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Robert

Hello, Houston! I am a state-certified teacher who loves to work with the youth in our exceptional city. Currently, I teach advanced mathematics in one of Houston ISD's Vanguard Magnet Schools, where I also teach enrichment academics to prepare students for academic competitions. I have a B.A. in English and Mathematics, where I specialized in Composition and Geometry. Before becoming a teacher, I worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry as a copywriter.

I am extremely passionate about education, as I believe it is the key to unlocking the potential in each of us. Throughout my teaching career, I have worked with students with all types of abilities, and I strive to tailor my teaching style to best fit the needs of each individual student. Specifically, I have much experience teaching Gifted & Talented, English as a Second Language, and Special Education Services students. I have taught students who come to me for academic enrichment, as well as students who need remedial education.

I am a student-focused educator who firmly believes that instruction should be catered to each individual student. Instead of coaching my students each and every step of the way, I strive to make myself a resource to my students. I provide them with the tools and guidance they need to succeed, and help them learn how to utilize the necessary tools to be successful.

Undergraduate Degree:

 Wingate University - BA, English; Mathematics

long distance running, road-trips, reading, and cooking

What is your teaching philosophy?

My philosophy of teaching is to have a student-driven, focused teaching experience. I strive to make sure that my role is to motivate, encourage, and empower students to learn. I don't just tell my students what to do to be successful, I give them the necessary tools to become successful and coach them to reach their educational goals.

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

I typically begin with goal-setting, where we work together to establish a list of short-term and long-term goals that we want to work toward together. Additionally, I might review student work samples or assess a student's current skill set to determine where our work should begin.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I firmly believe that helping a student become an independent learner does not happen by coaching students through each and every step of their academic life. I strive to show my students how to utilize various tools that they already have to help them become successful on their own. I show my students what these resources are, where they can find them, how to use them, and how to think critically and apply them to what they are trying to learn.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Positivity and encouragement! It's completely understandable to be disengaged when you aren't confident with your work product, but that's why we set short-term and long-term goals, so that my students can see how they are growing.

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

I'd begin by breaking down the skill or concept into its component parts. Almost all skills can be broken down into a sequential order of steps to follow. This oftentimes allows us to identify where the difficulty in comprehension stems from. Additionally, having a sequence to follow helps with retention for our students.

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

I usually begin by identifying my student's Lexile level, and inform the student and his or her parents that the student needs to be doing independent reading for enjoyment outside of academics at that Lexile level, while gradually raising the Lexile level as the student completes more reading. Additionally, to help the student with comprehension of readings within the academic setting, I have my students do frequent journaling of their readings, where they summarize, identify the main idea, explain the author's purpose, identify the theme, explain new vocabulary words, etc. I have students do this frequently while reading, so that they are constantly reflecting on what they have read.

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

Positivity and encouragement. I always begin by identifying strengths that a student has, so I can help build a rapport with the student and also encourage a growth in confidence. Once this has been established, I mention an area that we should work on with the student, and they are much more prone to be ready for success, now that I have established my respect for them.

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

I find that oftentimes students are disengaged because they feel that they just "aren't good at it." I strive to break this barrier down immediately in our first session by identifying an area they already excel in, and give them plenty of praise on that. Once a student receives praise and believes that someone thinks they can be successful, they are much more prone to make themselves vulnerable to learn.

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

I never assess a student's understanding of material simply by giving the same problem I did from the previous session with different numbers. I always search for ways to assess understanding by seeing how students apply new concepts into different scenarios. That truly tests a student's understanding.

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

I build a student's confidence by creating and tracking short-term and long-term goals, through positive praise, and by building a positive rapport with the student.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I evaluate a student's needs based on work samples, through our interactions, and through the goals that we set together.

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

I pay very close attention to student's learning styles, and oftentimes outright ask the students what they prefer. Some students prefer to work on multiple examples together, others prefer to be given an example for independent review, and others want to be coached through independent work. Many times, students will tell you their preferred styles if you ask. Even if you don't ask, I find it easy to identify that my students prefer and adapt to their needs fairly quickly.

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

I typically bring a laptop computer to demonstrate available online resources, a textbook aligned to the curriculum being taught, a TI-83 or TI-84 calculator depending on the student's usage, and any other supplemental materials I think could prove beneficial for my student.