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Susan

I am a graduate of William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri, with a major in Special Education. I hold a Missouri teaching certificate in the areas of Learning Disabled, Educable Mentally Retarded and Art K-9. After 32 years of teaching I have recently retired. While I have experience teaching all grade levels, I especially enjoy upper elementary, middle and high school ages. During my years teaching, I taught all academic subjects as well as life skills. Teaching reading, science and math are my passions. My teaching style is a cross between direct instruction and inquiry-based learning, which focuses on student investigation and hands-on learning. I use a strong phonics approach to reading. Education should teach basic knowledge, while fostering critical thinking, creativity, and interpersonal skills. It should spark curiosity and the imagination, instill a passion for lifelong learning and above all, it should be fun!. Being able to be a part of this experience is a great joy.

Undergraduate Degree:

 William Woods University - Bachelors, Special Education

Beyond teaching, I enjoy being a glass artist, reading, singing, photography and camping.

Business

College Business

College English

Elementary School Math

Executive Functioning

High School Business

High School Chemistry

High School English

Middle School Science

Other

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization

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

The first session will mainly be used to get acquainted. It is important for both the learner, their family, and the tutor to get to know one another personally. This helps to build a friendly relationship and an understanding of one another. Part of the session will be spent talking with the parents/legal guardians about what they want from the tutoring experience. In getting to know the learner, I will ask them about school - how they feel about school, their favorite and least favorite subjects and why, what they feel their strengths and weaknesses are, who their favorite teacher is and why they like that teacher, etc. If time allows, the session will include some formal and informal assessments. This will allow me to see the level that they are functioning in and will give me a baseline on where to begin instructional help.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

To be an independent learner, you have to have the ability to work on your own, with little direction and with self-confidence. This can be hard, especially if the task is perceived as being too difficult or challenging and there has been much failure in the past. There is a fine line between rescuing and promoting independence. Rescuing gives the message that there will always be someone else there to do it for them. To promote independence, you have to give the learner the opportunity to think for themselves. Not jumping in immediately when they are struggling, but encouraging them to try it on their own is the key. Helping through guided questioning, giving options and choices, and encouraging them to try several different ways they think might work helps the learner to see that they can succeed on their own. Oh, and failing is, okay: "Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing." - Denis Waitley

How would you help a student stay motivated?

There are many ways to help learners stay motivated. Provide choices and give them some control over their learning. Celebrate! - both the big and the small successes and achievements. Play to the learner's interests - almost any topic can be turned into a lesson. Chart progress - who doesn't like stars? Show excitement for the subject - it's contagious!

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

First of all, I would reassure the learner that they can learn the skill with time. It is important to ask the learner what they think the problem is and listen to the answer. There are several things that can be done to help a learner overcome a skill. Reassess - what underlying skills may be missing? Back up and break things down some more, maybe just slowing down and practicing one step over and over will help. Can a visual of the concept or task be created? Can manipulatives be used to illustrate the skill or concept?

What is your teaching philosophy?

Learning should be fun. For learning to take place, there needs to be a safe, nurturing, and trusting environment created for all involved. Teaching is a process of planting the concepts and necessary skills for lifelong learning. It should be a collaboration between the teacher and student, and should take into consideration the learning styles of the student.