I started tutoring students five years ago and discovered my passion for teaching, particularly teaching reading, writing, and comprehension skills. I struggled with these subjects growing up, and was mentored by my tutors to develop a love of reading and writing. In college I discovered a passion for the social sciences, and earned a B.A. in Sociology and a B.A. in Psychology fro the University of Denver. These subjects introduced me to statistics and I have loved its practical and descriptive nature ever since.
The most effective and engaging teachers I have had throughout my academic career all had one thing in common: a genuine passion and enthusiasm for their subjects. In addition, the best teachers know how to make their subjects as engaging as possible by, for example, making a dry statistics lesson into an exploration of an interesting or quirky phenomena of relevance to the student.
With my students I strive to make lessons conversational and interactive because learning is an activity one participates in, not a lecture one merely listens to. The most complicated concepts can be simplified into approachable pieces of information by the right tutor. Look no further for your or your child's tutoring needs in reading, writing, comprehension, sociology, psychology, and statistics.
University of Denver - Bachelors, Psychology and Sociology
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is best described as Socratic. This teaching method focuses on challenging students with inquiries and teaching them how to think, rather than simply communicating facts. When students are taught how to think and not what to think, they are better prepared for a world that rewards critical thinking skills over factual knowledge. Information is best retained through inquiry, and my teaching style engages and challenges students to not just retain facts, but understand how they fit together and how they apply to the world around them.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session I get to know a student. This often includes basic information, such as their favorite subject in school and their hobbies outside of school. I also share my passions and hobbies. Then, the student and I will discuss how I can best help them to achieve their educational goals, and work on a plan of action to get them where they wish to be.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Learning is a skill. To be an effective student and one who excels seemingly effortlessly, one must be taught how to learn. This is an integral part of the Socratic teaching method, in which teachers teach students how to think in order to conquer any learning challenge. Skills associated with learning how to learn include: study skills, note-taking skills, asking the right questions, organizing information, and analytical and critical-thinking skills.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It is often frustrating to be behind or struggle with a subject. Thus, in my teaching style, every educational victory is celebrated. I motivate students by encouraging their curiosities, relating subject matter to their personal interests, and emphasizing the importance of education.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Challenges are breeding grounds for victory. When students struggle, it is an opportunity to show them that they can work through even the most difficult problems by breaking them down. Skills are developed in steps. Taking challenges one step at a time makes even the most daunting task manageable.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is critical. I teach students this skill by teaching them how to break down sentences and paragraphs into smaller units of meaning. For example, instead of asking, 'what does this paragraph mean?', I ask, 'what does this first sentence mean?' This reduces students' anxiety and makes even the densest pieces of writing possible to comprehend.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I engage students by relating subject matter to things that are important to them and which interest them. For example, if a student is struggling with probability and they enjoy video games, I may create a practice problem demonstrating how probability is involved in the programming of video games. I strive to make subjects real-world by relating them to what is important to the student.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I start by making sure the student understands what is being asked of them. Once they understand the question, I proceed to ask them questions aimed at unraveling the task into simpler steps. Then once the student answers the question (whether correctly or incorrectly), I ask further questions to shape how they think about a problem, and to guide them to the appropriate conclusions. Once the student has answered correctly, I have them apply the concept to a new question. I also employ techniques such as having them describe the problem and how to solve it to me in their own words. Teaching is the highest form of understanding, and thus I work towards my students being able to teach me.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I build students' confidence by celebrating each correct answer, and working through each difficult problem while asserting their abilities and the skills they are developing.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I evaluate students' needs through a variety of methods depending on the students' age and level. These may include short assessments and practice questions, asking them what is most difficult for them.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Having a background in psychology, it is easy for me to adjust my tutoring to students' personalities, backgrounds and needs. Whatever a student is troubled by, there is a way to overcome it.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I always use a writing surface to illustrate and demonstrate note-taking. If appropriate, I use props, YouTube videos, study materials (i.e. flashcards and quiz games) and prep questions.