I have finished my Secondary Education Mathematics Major at Northeastern Illinois University. Student teaching with students from 8th-10th grade and tutoring a diverse groups of students in terms of age and culture at my university, I have built strong teaching skills that I can adapt based on a student's personal needs. I have also tutored and built strong math skills at my university for the following subjects: Algebra, Calculus, Trigonometry, Geometry, and Probability and Statistics. I enjoy tutoring because it is easier to teach one person at a time then to try to cover material to a large group of students. This also gives students I tutor the opportunity to stop me when the math content becomes confusing. I feel that the best way to teach a tough section in a specific math subject is to start with an example and work each part out step by step with the student, while asking guiding questions to have the student work during the learning process. New concepts in math require a lot of background math skills. If a student does not remember those skills from the past, tutoring is a great way to refresh the student's memory and bring them back on the right track. Lastly, tutoring is enjoyable because I get to make a tough subject like math easier for students to comprehend. If I do my job as a tutor to make a student understand math content, I am serving my community and building a smarter and happier environment around me.
Northeastern Illinois University - Bachelors, Secondary Education Mathematics
What is your teaching philosophy?
Teaching mathematics to students is a tough job that involves a lot of work. Self-assessment, assessing students, goals for teaching mathematical learning, and methods of teaching mathematics are only a few stars in the universe that is mathematical teaching. Writing out my ideas has shown me that teaching math is a benefit both for me and the students I teach. Teaching students will give them mathematical knowledge that is needed when they want to pass their classes in college. They will also need math to calculate interest gained at the bank, amount of money owed for bills, building and fixing things around the house, and saving money and their lives. Teaching math gives me a better understanding of the diverse learners that surround my community. When I am having kids of my own, I will understand how to raise my own mathematicians as well as understand the educational levels of the students that one day will become friends with my kids. Educating kids is always helpful to build a happier community. If there are parents out there that cannot be there for their children, at least I am there to be of assistance to their children, so that the parents become proud of their kids who are great mathematicians. Providing knowledge to students with effective methods such as repetition, assessment, self-assessment, relating math to the real world, and learning math as a language can build a greater advancement to mathematical education to create happier communities for peace in the neighborhood. Math is just one subject to learn, but the more our kids become knowledgeable of the world around them, the wiser decisions they make for the people around them. That is my main goal for me in math education: to make a wiser and happier community.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would first greet the student kindly to make a comfortable, peaceful teaching environment. Then I would ask the student what they need help with and assess the student's mathematical abilities. If I can first learn from my student's work, I will know exactly where I need to start in order to tutor the student effectively. This way I can give the student problems that are not too hard or too easy.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By tutoring a student not only math content but study habits, I can get a student to understand how to use a math textbook. Although math seems like there is no reading and writing involved, a student must learn how to comprehend math text. By teaching study strategies, I can make sure my student will be able to learn on their own and be at a stronger math level next time we meet.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Math is not easy, even for me sometimes. During tutoring it is important to both correct the student in a friendly way, and give praise when the learning takes place. As long as I can make sure I don't offend the student, I keep a positive learning environment, I praise the student for correct work, and I let the student know that everyone makes mistakes. I can help students be confident with their math capabilities.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to break out the concept in chunks. I would also let the student know what background knowledge they need in order to tackle the problem. What part of the concept is confusing? Why is it confusing? Which part of the concept seems most familiar and why? These are just some small questions I would ask the student in order to link the new concept with the student's background knowledge.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
If a student has trouble with reading comprehension, I would first try to figure out what the student enjoys reading. I would then show them how reading comprehension can have different levels of difficulty depending on the subject matter. At that point, I would break down the reading and read with the student and explain the details in simpler form.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Mini-lessons work great! By showing a problem step by step to a student and then giving them a chance to try one on their own, I can figure out which parts of the math content become most confusing to them. We then go over the student's work, and I kindly correct the student's efforts or praise the student if they correctly followed my methods.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By giving the student opportunities to relax at certain points during a tutoring session, we can discuss their hobbies and interests. At that point, I can relate math content to the hobby that the student enjoys and get the student to understand the importance of math that they hadn't seen before.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Giving students similar examples from the textbook may become too easy and repetitive. By creating a similar and tougher example on my own, I can truly understand if the student understands the material if they can tackle harder problems.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Building a student's background knowledge is the first and most important part of acquiring confidence in a subject. If tutoring sessions go well and a student gains stronger insight about current and previous content, I can make sure that their background content skills will keep up their tower of knowledge.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By taking notes during a tutoring session, I can find out the strengths and weaknesses of both my student's needs and my own needs as a strong tutor. Learning a student's needs and writing down the experience can help me better understand and help a student the next time we meet.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
In my past experiences, I have taught a diverse group of students, with a variety of cultures and age groups. By learning the student's needs during tutoring sessions (as well as their diversity), I can adapt my tutoring skills by using different teaching methods to reach my student's mind. Diverse students learn differently. This key concept is important for me to know so that I realize that the same teaching approach doesn't always work for everybody.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Typically, I have a whiteboard with markers, pencils, pens, and paper. I also will bring my own math textbooks in accordance with the needs of my student. This way, the student can have other sources to work with.