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Ashley

I consider myself an exception to the rule. Why? In high school, I played the flute and piccolo and marched during halftime while wearing my cheerleading uniform. I also graduated from the International Baccalaureate program. At Texas A&M University, I studied mechanical engineering and worked as a resident assistant in a private dorm where I put on social events, including Calculus tutoring. I took tumbling twice for fun and I minored in mathematics because the idea of taking additional math classes made me excited. After college, I joined Teach For America and taught 6th grade science for three years because teaching students was more appealing to me than making money in engineering. Evidence of my love for teaching is throughout this history.

In high school, I tutored fellow band members struggling in algebra, geometry, and calculus so they could pass and continue marching. I also helped lead a study group for the IB Physics HL test. During my first year of college, I tutored ten people in my Calculus I class, all at the same time (so at that point it was basically another Calculus class). The teacher was brilliant but he did not know how to explain the challenging concepts in ways students could understand, so I had fun developing my tutoring to adapt to each individual person and better help him/her understand what seems IMPOSSIBLE and make it POSSIBLE and ENJOYABLE. Before joining Teach For America, I volunteered for my former 6th grade English teacher and focused on two students in building their writing confidence. Teaching 6th grade science, I integrated math whenever I could and I had the opportunity to teach math for summer school.

Everyone can understand math and science if they can relate to the subject. I will guide you to your personal understanding and relations with whatever math (middle school, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus) or science (middle school, physics) subject you struggle with. I understand the frustration that comes with not being able to comprehend what's going on (history does this to me!) but it helps to know that you can overcome the frustration with guidance from a tutor and determination that you can do it! 2+2=4 was once the hardest math problem in your life but after practice, it's intuitive... and I can work with you on a path to make all math feel that way. Understanding projectile motion in physics or electron configuration in atoms for middle school can be tough but with real-world examples and using your imagination, there is no limit on what you can learn and truly understand!

Thanks for taking the time to read a bit about me, and I look forward to joining you on a learning journey soon!

Undergraduate Degree:

 Texas A & M University-College Station - BS, Mechanical Engineering

I love to read, especially mysteries and psychological thrillers. I like to stay active too, running as often as I can convince myself that it is worth it!

6th Grade Science

7th Grade Science

8th Grade Science

Elementary School Science

High School Chemistry

IB Mathematics

IB Physics

Middle School Science

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that everyone can learn and develop self-discovery and understanding given the proper resources and guidance along the right path. I also know that learning is not an instantaneous occurrence but rather a deliberate process that requires determination and perseverance.

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

During a first session, I would talk with the student about his/her strengths and weaknesses. From there, I would guide the student to set self-determined goals to work towards throughout the sessions. At the end of this session, we would review what we learned from each other and see how time was spent towards achieving those goals and make any adjustments to best serve the student.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Independent learning is a process that takes practice. To help a student become an independent learner, I would first provide an example on how to solve a problem and then give the student checkpoints during the next problems to verify that he/she is following the correct thought process. This would teach the student to slow down during work time and would give an opportunity to identify areas of concern to focus on in future problems. It would eventually get to a point where I would actively monitor work through an entire problem and give the student encouragement along the way to believe in himself/herself. That's honestly half the battle!

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I like to remind students that there was once a time when 2+2=4 was the hardest math problem of their lives. What makes it easy now? Practice, practice, practice. I always encourage my students and remind them of strengths. If at any point a student is discouraged by mistakes, I focus back on the overall goals he/she set and articulate the progress made towards those goals.

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

If a student has difficulty learning a skill/concept, I approach it in many ways. As I get to know students, I find out what motivates them and use that as a learning tool. With my experience in education, I have learned about the various learning styles and techniques used to reach as many students as possible. Using this information, I would attempt different approaches to concepts until we found one that works. If I happen to be stuck myself during a session, I always use outside resources and my personal library to find more information. If I do not immediately have an answer, I will find it or help the student to find it.

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

Word problems are especially difficult in math courses, so for students that struggle with reading comprehension, I like to use pictures or real-world experiences to connect to the text. Just like in reading classes, students cling more to what they already know or what they can visualize, so I use this same idea when teaching math. This can also mean using reading strategies taught in the classroom on the math problems too to super boost reading comprehension!

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

Remaining positive and patient and continuing practice are key. Learning does not happen overnight, it happens over an extended period of time. I utilize the teacher-given resources to support what is learned in the classroom as well as taught concepts from different perspectives to illustrate how we can use our varying understandings to arrive to the same answer.

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

I think of this like working out. I HATE running, absolutely I think it's awful, yet I still run at least twice a week. Why? Well, I hate running because I am bad at it. I am bad at it because I don't practice. I don't practice because I hate running. See the loop? It's the same with a challenging subject. We practice more what we are good at because it makes us feel good, and we neglect what we aren't so good at because we feel inadequate. Same with subjects we are struggling in. Setting small goals that are obtained over short periods of time and working up to larger goals really helps. I also like to reflect on what it feels like once you finish that workout or once you finish that test and how all the nasty feelings now will be redeemed in that glorious feeling of accomplishment and success.

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

I would be repetitive, focusing on the areas where most mistakes occur. I also like to use visuals and real-world situations to illustrate what the numbers actually mean in problems.

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

I help the students to set personal goals. As he/she reaches those goals, I facilitate a reflection that allows the student to see and comprehend how the hard work has gotten him/her to this point of victory. Over time, confidence slowly starts to build without becoming arrogant.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I talk to students, and I like to take a step back and watch them work. Needs are also constantly evolving so routine reflection is necessary.

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

My goal is to help the student reach his/her goal, so I would do whatever it takes. If it means focusing on homework help, doing timed math drills, or making up a song for a process, I will make sure it is helping the student to know the material without my guidance. If there is a topic or a concept that still needs help, I find resources to teach me how to teach the student.

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

I like using teacher-given materials so the tutoring session matches what the student sees in the classroom. Scratch paper and pencil are a must when working math problems, but I also will have a calculator and textbook on hand just in case. I have not yet used YouTube, but this resource does have a plethora of information.