"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." - Lao Tzu. Many instructors mistakenly approach the task of teaching with the narrow goal of imparting knowledge of a single lesson or unit to their students, forgetting to train such students how to obtain such knowledge independently. They also forget to connect the gained knowledge to other units and disciplines. The more connections a student makes, the more they are able to retain and apply the new material. I strive to approach tutoring sessions from Lao Tzu's perspective and I enjoy the challenge of taking a concept that is confusing to a student and turning into a crystal clear idea. I accomplish this by asking thought provoking questions that walk students through logical processes. They eventually learn to navigate through logical processes with less direction. Additionally, I understand that no two students think alike and once I determine how an individual student processes information, then I can quickly devise a lesson tailored to that particular student.
I am very patient and down to earth with students. Having a good relationship with them is essential to building the trust needed for them to be comfortable in taking the risk to solve a problem independently.
I have experience teaching Biology, Algebra, and Geometry at the high school level. I also tutor math subjects ranging from algebra to calculus and science subjects such as chemistry, physics, and biology at the Math and Science Center for Killeen ISD.
Besides being a teaching professional, I also enjoy playing tennis, doing anything outdoors, studying the Bible, and painting.
UNT - BA/BS, Mathematics/Biochemistry
What is your teaching philosophy?
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." - Lao Tzu. Many instructors mistakenly approach the task of teaching with the narrow goal of imparting knowledge of a single lesson or unit to their students, forgetting to train such students how to obtain such knowledge independently. I strive to approach tutoring sessions from Lao Tzu's perspective, and I enjoy the challenge of taking a concept that is confusing to a student and turning it into a crystal clear idea.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Initially, I would try to connect with the student. A down to earth approach seems to work best. I then try to identify the main struggle the student is having with the particular lesson. I always try to let the student know that what they are struggling with is a difficult topic for many students, but that it can be conquered with a little patience and a tenacious spirit. Identifying with a student's struggles seems to be a very effective method of getting them to open up to you and begin to build trust in you as an instructor. Then, I would begin instruction by either looking at a student's worksheet, test, or similar document (if they do not have one, I have several documents available for reference). I would ask the student questions pertaining to the document or topic to gauge where to begin instruction. Then, I would model different ways of solving the problem. After this, the student could choose which method they are most comfortable with, and I would monitor the student as they practice additional problems.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I accomplish this by asking thought provoking questions that walk students through logical processes. I gradually decrease the amount of questioning. They will eventually learn to navigate through logical processes with less direction. I am also very friendly and patient, which helps students to feel comfortable enough to take the risks associated with being an independent learner.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I motivate students by using every opportunity to praise their progress. I also help students to create both short-term and long-term goals so that they are more likely to attain such progress. At the same time, I try to keep a certain level of excitement about their subject because that positive attitude will spread to the student, and they will be more motivated to excel.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I first ask probing questions to pinpoint what aspect of the skill or concept is most difficult for the student. Then, I tailor an approach based on my knowledge of that particular student's strengths and interests. There are usually several ways to solve a problem, and I do my best to help a student learn the approach that makes the most sense to them. This is where really knowing and understanding your student comes in handy.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I make sure to cover important vocabulary at the beginning of the lesson and take breaks in the lesson to ask questions about the material that gauge comprehension. I usually ask the student to explain what is covered in their own words.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I make sure to present myself with a calm and down to earth demeanor. This helps a student to relax and become comfortable asking questions. I like to get into the subject material very quickly, but at the same time, I don't hesitate to engage in light conversation if I feel doing so will help the student to feel more comfortable. A relaxed brain learns much better than a stressed brain. I also try to ask many questions so that I can get an idea of how the student thinks and what they are interested in. This helps me to tailor my lessons to each particular student.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
First of all, I let the student know how excited I am about the subject by my words, tones, and gestures. Then, I relate the subject to something they enjoy like sports, music, etc.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I usually ask a student to explain the material to me in their own words. If the material is mathematical, I give them sample problems to do independently, and then I go over the solutions with them. Though first and foremost, I ask many questions.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build a student's confidence by helping them to create small, attainable goals. Then, I praise them on achieving such goals.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I ask many questions, and I give assessments such as quizzes and tests.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I determine what interests a student has, and I relate the subject material to those interests. For special needs students, I usually discuss such accommodations with their parent/guardian before beginning a regular tutoring schedule.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I use worksheets, quizzes, tests, the online whiteboard, textbooks, student work, and props if appropriate. For mathematics, I use graphing calculators as well.