I am currently a senior at Colorado School of Mines pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. While I do find the STEM subjects exciting, I also very much enjoy writing. Most of my writing these days is technical, but I remember fondly the creative pieces I wrote while studying language arts.
My journey to tutoring began as a student where I found pleasure and purpose in helping my peers with difficult concepts. As a parent, I find that the gratification of tutoring extends beyond the material I'm currently studying to the bringing up of a new generation. I enjoy helping others overcome the roadblocks to comprehension and academic achievement, and welcome the challenge of being creative enough to cater to the needs of each individual student - keeping in mind that there is no master key to unlocking conceptual understanding.
The final piece to the puzzle is the students' confidence in their knowledge, for what good is the tool of knowledge if the student lacks the confidence to use it? At every step I work to build the students' confidence not only in the subject, but also in their own ability to use their knowledge appropriately.
Colorado School of Mines - Current Undergrad, Mechanical Engineering
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is that people learn best by doing. As such, I work to guide my pupils through the material while encouraging them to do the bulk of the work. In this way, the student gets the practice he needs, with the safety net of someone double checking his work.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would work to identify any difficulty in learning the subject, as well as the source of the difficulty. Building a rapport is also on the agenda, as establishing credibility and a working relationship are conducive to one-on-one instruction.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By demonstrating and encouraging effective study habits, I hope to endow my pupils with the tools to become successful students.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
There is no broad spectrum approach to this topic. What motivates each student is different. To motivate a student, I would first have to know the student well enough to know what motivates her. Once that working rapport is developed, I can do this easily. The one thing that is constant across all people is the effect of self-confidence. I try to build up the student's confidence with every problem worked - the momentum he gains with every problem successfully worked can carry him through the difficult times.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would try to explain the concept in different terms - whether that requires analogy, visual representations, or approaching the concept from a different angle. I also find that using a real-world application of a concept can help the student understand better.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would ask the student to explain a concept in her own words. Anyone can memorize a definition from a book, but it takes true understanding to reiterate.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
The best test of reading comprehension is the ability to restate the material in one's own words. I would encourage the student to, as they're reading, periodically stop and summarize what they've just read, then reread the section to see if their summary matches the material.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I like to get to know the student a little bit to build rapport. During this process, I familiarize myself with the student's strengths and weaknesses to get a better handle on how to proceed with the tutoring.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
By finding a way to relate the subject to a subject or activity of interest to the student.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
By providing the student with constructive feedback and encouragement, and supplying the student with study and problem-solving strategies, they are made more confident and prepared for tests.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Reviewing tests and assignments, and hearing from the student and parents about the student's struggles, give me insight into the student's needs. Once I've identified the student's needs, I can begin adapting the lessons to the student, working with varying instruction styles as needed.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By interviewing the student and parents, reviewing past performance, and by observing during tutoring sessions.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Pencil and paper, calculator, Internet resources, and symbolic objects to help concrete learners grasp the abstract.