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Nikki

I am a senior at Washburn University, studying Political Science and Spanish. I am currently applying to law school. I have worked privately as a tutor since I was a junior in high school. During my freshman year of college, I worked for a tutoring company, working with college and high school students. I have worked with grade school, middle school, high school and college students, as well as English as a Second Language students, non-traditional students, and students with learning disabilities. I enjoy working one on one, but I have also worked with small groups of students. Although I am comfortable tutoring many subjects, Algebra is my personal favorite. I believe all students are unique and learn in different ways. As a tutor, I work my hardest to relate to each student individually and understand how to best serve that student. Developing a consistent tutor-student relationship is one of the most beneficial ways to help a student improve in the long run. I work to build trust and develop an understanding of what each student needs. I am an avid reader and like to spend my free time being active with family and friends.

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

I believe a quick assessment with each student is important to gauge where the student is at and plan for the entirety of our time together. Then, of course, we should begin working as soon as possible.

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

Each student learns in his or her own way. Familiarity with a student helps me to tailor my teaching to his/her style, but sometimes it is not that simple. If a student is not understanding a concept, then a different approach is necessary. Asking what a student does know or understand about the topic is always a good place to start.

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

Asking questions is the most effective way to gauge a student's understanding. To be able to explain his/her answer and the reasoning, a student must have a thorough comprehension of the material. By asking a student to explain, I can determine whether the student actually knows why the answer is correct.

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

Positive encouragement and support from a tutor are essential. I help students to see their own progress in the subject and believe they can improve even further.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I ask questions. A student's ability to answer questions about his/her solution or thought process gives me the best idea about the his/her needs.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I help students to form their own thought processes for a subject. Repetition and asking students to explain their processes helps them to remember what to do when they are on their own.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Positive encouragement is important for all students. Students need to believe they are capable of improving to want to work towards improvement.

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

I begin with all students by laying a solid foundation of understanding where a student is at. I ask all about their academic history, their strengths and weaknesses, and priorities/goals for tutoring.

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that every student is unique and learns in different ways. My job as a tutor is to discover what works best for a student and tailor my teaching to the student's needs.