I recently graduated with an advanced degree in theoretical chemistry, and I'm currently studying to become a high school math teacher. In my graduate program, I taught small-sized undergraduate courses. I also have experience tutoring undergraduates one-on-one. After experiencing both, I believe a learning is much easier to facilitate in a one-on-one or small group setting. In this setting, I can observe how a student thinks and tailor my teaching style in a way that would most benefit the student.
University of Houston - Bachelors, Chemistry/Math
University of Houston - Masters, Theoretical Chemical Physics
What is your teaching philosophy?
Generally, the process of learning involves first mastering the basics and then building upon them. I believe that this applies whether you are learning math or learning how to dance. I find that reviewing basic concepts and learning how they apply solves most problems that students encounter.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Once I know which subject the student is studying, I make it a point to know that they have mastered all prerequisite material. I would confirm this by watching them work through several problems and seeing if there is any lack of understanding of the basic concepts.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
By letting them work through problems out loud. I would have them explain every step to me and correct them as necessary.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I'd let them know what their strengths are as well as what needs a little work. For example, once they understand a concept, I would have them work through similar problems until they are confident and then relate more difficult concepts to what they've mastered.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would make it a point to show them how it relates to a concept that they do understand. As long as the student has a solid foundation, there will be something they can build on. If not, then it's just a matter of building up the foundation.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I start by having them read something shorter. A lot of times, problems with reading comprehension stem from having a low attention span with reading in particular.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Watching the student work and adjusting the way I present a concept to mirror how they work.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would help them master a concept with which they struggle. This is done on a problem by problem basis and possibly even a step by step basis. When a student gets more problems correct on their own, they become more confident and tend to like the subject a lot more.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I would vary the way a question is posed. If the student can recognize which concept(s) applies regardless of how a question is presented, they understand the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Build them up to where they can work out problems on their own. If they know how to begin to solve a problem, it's something to be happy about, and it's something that is easily further developed.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
By assessing the student's mastery of the prerequisite material.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I'll explain something one way. If the student is still struggling, I will explain it another way. For example, some students learn better with visual aids.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
Pencil, paper, and some material to work through.