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Zachary

I am a graduate of the Masters in Experimental Psychology program from Emporia State University (ESU), and I have been tutoring for over 4 years now. While Psychology and Math have been my personal areas of study, my clients have ranged from preschool children getting a head-start on phonics to postdoctoral students who need to navigate SPSS for their theses.

I began tutoring as the scholarship chair for my fraternity in undergraduate, before getting a student job in graduate school teaching Math, English as a Second Language (ESL) and Science to student athletes at ESU. After falling in love with tutoring, I began taking clients both privately and through agencies like Varsity Tutors, and have been teaching medium to large-sized reading speed classes as well as small group and one-on-one tutoring in just about any subject you can think of!

My tutoring style is very hands-on, with frequent quizzes and tests to ensure that the lessons on the whiteboard are translating to results when the pressure is on. I find that students and parents alike appreciate the flow of feedback that I provide, and being able to see one's results improving is marvelous for student confidence.

In my free time, I am an avid collector of bottle caps and enjoy painting Bob Ross's wet-on-wet style of oil paints.

Undergraduate Degree:

 Baker University - BS, Psychology

Graduate Degree:

 Emporia State University - MS, Experimental Psychology

ACT Composite: 34

ACT English: 35

ACT Math: 31

ACT Reading: 34

ACT Science: 34

Painting, Collecting, Harmonica Playing

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that every student has within them the capacity to learn, retain, and synthesize new knowledge, and that proper teaching is the process of showing, then guiding, then finally watching students use those tools. All students experience learning differently, and an excellent teacher or tutor will come prepared to engage the student on their level, in order to bring them to the level they want to achieve.

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

In a typical first session, I would review those areas of most concern with the student, often giving them the types of problems they struggle with to observe exactly how they encounter difficulty. After reviewing the best individualized strategies for overcoming these weaknesses, I work with the student to set up a difficult, but not impossible, study schedules to break through their pre-existing limits, and set up homework and future meetings timed for the most effective interventions in learning. Lastly, I address some common concerns with students and parents, as well as ensure everyone has realistic, yet promising goals, with respect to tutoring outcomes.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By engaging students on their level, praising their successes, and encouraging them to view each mistake as an opportunity for improvement, I encourage learners of all ages to take the power and responsibility of scholarship into their own hands. Maintaining a regimen of study, homework, and tutelage creates a "routine for success" that can last a lifetime.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

The easiest way to keep students motivated is to remind them of their incremental successes. We all make mistakes, but we tend to suffer a cognitive bias and focus on those to the exclusion of our little successes. One of the roles of a tutor, then, is to provide a reminder each time a student succeeds that they are capable learners and are demonstrating success in education.

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

It depends on the student, and the skill or concept! Oftentimes a reframing of a question or the skillful use of a metaphor will create the "Aha!" moment we all crave. Other times, working on closely related, yet more accessible problems, will lead to the same moment of insight when the new style of problem starts to look more and more familiar. But in reality, there's no one method or strategy that always works, except always being open-minded to new ways of learning.

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

Speed reading techniques are often misunderstood to be only for those students that already have mastery of comprehension. In reality, learning to read more quickly trains your eyes, hands and mind to process information more quickly, which then leads to vastly improved recall and comprehension when the speed is slowed back down to the "old normal". Having worked for a national institution that taught reading comprehension, along with basic and advanced speed reading techniques, I have extensive experience with helping readers ages 3 and up engage with material they previously thought unconquerable.

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

Being open and honest is a big plus, as is setting up a schedule of study first thing, so the student knows what is expected of them and what kinds of help will be available (and when), along with establishing the tutoring environment as one where "stupid questions" don't exist.