to see their own value, analyze information and situations, and effectively solve problems.

I see my role as not only providing answers but encouraging students to ask important questions. I prioritize my relationship with them and model the behaviors I want to see in students through good communication and a genuine interest in understanding other perspectives.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

The first thing I do during an initial meeting with a new client is taking a few minutes to get to know the student. I normally have my students complete a quick questionnaire so that I have a base to build upon. Second, I have the student share their experience so far in the class that I am tutoring them in. I need to know if they feel they are doing well with the material and work. Finally, it is time to start working. I ask the student the specific activity he/she wants to work on that day and then begin the work.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

The best way to help a student become an independent learner is to foster every opportunity to self-monitor. Although the responsibility may fall on me during our first session, as we build the relationship and work through the IA, EE, or prepare for the exam, I begin to put the questions back onto the student so that he/she is processing the information and using inquiry to conclude. My role then becomes more of a facilitator to ensure the information is being completed and mastered.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

First, I have a positive attitude about learning and love Biology and Environmental Systems. I share successes with students while also providing suggestions where improvements can occur. Because I get to know my students well, I am very good at pushing them, sometimes without notice. As I have been teaching for 19 years, I utilize lots of different strategies.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

It depends on the student and the skill or concept. Typically I will try to think of another way of explaining the concept. For skills, it is helpful to model with a think-aloud and then practice together before the student tries it again on their own. If nothing that I try myself works, I will find a brief video as support.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

First, I like to teach comprehension strategies with a think-aloud or pair and share. Struggling students benefit from hearing different methods that can be used when reading. Second, I believe that vocabulary is a big problem. It is important to make sure the student understands the vocabulary they are reading before expecting them to comprehend what they are reading.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

First, I have to know enough about my student to know how to approach them and meet them at their level. I prefer to know what we are going to work on before the session to come with ideas already ready to go to maximize our working time together.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling with?

I work to build a relationship with the student so that he/she trusts me and knows that I am here for them. I keep a positive attitude and share my love of science with them as often as possible. I work to build their confidence in themselves.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

First, I ask guiding questions along the way. I provide students with prompts and scaffold questions whenever necessary. I use a lot of informal check-ins to see how the student is feeling. I try to come up with as many ways to restate or practice as possible.

How do you build a student’s confidence in a subject?

I make sure to praise things that the student has done well. They need to celebrate their successes to know that they are doing well before looking at the places where they are struggling. Once the places where they are struggling are identified, it is all about practice and review.

How do you evaluate a student’s needs?

I begin by asking the student what they feel they need help with. If the student states that he/she is so lost that they cannot express what they need, I ask guiding questions to help me get to the core problem.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student’s needs?

Each student is completely different from the next. Once I know enough about the student to know what he/she needs the most help with, I adapt my tutoring to suit exactly what they need.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I use Google products (docs, slides, etc…) so that we can work simultaneously. I also use screen sharing to follow along if I am trying to explain a hard concept. I like to use games for check-ins to ensure the student now understands the material we covered.

Teaching Skills

Subject Skill Level
Biology HL
Biology SL
Environmental Systems And Societies SL
Extended Essay ​(EE)
Integrated Sciences
Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution - Theodosius Dobzhansky.

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